1HBH return of serve - open stance
So now I am facing some better servers and I do chip/slice on my BH but I want to learn to block and drive.
I cannot find any resources on this, well I did find one that looked at Fed's return, and the focus seemed to be on strong shoulder turn in the open stance.
Can anyone offer further practical advice eg
- I currently wait in continental, as I can block my Fh return with that and chip and slice my BH return
- on the 1HBH drive do I need to go all the way to my usual EBH grip or can it be done from conti or slight EBH?
- should I be waiting in EBH?
- is it as simple as strong shoulder turn and getting the legs in the right place?
- my shoulder turn on the BH is not the quickest, any drills I can do to work on this?
If your opponent's serve is excellent in pace, it's better to block and/or slice. There's little wrong with it, that's what Federer did to Roddick and how he showed the tour how to neutralize his serve. A good slice or block will allow you to start the point in a neutral position, which will allow you to use your strategies and plays to win the point. No need to go for Agassi-like returns. He makes it look easy, but it's not.
Understood, but if i dont have access to the drive then its harder to take advantage of second serves or slightly weaker first serves to my BH. I dont want to chip or slice because I cant drive, I prefer to be in the position to have the option to chip or slice because its more appropriate than the drive sometimes.
Well if only it was that simple, to have the choice on the court.
1) On first serve, prepare in conti grip and focus on slice or block.
2) On second serves, prepare your BH grip since most people like to hit the second serve there, or a SW grip that will allow you to hit both BH and FH. If you want to drive that is.
There's no magical grip to return with, you'll be forced to adapt to what's thrown at you. I think you should set your mind early on what you're going to do anyway, it's not like you have huge time to set up for a new idea after the serve is struck.
The harder the serve comes at you, the less work you have to do to have an effective return.
(assuming you can get your racket on it)
And this is how you return a serve:
My 2 cents is that Lukhas is right nothing wrong with slice.
I use slice on 2nd serves sometimes on 1st serves especially when I am pulled wide. On 2nd serves I get in no man's land and slice an approach and take the net if its a soft serve. If its a kicker I'll take it early if I can.
But for 1st serves and 2nd serves too I mostly will use a sw or western forehand and as Lukhas says I dont have to switch grips, which IMHO is half the battle on a fast serve.
I am slow so I often hit open stance but can rip the ball if I can get to it or at least block it back with pace. In the ad court I can hit outright winners off a good serve mostly because I will be a bit late and that opens up down the line. On the deuce court it is fine too because that is the safest return over the low part of the net.
Not saying it is easy, extreme eastern and sw backhand grips arent exactly natural for most. I used to hit a normal eastern backhand. No way I could hit that now, its just not a natural stroke now, so there IS hope for you. But if you dont have a sw forehand or western forehand well just forget it and make your slice work better.
If you can hit either of those forehands, then if you are in the waiting position with the strings parallel to the ground and your non racket hand on the throat and finger on the strings, you can just pull your non racket arm back a bit, turn your hips and you are in position to block the ball back powerfully.
You might be able to do something similar with the regular eastern bh grip, but I can't advise on that, though picking up a racket it doesnt seem that it would be as strong as a sw or extreme eastern.
You can hit a drive, but it doesn't have the power of a normal topspin groundie. Nor does it have to be, since you are supplied with incoming ball power. It's very effective when the server is used to your slice returns.
Turn shoulders with your OTHER hand, on the throat of your racket.
You need only 1/2 your normal takeback, because the incoming serve is faster than any groundstroke you will ever see.
If you have time, it's best to close your stance by moving the forwards. If you are facing 1st serves, you can stay on the balls of your feet and hit it open stanced.
Aim slightly higher over the net at first, as you will mishit some, and if you are hitting long, loosen your grip. Conversely, if you are hitting short, tighten your grip.
Never ever retreat.
Switching grips is not that difficult, and I mean for ROS against decent, not 120+ mph serves.
You feel with your OFF hand, on the throat of your racket. You hold it the same every time, the grip that gives you the correct topspin grip.
Racket hand is LOOSE, barely gripping the racket. Squeeze a bit if the serve goes to your forehand side.
Takeback and shoulder turn is led by your off hand. That is all the backswing you need against fast serves.
Don't lean back, stay on the balls of your feet.
Is that what you referred to?
My personal response to your questions:
- wait in an eastern grip (my normal grip modified Eastern), but with a pistol finger form, as I found it facilitates my closing the racket better on contact
- slight ebh
- no, waiting in th efh allows you to simply rotate your shoulders on the fh, but if it is a bh, your other hand has to be on the throat for a fraction of a sec, which facilitates the grip change. Trying to change grip on the fh would slow you down, as it is not part of the stroke, like the supporting hand in the bh
- hmmm...not sure how to answer this. The article I referenced is very good in describing the key elements. I'd say, key are shoulder turn, small swing, thinking more of driving/blocking rather than a full stroke if it is a fast serve, more of a flat type stroke, hitting with less net clearance if you are aggressive on the stroke and moving the right foot (for righties) in the proper manner to land in front
- this I'm curious about too. Personally, lots of shadow swings to practice the turn and grip change at the same time trying to do the whole motion very quickly
Hope that helps
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