Help on Returning worldclass (?) serve

Discussion in 'Tennis Tips/Instruction' started by Jens Gabler, Oct 11, 2017.

  1. Jens Gabler

    Jens Gabler New User

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    Hey guys,

    Im playing a lefty with a tremendous serve. If he goes for hit flat his serve exceeds 140mph. But he usually had less than 50% with this serve, so I could handle it and sometimes i could just block it back.
    However, recently he changed his grip and now his serve is way slower probably around 120mph (still ridicolously by rec standard) but there is a ton of spin on that.
    If I attempt to block it the ball now will just randomly jump off my raquet, plus his serve percentage went way up about 70% or more.
    What can I even do?
    The only thing is his everything else in his game is really bad + he cant place his serve well.
    Any advice how to return that serve?
    I already stand back like 10+ feet behind the baseline.
     
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  2. styksnstryngs

    styksnstryngs Semi-Pro

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    Can't help you here... Only thing you can do is make sure to hold and pray you get a break opportunity. What/where are you playing that he can hit an Andy Roddick serve? Has he clocked his serve or are you just estimating?
     
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  3. Jens Gabler

    Jens Gabler New User

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    There are a ton of semi pros at our club, and noone serves as big as this guy. Yes its clocked, he weights 200lbs, most of it muscles and played a pitching sport till he turned 18. Hes been playing tennis for 1 year now, but has practiced his serve close to every day for several hours like the mad man he is.
    Its insane.
     
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  4. Wise one

    Wise one Rookie

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    Play somebody else. Life is short!
     
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  5. thomas daniels

    thomas daniels Rookie

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    Okay, so spend all your time in practice trying to figure out how to return this guy's serve, so you can start crushing him!! I would focus on 2 things. First focus on getting a better read on his serve. If you have played him more than once and haven't done this, that means you are letting your fear dictate your play.

    Because it shouldn't be that tough to start figuring out what he is doing on you. The other thing is, develop better racket control, which sounds like your biggest problem here. Be aware of how your racket FACE is angled at contact and get your weight moving forward, for fast serves, use the ground force more and stay low, this will help you deal with his power and spin better. Be aggressive and keep your take back compact or just block the return back with a firm wrist and then work the point on him.
     
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  6. FiReFTW

    FiReFTW Professional

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    Haha thats pretty crazy and also kind of funny.
    But considering his built, prior pitching experience and crazy practice as you say, its quite possible what you say is true, but he is certainly a huge abnormality, how often do you find a rec player hitting 120 or more serves, must really be quite insane. But at least u can see how the pros feel now, u got 1st hand experence.
     
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  7. BounceHitBounceHit

    BounceHitBounceHit Legend

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    Determine his 'preferred' serve (everyone has one, even Fed, Rafa, Dr. Ivo, Roddick, etc.) Move IN, not back (you need to take it before the spin "takes hold"). Study Wawrinka's returning of Djokovic at the 2014 FO Final. Good luck. :) BHBH
     
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  8. OnTheLine

    OnTheLine Professional

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    Sometime in the middle of his first service game, tell him to "watch his foot faults" just to screw with his head ... may help ...:cool:
     
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  9. FiReFTW

    FiReFTW Professional

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    Im trying to imagine how it would feel like to face 130mph serves at rec level, must be crazy lol.
    Poor Jens Gabler..
     
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  10. BounceHitBounceHit

    BounceHitBounceHit Legend

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    BTW, he's only been playing ONE YEAR and serves 140mph? Really? Would love to see video of that. How's the rest of his game? If you can return his serve (and that MUST be all he's practiced to serve 140 after one year of play) you will probably win most every match against him if you are a good player. ;)
     
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  11. BounceHitBounceHit

    BounceHitBounceHit Legend

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    Just played yesterday on an ATP standard radar equipped court and faced 121-126 on a regular basis. That my friends is HEAT. Best, BHBH
     
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  12. FiReFTW

    FiReFTW Professional

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    Did u read what he wrote? He said rest of his game sucks, but hes been practicing serve like a madman every day.
     
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  13. Jens Gabler

    Jens Gabler New User

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    Thing is you dont need a read, I know whats coming. Its like the guy doesnt even know where he is serving, but it gets the job done. Its like Tylor Dents serve, kind of, maybe less pace but lefty spin
     
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  14. FiReFTW

    FiReFTW Professional

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    Wow thats crazy, u must be quite a good player
     
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  15. travlerajm

    travlerajm Legend

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    Shorter frames (just 1/4" less) are much superior than standard length for blocking back returns with accurate depth control.
     
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  16. rogerroger917

    rogerroger917 Semi-Pro

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    Just make sure you don't get hit in the face.
    My son has been practicing his serve since age 7. He is 16 now. 6ft3. 185. Hits 120 1st serves that breaks sideways after the bounce due to the spin. I got hit in the face once standing in. Almost hit my eye. Now I stand back like Nadal. Like right by the fence.
     
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  17. Topspin Shot

    Topspin Shot Legend

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    If you're getting 140 mph serves back there isn't a person on this board who can help you. And there are very good players on this board. But anyway either stand way back and swing, or stand in and block it. Either way hit the returns back to the server (i.e. don't try to place them) nice and soft with good net clearance.
     
    #17
  18. mad dog1

    mad dog1 Legend

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    Yes, @BounceHitBounceHit posted a video of himself hitting before and it was apparent that he is a very good player.

    Found the video of him playing Geoff
     
    Last edited: Oct 11, 2017
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  19. PMChambers

    PMChambers Hall of Fame

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    Newcome and Stolle generally recommend when someone is dominating on serve to give them a different view. Stand wider, shorter or further back. Or Agassi theory, just pick a side and predetermine movement.
    The old saving was like "large gaps become small gaps" basically the more open a side the more likely they move that way. More relevant to volleying but still valid in serving.

    If 1st is flat and hard get that continental grip and stand in 1m to cut angles off and bunt back. If that doesn't work polar opposite, Semi Western and stand back 5m and whip.

    Try to break rhythm. If you want to be ahole slow him down especially on second servers. Or speed him up.
     
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  20. S&V-not_dead_yet

    S&V-not_dead_yet Legend

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    Do a SABR to show 'em whose boss.
     
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  21. Bender

    Bender Legend

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  22. nytennisaddict

    nytennisaddict Legend

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    not that i'm an expert on returns... but when i go against big serves (110+), especially with heavy spin (i have played a few ex-atp guys in tournaments), it's imperative to get my weight going forward, even on block returns... short backswing, long follow through... and pray :p

    if i don't get my weight moving forward to kill the spin, i have no idea where the ball is going.

    also i anticipate the spin, and adjust accordingly (eg. left serving out wide on ad side - i will aim dtl (even into the doubles alley) to return, knowing that the spin will likely make the ball drift toward the center)
     
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  23. zalive

    zalive Hall of Fame

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    If his placement is not good then stand as far back as you can, it will give you some additional time to actually return the ball.
     
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  24. FiReFTW

    FiReFTW Professional

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    Hahaha yes sadly this is correct, if you really are facing 140mph serves nobody here can help you, even the top 10 ATP players in the world struggle with 140mph serves.
     
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  25. esgee48

    esgee48 Legend

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    Just to put things in perspective 60 mph is 88 feet per second. That means it takes the serve a little less than 1 second to arrive and you can return it. 120 mph is 176 feet per second which means you have less than 1/3 of a second to react. For serves like that, I guess which way it is going like NTA, and try to half volley the return. You do not have any time to turn and swing. FWIW I can reasonably return serves up to ~ 100 mph standing 5' behind the BL, but once it goes beyond that, I am dead and exposed for the slow lizard I am. :)
     
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  26. abhimawa

    abhimawa Rookie

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    put more body weight forward, move in, your body weight will help you with power (think kinetic energy) compensating little or no backswing (assuming you block the ball with good angle). In the meantime, practice serve return and learning to speed up your response. Good return neutralizes the game by making your opponent off-balance. Hope that helps.
     
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  27. zalive

    zalive Hall of Fame

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    Cannot do this math just like that, ball slows some when it hits the ground, how much that depends on a surface...it even loses some of its speed through the air.
     
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  28. PittsburghDad

    PittsburghDad Professional

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    Sid Finch still around?
     
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  29. Tennisanity

    Tennisanity Legend

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    I bet none of these serves are as fast as people claim them to be.
     
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  30. Jens Gabler

    Jens Gabler New User

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    Okay so next time I will try to get more momentum forward and try to angel my racket slightly more open.
     
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  31. jm1980

    jm1980 G.O.A.T.

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    This is basically why nobody likes to practice with Karlovic
     
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  32. Jens Gabler

    Jens Gabler New User

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    Give me a helmet and some protection for my cojones and Im steppin in it to win it :cool:
     
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  33. Jens Gabler

    Jens Gabler New User

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    Ill consider that, thanks. Never heard that, interesting.
     
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  34. Jens Gabler

    Jens Gabler New User

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    On important matches that obviously becomes part of this beautiful game :D
     
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  35. ChaelAZ

    ChaelAZ Hall of Fame

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    Never been standing on the receiving end of a 140 serve.
     
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  36. BounceHitBounceHit

    BounceHitBounceHit Legend

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    Thank you I missed it!


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk Pro
     
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  37. S&V-not_dead_yet

    S&V-not_dead_yet Legend

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    Or the giving end for that matter. :)
     
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  38. thomas daniels

    thomas daniels Rookie

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    True, but what I find is that you give them more angles, don't you agree?
     
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  39. Chadillac

    Chadillac Legend

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    Sorry, not buying the story. Better than 99% of atp serves in a year...
     
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  40. Jens Gabler

    Jens Gabler New User

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    Dont be so hung up with the speed. 140mph flat with bad placement is way easier to get back that a slower serve with spin.
    Not even speaking of placement here.
     
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  41. Jens Gabler

    Jens Gabler New User

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    More power? - yes, for sure
    Better? - if better equals effective then no, definitively not
     
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  42. mad dog1

    mad dog1 Legend

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    You’ve played with atp pros before to know firsthand how fast an atp level serve is?

    Would love to see a video of this lefty’s serve!
     
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  43. PittsburghDad

    PittsburghDad Professional

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    I wish somebody would let us bet that. I propose that this one year player is hitting 50% 140s and 70% 120's at 10,000 to one. Maybe higher.
    Wait....hold on. I must have missed that. The one year wonder who's serving 140 mph at 50% and 120 at 70%, at a local club mind you,.......is a lefty too??!! Is he also a ninja?
     
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  44. TimeToPlaySets

    TimeToPlaySets Hall of Fame

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    Hire a D1 player to serve 120+ at you for an hour straight.
    You will know how to return the serve by the end of the lesson.
     
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  45. Old Skool Graphite

    Old Skool Graphite Rookie

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    Not quite 140. But good luck returning this:

     
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  46. S&V-not_dead_yet

    S&V-not_dead_yet Legend

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    Not if the serve is going so fast it exceeds my reflexes.

    The fastest serve I've ever returned is probably 110-115 [don't ask me if I got it in]. 140 is considerably faster; I don't even know if I could react in time. If so, a slower ball would at least afford the opportunity to track the ball.
     
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  47. S&V-not_dead_yet

    S&V-not_dead_yet Legend

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    Not if that serve is so far out of the student's learning zone that he can't learn anything.

    Weren't you the one who said that practice just cements bad habits? Why wouldn't that be applicable here?
     
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  48. AllCourtHeathen

    AllCourtHeathen Semi-Pro

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    I hit against a guy who was serving at about 200kmh, said his fastest serve ever was 220kmh, and it was insane. Like a bullet. What made it even harder was that sometimes it would come straight through, other times it would kick off the court and come through much higher. So even if i got there, you'd almost have to guess the height. Unreturnable just about.
     
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  49. AllCourtHeathen

    AllCourtHeathen Semi-Pro

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    yep, its just a blur. Good to experience it though its a wake up call.
     
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  50. S&V-not_dead_yet

    S&V-not_dead_yet Legend

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    "That serve should come with a warning label." - comment on one of Raonic's serves that nearly took someone's head off [and it was a legal serve, not one that went seriously long].
     
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