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View Full Version : Little Reversed on Returns


TennsDog
08-29-2004, 06:03 PM
I have not much problem whatsoever in returning really big first serves, in fact, I prefer them. I love to play against our number one singles player because he has the biggest serve on our team (him and I both) and I can easily return his serves, often times for a return ace or at least give him a tough shot. However, once I go to returning more average serves of slower pace, I usually hit them into the net or long. My timing is just horrible on these slow(er) serves. Most people cannot return fast serves, but can slower ones. I am reversed and want to be able to hit the slower serves since that is what I will see more often from anyone. I must have good mechanics, etc to be able to hit such great returns against fast serves (and I don't just block it back, I hit an all-out grounstroke and pound it back, usually short to his feet as he often serves and volleys). What is different to prevent me from attacking less punishing serves?

mucat
08-29-2004, 09:17 PM
I can never hit all out groundstroke against a fast serve but I have similiar result, I take short swing and punch the ball back deep to the corner, it works great.

For slower serves, I take bigger (not too big) swing and concentrate on hitting the ball to the same places (deep corners), don't try winner unless you have some extra points to play with or you are really good. For slower and shallow serves, I will stand close to the service box and take it on the rise, hit it as flat as I can.

peter
08-30-2004, 12:15 AM
However, once I go to returning more average serves of slower pace, I usually hit them into the net or long. What is different to prevent me from attacking less punishing serves?

Hehe.. I'm one of those guys with slower serves. I just this weekend played a doubles match with a pair of guys where one of them that had trouble returning my silly serves. I'm not sure why he had so much problem with that - but here's my guesses:

He is a really good tennis player (much better than me) and he mostly plays other equally good tennis players with really good and hard serves or good kick serves so he simply wasn't used to handling my type of serve since he never practices against that type of player.

He was standing at his usual serve-returning place and had to rush forward to return my serve, and he probably started to late.

I also think he was used to seeing kick or topspin serves wereas my serve is more of a flat one with a slight sidespin. This caused him to misjudge the amount of spin it had and so he tried to counteract the noexisting topspin and instead netted the ball al lot of times.

I also serve with a very low throw and a very quick motion - giving him very little time to try to read the serve.

(Unfortunately for me - I had just about as much (if not more) trouble returning their wide kick serves - and as soon as they found that out that was all I would get from them (I had no problem returning normal their hard and fast serves) - bummers! :-)

Tim Tennis
08-30-2004, 05:32 AM
On slow serves you have the luxury of moving up or back (usually up) to take the ball in the ideal spot in your strike zone. Don't over play the shot, take control with placement. Practice, as you get better in returning the slow serves then you can alternate between taking control of the point and hitting outright winners of the serve depending on importance of the point and the psychology of the match.

You got to love the game.

kevhen
08-30-2004, 07:20 AM
Some people like pace and some people don't. I prefer pace myself and most younger players can handle pace but struggle more with slow balls. Don't try to kill the slow ball since the timing is much more difficult, but hit it back, just a little harder than at what pace it came at until you learn through repetition how to time these and keep them in and how hard you can hit them.

predrag
08-30-2004, 07:43 AM
I have not much problem whatsoever in returning really big first serves, in fact, I prefer them. I love to play against our number one singles player because he has the biggest serve on our team (him and I both) and I can easily return his serves, often times for a return ace or at least give him a tough shot. However, once I go to returning more average serves of slower pace, I usually hit them into the net or long. My timing is just horrible on these slow(er) serves. Most people cannot return fast serves, but can slower ones. I am reversed and want to be able to hit the slower serves since that is what I will see more often from anyone. I must have good mechanics, etc to be able to hit such great returns against fast serves (and I don't just block it back, I hit an all-out grounstroke and pound it back, usually short to his feet as he often serves and volleys). What is different to prevent me from attacking less punishing serves?

Usually, with slower server, people do not realize where the ball will be.
You need to step in much closer than you normally do. People are stranding in their regular
return position and are usually usually slow to react.
Result is that the ball is out of the power zone when player gets there, and since
it is such a slow serve, one still thinks that it should punish it severely.

So move your feet and get closer, sooner.

Regards, Predrag

TennsDog
08-30-2004, 11:48 AM
I think I may be misunderstood. The "slower serves" I am talking about are not slow, they are the normal serves that everybody has at the high school varsity level. I don't try to hit the same shots on those serves as against the awesomely fast ones. I usually stand about 3-4 feet behind the baseline to return serves of average quality, but I stand about 6 feet back when I return against our #1. I am never thinking about hitting winners when I hit service returns -- I just hit it and big returns tend to come from big serves. It was mentioned that timing is harder for slower serves, isn't it supposed to be opposite of that. Since the ball is moving slower, that means that it will be in the same spot for longer allowing for more margin on timing. Also my backhand is much better at returning serves than my forehand, especially when I pull it to the server's ad court. Perhaps I should just run around more forehand service returns.

kevhen
08-31-2004, 12:46 PM
Slow serves you have to tell yourself to wait for since your body and brain can think and move so much quicker, but you have to slow yourself down and find the right timing. The hard serves you are just reacting to and not thinking and they give you pace and your opponent less time to react to your big returns coming back.

I try to return from the baseline or even inside the baseline in doubles unless the server is serving so hard I can't handle it. Then I will back up 3-4 feet behind the baseline if the serves are always coming in over 100mph. You may want to try moving in closer to the baseline against the slower servers so you are just reacting more, plus you cut down on their ace angles.

Bungalo Bill
08-31-2004, 02:26 PM
I think I may be misunderstood. The "slower serves" I am talking about are not slow, they are the normal serves that everybody has at the high school varsity level. I don't try to hit the same shots on those serves as against the awesomely fast ones. I usually stand about 3-4 feet behind the baseline to return serves of average quality, but I stand about 6 feet back when I return against our #1. I am never thinking about hitting winners when I hit service returns -- I just hit it and big returns tend to come from big serves. It was mentioned that timing is harder for slower serves, isn't it supposed to be opposite of that. Since the ball is moving slower, that means that it will be in the same spot for longer allowing for more margin on timing. Also my backhand is much better at returning serves than my forehand, especially when I pull it to the server's ad court. Perhaps I should just run around more forehand service returns.

Tennsdog, I bet if you took a lesson from me you can solve this issue real quick.

Good serve returners use a rhythmic cadence to help them time the swing. HIT BOUNCE HIT, 1-2-3, BOUNCE HIT, etc.

You need to do this until it is subconsious. It is something that if you took a lesson from me, I would make you say it out loud so I can hear you. You would be surprised at how well this will help you.

Good players with fast hands have trouble slowing down their swing. It is good to have fast hands in tennis, but you have to know when to slow it down. Using a cadence can help you learn to pull the trigger at the right time.

mucat
09-02-2004, 01:46 PM
Bungalo Bill, TennsDog mention that he would stand 6 ft to return a fast serve and 3-4 feet to return average serve. I always stand only a few feet to return fast serve. Is there a commonly agree distant to stand to return fast serve? Also, TennsDog mention he would take a all out swing to return fast ball, but the common knowledge is short swing block it back. I would like to hear your ideas about this, thank you.

TennsDog
09-07-2004, 11:28 AM
I never said I use a full swing on serve returns. I said I hit full strokes meaning I don't just block it back or slice or whatever. I hit a solid shot usually putting me on offense. BTW, I think standing closer on average serves is helping. Reacting = better than thinking.

mucat
09-07-2004, 09:16 PM
TennsDog, when you said a full stroke, how big a back swing did you take?
When I block back a serve, the only part different from my normal stroke is backswing, I take short or no back swing at all, but I still follow through after I hit the ball.

TennsDog
09-08-2004, 11:31 AM
I'm not sure exactly how long my backswing is on service returns. I guess it is a little shorter than for a normal groundstroke which is already relatively short short.