Serving into the body, particularly in doubles can be extremely effective. Three reasons the body serve works so well:
1. People do not expect it. Everyone is always looking for the ace or trying to cover the angles on the return of serve. When it comes right at them, many players are startled.
2. It is safe. When looking at a second serve, placing it in the middle of the box is much easier than trying to create angles. You don’t have to hit it hard if you hit with some kick or slice so that the ball keeps moving into the forehand, that’s right, the forehand, hip (right hip for a righty and left hip for a lefty), then it is more about the placement than the power. That said, a hard, flat serve right at ’em also works well!
3. Although you rarely get aces out of body serves, you do get floaters that your partner can pop for a winner, which makes holding serve easy and makes your partner feel good about his contribution!
To practice: Set up a basket or a box right in the corner of the baseline where most people stand to return serve, then try to hit a serve that goes over or hits the basket after it hits the service box. Remember, it’s more about where the serve crosses the baseline than where it lands in the box when you go into the body.