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  1. #1

    Return of serve issue

    lately i have been playing against older and bigger kids with much better serves and i have been struggling. my main issue is just with the pace of the ball and not chosing forehand or backhand fast enugh, any tips apreciated

  2. #2
    Join Date
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    do you think you are simply indecisive on how to respond, or are you having trouble with a slow reaction? if the latter is true, have your eyes checked. if you are in a fast growing stage of your life, your cornea could have recently been stretched causing a rapid decline of your eyesight.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
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    Naples, Florida
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    Return of Serve

    A lot of times when you are moving up levels it becomes more and more important to pick up the ball earlier. The best thing to do is to watch your opponents ball toss to help give you insight on the direction that the ball is coming. Generally, ball toss to the right of a player (right handed) will swing out to your forehand (if you are right handed) and ball toss to the left or over their head will kick more to your backhand.

    Each player is different and will have different ways of indicating where the serve is going. Use you warm up to help figure out the tendencies of your opponent.

    Worse case scenario is that you will pick up the ball off your opponents racquet earlier because you are focusing hard on the toss and contact point.
    Michael Burge
    USPTA Master Professional
    www.dynamicdoubles.com


  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
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    Sorry but I'm in a hurry and have to leave right now but all I would add to what you've been told is, how close to the Baseline are you standing?

    I generally stand on or inside of the Baseline because I like to hit on the rise. You have to react quickly when you're attempting this however but over the years I've trained my eyes to pick up the Ball pretty much like DD is telling you.

    I would suggest however to take a step backwards and see if that makes a difference or allows you a split second more to make a return.

    Couple of things to remember, Do not stand so far back that your Opponent can slice outwide on you and second, do not lean to one side or the other because your opponent will simply serve on the side you're not leaning towards.

    Lastly you have to relax. The mere fact that you are writing about this tells me this worries you and therefore I suspect you get tense when a serve is about to happen. If you find yourself getting tense, then you're going to tighten up and make bad things happen.

    Relax and remember, when your Opponent is about to serve, think of it as an opportunity. Don't think about whether you can return the ball but rather where you're going to return the ball.

    Talk to you later ....

    Coach

    .
    The only acceptable loss is when your opponent was better than you on that given day.
    It is never acceptable to lose when your opponent was not.

  5. #5
    Widen your stance and create a lower center of gravity. One thing you will notice with most ATP pro's is they all have a very wide stance to begin with or just after the split step.

    Clint
    www.tennisguru.com
    Get Re-Strung!

  6. #6
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    Jan 2009
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    If you insist on using forehand and backhand grips, you must shorten your backswing. Return of first serve is NOT a groundstroke.
    Or you can use conti grip and return with the same grip underspun.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by LeeD View Post
    If you insist on using forehand and backhand grips, you must shorten your backswing. Return of first serve is NOT a groundstroke.
    Or you can use conti grip and return with the same grip underspun.
    I hate to negate you on this but it actually is a groundstroke with an abbreviated backswing. The continental grip chip return will get you murdered in the higher levels of todays game. It's best to get out there and practice solid returns and develop a good one than to revert to a defensive weak return whenever one plays a good serving player. Most people just don't practice the return enough. Not even close.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by tennisguru View Post
    Widen your stance and create a lower center of gravity. One thing you will notice with most ATP pro's is they all have a very wide stance to begin with or just after the split step.

    Clint
    That is one of the most important things you can do in tennis. Get the stance out. It lowers the center of gravity and allows the player to bend his/her knees while staying on balance. I see too many players not having a good stance and that is one of the keys to hitting great shots. Good call. I was wondering if anyone else thought like I do out there......

  9. #9
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    Jan 2009
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    Yeah, TK1, you must be right.
    Notice how TommyHaas just gets killed everytime he returns serve. He chooses to chip underspin almost every first serve coming his way. So why don't you tell him to be a MAN and hit out with topspin every time?
    And if you groundstroke abbreviated and stunted, you are a weak hitter! And the followthru on a return of serve is alwo shorter than a groundie, so maybe since both backswing AND followthru is different, it might not be the same stroke, eh?

  10. #10
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    [QUOTE=LeeD;16489]Yeah, TK1, you must be right.
    Notice how TommyHaas just gets killed everytime he returns serve. He chooses to chip underspin almost every first serve coming his way. So why don't you tell him to be a MAN and hit out with topspin every time?
    And if you groundstroke abbreviated and stunted, you are a weak hitter! And the followthru on a return of serve is alwo shorter than a groundie, so maybe since both backswing AND followthru is different, it might not be the same stroke, eh?[/QU

    I used to work with Tommy at Bollettieri Academy and he did not ever practice chipping the return. Ever. It is a last resort just to get the ball in play. If one wants to develop a decent return, he has to practice it. Watch Federer return, watch Nadal return, sorry, I don't buy the idea of practicing chipping on the return. And, no, abbreviating the swing on the return can be called whatever you like, it still has a turn, a swing, and the ball bounds off the court, thus I use the term groundstroke. Sorry man, been doing this way too long and have made a pretty darn good living at it. All we are trying to do is help someone here that has an issue with there return of serve, and in order to get better at it, it has to be practiced correctly. By the way, there is a little German restaurant about 6 blocks from Bollettieri Academy named House of Munich that Tommy Haas eats at all the time. Please stop by there and ask him about how he practices his returns. Tell him Brett Jolson sends his regards..............If you have any doubts about my credentials, look me up on the ATP tour site. Have a great day.

  11. #11
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    I also agree with TennisKing1. The chip return should not be your first choice, but rather the last resort.

    When I coach my ITF juniors, they learn to rip the return whenever they are able. From both wings. Chip returns get hammered by the server routinely, and should really only be used as a tactic against serve and volleyers (where have they gone?).

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by JohnH View Post
    I also agree with TennisKing1. The chip return should not be your first choice, but rather the last resort.

    When I coach my ITF juniors, they learn to rip the return whenever they are able. From both wings. Chip returns get hammered by the server routinely, and should really only be used as a tactic against serve and volleyers (where have they gone?).
    I agree with you. I only use the term groundstroke when it comes to the return because I am trying to make it just another stroke for the player. I know that it is its own stroke, but I have had some serious success with players by getting them to think that it is just the first groundstroke they are about to hit in a 20-30 shot rally. It's just tricking the mind. When players begin worrying about the return of serve being bad, they tend to fail in all aspects of their game when they are receiving serve. It's a mental block. They become inconsistent and begin making numerous unforced errors, even when they have no pressure on them. So, when someone is having an issue with a stroke, I try to get them to see things in a different light. You can't do the same losing thing day in and day out and expect a different result. Something has to change and so I use the word groundstroke with people who have issues with it. I have also found that when people think of the return as a groundstroke (abbreviated or full swing), they tend to be a little more relaxed because if there is one thing that they practiced for two hours that day, it was groundstrokes. People will go out there and hit groundstrokes for hours, but when they get into a match, they have really only put time into hitting groundstrokes. It would be wonderful if we started every match off with a feed, but I haven't had the pleasure of playing any of those tournaments. The main reason I started refering to it as a groundstroke is I have coached so many players that were phenomenal when playing groundstroke games, but just lost it when playing an actual match. They had analysis paralysis from worrying about their return of serves. They could never break serve. So, I began referring to it as a groundstroke just to get them to relax, because if there was one thing they could do, it was pound groundstrokes. They began getting more comfortable with it because they felt confident in their groundstrokes and it helped them beat the mental block. And you are darn right about the serve and volleyers disappearing. I play a game very similiar Felix Mantilla and Corretja which means i am mostly a baseliner. You will find that it bothers me, a baseliner, to see the serve and volleyers disappear. It is a joy to watch a McEnroe or Edberg play, especially when they are really on.

  13. #13
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    Yeah, well, why should I believe my eyes when Tommy chipped every return of first serve by Safin on TV a couple weeks ago. He even chipped some of the harder second serves back, mixing those a little with groundies.
    Sometimes, you might know someone really well personally, but if you haven't watched his game recently, you don't keep up with what he's doing!
    Of course, against MY first serves, he would just knock off topspin winners every time.

  14. #14
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    Hey fellas, this is a great example of guys speaking to 2 subtly different topics.

    Lee is clearly right that Haas and Fed both chip a ton of hard, challenging 1st serve returns, where they are really pushed for time. I expect this is what he is seeing as what the poster is asking about and seeking to help them get more returns in play.

    But on the other hand, tennisKing, an accomplished coach/instructor, is talking about this player developing his returns long term, and for second serves, or for any he may get a great look at. He probably sees this as where the poster should be primarily focused at this time.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by airforce1 View Post
    Hey fellas, this is a great example of guys speaking to 2 subtly different topics.

    Lee is clearly right that Haas and Fed both chip a ton of hard, challenging 1st serve returns, where they are really pushed for time. I expect this is what he is seeing as what the poster is asking about and seeking to help them get more returns in play.

    But on the other hand, tennisKing, an accomplished coach/instructor, is talking about this player developing his returns long term, and for second serves, or for any he may get a great look at. He probably sees this as where the poster should be primarily focused at this time.
    You nailed it airforce1. I certainly think there is a place for the chip return, but one must truly try to develop a solid return with practice. I must say that against mega servers, the chip really is a great weapon. However, if those mega servers would take the time to hit some big kickers and use their heads(Roddick) they would find that the chip would come back so much slower. I played Stefan Edberg once at an exhibition and I found there was no way to chip his serve back. He waited at the net like a tiger waiting for food at the zoo. To be honest, it is best to practice both ways of returning serve. There really is no quick and easy fix in tennis. If the player who posted this really wants a good return and is having issues in matches, he/she is going to have to practice the return just like practicing groundstrokes.

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