Originally Posted by Cindysphinx
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.
...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...