10-15-2013, 05:34 PM
Join Date: Aug 2012
Originally Posted by f.truong
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?
Firstly a few serving tips from my experience playing strong returners.
- Work on mixing up your first serve, as different spins and placement will stop your opponent launching the ball right back at your feet.
- Against a player who returns by hitting big, throw heavy kick serves at them. Then retreat behind the baseline, but be ready to charge in for the put away. This is good tactic as returners who hit hard are more likely to miss by overhitting a kick serve, and if they do get the shot in you have had enough time to prepare.
- If you have the net skills, serve and volley occasionally, as this will encourage the opponent to stop returning with deep shots. This is because deep shots are the easiest to put away as you approach the net.
- A low skidding slice shot out wide or into the body, will usually be returned, but it will rarely be a strong return - allowing an easier first shot.
- Punish the weakest return, rather than hitting your strongest serve if they are returning well. For example I hit 75% of my second serves as wide heavy topspin serves to the backhand, as this is my strongest serve, but sometimes an opponent will get their eye in and start to tee off on the shot - in this case rather than playing into their strength I will start using a different serve which targets a weakness of theirs.
So assuming you are serving well with a variety of placement, spins and paces; and you still are getting good returns here are some first shot tips.
- Move quickly to a ready position with good balance, immediately after the serve. You are aiming to be back behind the baseline as the return crosses the net.
- It is better to move back expecting a good return and run in to the short ball, than staying forward expecting a bad return and having no time.
- There are three scenarios which can occur when the ball is returned. Either the ball is short and should be hit confidently for a winner/set up (somewhat likely); the return is very good and the ball should be kept deep to make your opponents attack harder (unlikely), or the ball has been returned fairly deep as a neutral or defensive shot (most likely). This last scenario often leads to mistakes, as it appears attackable and the player feels the need to attack on their serve (sounds like your problem). The correct response requires patience, intent (you need to know what you want to try in the point) and confidence in your ability to make the shot you are attempting (by selecting sensible shots you have practised). You need to play a moderately attacking shot in order to maintain your control of the point, by hitting a shot you know you can make consistently which allows you to set up a point.
- If you are overhitting, be a bit more patient and play with larger margins and more topspin.
- If you are underhitting, remember that you only stand a chance of winning if you hit the strokes you have practised. This should mean hitting with a relaxed, fast swing; aiming for relatively easy targets.
- Practise the 1-2 punch. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_zGo0T_hZEI notice how they practise well placed spin serves and a consistent mid paced follow up shot. The idea isn't to blast a winner, but to get the opponent in a bad position for the rest of the point (if they aren't pulled so far off they can' run it down). Also practise the 1-2 wrongfoot, where you aim the first shot back at the same position as the serve, as experienced opponents will quickly recognise the 1-2 punch and will start running early to cover the wide angles.
Wilson 6.1 95s - 'If you call that a forehand I must have a fivehand'