Bad habit on returning serve

martini1

Hall of Fame
My return game is not my best shot. My excuse used to be "I don't do it enough". And a lot of people I play do not have a killer serve. So when I play against somebody with a decent serve, I mess up big time. I know my returning is bad because there is no way I can return most of my own serves if I am playing against myself.

So I went thru the usual - split step, then using split step AND moving forward, try to read the guy, smaller take back on the swing, etc.

A few night ago I suddenly thought of a habit I was doing a lot. And may be
that contribute to my horrible return game.

I pay too much attention on seeing if the ball is in or out! OMG I must be a line judge reborn or something. I cared too much on seeing if the ball clipped the line or not! And when I do that I let the ball bounce further before I react. I should have just try to return every single ball regardless if it is in or out inches. Another bad habit I was trying to kick is my take back. When I face a first serve I should have just keep my racket in front of me all the time and punch it back on the rise no matter what. My take back has let too many serves (esp the out wide and down the T) fly by.

I also need to work on my body turn as I found facing the opponent square makes my stance too open. And I pop the ball up when in reality I could have punch the ball back.

This is one shot I hate myself for it and it takes a long time to improve on. :twisted:

Any more comments on bad habits and how to kick them are welcome.
 
That is a bad and unnecessary habit. A bad habit I can think of I have is to let go of the gas peddle once I'm in the lead. As soon as things go real good I tend to just go to cruise mode (which doesn't work). Finishing the opponent and crushing them 6-0 is the aim and I need to work on continuing to go for best shots even if I'm up and not just stop playing like already won.

How I've handled big serves (servers) so far with some success is changing how I stand and seeing how that works. I've found that instead of facing the server (feet wide like in a pyramid stance), I turn my body in opposite direction of facing away from the server (at same angle bit mirror opposite direction). This sounds strange, but I can hit the balls back better. This requires the returner to step into the shot if it's coming down the T due to having to turn more, but returns are solid if they work. It's high reward, high risk, but I like it.
 

Power Player

Talk Tennis Guru
Stay compact. To help do this, have your elbows touching your body when you are getting ready to return serve.
 

martini1

Hall of Fame
Have you tried practice?
It's not that I don't want to. People with decent serves (that I know), a lot of them are very stingy in practicing with me. They are so afraid their serves got read. And obviously I am not playing any competitive tennis so I don't see those serves enough.
 

Cheetah

Hall of Fame
It's not that I don't want to. People with decent serves (that I know), a lot of them are very stingy in practicing with me. They are so afraid their serves got read. And obviously I am not playing any competitive tennis so I don't see those serves enough.
I hear ya. I know exactly what you mean. I was waiting for you to say "no" so that I could say something wise and knowledgeable about the benefits of actual drilled practice repetitions blah blah blah.. all for the benefit of future of readers of course as is this reply too actually.

but yea, it's hard to find someone wiling to practice. Maybe you could make an effort to just say "i want to work on my return a little before we hit. can you just hit me like 10 serves?"
 

spaceman_spiff

Hall of Fame
It's not that I don't want to. People with decent serves (that I know), a lot of them are very stingy in practicing with me. They are so afraid their serves got read. And obviously I am not playing any competitive tennis so I don't see those serves enough.
In that case, after you've hit groundstrokes for a while, ask if they want to play a set. If you focus on your returns, then those points become return practice.
 

Fedinkum

Legend
I find that right after the split step hob, leaning on your toe forward and let your body momentum carry you forward into your return shot is a good practice.
 

martini1

Hall of Fame
I hear ya. I know exactly what you mean. I was waiting for you to say "no" so that I could say something wise and knowledgeable about the benefits of actual drilled practice repetitions blah blah blah.. all for the benefit of future of readers of course as is this reply too actually.

but yea, it's hard to find someone wiling to practice. Maybe you could make an effort to just say "i want to work on my return a little before we hit. can you just hit me like 10 serves?"

In that case, after you've hit groundstrokes for a while, ask if they want to play a set. If you focus on your returns, then those points become return practice.
My solution is sometimes ask for playing a tie break (once or twice if there is time left). Since we are switching around the other guy could start serving some real ones thinking that "it's only 2 serves". Plus, practicing TB is always good. You don't give up easily as in a regular game you are not expected to break serve that easily.

However, although playing games/sets can get you some return opportunity, the guy can still throw you some 2nd serves most of the time, whether he wasn't going for it or he faulted the first one.

I know. The best way is the most expensive way. Get a coach to work on your return.:? But like the bad habit i was talking about (checking if the ball is in), it's hard to ID. It took my a long time and by accident to figure that one out.
 

martini1

Hall of Fame
I find that right after the split step hob, leaning on your toe forward and let your body momentum carry you forward into your return shot is a good practice.
Thanks. Yeah, I should be more aggressive on returning and go more forward.
 
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