How I Beat Boris Becker, by Andre Agassi
Here's the video (2:40). His secret? He could tell where Boris was serving by how his tongue stuck out of his mouth!
I had a similar coaching experience for many years. A member of the U.S. National Team for many years telegraphed when he was serving long by sticking his tongue out as he was serving! I coached against him many times, and my players did very well against him because of this. The player liked to serve long, and never figured out why some opponents always seemed ready for it.
In table tennis there are similar things you can pick up on, often subtle, if you watch for them. I would estimate that over half of players (including top players) telegraph their long serves by changing their backswing. That's a no-no - you need to use the same backswing for short or long serves. Even if opponents don't consciously pick up on it, they often do so subconsciously, and can tell when you are serving long without being sure how they know. This happens to me all the time - I can tell if someone's serving long but have to think about it to figure out what specifically gives it away.
As a test of how players react to a player's swing before contact, I once experimented on using a reverse pendulum serve motion until after I started the forward swing on the serve, and then switching to my favored pendulum serve motion. The result was astounding - people misread it over and over, and it became one of my serving mainstays.
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