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-   -   Tennis serves and returns. (http://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/showthread.php?t=479965)

f.truong 10-13-2013 05:05 PM

Tennis serves and returns.
 
Hey everyone, i'm not sure if it's only me but most times when I play a match I have trouble hitting the ball back after my serve is returned. I serve relatively fast probably in the 100-90mph for my first serve. But the problem is when my serve is returned I have problems hitting it back over, either I over hit it or under hit it. It feels like I can't get back in the groove after. Is there any tips for this problem?

Lukhas 10-13-2013 05:31 PM

If you find your serves come back too fast, take away some speed from it and use spin instead or placement. If they come back easily, it means your placement isn't good enough. My guess being that you rely too much on your serve speed and become panicked when it comes back. However, you should see the weak return as a chance.

If you really have a good serve, it's also time to do some drills. For example, you could train how to serve a slice out wide and finish in the open court. Even it it comes back, you're most likely in the driver seat for the rest of the rally. Use your serve as a setup shot for a strategy you thought of before you served.

Topspin Shot 10-13-2013 05:51 PM

Most likely, your 90+ mph first serves are hit very flat. Therefore, you are probably missing them more than half the time. Hitting all those faults will destroy your rhythm, so when the ball actually does come back, you're not ready for it. My suggestion is to hit the first serve with spin, so you can get more of them in and get in a better rhythm for the actual point.

KMV 10-14-2013 08:05 AM

I play a couple of flat hard serves who regularly hit 110 mph. The easiest serve to return is a flat serve hit straight at your stikezone. There are 2 effective returns for these serves:
1) The block return. When played well, it keeps low and uses the pace of the serve. You need to practice moving forward and finishing the point
2) The short-arm drive return. More offensive and high risk but redirects most of the pace of the serve.. There is little you can do about it if placed well.

When serving, try and anticipate the direction of the return based on the type and direction of the serve, and start your initial movement accordingly. For example if you serve a good slider out wide, its most likely to be returned crosscourt.

Also when serving, focus more on the angles, makes a big difference if you serve flat. Try adding a bit of overspin to it, will help you get the extra marging you need to get those angles.

andreh 10-15-2013 01:18 AM

You're probably also propelled into court as you hit the serve, meaning that when you recover from your service action you'll be in the outer edges of no mans land. This could be what robs you of time to handle the return. Take two quick steps back directly after serving and split step. These quick steps should almost be part of your motion and should put you slightly behind the baseline.

Adles 10-15-2013 06:13 AM

Watch some video of Radwanska vs. Williams (or really anyone who hits hard). She is always defensive on her first groundstroke after the serve, but usually is able to get low and hit a short swing to get herself in the point. I think it is her signature shot.

tennis_pr0 10-15-2013 06:31 AM

Couple things. You should have an idea after the first service game of what kind of returns your opponent is hitting. Is he taking it early, chipping it back, coming in after, which side is his weaker return, is he mostly returning cross court, etc.

Next, one thing I see so many people do is when they hit a good first serve, they stand there admiring it hoping it doesn't come back instead of getting ready in case it does. Always assume it will come back.

Are you split stepping right after your return. You should be serving and then essentially split stepping right away in anticipation of your opponents return. Make sure you look at your opponents contact right after you hit you serve and split.

TimeSpiral 10-15-2013 06:40 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by f.truong (Post 7819235)
Hey everyone, i'm not sure if it's only me but most times when I play a match I have trouble hitting the ball back after my serve is returned. I serve relatively fast probably in the 100-90mph for my first serve. But the problem is when my serve is returned I have problems hitting it back over, either I over hit it or under hit it. It feels like I can't get back in the groove after. Is there any tips for this problem?

Pics or it didn't happen.


Anyone else dubious about this? OP is claiming to serve at near-ATP levels on his first serve, yet needs tips on hitting ground strokes on the return?

What level are you playing at, OP? Futures, challengers, D1?

Perhaps you're talking about the second serve, because only 10% of your first serves land in? Are you six foot five inches tall?

Little help here, please.

rkelley 10-15-2013 07:09 AM

90-100 mph is not ATP level speed. And there's more to a pro serve than just speed. The OP is not claiming to have a pro level serve.

If you have something constructive or helpful to say, please offer it. Otherwise you might want to spend some time looking up serve speeds on the pro tour and what other factors go into a pro level serve.

rkelley 10-15-2013 07:14 AM

Hi OP, the first ground stroke after a serve can be difficult because you're recovering from your serve and the ball could be coming back at a pretty good clip, especially if you've really put a good first serve in.

A couple of thoughts:
- Try to make sure that you recover as quickly as possible after your first serve. The more balanced you can be at the end of the serve the faster you'll be able to recover.

- You might want to think about a conservative shot for the first ball after the serve just to get the rally going. Your opponent survived your serve - good on them - and you're still recovering.

Good luck.

psv255 10-15-2013 07:15 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by TimeSpiral (Post 7821980)
Anyone else dubious about this? OP is claiming to serve at near-ATP levels on his first serve, yet needs tips on hitting ground strokes on the return?

What level are you playing at, OP? Futures, challengers, D1?

Actually, OP seems legit (and familiar to me). Serving a tennis ball flat, 95 mph, isn't too difficult. It's consistency and placement that separate ATP and park rec, speed aside for a moment. Imo, if we're talking serve stats and speeds, ATP-level tends to start at hitting 70% top-slice first serves at approx. 110 mph with a target 6 inches wide. Few ATP players hit flat 95 mph serves.
From personal experience, my returning skills lag extremely far behind my serve, which has lead to problems in my matches. I couldn't start the point because I couldn't put a return into play, and when I played excellent returners, I would essentially have to end the point in 3 shots to have any chance of holding.

TimeSpiral 10-15-2013 07:36 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by rkelley (Post 7822017)
90-100 mph is not ATP level speed. And there's more to a pro serve than just speed. The OP is not claiming to have a pro level serve.

If you have something constructive or helpful to say, please offer it. Otherwise you might want to spend some time looking up serve speeds on the pro tour and what other factors go into a pro level serve.

Quote:

Originally Posted by psv255 (Post 7822031)
Actually, OP seems legit (and familiar to me). Serving a tennis ball flat, 95 mph, isn't too difficult. It's consistency and placement that separate ATP and park rec, speed aside for a moment. Imo, if we're talking serve stats and speeds, ATP-level tends to start at hitting 70% top-slice first serves at approx. 110 mph with a target 6 inches wide. Few ATP players hit flat 95 mph serves.
From personal experience, my returning skills lag extremely far behind my serve, which has lead to problems in my matches. I couldn't start the point because I couldn't put a return into play, and when I played excellent returners, I would essentially have to end the point in 3 shots to have any chance of holding.

Look guys, there's enough trolling on this forum for me to be dubious about this claim. Do you disagree? You can push back, that's fine, but I don't think I was way out of line (even though I was being slightly fun with my post, which should have been obvious too). I did say "near-ATP levels," talking strictly about pace. I don't think that's way off either. Donald Young, according to some US Open stats, AVG 1st Serve Speed is about 101 MPH. There are some other guys close to this as well.

Obviously there is more to a serve than pace, but that's what we're talking about, so that's what I was comparing. I would argue that if you can serve, on AVG at 90-100 MPH, then that is near ATP levels. Why even push back on that?

Plus, it's pretty common to request video and level of play when someone is asking for instruction around here. Is it not? What kind of returns are these guys hitting off of 100 MPH serves? This sounds like a pretty high level of rec play to me.

WildVolley 10-15-2013 08:11 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by TimeSpiral (Post 7822076)
Look guys, there's enough trolling on this forum for me to be dubious about this claim. Do you disagree? You can push back, that's fine, but I don't think I was way out of line (even though I was being slightly fun with my post, which should have been obvious too). I did say "near-ATP levels," talking strictly about pace. I don't think that's way off either. Donald Young, according to some US Open stats, AVG 1st Serve Speed is about 101 MPH. There are some other guys close to this as well.

You're simply wrong, so you should just give it up. Donald Young, much like Nadal, mainly hits a heavy spin lefty serve. There's a difference between hitting a flat 90mph serve and hitting a 101mph topspin slice serve that is well placed.

Most likely the OP is falling off balance when hitting the serve and is not preparing for the ball to come back. If you block a fast flat serve back to the server, you can often force an error. The OP needs to practice on landing and then transitioning to a split step off of the serve. He also needs to be able to back up quickly to get a decent shot at the return.

TimeSpiral 10-15-2013 08:16 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by WildVolley (Post 7822146)
You're simply wrong, so you should just give it up. Donald Young, much like Nadal, mainly hits a heavy spin lefty serve. There's a difference between hitting a flat 90mph serve and hitting a 101mph topspin slice serve that is well placed.

Most likely the OP is falling off balance when hitting the serve and is not preparing for the ball to come back. If you block a fast flat serve back to the server, you can often force an error. The OP needs to practice on landing and then transitioning to a split step off of the serve. He also needs to be able to back up quickly to get a decent shot at the return.

Yep. You're right. You cannot compare the pace of a 101 MPH serve to the pace of a 100 MPH serve :twisted:

You guys continue to discuss this guy's unsubstantiated claim of 100 MPH first serve return game issues. I will back off.

Chance326 10-15-2013 08:38 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by TimeSpiral (Post 7822155)
Yep. You're right. You cannot compare the pace of a 101 MPH serve to the pace of a 100 MPH serve :twisted:

You guys continue to discuss this guy's unsubstantiated claim of 100 MPH first serve return game issues. I will back off.

A 101 AVERAGE serve, compared to the RANGE of 90-100. Anyways, he is asking for tips on returns, why would he post a video of his serves?

WildVolley 10-15-2013 09:19 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by TimeSpiral (Post 7822155)
Yep. You're right. You cannot compare the pace of a 101 MPH serve to the pace of a 100 MPH serve :twisted:

You guys continue to discuss this guy's unsubstantiated claim of 100 MPH first serve return game issues. I will back off.

No, you can't. 3.0s have returned 100mph+ flat serves I've hit at them (I own a radar gun). They would not be able to do that against Nadal's 100mph standard serve. I know this because I've watched Nadal's serve from court level. Nadal's serve and mine are completely different things.

There needs to be less focus on perhaps inaccurate estimates of ball speed here and fewer hurt egos. The OP's original question was legitimate. Returning a serve at the server's feet can garner you a lot of free points. Djokovic has a very good return game and this is what he often does. The OP either needs better serve placement or he needs to learn how to quickly recover from the serve to be ready to return the ball.

Power Player 10-15-2013 10:02 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by TimeSpiral (Post 7821980)
Pics or it didn't happen.


Anyone else dubious about this? OP is claiming to serve at near-ATP levels on his first serve, yet needs tips on hitting ground strokes on the return?

What level are you playing at, OP? Futures, challengers, D1?

Perhaps you're talking about the second serve, because only 10% of your first serves land in? Are you six foot five inches tall?

Little help here, please.

Chill out. 90-100 is not unrealistic and definitely not worth such a childish post.

TimeSpiral 10-15-2013 10:05 AM

A -- Lighten up and take an effing joke, guys. Holy wowza!

B -- I've already bowed out of this conversation. Please continue without me.

Power Player 10-15-2013 10:28 AM

Oh that was supposed to be funny? Nice save..lol

Anyway OP, footwork after the serve can be drilled by having a partner throw balls at you right after you serve. Preps you for fast returns.

TimeSpiral 10-15-2013 10:37 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Power Player (Post 7822464)
Oh that was supposed to be funny? Nice save..lol

Snip!

Yes, dude! Ha. Jokes are so much less effective when you have to explain them :cry:

"Pics or it didn't happen," is a decade old Internet meme that I find rather hilarious. L2p, brotha.

And which is funnier to look at, the Grinch, or this little devil guy: :twisted:

I was going for a little variety with my iron-clad wit. Certainly, using the hiarious described meme AND the Grinch would solidify the tongue-and-cheek opening to my post, but apparently not ... No worries. Like I said, I have nothing further to add to the OP's discussion. You guys are covering it well, imo.


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