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Spancake
04-05-2008, 12:43 PM
Hey, I am starting to move up in age groups and I have noticed that I am getting matched up against a lot of players with a harder serve, and of course, with a harder serve, you need to improve your return. What I am doing right now is just using a standard eastern forehand grip which allows me to hit a slice on my backhand. The thing is, I rarely hit backhand returns, but when I do, they are usually very weak high slices which I get burned on sometimes.

When returning, should I start holding a continental grip, and go from there, or should I continue what I am doing and work on my slice? (By the way, I use a two handed backhand)

... :-?

Bungalo Bill
04-05-2008, 12:51 PM
Hey, I am starting to move up in age groups and I have noticed that I am getting matched up against a lot of players with a harder serve, and of course, with a harder serve, you need to improve your return. What I am doing right now is just using a standard eastern forehand grip which allows me to hit a slice on my backhand. The thing is, I rarely hit backhand returns, but when I do, they are usually very weak high slices which I get burned on sometimes.

When returning, should I start holding a continental grip, and go from there, or should I continue what I am doing and work on my slice? (By the way, I use a two handed backhand)

... :-?

This is a preference area. Meaning there are some guidelines to use as a reference and then from there it suits the individual player.

Many people wait in an inbetween grip. Some wait in their forehand grip. Others wait in their backhand grip.

I know this does nothing for you but it is what it is. You need to decide how you want to wait for a serve. There is no right or wrong way.

ogruskie
04-05-2008, 01:11 PM
You need to analyze your opponent first to determine which grip to use. A strategy for Opponent 1 might not necessarily work for Opponent 2. Get what I mean? Experiment with your grips and see which one works best for you.

Spancake
04-05-2008, 01:42 PM
Alright... I gotcha I guess. I think I am going to try out a backhand grip for the return, mainly because when I have time for my two handed, it's my most powerful shot, and if it is hit to my forehand, I may be able to turn an old bad habit into something useful.. the forehand slice. I'll have to see how it goes. :D

boojay
04-05-2008, 05:47 PM
I adapt my return grip based on the server's level. If it's someone I've played against numerous times. I know what his/her tendencies are so I hold my grip accordingly. If it's someone I've never played before, I start off neutral (continental grip), then gauge my opponents ability to place the ball. Nearly everyone I've played against has a go to serve s/he depends on when in trouble or during important points.

I'll give an example; against guys who love to serve out wide on either side, I'll wait with a continental-eastern, an eastern, or an extreme eastern (my forehand grip) on the deuce side; depends how much spin/pace my opponent is capable of generating. On the ad side, I'll wait with a continental, continental-eastern backhand, or eastern backhand, for the same reasons.

I basically reverse my grip strategy for players who serve down the T all the time, or to my backhand all the time, or my forehand, etc.

smoothtennis
04-05-2008, 06:25 PM
Ok, I pracitced service returns today - I mean, actual practice, just returning hard serves from my partner, no points, just returns.

I finally found a trick that works for me, which many of you probably already do, I just hadn't paid attention.

I kept the grip LOOSE with my hitting hand in a neutral position, and held the racket mainly with my left non hitting arm. As soon as I saw the serve come off his strings, I used my left hand to quickly move the grip - I was able to change to backhand or forehand very quickly with no trouble. I estimate his serves were 80-90, and I stepped inside the baseline to simulate 100mph.

Hey, I am kind of pumped up about this - finally have time to switch to my eastern backhand grip and forhand grip - rather than always hit a slice on a fast backhand serve.

johnny ballgame
04-05-2008, 06:26 PM
My tip: when waiting for the serve, use the grip of your weaker shot.

For example, my backhand is steadier than my forehand. Therefore, I hold the raquet with my forehand grip (SW) when waiting for serve. Because it is more comfortable for me to quicky switch to a backhand grip than the other way around (even if I can't change all the way I can still get my backhand return in).

It works well for me - returning has always come very natural to me and is probably the strongest part of my game.

boojay
04-05-2008, 06:38 PM
I kept the grip LOOSE with my hitting hand in a neutral position, and held the racket mainly with my left non hitting arm. As soon as I saw the serve come off his strings, I used my left hand to quickly move the grip - I was able to change to backhand or forehand very quickly with no trouble.

This is a good tip, not just for service returns, but even during rallies. During rallies I'm holding a neutral grip and using my non-hitting hand to turn the racquet just as I do my split step to the desired grip.

TonLars
04-05-2008, 06:44 PM
Forehand grip. Especially if its western. I would think its alot easier to switch to the two-handed backhand grip rather than switch from that to a western forehand. But I suppose thats a matter of habit and preference, somebody somewhere probably feels natural doing it that way.

WBF
04-05-2008, 08:13 PM
A long time ago I started using the same grip on my backhand (for the right hand) as my forehand. I don't know whether there are any inherent disadvantages, but it has helped my return *immensely* against the servers I come up against. The only grip change I've ever really needed is for the occasional slice/block return on the backhand.

Rickson
04-05-2008, 11:34 PM
Hey, I am starting to move up in age groups and I have noticed that I am getting matched up against a lot of players with a harder serve, and of course, with a harder serve, you need to improve your return. What I am doing right now is just using a standard eastern forehand grip which allows me to hit a slice on my backhand. The thing is, I rarely hit backhand returns, but when I do, they are usually very weak high slices which I get burned on sometimes.

When returning, should I start holding a continental grip, and go from there, or should I continue what I am doing and work on my slice? (By the way, I use a two handed backhand)

... :-?

The efh grip is a neutral grip for me. I usually wait in a sw fh grip, but when I face a powerful server, I need a neutral grip. I can block, slice, and even drive on both sides when I return in the efh. The continental is just too open on the fh side for me to effectively drive or block so I can't consider it a neutral grip on serve returns. Maybe you should find your neutral grip. For some, it's continental, and for others like me, it's the eastern forehand grip.

Djokovicfan4life
04-06-2008, 05:46 AM
I prefer to wait in the continental grip most of the time. If the serve is really fast this grip works well for blocking it back and if it's a little slower I can quickly change to my preferred grip (SW forehand, Eastern backhand). If my opponent obviously favors one serve I'll wait in my forehand or backhand grip depending on if they favor the T serve or out-wide.

My backhand is my most powerful shot when I have time to set it up, so if I'm playing a weak second server I'll wait in an eastern backhand and just let it rip.

thejackal
04-06-2008, 02:03 PM
i always wait in my forehand grip (SW) with a loose playing hand. i find it's easier to switch grips and less tiring since i play 1 handed on both sides.

TennisProdigy
04-06-2008, 06:34 PM
I use 2hbh both hands continental and nadal grip (a little past SW) on forehand.
On returns (best part of my game) I have my strong hand in my forehand grip and weak hand continental. If he serves to forehand grip, I just let of with offhand and I'm good to go. If he serves to backhand, I take the racquet back while sliding my strong hand to the continental grip.

FedererISBetter
04-06-2008, 08:21 PM
I usually will try to anticipate the shot my player will make and come up with a countershot. So I'm already determined to hit a two hand bh, slice 1bh, slice forehand, etc etc. But I want to make sure I can access any of those easily incase if I am wrong on direction or pace by not griping the handle tightly for a more fluid response. I also use different stances, different distance from baseline... etc etc.

So as everyone say before, its all a preference.

quicken
04-06-2008, 08:25 PM
1st serve, since I just slice it back, continental.
2nd serve, on my FH grip hoping that I can hit a shot around my BH.

junbug
04-06-2008, 08:43 PM
i tell my students to keep the return simple using the pace coming of the server's ball and try to return it deep into the middle. just a thought.
you have to see what works for you.