I'm new here and looking for some advice.
I play for my HS team and will most likely be playing #1 singles for them next year (played #3 this past season with a short and dreadful stint at #1dubs...I'm definitely a singles player, haha). I've really been working hard this offseason to step up my game and improve every aspect, but one significant weakness has been infuriatingly persistent: service return. I'm awful at it.
Now, if somebody hits a sitter second serve then I'm all over that. And I'm not too bad with kick serves either. But if I have to deal with a flat serve or slice serve with a good deal of pace on it (really any first serve at all) then I'm miserable.
I honestly just feel like my reflexes suck. If I'm playing somebody who constantly serves to one side, then I can generally handle it after I get a read on it, regardless of pace. I played this 3-star recruit from out of state who had a monstrous serve, but he only ever hit it to my backhand, and by midway through his 3rd service game I was smacking return winners off of his first serve. (Unfortunately there's a reason he's a 3-star recruit and I won't be playing college tennis at all...his groundstrokes were sick and I lost 6-4, 6-3 despite breaking him 5 times. But that's another story, lol.) But any time my opponent switches it up at all, I'm toast. I just can't figure out how to hit a decent service return off of a good first serve because I can't for the life of me anticipate which direction it's going and adjust accordingly. I'm constantly finding myself with the wrong grip, or switching in between forehand and backhand grips, with my feet all over the place.
This likely won't be a problem when I play kids from around the area because frankly, I live in a small town in Indiana and the local school teams suck. But once we start playing Indy-area schools through the middle of our season, I'm going to be in a great deal of trouble if I don't get this wrinkle in my game ironed out. Help!