how do you handle fast serve

Discussion in 'Tennis Tips/Instruction' started by benasp, May 21, 2005.

  1. benasp

    benasp Semi-Pro

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    how do you handle very good fast serve, habitually i try to stand back more but this method suck cause the opponent can make and easy angle that i can reach . The opponent ball often get stuck in the fence ans even pass trough it, and i don't talk about dead ball, they are brand new. :confused:

    another mistake that i make is that i try to hit the ball too much or worst, i slice it, but the trouble is that the ball has pace and i can just block it cause it don't bounce enough
     
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  2. D-man

    D-man Banned

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    the key is modified backswing using opponents pace & ability to read the serve.. watch pros... you backswing just a little and *guide* the ball back using placement... if possible return right at their feet & take by surprsie ... good luck! !
     
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  3. TwistServe

    TwistServe Guest

    The slice is good but you need to have a very small backswing... Or you can just push the ball back by blocking it, as long as it goes deep then it won't put you on the immedate defense..
     
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  4. glass

    glass Rookie

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    Yeah. I find the locked elbow block method can be used pretty well for people who get a hell of a lot of kick on their serves too. Take it early as hell and block the ******* back.
     
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  5. Exile

    Exile Professional

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    i learned that if you stay low at all times during the return and learn to use that crouched position to explode into the ball, not only will you have a better chance of getting to the ball, but you have more control over it since your center of gravity has changed, there is more force behind the ball too if you manange to block. As long as you don't lean back as you make the shot.

    that was one poorly written sentence, sorry.
     
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  6. mucat

    mucat Hall of Fame

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    Try to block it back with aim, aim for the corners are very good, the fast the serve, the faster the return, tiny backswing, complete follow-thru. But the most important thing is anticipation, how early you can react usually dictate how much you can do to ball.
     
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  7. montx

    montx Professional

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    i agree with all of the above, it becomes an abbreviated backswing or...slice...or block just to get the ball back into play, it becomes a reflex issue.
     
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  8. montx

    montx Professional

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    oh i find an open racket face helps too, so think about using a continental grip, hope this helps.
     
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  9. Grimjack

    Grimjack Banned

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    This has been a big thing for me.

    Confession: I haven't got the quickest feet out there. I'm 6'5", and even for a 6'5" guy, I'm not especially quick. Straight line fast, but it takes time to get these long, gangly limbs unfolded and moving in the right direction.

    So a really big serve -- even though I can execute the mechanics of the shortened-backswing/guided return -- can give me fits if I try to hit an offensive return, because try as I may, I just can't get into position in time.

    The solution for me has been to take a page from the chip-n-chargers. Stand there in a continental grip and be prepared to chip that serve back on either wing. The continental maximizes your reach, allows you to stretch, and minimizes the footwork needed to get your racquet face in a returnable position. Even at full lunge, a continental chip can be executed with a fair amount of success.

    Nothing says you HAVE to charge after you chip. It makes for a safe, reliable way to block the ball back deeply with some annoying underspin against even the biggest servers. It's not an offensive ploy, but it's "good enough" for when you're facing a server who just isn't letting you execute ANYTHING the regular way.
     
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  10. papa

    papa Hall of Fame

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    Well, you want to make sure your not too low and that you remember to split-step when the serve is hit. There is also a big difference between being "bent over" and "crouching" - as you know, you want your upper body to remain fairly vertical. Playing 3 - 4 inches shorter than you are is probably a good place to start.
     
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  11. gifted_shotmaker

    gifted_shotmaker Semi-Pro

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    Anticipate, move back farther or take the ball early, and be confident always- something I have to remember myself always.
     
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  12. montx

    montx Professional

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    To Grimjack, i have seen a great video...James Jensens Return of Serve...it gives good tips...i would reccommend this...have a look.
     
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  13. Jonnyf

    Jonnyf Legend

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    small back swing and really block it
     
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  14. Grimjack

    Grimjack Banned

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    I sincerely appreciate the recommendation, but to be honest, I'm pretty well past the stage in my tennis development where I intend to continue purchasing instruction -- either live or on video.

    I'll experiment on my own, watch the pros, and occasionally ask for advice on here, but that's about it. I'm about to become eligible for the 35's, so my dreams of ATP success are pretty much buggered.

    If there are a couple suggestions from there you could give in a nutshell -- particularly suggestions for the "quickness challenged" -- I'd love to hear 'em. Otherwise, I'll just let others take note of the recommendation and move on.
     
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  15. theace21

    theace21 Hall of Fame

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    Short, quick swing backswing -
     
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  16. papa

    papa Hall of Fame

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    Grimjack, someday you'll look back and think how young 35 really is. All my kids are more than 35 so forget the ATP and enjoy the game. Lots of great tennis can be in your future and life somehow seems a little sweeter after 40, after 50 and even after 60.
     
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  17. Honestlybad

    Honestlybad Rookie

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    My advice to you is as follows: watch your opponent, watch the way he prepares himself before executing. There are usually subtle differences in his preperation before hitting different types of serves and different placement that you can notice. It can be the way he places his foot or tosses the ball that will be the give-away. Then it's just a question of capitalizing on your knowledge. If you notice that he hold his racquet a certain way before serving out wide, take a step to your right (that is if your opponent is right handed) as he tosses the ball so he doesn't notice what you are doing, and then you don't have to reach for the ball and fire away on the return. You have to read the game!
    I once played this huge server in a regional tournament, the guy was like 6'4" and serving over 115mph consistently. His only problem was he was consistently hitting it at the same exact place. So after a few miserable attempts at a forhend on the lounge, I just moved over a couple of steps and could hit an agressive return off his 115mph serve. It was great fun and the guy just crumled mentally after the first couple of games.
     
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  18. Grimjack

    Grimjack Banned

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    I don't think it's old at all.

    But I KNOW that it's too F'n old to worry about delusions of tennis ******ur. I had a good ride -- took it through HS, some junior tournaments, played a little college ball, brought home some trophies, etc. But now it's time to enjoy the fruits of 20 years of coaching and instructional tapes and just get out on the courts and enjoy. Here's hoping I can do it for 50 more years.

    It's the wise old dog who realizes it isn't that he *can't* learn new tricks, but rather that he doesn't have to.
     
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  19. Grimjack

    Grimjack Banned

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    That's "g r a n d e u r." No idea why it's censored.
     
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  20. TennsDog

    TennsDog Hall of Fame

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    I am probably a bad example, but I stand in the same place (maybe about 2 feet farther back) and hit the ball harder than other service returns. It usually works, and the best way I can explain it is that it doesn't allow me to think at all and I have to completely rely on experience and muscle memory. In other words, I just do it. I don't think about trying to place it or play it safe or anything, I just swing and swing hard.
     
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  21. Rickson

    Rickson G.O.A.T.

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    I block it back with an efh grip. The continental is a little too open for me, but it works well for some people. I keep the same grip for both sides, but I block back with my palm almost facing the sky on my backhand side. I'm pretty flexible so it works well for me without hurting my shoulder, but if I get a slow enough serve, I switch to the eastern backhand grip.
     
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  22. papa

    papa Hall of Fame

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    OK, you've got your head screwed on right and I know you'll have another fifty of running down that little yellow ball.
     
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  23. Ryoma

    Ryoma Rookie

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    Treat them like a volley (chip) Volley them back deep in the middle of the court like what Federer did all the time.
     
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  24. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    Heavier racquets have helped me to get the return back more solidly.
     
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  25. WayneCM

    WayneCM Semi-Pro

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    hey i'm not that long in the game but what i've learned is that on the backhand side if u tkae a short backswing(4-6 inches) and back spin it at ur opponant it is quite difficult 2 return,

    on the forehand i have problems myself, but 1 method that has worked onseveral occasions is to simply dink the ball back, if it goes short they still have to come in and finish and they can easily make a mistake. Best of luck!
     
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  26. Saito

    Saito Professional

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    Split step when they're about to hit the ball in the air.... use short swing or half volley (whatever works better for you).
     
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  27. MegacedU

    MegacedU Professional

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    Take a very short back swing to ensure you meet the ball out in front.
     
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  28. tom-selleck

    tom-selleck Professional

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    haven't read the thread.

    but i found that relaxing the wrist so that it takes the impact helps alot. with a firm wrist trying to hit it back fairly hard, i could barely get one serve back.
     
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  29. SCSI

    SCSI Rookie

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    One thing that I learned is that on the forehand side, it really helps to hit up like the way steffi graf used to do or how you would brush up on a short ball. So, you take a short swing but you finish kinda behind your head. I think it helps you keep the ball in play by hitting more spin. It works pretty well for me.
     
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  30. MTChong

    MTChong Professional

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    I just chip it back with a moderate slice cross court for the most part; or if they're coming into the net, I just direct it down the line. Make sure it's not a floater though; chip returns can be devestating if used correctly.
     
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  31. bcaz

    bcaz Professional

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    Against a really big serve, stand back a few feet and really get focused. Crowd one side of the box, either the middle (low net, less distance) or your weak side, and force them to beat you with the more difficult serve. If they do, too good ... hope for a second serve to get a look at.
     
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  32. Say Chi Sin Lo

    Say Chi Sin Lo Legend

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    Always try to step in and pwn it. I find it a lot easier to use the on-coming serve's pace (especially for 1handed backhands), than to step back and try to block it back.
     
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  33. Galactus

    Galactus Banned

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    If it's fast and flat and not-very-well placed, then I'll attempt to return it back with interest (crosscourt forehand only)
    If it's down the 'T' or wide then I'll try and block the ball back as deep as possible.
     
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  34. gscone

    gscone Rookie

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    [I try to read where the ball toss is, then adjust accordingly, generally by stepping in.
     
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  35. peter

    peter Professional

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    Same here. And besides I've found that I have quicker hands than I have feet - so if I step back then I'll have problems reaching the serves if they serve them out wide and I'm cheating towards the middle (and vice versa). Much better to step inside the court and just use some quick reactions and deflect the ball back. Sure, you risk having them serve right at you then but that's still better than not reaching the ball at all...
     
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  36. spaceman_spiff

    spaceman_spiff Hall of Fame

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    Am I the only one who doesn't believe in giving up and just blocking big serves? If you have problems with big serves, practice against big servers. If you don't know any big servers, then have someone hit serves from the other service box (this is what Agassi used to do to quicken his reaction time). Trust me, this works.

    One example: the last time I played before moving from DC (around new year's), I played a couple of sets against a former Div I player who was booming his first serves. I kept swinging away until I got the timing down (it took two or three games, during which time I hit some wild returns). After that, I played against my brother, who isn't a bad player. No matter how well my brother struck his first serve, it felt like nothing compared to the other guy, and I just smashed them all.

    It's all about getting accustomed to extremes. If you think 90 degrees is hot, go practice when it's 100. If you think 110 mph is too fast, practice against 120 (or come up with an alternative way of simulating 120 mph). If you get used to 120 mph serves in 100-degree heat, then you could return 110 mph in 90 degrees all day long.
     
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  37. chess9

    chess9 Hall of Fame

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    Practice against hard servers is a great idea, but swinging out on the return is not something you see many pros do on the first serve. I usually swing out on the second serve, but block the first serve back unless I'm playing with a lower ranked player who pitty pats the ball. I like the way Agassi does it. He uses an abbreviated stroke with a longer follow through...usually. If I had to recommend one model of a great returner, Agassi would be the man. Chang also had a great return, btw, and a lot of the smaller players do. Coria also comes to mind.

    Someone mentioned instructional dvds. I am a sucker for every dvd or tape ever made. Books? I have them all. :) Web sites? Been there. What I've found is that almost every coach teaches me something new or a new drill or a better way to move, etc. I get a lesson from my pro every week. I think the constant learning helps ME to stay fresh. To each his own.

    -Robert
    ________
    Glass Weed Pipe
     
    Last edited: Apr 30, 2011
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  38. AngeloDS

    AngeloDS Hall of Fame

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    Fast serves I just block back and keep it deep in singles and it works well; but there's a point where you stop doing that and have to attack. Doubles I have to attack it and try to hit cross-court which is difficult so I take almost no backswing and put a lot of body weight into the shot.
     
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  39. thejackal

    thejackal Hall of Fame

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    Block, and sometimes I even step forward a bit. Doesn't help me hit the ball better, but it screws around with the server's psyche.
     
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  40. spaceman_spiff

    spaceman_spiff Hall of Fame

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    I think you and I mean the same thing. If your opponent serves big, you obviously aren't going to be able to take a long loopy stroke like you do on a groundstroke, but that doesn't mean you can't swing hard and hit an attacking shot. That is what Agassi does, just with a shorter backswing than a regular groundstroke.

    However, a lot of people don't even do that. They just stick out their rackets like they are hitting a volley, believing they won't ever be able to get the timing down to actually swing hard at a return. To me, this is a wasted chance to hit an attacking shot. Those blocked returns are easy prey for someone who can hit effective approach shots. Returner blocks, server waits to hit an approach shot instead of straight S&V, then the returner is chasing down an easily hit approach shot and trying to come up with a passing shot.

    To me, it seems blocks would only be effective against someone who just can't approach or volley.
     
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  41. kevhen

    kevhen Hall of Fame

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    Big incoming serves, back up a little bit and try to block or take a short quick swing to get them back. It can be tough though as your timing has to be very good if they are serving huge or your return will go long or wide.
     
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  42. Frenchie

    Frenchie Rookie

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    I've found that split-stepping right as your opponent hits the ball gives you alot more time to take a cut at the ball.
     
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  43. vinky

    vinky Rookie

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