Return a fast ball

Discussion in 'Tennis Tips/Instruction' started by skuludo, Aug 25, 2006.

  1. skuludo

    skuludo Professional

    May 7, 2004
    If I hit the ball harder will it land in?

    I am able to take this shot early and have plenty of time to smack the crap out of the ball. The two chances I had returning this shot I hit long. The ball was skidding on the ground.

    Another way to phrase it.

    Should I reuse the pace of the ball and just return it or reuse the pace of the ball and add all my power into it?

    If there is a limit to how hard I can hit that type of shot depending on the balls incoming speed then I will take a more conservative swing.

    This question also applys for returning 130mph serves.

  2. Swissv2

    Swissv2 Hall of Fame

    Oct 19, 2005
    Tennis Courts!
    If you are receiving 130 MPH serves, then you should already be in the ATP tour and know how to hit those returns!
  3. Bagumbawalla

    Bagumbawalla Hall of Fame

    Jun 24, 2006
    The basic answer to this question is-- If you have the co-ordination, anticipation, and time to position yourself to take a full, hard swing at a fast ball, then you should go for it.

    A really, really, hard serve, say 130mph, or a really fast groundstroke, say 105mph catch many people, even professionals, off guard, out of position, wrong-footed, and otherwise incapable of giving their return shot the full treatment you refer to.

    Most people would block back a 130mpk serve (for a variety of reasons).

    Is it possible to return a 130mph serve with a hard, driving return. Yes. Three forces work on the ball to keep it in the court. Gravity. Topspin. Skill.

    Good Luck,

  4. skuludo

    skuludo Professional

    May 7, 2004
    I would love to receive 130mph serves but I don't know anyone around who would hit that serve to me. All the people around that I've encountered serve slower than me. I just seem to be able to find 3.5 level players. I've traveled through various parts of Vancouver and haven't had any luck so far. I seem to be only able to find senior rec players on public courts.

    If the ball is really fast I could just use a half swing. Have the racket out in front. When the ball is about to reach the racket I can just swing through it. My racket out front half swing hasn't failed me yet. With that half swing I still have some room to add some extra power on the return, but I've been holding back cause I'm not sure whether it'll still land in.

    The only time I get a chance to practice service returns is during match play.
    Finding a cooperative hitting partner would help.

    I'll try swinging out at full speed the next chance I get.

    If something is possible I'll try it.
  5. shawn1122

    shawn1122 Professional

    Dec 29, 2005
    And here I am wondering "When did skill become a force?"
  6. skuludo

    skuludo Professional

    May 7, 2004
    I've played someone who did hit serves similar to my speed and I would get jamed. Ocasionaly I will get one serve that goes right at my forehand and I could choose to hit all out on the flat serve.

    From what I've read on the message board based on other peoples experience, service returns tend to be flat.

    In one of James Blakes match Blake hit a forehand somewhere near the server and the server couldn't move. I think that serve might have been in the 130mph range. I'm just not sure hot much extra juice he provided on that shot.
  7. superman1

    superman1 Legend

    Jan 9, 2006
    Okay, a fast ball flies at you and you want to do more with it. Well, that's pretty hard to do consistently. It's a low percentage shot. If you just try hitting it as hard as you can, you might frame the ball, smack it into the net, or break a string. Or what will often happen is that all of your effort will have been for nothing, since you won't strike it cleanly and you will just get it back without much pace. The smartest thing to do is just counterpunch. Use the pace of the ball and try to redirect it at an angle without using too much racquet speed. You can throw the kitchen sink at Hewitt and he'll just redirect it to make you run. When someone blasts the ball right at you, they're just trying to beat you with power. You don't want to fall into that mindless trap. You want to do one better than them and hit a smarter shot.

    Easier said than done. This all happens in the blink of an eye, so I often find myself just blocking back those balls deep, or slicing them low if I have the time to change grip. Make them hit another shot to beat you. Even a pro couldn't hit a winner off of a blocked shot that lands deep and at an angle (if you can run), or a low slice that lands short.
  8. brucie

    brucie Professional

    Feb 22, 2006
    Short flat swing Blake style this is what i try to do. Sure sometimes u gotta block it, it depends on the situation though.
  9. Rickson

    Rickson G.O.A.T.

    Jun 16, 2004
    First of all, you should shorten your backswing on fast balls and if you have plenty of time to smack the crap out of the ball, how fast can the ball be coming at you? I have very little time to react on fast balls, but I don't mind getting into a power to power rally because it feels like pro tennis that way rather than pushing. Your abbreviated takeback will prevent you from using your own setup power anyway, but you should use a full followthrough and you'll be exchanging hard shots that land inside the court with the best of them.
  10. dave333

    dave333 Hall of Fame

    Aug 24, 2006
    one of the instructors served at us w/ his 125 mph flat. Scary like ****, considering we're only like 13, 14. Blocking the ball got the job done and we each got one return by swinging at it. we standing like, 5 feet behind the baseline too XD
  11. 35ft6

    35ft6 Legend

    Feb 18, 2005
    For me it depends on how high the ball bounces and where I am on the court. Basically, if I have to hit a really fast ball back BELOW my wheelhouse, I take a full swing but I don't add any of my own power. I try to get it back deep and into a corner, with emphasis on depth. If I'm on the run and I have to hit a fast ball low to the ground, I try to flick it back crosscourt with tons of topspin.

    If the ball is struck hard but with a lot of topspin so it's in my wheelhouse, it's really like any other shot for me (compared to the example above, a super fast shot that is below my wheelhouse... the difference is I abbreviate my swing more on low shots...). Most of the time, I'm not trying to generate insane pace. I make sure I turn my shoulders and I take a nice swing through the ball, if I do that smoothly the pace happens. I never really tell myself "power" now. For me, when I want to hit harder, I just make sure my technique is even more clean and loose than usual.

    On a 130 mph serve, get it back anyway you can, which probably means blocking it back. But don't spend a lot of time worrying about this since you're not going to see many 130 mph servers in your lifetime.
  12. skuludo

    skuludo Professional

    May 7, 2004
    My abrivated swing does have a full follow through.

    I start out blocking the ball and right when its about the reach the racket I can swing it. In that instant I can torque my body to hit that shot. I can torque it till my back hurts (If used 3 hours straight). The stroke is useless on slow balls, but effective on fast balls.
  13. Trinity TC

    Trinity TC Semi-Pro

    Jul 28, 2006
    It works quite well on slow balls if you catch the on the rise. You can't be lazy though, as a lot of your energy should be spent on running hard so that you can pick the ball really early on the bounce.

    Back to your first question (If I hit the ball harder will it land in?) can add power to a hard shot if you are catching it on the rise because you are using your opponents spin as well as speed against him or her.:cool:

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