1hbh return of serve help

Discussion in 'Tennis Tips/Instruction' started by Ballinbob, Jan 9, 2012.

  1. Ballinbob

    Ballinbob Hall of Fame

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    I need some help/tips on the 1hbh return. It just kills me against big servers and I always feel lost.

    1. First off, how do you go about returning a kick serve to your backhand ? I understand that I'm supposed to take the ball early and all, but how should my follow through be like ?

    Also, am i going for more of a blocking motion or a brushing motion when returning kick serves?

    When I play higher level guys their kick serves really kill me and I need a simple yet effective way to deal with this. I don't want to slice all my returns back because these guys can volley really well


    2. How do you return a low lefty slice to your backhand? I have the hardest time coming over the ball in this situation and it feels awkward

    Those are my two biggest problems right now and they always get me. Keep in mind I can slice these returns back, I'm asking about how to hit a topspin backhand in these scenarios.

    All tips about returning with a 1hbh are welcome as well
     
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  2. Chyeaah

    Chyeaah Professional

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    OMG. SIF. You missed Stosur vs Schiavone?. Every serve of the match was a kicker to schiavone's backhand. you take the ball early like hitting on the rise if you can, i know this is really hard but get some practice on a ball machine.
     
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  3. mikeler

    mikeler G.O.A.T.

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    Against really high kick serves, you almost have to incorporate some side spin along with the top spin. It is awkward to do at first but after some practice is not a big deal. Against a low lefty slice, you may just have to punch it back with little spin or slice it.
     
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  4. Ballinbob

    Ballinbob Hall of Fame

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    It's easier said than done. I'll check out that match though perhaps I could learn a thing or two

    Good to hear its not just me who thinks its an awkward shot. So basically you dont want to punch it back flat when returning a kick serve, you want to roll over it and kind of moon ball it back right ? This is what I do with deep topspin shots to my backhand, but I have a lot more time to hit those vs returning a kick serve.

    I really hope its just a matter of practice like you said. And I think your right about the lefty slice, you dont have many options. If there were other options I think Federer would have figured them out by now haha:)

    Thanks to both of you
     
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  5. Limpinhitter

    Limpinhitter Legend

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    Coming over the ball with a 1hb in either scenario (reaching up or wide), is one of the toughest shots in tennis. IMO, the high percentage, winning, play is to treat the high kicker like a high volley, stand in close and drive the ball back with slight underspin. From there you can drive it deep, angle it short or hit it with touch at the net rusher's feet. With good timing, you can hit it with as much power or touch as you need.

    On a wide, lefty slice, I'd again take it early and either hit a drive slice deep, or a touch chip angle (cc or inside out), at a net rusher's feet.

    PS: Schiavone took Stoser's kicker from 15 feet behind the baseline on clay, let the ball come down and treated it like any other high, deep groundstroke. That's not a scenario you're describing.
     
    Last edited: Jan 9, 2012
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  6. mikeler

    mikeler G.O.A.T.

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    Ideally you want to catch the kick serve in your strike zone. To do that, you have 2 options. Move up closer to the service line or back up to the fence. Not too many people can get away with successfully backing up to the fence, so the better option is to try and take the ball earlier if you want to drive it.

    Since I'm just a club player, I tend to stay right near the baseline and just moonball kick serves back. Most of my opponents don't come to net so I can get away with it.

    Last point, Nadal does not hit too many low skidding serves. Most of the time, Federer is fighting off a high spinny serve to his backhand.
     
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  7. Ballinbob

    Ballinbob Hall of Fame

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    I get what your'e saying but I have a question:

    1. You say treat the kicker as a high volley. Does that mean volley it back with a continental grip ? Or do you mean a hard slice ? From what I understood I don't want to be using my eastern backhand grip for this shot right ?

    And yeah I just find this to be a very difficult shot. It's frustrating to see all my friends crushing their backhand returns with a 2hbh and I'm stuck with slices and chipping the ball back. I find this a huge disadvantage to 1hbh players. I guess its just something that takes a lot of practice...
     
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  8. 6-2/6-4/6-0

    6-2/6-4/6-0 Semi-Pro

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    It is about a truckload of practice hitting this shot.

    There is an advantage to the second hand on the racket for the high return for stability. The other advantage is that it allows you to take the ball a touch later. Serve returns most often seem better with the 2hb, but I just can't hit them consistently and found that working on my 1hb return improved it faster than try to add a 2hb return to my standard 1hb.

    For the high kick serve, I find that my wrist is well below the head of the racket and that while I try to get a bit of low-to-high motion on it to add topspin, the shot is hit primarily left to right. I'll start with the racket head at about the height of my ribs and quickly accelerate the racket head up above my shoulders before coming in contact with the ball (racket still on the left side of my body), and as I'm coming in contact with the ball I will try to get a bit more height, but really the racket is moving at a 20-30 degree angle to the surface of the court - largely due to wrist rotation pulling the head of the racket upwards and my arm moving almost completely left to right in a plane almost parallel to the court surface.

    Hope this helps. It's not an easy shot to nail consistently when you're starting out with it. But it is a lot easier and more consistent than just trying to top a 1hb on a hard kicking serve. And if you can get it down consistently, the sidespin makes it a bit of a devil to deal with which tends to discourage the high kicking serve a bit as well - in my experience, anyway. If you can vary the amount of sidespin that you add, it can spell real trouble for your opponent as they won't be able to get a good read on the ball coming back to them and you can get some weak replies that put you in control of the point quickly.

    The other good option is to send back a hard chipped return. I find that this is largely about body weight transfer behind your racket and really knifing the ball back. If you keep it low over the net it's a hard ball to volley, and if your opponent stays back, the skidding return makes it tougher for them to get under it and punish you.

    Much like serving, I feel that returning is largely about placement. Variety on the backhand wing is better with the 1hb, so you have the slice option at their feet, you have the sidespin drive, you have the looping DTL return when they're coming into the net down the T. Mechanics followed by placement, then worry about dialing up the pace...
     
    Last edited: Jan 9, 2012
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  9. fuzz nation

    fuzz nation Legend

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    I'm only beginning to actually work on an aggressive one-handed return myself. This is that classic case of the second most important shot in tennis being the least practiced, at least for me, and I'm also tired of my slice bh return getting harvested in my doubles matches. I'll need to recruit the assistance of one or two of my hitting pals in the spring so that I can drill that return and learn to groove it. When my timing is right, that return can be a true laser-bomb.

    As with many returns, I need to carry forward momentum into my split-step so that I can more easily move through the return and drive it without so much of a windup. My typical rally stroke includes more of a complete back-swing where I'll try to turn the shoulder blade of my racquet arm to the incoming ball to get a full turn.

    The one-handed return of serve can work for me with a much more compact move. If I've cheated my grip to an eastern backhand, all I need to do is take the racquet out to my left side (not behind me) with the buttcap pointed in the general direction of the ball. Then I just take the racquet forward from there with my forward momentum compounding that compact stroke. My stance doesn't need to close up too much - close to neutral seems to work fine.

    Since this timing isn't all that similar to a regular ground stroke, I think it's essential to have someone hit serves to the backhand wing to get more familiar with this move on the ball. While I think it's "do-able", it doesn't compare too closely with other strokes, so find a hitting partner to help with those feeds. While a blocking motion might get it done, my 1hbh returns feel better if I at least halfway follow through more than if use an abbreviated bunting motion.
     
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  10. Ballinbob

    Ballinbob Hall of Fame

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    Thanks for the detailed advice. I can defend really well with my backhand and I have got the chip return down. Like fuzz nation said though, this gets eaten up in doubles. Even in singles, people who can volley well pick up on this. I will try what you said (and Mike said the same) with returning the ball with a bit of sidespin. I am hopeful that it will work.

    I think you made a really good point when you said variety is key with a 1hbh return. We don't have the luxury of being able to murder second serves like 2hbh players, but we can make up for it by placing the ball well. I want to add this topspin return to my chipped one

    By the way, I noticed Gasquet has a pretty darn good return and he returns from pretty far back. I wonder how effective this would be for me, as that would open up angles for my opponent to hit. On the flip side, I could hit a normal 1hbh which I can hit well. Do you guys advise trying out different stances or stick with taking the ball early ?

    I also noticed that you can hit just fine with a neutral stance when returning. And yes, the 1hbh is capable of hitting some nice returns when times well. Those flat bombs are fun to return when youre able to hit in the sweet spot.

    What do you think about moving back to take the serve ? Bad idea or is it worth trying ?
     
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  11. mikeler

    mikeler G.O.A.T.

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    Considering that you like to get into net, moving back does not seem like a great option for you and your game. The people I play who have success from back there are usually faster defensive minded players that are looking to extend points. These players usually don't come to net unless you bring them up there.

    So work on taking the ball early. Even better, step in and throw some chip and charge your opponents way. You'd be surprised how many double faults just 2 successful chip and charge plays can yield.
     
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  12. fuzz nation

    fuzz nation Legend

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    No harm in changing things up a bit. If it works, then so be it. I try not to get too far out of the action in a doubles setting, since I usually want to return serve and press the net if I can. Different servers will deliver different sorts of shots, too.

    Enjoy the process!!!
     
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  13. Chyeaah

    Chyeaah Professional

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    At the OP. No it was a terrible match, watch some clay court kicker serves. I know its easier said than done, that's why you get a ball machine and practice, but if your lucky enough you can get a person to serve to you.

    If their kicker's arent really pinpoint accurate or fast maybe you could do an inside out forehand.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dYOGGux1vLI
     
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  14. Ballinbob

    Ballinbob Hall of Fame

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    Hey all thanks for the help

    I think I'm going to jut tough it out and learn to take it early because like mike said I do try and finish points at the net when I can. Especially now since Limp and some others helped me out with my volleys

    I leave lebanon on the 12th and will be in Colorado on the 13th. I'll try my best and get a vid of me hitting on the ball machine so you guys can make sure I'm hitting my backhand right

    Again thanks everyone
     
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  15. DeShaun

    DeShaun Banned

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    This has been working for me. It's sort of reactionary, I admit. But I get up on the toes and lean hard and firm on that ball like hitting a volley. Or, on slower kickers, I sometimes do like Gasquet backing way up to take the ball on its drop because I know I can just roll it back over and very deep at the server's own backhand, give myself plenty of time to stroll on over to my hash.
     
    Last edited: Jan 10, 2012
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  16. FoxHound

    FoxHound New User

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    are you getting these high kickers on first or second serves? i play a lot of doubles and when some one has a great kicker that goes to my backhand i try to cut it off early and drive it at the net man or if that's not working its time to start running around the backhand or i will cheat towards the backhand side and dare them to go down the middle. giving them different looks for servereturn may help too..eg inside the baseline, then farther back, then standing out wide
     
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  17. Ballinbob

    Ballinbob Hall of Fame

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    When you cut off the return do you hit a flat ball and drive right through it ? Or do you hit a topspin/sidespin shot where you roll over it ? And yeah Ive had some success with running around the backhand too
     
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  18. mikeler

    mikeler G.O.A.T.

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    Well, the whole reason to rob yourself of preparation time to move forward is to take the ball in your strike zone so you don't have to hit that top/side spin shot. You may still have to do it if your opponent's kick serve lands short in the box but for the most part you want to take that kick serve in your strike zone and give it a good whack.
     
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  19. gregor.b

    gregor.b Professional

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    This one. I have a good 1 hbh however there are a couple of guys I play who hit a 100 mph second serve kicker (they are 6'3 and 6'4). If I don't step in the ball will be almost a foot above my head. The beauty of this is you can slice it from high and really nail the return because you are hitting down. You can get in a groove after a while and give them all sorts of problems. As for the lefty,again you need to step in so can cut off the angle.
     
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  20. FoxHound

    FoxHound New User

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    i usually hit it flat as i really don't have the time to hit top spin. and i don't hit it too hard bc ive taken early and that robs the opponet of time to react..
    hey i see you're on your way to colorado.. i live in denver/Aurora we should hit sometime..there are a few indoor courts around here
     
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  21. Ballinbob

    Ballinbob Hall of Fame

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    Thanks for the help everyone. I guess all that's left to do is practice.

    Foxhound, that sounds good. I live in Lakewood and I think we can make that work. If you want to give me your email, I'll send you my number so we can play. Will be back on the 13th
     
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  22. FoxHound

    FoxHound New User

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    ok cool... my email is ryanjenkins1984@yahoo.com
     
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  23. Larrysümmers

    Larrysümmers Hall of Fame

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    when i play against a hard server i use a 2hbh and block it back(i find the extra hand adds extra stability and it helps me get more depth opposed to just one hand).

    for the lefty slice serve wide, i just improv and hope for the best, lol.
     
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  24. Ballinbob

    Ballinbob Hall of Fame

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    I tried what you guys were saying and its just not clicking for me. I dont doubt that taking it early like you guys said is the best way to return but I just am not meant for this.

    On the other hand, I tried my 2hbh and it was alot easier to hit an aggressive return on kick serves. It felt really good. I always mess around with my 2hbh and rally with it, so I know how to hit it. I think I'm just going to make the switch to the 2hbh, thats the best way for me to improve and compete with the good 4.5-5.0 guys.

    I love the spin and power I get on my 1hbh but I just cant return big serves to that side. And thats just a deal breaker for me.. it really is



    Foxhound I emailed you:)
     
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