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Returning the Serve

Jake-OkinesHow do you return a really big serve?
You’ve got two choices really. You can either move well back behind the baseline to buy yourself more time, or you can stand in and opt for a simple block return.The problem with standing further back is it allows the server the option of slicing the serve out wide, taking you out of the court. The block return is a good choice if you can cope with little or no grip change between forehand and backhand. You obviously don’t have time to take a big swing at the ball and your first objective is to use the server’s pace and send the ball back along the same line.

The technique is broadly similar to that of the volley. Hold the racket well out in front of you. As the server tosses the ball, take a small two-footed hop forwards (split step). A short, compact backswing is all that’s required – just turning your shoulders will do it! Keep a solid wrist and meet the ball with an abbreviated swing in front of your body, transferring your weight forwards – just as if you’re leaning into a strong wind! If your reactions are reasonably good and you can manage without big grip-changes, try the block return to turn your opponent’s pace against him.