PDA

View Full Version : Returning serve during the warm-up


GeoffB
04-21-2009, 08:51 AM
The post below (is it ok to hit back a fault) got me thinking about a topic that's probably better for a separate thread. Is it ok to practice returning serve during the warm-up? I'm not talking about blocking back the ball when you're finished serving and your opponent wants to take a few more, I'm talking about trying to get grooved on your return.

In the code, I think it specifies that practice serves should only be returned to get the ball back the server, don't really remember, though.

Because I have a decent kick on my serve, I generally don't want my opponent to get too grooved on it. So if possible, I try to warm it up before hand, and if it's clearly he's trying to figure it out by cracking returns during the warm-up, I'll often stop serving and tell him I'm ready, but allow him as many serves as he'd like.

mikeler
04-21-2009, 09:08 AM
The post below (is it ok to hit back a fault) got me thinking about a topic that's probably better for a separate thread. Is it ok to practice returning serve during the warm-up? I'm not talking about blocking back the ball when you're finished serving and your opponent wants to take a few more, I'm talking about trying to get grooved on your return.

In the code, I think it specifies that practice serves should only be returned to get the ball back the server, don't really remember, though.

Because I have a decent kick on my serve, I generally don't want my opponent to get too grooved on it. So if possible, I try to warm it up before hand, and if it's clearly he's trying to figure it out by cracking returns during the warm-up, I'll often stop serving and tell him I'm ready, but allow him as many serves as he'd like.


I think you are correct that you are not supposed to practice returning serves. One of my opponents does this. He knows about the code but feels like you practice every other shot in the warmup so why not the return of serve. I understand his point so I don't make a big deal out of it. Sometimes I'll intentionally miss my last few serves just to deny him the practice though :twisted:

Blask
04-21-2009, 09:26 AM
The only time I return serves during warmups is when it's a doubles match and there are only 3 balls to go around. The main point of the warmup is for the server to get his arm warmed up and in a groove to serve. When you only have one ball to serve(assuming your partner has 2) and then have to wait for the next person to serve it back it takes some of the warmup feel out of it.

That being said, I don't return the service like I would once the match starts. I try to chip them back or float them back to him so he can hit a few in a row.

Fedace
04-21-2009, 09:32 AM
My opponent decided to return my serves during the warmup in the playoffs. but usually it doesn't worry me since i have good placement on my serves. but i wasn't happy about it so i crushed one of his practice serve at 100 mph. I think that scared him..

burosky
04-21-2009, 12:18 PM
100 mph on the return! That will scare me too!

staTennis
04-21-2009, 01:15 PM
im scared and i wasnt even there :rolleyes:

dont return your opponents serves like you would in the match. You can practice your timing by slicing them back to the server or to yourself. Every time you take a cut at a 3/4 effort practice serve, you look like a ******.

An extremely ******y experience for proof that returning practice serves is only a bad idea. Playing some doubles against a very solid and very cocky high school tennis team in san diego, one bag decides to show that he can crush practice second serves and starts hitting them as hard as he can for winners. I ignore it because, nothing good can come of taking offense from hick, east county bags. On what became the last practice serve of the day and the beginning of the first beat down of the day, he crushed one out of control into my back... without it ever hitting the court.

burosky
04-21-2009, 01:34 PM
From San Diego you say? Hmmmmmm.....

:-)

larry10s
04-21-2009, 02:32 PM
My opponent decided to return my serves during the warmup in the playoffs. but usually it doesn't worry me since i have good placement on my serves. but i wasn't happy about it so i crushed one of his practice serve at 100 mph. I think that scared him.. have you ever had a reality check? 100 mph groundstroke and not a pro? come on.

larry10s
04-21-2009, 02:33 PM
to the op. returning serves during warm up is a no no

rainman007
04-21-2009, 02:33 PM
The post below (is it ok to hit back a fault) got me thinking about a topic that's probably better for a separate thread. Is it ok to practice returning serve during the warm-up? I'm not talking about blocking back the ball when you're finished serving and your opponent wants to take a few more, I'm talking about trying to get grooved on your return.

In the code, I think it specifies that practice serves should only be returned to get the ball back the server, don't really remember, though.

Because I have a decent kick on my serve, I generally don't want my opponent to get too grooved on it. So if possible, I try to warm it up before hand, and if it's clearly he's trying to figure it out by cracking returns during the warm-up, I'll often stop serving and tell him I'm ready, but allow him as many serves as he'd like.

i think you should just stop practicing your serves when your opponent does that it must mean he is done with his warm up serves and its time to get the match going.. if my opponent starts doing it i say do you need any more serves if they say yes i throw them the ball then start practicing my return on their serve and if they say no i start the match..

GeoffB
04-21-2009, 03:13 PM
Just looked it up in the code...

http://dps.usta.com/usta_master/sitecore_usta/USTA/Document%20Assets/2008/05/29/doc_13_22409.pdf

"4. Warm-up serves and returns. Aplayer should take all warm-up serves before the first serve of the match. A player who returns serves should return them at a moderate pace in a manner that does not disrupt the server."

So I guess it's ok to return serves during the warm-up. I guess the question is - if the server has to go off and retrieve the balls that have been returned, is that disruptive? Let's say you aren't cranking the returns back, but you are practicing your placement of the return rather than just chipping the ball back. This does leave some latitude. I originally interpreted this to mean that returning should just be a way to get the ball back to the server if you don't plan to hit any more practice serves yourself... not totally clear anymore.

Motor Kings
04-21-2009, 08:31 PM
I consider "practicing" return of serve to be bad form. During the warm up, I'm just trying to get loose on my serve. The on the rare occasion my opponent has tried to "practice" hitting returns, I just intentionally hit it into the opposite service box or into the alley.

larry10s
04-22-2009, 04:01 AM
Just looked it up in the code...

http://dps.usta.com/usta_master/sitecore_usta/USTA/Document%20Assets/2008/05/29/doc_13_22409.pdf

"4. Warm-up serves and returns. Aplayer should take all warm-up serves before the first serve of the match. A player who returns serves should return them at a moderate pace in a manner that does not disrupt the server."

So I guess it's ok to return serves during the warm-up. I guess the question is - if the server has to go off and retrieve the balls that have been returned, is that disruptive? Let's say you aren't cranking the returns back, but you are practicing your placement of the return rather than just chipping the ball back. This does leave some latitude. I originally interpreted this to mean that returning should just be a way to get the ball back to the server if you don't plan to hit any more practice serves yourself... not totally clear anymore.thanks for the link to the rule . i always thought it was poor etiquette to return serves at all. but the rule does imply you cant practice ripping game type returns while your opponent is practicing his serve.
but it seems you can start to get a rhymn of his serve tempo and return the ball to him

GeoffB
04-22-2009, 10:04 AM
I consider "practicing" return of serve to be bad form. During the warm up, I'm just trying to get loose on my serve. The on the rare occasion my opponent has tried to "practice" hitting returns, I just intentionally hit it into the opposite service box or into the alley.

Yeah, this is why it's so important to get in a bit of practice prior to the "official" match warm-up. I know I play better when I do this. Ideally, I'd like to have my serve and strokes grooved before I step on the court for the actual match. Of course, sometimes time constraints prevent this.

Deliberately missing serves seems like a bad idea. The last thing I want to do is start a match after hitting a bunch of serves long or into the net.

Sublime
04-22-2009, 10:25 AM
Every time you take a cut at a 3/4 effort practice serve, you look like a ******.


I agree that's why I return all practice serves with 40ft moon ball.

amarone
04-22-2009, 05:39 PM
I prefer to catch them and serve them back. It does seem around here that higher-level players (4.0+) invariably catch & serve, whereas low-level players hit them back (but usually gently).

USTA Atlanta rules specifically state not to practice returns of serve.

mikeler
04-23-2009, 04:40 AM
Deliberately missing serves seems like a bad idea. The last thing I want to do is start a match after hitting a bunch of serves long or into the net.


I should clarify that I don't try to hit the serves either long or into the net. I just try and hit them a little bit wide of the service box or into the other service box.

heninfan99
04-23-2009, 05:15 AM
I don't think you need to actually hit a serve to get the timing. I just like to stand in position and watch the ball & his service motion closely. If he goes on forever I might hit a few out of sheer boredom.

I do a 10 serve warm-up and only hit the last two full speed. I might be good with just 10 ball tosses.

volleyman
04-25-2009, 03:27 AM
Around here, if you start returning your opponent's serve during warm-up, it taken as a sign that you have finished your own service warmup to that side of the court.

Cindysphinx
04-25-2009, 06:03 AM
Around here, novice players seem not to know the rule/custom. So I'll serve a ball to them, and they'll return it. I serve it again. They return it again. I keep doing this until they get a clue that they will never get a chance to warm up their serve if they keep doing this. Yippee, more serves for me!

Steady Eddy
04-25-2009, 06:55 AM
Around here, novice players seem not to know the rule/custom. So I'll serve a ball to them, and they'll return it. I serve it again. They return it again. I keep doing this until they get a clue that they will never get a chance to warm up their serve if they keep doing this. Yippee, more serves for me!Good idea! I'm going to try that.

FastFreddy
04-25-2009, 06:56 AM
What I use to do was hit about 100 serves before I show up to the court. This way I can just hit returns in warm up and get to see more on his serves. Also he doesn't get to see any on my serves until the match starts. Plus it gets in their head wow this guys serve must be pretty soild if he doesn't need any warm ups.

I kept doing this because of the pain in my shoulder from my torn cuff. Why waste 18 serves in warmups with a bad shoulder when I could use them in a match. Even without 100 serves before the match and no warmup serves I still served good I think warmups are all mental. If you have a bad warmup you still can play good. Also I had great warmups and played bad. I also don't take any volleys or overheads just some groundies for feel. I will slice both sides everything in warmups and save the wicked topspin for the match.Some people hate my warmup aleast I am not the guy who blasts winners in warm up after the first ball like a junior.

GeoffB
04-25-2009, 08:27 AM
What I use to do was hit about 100 serves before I show up to the court. This way I can just hit returns in warm up and get to see more on his serves. Also he doesn't get to see any on my serves until the match starts. Plus it gets in their head wow this guys serve must be pretty soild if he doesn't need any warm ups.

I kept doing this because of the pain in my shoulder from my torn cuff. Why waste 18 serves in warmups with a bad shoulder when I could use them in a match. Even without 100 serves before the match and no warmup serves I still served good I think warmups are all mental. If you have a bad warmup you still can play good. Also I had great warmups and played bad. I also don't take any volleys or overheads just some groundies for feel. I will slice both sides everything in warmups and save the wicked topspin for the match.Some people hate my warmup aleast I am not the guy who blasts winners in warm up after the first ball like a junior.

To me, this boils down to the purpose of a warm-up. I think that somewhere in the code, it says "warm up is not practice". It's warm-up, no more, no less.

So if your approach to the warm-up (slices and so forth) are so paceless or unreturnable as to deny your opponent a warm-up, I'd say this is a (admittedly unproveable) code violation.

However, it you are feeding your opponent easy shots while saving your best stuff, that's legit.

It sounds like it's ok to return serves form the code... that said, your strategic use of the warm-up to gain an psychological edge in the match doesn't really pass the smell test, in my opinion.

But this pretty much just goes to show once again: make sure you get a short practice session in before your match! Expect nothing from the warm-up other than a formality. This is not the time to get the strokes grooved - you need to do that with a buddy or team member beforehand!

Steady Eddy
04-25-2009, 10:09 AM
It sounds like it's ok to return serves form the code...
But it's not. The code says something like, "It is considered bad manners to practice your serve return off of your opponents practice serves." Watch a high level tournament sometime. While one player practices serves, the other just catches the balls so that he's ready to hit his serves. He doesn't spray them around the court so that alot of time must be used up retrieving them before he can practice his serves. When good players warm up, you'll notice that they get alot of shots in per minute. When hackers warm up they mostly spend their time picking up balls.

FastFreddy
04-25-2009, 10:10 AM
I say get rid of the warmups since like you said you should have already hit that day and be ready to play. If your game is jacked up its not like you can fix it in a crappy 5 min warm up anyway. I sometimes will refuse the warmup and then he has to find someone to warmup with. This is allowed in the rules to refuse a warmup.

I do that to players who don't hit the ball to you in warmup. Also players who just blast the ball in warmups or players who feed the first ball way to fast and deep at your feet. And last but not least the person who hits a winner off the first or second ball. That's why I will slice the ball and just warmup my return and get a feel of returning the serve. I never blast the return back I hit it just like I would during the match. Getting rid of the warmups are great for the people who run the tourament. This way the matches will not get backed up that much. Some guys turn a 5 min warmup into a 15 min mini hit. Plus if the tourament is indoors it could save some money for the nice people willing to spend their time running it.

Steady Eddy
04-25-2009, 10:24 AM
I say get rid of the warmups since like you said you should have already hit that day and be ready to play. If your game is jacked up its not like you can fix it in a crappy 5 min warm up anyway. I sometimes will refuse the warmup and then he has to find someone to warmup with. This is allowed in the rules to refuse a warmup.

I played a guy in a tournament who pretended he couldn't hit the ball over the net in the warmup. I won my first round match, then I checked out the warmup of the guys who would determine my next round opponent. One of the guys couldn't even return the ball, so I figured he had no chance. The next day, the guy who couldn't hit a ball was my opponent. I was surprised. We started to warm up and, again, he couldn't hit a ball. Once the match started, he was very consistent. So his technique must have been to pretend he was a total beginner in the warm up. I don't know if this is against the rules. I still beat him. But I thought it seemed vaguely unsportsmanlike of him to not do a normal warmup.

mikeler
04-25-2009, 10:41 AM
I say get rid of the warmups since like you said you should have already hit that day and be ready to play. If your game is jacked up its not like you can fix it in a crappy 5 min warm up anyway. I sometimes will refuse the warmup and then he has to find someone to warmup with. This is allowed in the rules to refuse a warmup.

I do that to players who don't hit the ball to you in warmup. Also players who just blast the ball in warmups or players who feed the first ball way to fast and deep at your feet. And last but not least the person who hits a winner off the first or second ball. That's why I will slice the ball and just warmup my return and get a feel of returning the serve. I never blast the return back I hit it just like I would during the match. Getting rid of the warmups are great for the people who run the tourament. This way the matches will not get backed up that much. Some guys turn a 5 min warmup into a 15 min mini hit. Plus if the tourament is indoors it could save some money for the nice people willing to spend their time running it.


What if you can't find somebody to warm up with? Not sure what your age is, but there is no way I could just turn off my car and start running around the court immediately. I think the code is wrong in this instance, you should have to warm-up an opponent IMHO.

jms007
04-25-2009, 11:48 AM
I say get rid of the warmups since like you said you should have already hit that day and be ready to play.

You know some of us have jobs.

FastFreddy
04-25-2009, 01:30 PM
Most touraments are on the weekends for us working folk if you play during the week in a tourament just buy a jump rope and warm up on a sidewalk or the parking lot. Or go to the gym at lunch time like me an play some squash or cardio and some weights.
I have stopped a warmup a few times right at the start because of one of the reasons I listed before. I told him to his face his warmup is bs now you can go find someone to warm you up. Just remember there is no warmups in life. I can play without warmup since NYC indoor time costs so much if you do a warmup you can't get two sets in one hour.

amarone
04-25-2009, 01:39 PM
Around here, novice players seem not to know the rule/custom. So I'll serve a ball to them, and they'll return it. I serve it again. They return it again. I keep doing this until they get a clue that they will never get a chance to warm up their serve if they keep doing this. Yippee, more serves for me! The norm around here is that after a while you will be expected to cede serving to the opponents, who will then do all their serve warm-ups.

amarone
04-25-2009, 01:40 PM
But it's not. The code says something like, "It is considered bad manners to practice your serve return off of your opponents practice serves." See post #11 for what The Code really does say.

Steady Eddy
04-25-2009, 05:25 PM
But it's not. The code says something like, "It is considered bad manners to practice your serve return off of your opponents practice serves."

See post #11 for what The Code really does say.
Sorry, here's what The Code really, really says.
34. Some players confuse "warm-up" and "practice." While it is not mandatory, normally a player should provide his opponent five minutes (ten minutes if there are no ball persons) of warm-up, making a special effort to hit his shots directly to his opponent. Five minutes warm-up is adequate even on a chilly day, although it may not be adequate for him to practice his shots as much as he would like. If he wants to practice more than five minutes he should do it prior to the match. Courtesy dictates that you not practice your service return when your opponent practices his serve. Incidentally, even a windy day does not justify taking warm-up serves from both ends of the court. If partners want to warm each other up (at the same time their opponents are warming up), they may do so.

That's rule 34 verbatim. I wasn't far off quoting from memory the 1st time! :)
Sorry amarone.

amarone
04-25-2009, 06:57 PM
Sorry, here's what The Code really, really says.
34. Some players confuse "warm-up" and "practice." While it is not mandatory, normally a player should provide his opponent five minutes (ten minutes if there are no ball persons) of warm-up, making a special effort to hit his shots directly to his opponent. Five minutes warm-up is adequate even on a chilly day, although it may not be adequate for him to practice his shots as much as he would like. If he wants to practice more than five minutes he should do it prior to the match. Courtesy dictates that you not practice your service return when your opponent practices his serve. Incidentally, even a windy day does not justify taking warm-up serves from both ends of the court. If partners want to warm each other up (at the same time their opponents are warming up), they may do so.

That's rule 34 verbatim. I wasn't far off quoting from memory the 1st time! :)
Sorry amarone. Where do you find all that? Here is clause 34 from The Code (http://dps.usta.com/usta_master/sitecore_usta/USTA/Document%20Assets/2008/05/29/doc_13_22409.pdf)on the USTA site:
34. Body movement. A player may feint with the body while the ball is in play. A player may change position at any time, including while the server is tossing the ball. Any other movement or any sound that is made solely to distract an opponent, including, but not limited to, waving the arms or racket or stamping the feet, is not allowed. So clearly that is not the same thing. The only references I can find to the warm-up in the latest code are those repeated in post #11:

THE WARM-UP
3. Warm-up is not practice. A player should provide the opponent a 5-minute warm-up (ten minutes if there are no ballpersons). If a player refuses to warm up the opponent, the player forfeits the right to a warm-up. Some
players confuse warm-up and practice. Each player should make a special effort to hit shots directly to the opponent. (If partners want to warm each other up while their opponents are warming up, they may do so.)
4. Warm-up serves and returns. A player should take all warm-up serves before the first serve of the match. A player who returns serves should return them at a moderate pace in a manner that does not disrupt the server.
As this covers much the same ground as what you quote, I suspect you are quoting from an earlier version. A spot of Googling shows that to be the case. Here (http://www.robuck.net/tennis/tennis_code.htm)is a 1992 version of The Code that includes the wording you quote.

Steady Eddy
04-25-2009, 10:55 PM
Where do you find all that? Here is clause 34 from The Code (http://dps.usta.com/usta_master/sitecore_usta/USTA/Document%20Assets/2008/05/29/doc_13_22409.pdf)on the USTA site:
So clearly that is not the same thing. The only references I can find to the warm-up in the latest code are those repeated in post #11:


As this covers much the same ground as what you quote, I suspect you are quoting from an earlier version. A spot of Googling shows that to be the case. Here (http://www.robuck.net/tennis/tennis_code.htm)is a 1992 version of The Code that includes the wording you quote.
If anyone is curious, I got the quote from this link:
http://1stserve.com/instruction/tenniscode.asp

Does this mean that it used to be considered rude to practice serve returns in a warm up, but now it is ok?

amarone
04-26-2009, 06:02 AM
Does this mean that it used to be considered rude to practice serve returns in a warm up, but now it is ok? I don't really know because I didn't play tennis at the time of the earlier version of The Code. In my experience, many players are fine with having the ball "returned" to them gently, but nobody wants to have to track down the balls that go astray or into the net by opponents practicing full-blooded returns. So maybe The Code was updated to clarify the difference between those situations.

As an aside, one major difference between the old and new code is that the new version has been made gender-neutral (mostly - there are still two "himself"s), whereas the old one is littered with "he".

GeoffB
04-26-2009, 06:39 AM
If anyone is curious, I got the quote from this link:
http://1stserve.com/instruction/tenniscode.asp

Does this mean that it used to be considered rude to practice serve returns in a warm up, but now it is ok?

Thanks for posting this - it goes long way towards explaining my confusion. Originally, that's what I had remembered reading - but then when I looked up the code recently, all I saw was what I posted (in post #11).

I'm not sure, maybe the rule has changed now?

FastFreddy
04-26-2009, 06:55 AM
So does the same rule hold true for the person serving. It seems like some people in warmups try to prove how fast and how many aces they can hit in warmup. The returner does not want to track down balls either. The proper way to warm up the server should hit 1/2 to 3/4 pace back to the returner. The returner should block it back or hit it back 1/2 to 3/4 to the server. Both players should be only getting a feel for the ball.

coloskier
04-27-2009, 12:56 PM
I think you are correct that you are not supposed to practice returning serves. One of my opponents does this. He knows about the code but feels like you practice every other shot in the warmup so why not the return of serve. I understand his point so I don't make a big deal out of it. Sometimes I'll intentionally miss my last few serves just to deny him the practice though :twisted:

Hey, Rod Laver did it, so as far as I'm concerned that makes it acceptable.

Steady Eddy
04-27-2009, 01:13 PM
I think you are correct that you are not supposed to practice returning serves. One of my opponents does this. He knows about the code but feels like you practice every other shot in the warmup so why not the return of serve. I understand his point so I don't make a big deal out of it. Sometimes I'll intentionally miss my last few serves just to deny him the practice though :twisted:

Hey, Rod Laver did it, so as far as I'm concerned that makes it acceptable.As they say on Wiki, "citation needed".

So does the same rule hold true for the person serving. It seems like some people in warmups try to prove how fast and how many aces they can hit in warmup. The returner does not want to track down balls either. The proper way to warm up the server should hit 1/2 to 3/4 pace back to the returner. The returner should block it back or hit it back 1/2 to 3/4 to the server. Both players should be only getting a feel for the ball.Good point. He should just be warming up and loosening his arm, not trying to show how he can "beat" the opposing player. Hitting winners in this way wastes time.

Lefty78
04-28-2009, 01:13 PM
I think that somewhere in the code, it says "warm up is not practice". It's warm-up, no more, no less.

Reminds me of a match I played years ago in juniors, in boys 14 or something. We got out to the court, opened the balls, and this kid asked me if I wanted to practice before the match. Ever the smart ***, I told him it was probably a little late for that, but we could warm up if he wanted.

darkhorse
04-28-2009, 04:55 PM
A lot of people I play do this, and it annoys me greatly.