I have discovered the secret to 4.0 doubles service returns!

Discussion in 'Adult League & Tournament Talk' started by Cindysphinx, Feb 27, 2013.

  1. Rjtennis

    Rjtennis Hall of Fame

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    So you are playing those guys and they don't punish you for just chipping balls back into play. I realize you need to chip serves back into play in certain situations, but doing on every 1st serve will cause problems. And with a 2HBH it's probably easier and more effective block it back with a half swing.
     
    Last edited: Mar 3, 2013
    #51
  2. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

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    Played mixed yesterday against a 4.0 guy. I could tell in warm-up I was going to be in hot water the entire match. He calmly hit the corners on his serve, and I couldn't read it at all.

    After a few attempts at a normal return, getting none in play, I switched to the slice return. It was better, but they kept floating long.

    I adjusted my grip from Conti to Eastern, and I got just enough of them in play for us to break him once. Then he started body serving me, and I started missing again.

    Gotta keep working on it. I think this return will be essential in mixed. Even a crappy, floating slice return that goes in and is deep is better than slapping the ball into the net.
     
    #52
  3. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    How can 4.0 serves trouble anybody?
     
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  4. Nellie

    Nellie Hall of Fame

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    If you don't want the slice returns to float, you need to step into the returns (i.e., be a little aggressive). When you step backwards/hit late, it will open up the face of the racquet. This, of course, is easier said than done since you will usually be slicing returns when the server is doing a good job.
     
    #54
  5. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

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    4.0 guys can have a lot of spin or a lot of placement. Either will bother me.

    The 4.0 guy serves that do not bother me are the ones where the guy has no spin and it just comes straight into the box every time. For those, I can stand back and will have time.
     
    #55
  6. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    A 4.0 serve can trouble other 4.0's.
    A 4.0 serve dominates a 3.5.
    A 4.0 serve kills a 3.0.
    A 4.0 serve, done smart, can trouble 4.5 and 5.0's,
    A 4.0 serve can be a sitter for a 5.5 thru 7.0, but that would depend how the 4.0 serve is. A lefty hitting wide and then twisting it up around 6' at the baseline might hang in for one more shot.
     
    #56
  7. skiracer55

    skiracer55 Hall of Fame

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    As a number of posters have noted...

    ...a slice return makes all kinds of sense, but your fundamentals have to be there or it's going to be as sketchy as any other kind of return: Read (the serve), react (make a move to get to the ball), return (execute the return).
    As I said in a similar thread some time ago, if you are having a hard time reading the serve, then start guessing. Make them intelligent guesses, but you're better off taking a chance on where you think it's going to go...and maybe guessing wrong...and just standing there flat-footed and watch the world go by. And yep, a smart server, after you start getting your returns grooved, is almost always going to start hitting body serves. Same deal as above: if you know it's going to be a body serve, make a move early. Easiest way for me to take a body serve is a backhand block or slice...pretty much the same thing you do when you're at net and somebody tries to drill you another navel. If your slice is floating, you're either hitting down instead of through the ball or not finishing the stroke at all. Short backswing, of course, but step toward the ball and finish the stroke...
     
    #57
  8. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    For RJTennis....
    While a sliced low approach is not necesarily the most desired return of serve against a strong serving Div1 opponent, it sure does beat hitting the net, hitting long, or hitting wide.
    Those guys are used to serving well into the 125's and kicking head high second serves. It would be rather impossible for a 4.0 to step in and hit topspin winners off those serves.
    Just getting it back to NML low is a victory in itself. After that, the point is basically nuetralized, and a former 5.5 will almost always beat a crippled 4.0.
     
    #58
  9. stapletonj

    stapletonj Semi-Pro

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    I honestly believe that the return of serve is the single most difficult shot in tennis. It is also the hardest to practice.

    Chip and charge, Cindy - go gettum girl!
     
    #59
  10. LuckyR

    LuckyR Legend

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    Great post. Slices in general and returns in particular, either are knifed low over the net and at the ankles of the server or ar popped long or as a sitter to the netman.

    Some days you hit the former and others the latter. Nellie's advice to try to be more aggressive (on an already aggressive serve) as the solution is good advice, though sometimes difficult to accomplish.
     
    #60
  11. comeback

    comeback Professional

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    Nobody has mentioned which side they are returning to..I am right handed and have to work a little harder hitting the inside out slice low with bite. From the backhand side i find it a little easier. Shoulder turn, timing and good footwork are key..Hitting this shot with continental grip and following it in feels so good when executing correctly .Cindy, is your topspin backhand 2 hands or your forehand Western? Maybe that's why the continental is harder for you to find sometimes.
     
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  12. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    I mostly play doubles and find no difference between returning serves on duece or ad court except a weak return on duece get's punished by the netman's forehand volley.
     
    #62
  13. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

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    2HBH groundstroke and SW FH groundstroke grip.

    When I plan to slice, I stand with Continental grip for the RH and the LH on the throat. Then I hit a 1HBH and 1HFH slice.

    I don't hit a 2HBH volley, thank God.
     
    #63
  14. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    No, you wouldn't want to volley like GeneMayber or FrewMcMillian, would you?
     
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  15. comeback

    comeback Professional

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    Hi Cindy, that probably explains why your newly developed slice goes off sometimes..You have more choices because the 2 hander has a different feel than the OH continental slice and the SW makes the continental grip harder to find sometimes..I know you said you stand with the continental grip but sometimes it's more flowing to change into the continental grip right before you hit the ball. I know it sounds confusing
     
    #65
  16. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    How many times have you got to mention GeneMayer in every situation?
     
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  17. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    What's wrong with GeneMayer? He was once #4 in doubles in the world.
    What was I referring to?
    Of course, CindyS's post saying "at least I don't use a 2hbh volley"....
    And why not Frew? You didn't mention Frew, who was co No1 in doubles.
    They do volley lots in doubles, you know.
     
    #67
  18. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

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    BUMP!!

    I am utterly delighted with this newfangled service return.

    Last night, I played doubles and returned from the deuce court. One opponent was a strong 4.0. She hit a hard flat serve and liked to follow it into the net. If she got a mid-court return, she smoked it hard and flat up the middle or for a sharp angle.

    After having seen her hard serve in warm-up, I decided to try my newfangled slice service return. I stood just in front of the baseline. When she tossed, I ran forward to just behind the service line. I then sliced crosscourt and stood there at the service line.

    OMG, it was awesome! The ball was back on her before she could move in. She started trying to ace me out wide but kept missing. If she S&V, she had to generate her own pace for a low approach volley. Because her groundstrokes were flat, she missed into the net or long. I varied the depth -- not because I know how to vary the depth but because I don't have much control -- so one return was a perfect drop shot.

    I had two BH shanks -- that went down the deuce alley with so much junk spin that the net player missed the volley. :)

    I missed *one* return of her serve all night -- one that floated long. Normally, I would have missed a bunch of returns trying to hit deep returns or would have had to stand so far back that she would have beaten me to net.

    Ladies, ya gotta learn how to hit this return. It's total gold!
     
    #68
  19. dizzlmcwizzl

    dizzlmcwizzl Hall of Fame

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    Within this thread you have highlighted my returning dilemma ... some days I am awesome and other days I am definitely not.

    Yea I would like to be able to mix in the chip slice return ... but as you have experienced I would likely end up with feast or famine. and worse yet ... I would have more choices to mess up.
     
    #69
  20. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

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    I think what is really helping me is that I start the match with this return. It is now Plan A; no more saving it for Plan B when we are losing, when the point is important, blah, blah blah.

    Even if I am not perfect, it seems to totally freak out the server. That pays dividends throughout the match.
     
    #70
  21. Nostradamus

    Nostradamus G.O.A.T.

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    LOL, there is Hard forceful serves in Ladies 4.0 tennis league ? I am yet to see one. if they really had forceful serves, they would serve it straight to your body as you stand so close and you won't have the time to get out of the way of it and you would miss the return. or they can serve wide with hard slice and you won't be able to reach it.
     
    #71
  22. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Slice returns, even in doubles, work just fine. Just don't pop them up and to the center. Talking about levels below 5.0.
    For good volleyer's, it's more consistent than a groundstroke return of serve.
    Just remember good posture, stay forward, and stay solid thru the stroke.
    Not wild about "running" forwards to hit, but ...
     
    #72
  23. roman40

    roman40 Rookie

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    There are only two good service return options in doubles, low slice or topspin drive, preferably away from the net player (sometimes that means DTL if you see/expect a poach). If you can't hit a decent drive, than you slice. I am somewhat surprised you haven't done that before, in fact, you probably have many times, I guess you just didn't notice it's effectiveness.
     
    #73
  24. KoaUka

    KoaUka Rookie

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    I wouldn't say that. What about the controlled lob over the net player? Very effective in doubles, somewhat harder to execute than the other two
     
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  25. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Plenty more...
    Short sharp CC angles.
    Deep lob CC, especially if server stays back. Cover the alley DTL.
    Hard slice DTL returns, over the netperson backhand volley. The combo of YOUR hard slice, and a underspin volley stroke ......
    Crush it into the hip pocket of the netperson.
    And against net charger's, high deep DTL lobs.
     
    #75
  26. roman40

    roman40 Rookie

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    Hard slice DTL is covered in my description.

    As for crushing the ball at the net player, or various lobs, you need a specific reason for choosing those shots. For example, server moves like a turtle, net player can't handle pace, net player doesn't poach or, conversely, poaches way above his level, net player or baseline player suck at overheads, etc. Yeah, there are cases where CC or DTL slice/drive away from the net player is not the best service return option in doubles, but those cases are exceptions, where you're taking advantage of a serious weakness in your opponent's game (for his/her rating/level). In my experience, this is unusual at 4.0+ levels.

    At recreational levels you can't be the jack of all trades, so you've got to focus on being good at hitting the returns that will give you the most benefit, against majority of opponents.
     
    #76
  27. comeback

    comeback Professional

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    Once you get the pace and rythym of the server down. Then you can plan the return better in advance.
    When recieving the First serve from the duece court i hold a continental grip and either slice it to the server or slice lob over the net man. For the 2nd serve i switch grips a little more to the forehand and try to hit a forehand.
    When recieving from the ad court i can hit a flat OHBH better from this side so i try that more.
     
    #77
  28. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

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    Won another match today. Came straight out of the gate hitting only slice returns and parking myself on the service line.

    This service return is going to change my life.
     
    #78
  29. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Good stuff, you must be quick and quick handed, with good vision.
    And short (stature). Seems lots of smaller players like the idea of volleying the return and moving forwards. I've faced it countless times.
    Beware the "into the body" serves, spin or flat. Then when you start to defend it well, the wide one's are just out of reach for the time you have.
     
    #79
  30. roman40

    roman40 Rookie

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    Doesn't really work against anyone with decent serve, at M4.0+, since you're likely to pop that slice too high for an easy short ball, but I've seen it used quite a bit by older/shorter players at 3.5 and below, and on occasion at 4.0 against players with a weak second serve.
     
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  31. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

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    I've kind of noticed something about many 4.0 female serves, and it something I can figure out in the warm-up.

    A lot of ladies try to serve with maximum pace. Hard and flat. Often they don't worry much about placement. If they serve hard enough, they can cause a miss.

    What I don't see is precise placement or spin. If the server can really move the serve around, it is harder for me to anticipate and move to the ball. And if it has spin, this can move me around and mess me up.

    If someone is hitting hard flat serves in warm-up, I know I can try this return with confidence the ball will come right to me.
     
    #81
  32. esgee48

    esgee48 Hall of Fame

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    The time to start worrying is if they show you flat, slice and topspin-slice; down the T and out wide. 2 cents.

    However, you're right; you won't see this combo below high 4.5.
     
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  33. jrs

    jrs Professional

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    It's server's point if he hit you with the serve

    I would advice against standing on the service line on the first serve. If I was serving I would try to hit you with the first serve. Since if I hit you - it will be my point.
    On second - I will try to spin the ball into court.
     
    #83
  34. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    I think CindyS means she preps at NML, moves forward as she volleys the once bounce ball, ..and high volleys don't pop up unless you screwed up, and stops her forward momentum at the service line.
    Remember, she's facing WOMENS 4.0 serves, not former MENS 5.5 level serves.
     
    #84
  35. jrs

    jrs Professional

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    Sorry acronym challenged NML?

    Sorry I am not familiar with NML?
    I play with couple ladies that 4.0 level - they can crank the serve pretty good - not very accurate - but good pace and power - flat.
    I found not many people were familiar with rule - if you get hit by serve you will loose the point - they think it has to bounce in the box.

    In men's tennis I know couple that do this to intimate the server - stand on the service line. So I thought I would toss that in there as an option.
     
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  36. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

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    NML = no man's land.
     
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