4 Tips For Returning A Serve

Mar 30, 2013 by

Having the ability to return your opponent’s serve effectively helps neutralize their advantage and gets you involved in a rally. Learning how to break serve is a key element of victory and has been used by legends like Andre Agassi to great effect. Even the most powerful servers can be combated and below, we offer a few tips to help you get the ball back in play and become involved in a rally where you have a real chance to win the point.

See also: Tips for Generating more Speed in Serve

Andre Agassi Serving Tennis Ball

Tennis legend, Andre Agassi, once possessed the most lethal serve in tennis.

Moving Forward

This is an aggressive tactic and is generally saved for the second serve. If you move forward and time your return correctly, you can generate incredible power and perhaps win the point immediately. This technique involves stepping forward and hitting the ball on the rise. The aim is to use the ball’s speed and is all about timing. You begin just behind the baseline but begin to move forward as the server tosses the ball in the air.

Moving Backwards

This involves staying behind the baseline and waiting for the ball to come to you. It is less risky than moving forwards with the goal being to use a full swing and get in an accurate return. Once you return the shot, you can opt to move forward during the rally.

See Them Run!

A useful return tactic is to hit the ball to the opposite side of where your opponent serves. This gives you time to adjust and forces them to cover a large amount of ground. For example, if your opponent serves from the right hand side of the court, you return the ball with top spin to the left hand side. Hitting shots on the run is one of the most difficult aspects of tennis and forcing your opponent to do this enhances your chances of winning the point.

The Block Return

This is an ideal option when you’re up against a big serving opponent and are comfortable with having virtually no grip change between backhand and forehand. Hold the racket out in front of you and leap forwards a little as your opponent tosses the ball. Now, all you need to do is make contact with the ball; a small twist of your shoulders will be sufficient. Ensure that your wrists stay strong and meet the ball with a short swing as you transfer your body’s weight forwards. This enables you to use your opponent’s power to return the serve with minimal effort.

None of these return techniques can be used indefinitely as your opponent will figure each one out and adjust their serves accordingly. Vary your returns and confuse your opponent to break their serve and gain victory!

Image license: Creative Commons (view source)



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