Zane Navratil thinks you should miss more serves. Why on earth would a pro say that?
“I can go the rest of the year without missing a serve, a dink, an overhead…without making any unforced errors,” he explains in a recent YouTube video.
“But I would hit every shot to the middle of the court and six feet over the net. I also probably wouldn’t win a point in 2022.”
See what he’s saying? Ultimately, yes, it’s embarrassing to miss a point on a bad serve, but serves are just like any other shot in the game: there’s a risk-to-reward tradeoff between aggressive and conservative play. You need to fight past that stigma and embrace the fact that a powerful, well-placed serve is better in many situations than a weaker, conservative one.
We often hear players say "never miss on the serve." But you're never going to hear them say "never miss on a dink" or "never miss an overhead volley." It is understood that those shots involve risk.
“I win the most matches when I miss 10-15% of my serves,” he says. So clearly, it’s not always best to play it conservatively.
Here’s what Zane says any good serve should have:
- Depth: makes opponent’s return more difficult and keeps them back at the baseline
- Pace: once again adding difficulty to the opponent’s return
- Spin & Placement: consistently placing the ball where you want it to land, even as you apply spin
How successfully you pull those off will be determined by practice and the grit needed to take a risk.