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I'll certainly agree we all need both types of returns, both hard topspin AND softer, slower chip returns.
The key is RETURN. When you're playing a match, you don't just bang the ball into the net and out past the baseline, if that's all you can do. Instead, you get the ball back into play, NUMBER ONE.
As for Edberg, fortunately, we don't all play against the top20 best all time volleyers with huge kick serves.
But I've returned KevinCurran serves in matches, DickStockton's, JoaroSoara's, RaulRamerez's, and there's no way I can shot groundie their first serves back consistently. Second serves, of course.
Stand back? I'm lefty, they just slice serve out wide or twist wide to my backhand.
Of course, if I was BETTER than them, I'd not worry about their serves much.
But in this case, I suspect we are talking about returning a SUPERIOR serve.
Originally Posted by LeeD
No, I think he is talking about intermediate serving and returning. No monster serves, at least I don't believe so. You know, as well as I, that you have to go out there and pracice the return as much as groundstrokes. It is the second shot of every point, serve being the first. Most people don't practice those enough and so they don't get a chance to hit their groundies which end up being a strength of theirs. Believe me, I have chipped my fair share of shots back and I think it is a great stroke. I just don't think the fellow who posted this has an idea of how to make his stroke better.
I would love to practice return of serve, but all of my practice partners want to hit ground strokes only. If I want to really practice returns I have to play matches and during match play is not the optimal time to try new things.
I've not yet hired a pro for lessons, would that be something they'd be able to help me with? Would I be trying to return their serve?
I would think it would be tough to really get some good practice in, because there are so many different types of servers with all different amount of pace on their shots. In my league matches I'm having great luck with light-medium pace serves, for the really fast serves I am returning them but not ripping the returns. For servers with serious kick serves I've had mixed results with some of the returns being great and others just so-so.
I think the main thing in my best returns is footwork - I get into the proper placement to hit a good return. For the faster serves and the ones with the most kick it is much tougher to get into the right spot.
Working with a pro is a great idea. We get paid to help you get better so go for it. Watch what the pros do on television. Moving forward and split stepping as they make contact is a key to the return. It just takes practice and lots of it. A pro can help you tremendously with that and I recommend you watch some tennis on the computer or on television so that you have an idea of what I am talking about before you go out there. Try and emulate what you see.
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