Serving into the body

Discussion in 'Tennis Tips/Instruction' started by FireSon, Jun 22, 2004.

  1. FireSon

    FireSon New User

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    How can you improve the service return when the ball comes into your body. Most of the time I am a bit "lazy" and do not move out of the way and try to compensate with the racquet. It's not a matter of being late, since I am normally more early than late on the return.
    Any tips? maybe some drills? How important is the initial position, when you look at the pro's they are relatively 'low' on their feet (e.g. Hewitt). Do you have to jump up when the opponent hits the ball?

    Any help is appreciated!!
     
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  2. Mahboob Khan

    Mahboob Khan Hall of Fame

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    A ploy by an intelligent server will always be to exploit the problems of the returner by serving wide, body, and up the T. If the server is able to mix it up then the returner is always guessing about the type of ball coming his way.

    There are some common tips in returning any kind of serve -- body including:

    -- Watch the serving stance and position from which he serves;

    -- Try to read the ball toss and angle of the racket prior to contact (if you cant, yes, it is tough).

    -- An instant before the server strikes the ball, you split step (unweighting). The split step (unweighting) will allow you to move either way and not to get jammed with the ball. The timing of the split step should be such to assure timely landing. You don't want to get stuck in the air!

    Drill:

    Have a partner with a basket of balls serve from the opposite service line (yes, service line); have him serve to you wide, body and up the T. A basket on both sides -- deuce and ad -- will do wonder in improving your reaction time to return any type of serve.
     
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  3. Bungalo Bill

    Bungalo Bill G.O.A.T.

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    That is one of the best drills for a service return that Mahboob mentioned. It will improve your movement and your ability to read the ball quickly so you can move.

    You really have to be honest with yourself. Your sentence "Most of the time I am a bit "lazy" and do not move out of the way" can imply a lot of things. Are you in shape? Could you be in better shape?
     
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  4. FireSon

    FireSon New User

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    Thanks guy's for the replies! I definitely will try this drill and am looking forward to try it!

    Physically I am in very good shape, I never had any problem swinging my T90 even when a match went on for a very long time. Compared to the opponents I think physically I am in the top 90%.

    Somebody I played last week said to me that my weakness was that I didn't move out of the way when the serve went into my body. So yesterday I tried to focus on that part of my game, and wasn't sure if I did the right thing. Basically I tried to do what Mahboob Khan told me: 'unweight' while split stepping...

    Thanks again!
     
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  5. joebedford

    joebedford Rookie

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    I'd say about 90% of us are. :wink:
     
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  6. Rickson

    Rickson G.O.A.T.

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    If the serve is coming into your body, you're either standing too close to the service box or your opponents are hard servers. I suspect it's the former, so stand farther back and unless your opponent has a 100+ mph serve, you should have enough time to react and turn a body serve into a forehand. BTW, are you standing inside the baseline? If you are, that's a big no no.
     
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  7. FireSon

    FireSon New User

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    Normally I am standing probably a feet behind the baseline, depending on the speed of the serve. The reason for this is that when they serve with a lot of spin to the outside, I like to step into the ball, when you stand too far back this is very difficult.
     
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  8. Rickson

    Rickson G.O.A.T.

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    While it's true that a serve to the corner is difficult to reach from behind the baseline, you still have a better stab at an overall serve return by being behind the baseline rather than standing inside the line, close to the corner, because you'd leave too much of the middle open for the server and you'd be vulnerable to any fast serves.
     
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  9. Bungalo Bill

    Bungalo Bill G.O.A.T.

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    If you got the book Serious Tennis the SMARTS system would apply to this area. The very first letter represents SEEING before the second letter MOVEMENT.

    It could be you dont read serves very well. Trying to get clues before the server hits the ball so you can see it quicker and move quicker. Think that might be it?
     
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  10. FireSon

    FireSon New User

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    Well that's a hard thing to judge for yourself. But basically I return very well also on fast serves or serves wide or at the T. In those cases you just step into the ball, which feels 'natural' to me. When the serve is in your body, you have to make room not moving in the direction of the ball.
    Tonight I tried the split step before returning in a friendly match and I must say I returned much better. So I think it has to do with the footwork.
     
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  11. Mahboob Khan

    Mahboob Khan Hall of Fame

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    We are glad that our responses helped you!
     
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  12. Bungalo Bill

    Bungalo Bill G.O.A.T.

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    Glad things are working out. On your comment that "that's a hard thing to judge by yourself". It actually isn't. For someone like you who says he is in shape and returns real well, you should be able to know if you reading the ball to slow and that is causing the problem. But glad things are working out.
     
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