Any tips on playing big servers?! [Archive] - MensTennisForums.com

Any tips on playing big servers?!

MisterQ
10-16-2004, 07:26 PM
I have started playing this guy who has a monster serve. I consider myself a decent returner of slow and medium-paced serves, but this guy is just at a whole other level. We are pretty well-matched in other areas of our games, but his serve is too much to handle. He's the type of guy who has two first serves; he doesn't take pace off it. The only times I broke him were when he served 3 double faults. :lol:. ;)

Although he's comfortable at the net, he doesn't really serve and volley, so it's not like that is pressuring me...

90% of his serves go down the tee, but I still can't handle them. If I stand on or just behind the baseline, I am late getting my racket on the ball and can't control it. If I back up a few feet, the ball kicks up unpredictably and I can't find it either, even though I have more time.

As for my normal return game against more ordinary opponents: I use a very short backswing when returning, and I have a two-handed backhand. I like to be aggressive when possible, but I am comfortable just blocking the ball back if I'm not in good position (even with one-handed backhand if necessary). I am not used to slicing the return back, however, but that's something I could work on.

I'm sure it will all get easier the more I play him, but if anyone has any tips that would be :cool: .

They don't even have to be tips for me specifically; this thread could be a place to talk about this issue in general too.

:)

Bilbo
10-16-2004, 07:33 PM
your reaction is not good enough, you must improve that

TennisLurker
10-16-2004, 07:44 PM
have you tried returning like 4 mts behind the baseline?

MisterQ
10-16-2004, 07:47 PM
have you tried returning like 4 mts behind the baseline?


I haven't tried going back that far. My game is normally played pretty close to the baseline so it feels really strange for me to go back there. But yes, it's a good suggestion and I will try it. thanks. :)

BaselineSmash
10-16-2004, 07:51 PM
If it really is that hard to return, you might want to try something radical like just camping on the tee (from the baseline) for a set or so to try and put him off. And perhaps a healthy dose of sportmanship, e.g. bending down to fasten your shoelace just as he steps up to serve or holding up your hand to stall him, could throw his concentration. But ideally, developing a low slice return that you can rely on more would be best if you're struggling to come over the ball on returns that you're able to read.

TennisLurker
10-16-2004, 07:52 PM
there is a message board, tenniswarehousediscussion, whoch has a great forum (a lot of activity, many of the posters are coaches) for tennis tips, if you want I can ask there.

MisterQ
10-16-2004, 07:53 PM
thanks, BaselineSmash. :)

MisterQ
10-16-2004, 07:54 PM
there is a message board, tenniswarehousediscussion, whoch has a great forum (a lot of activity, many of the posters are coaches) for tennis tips, if you want I can ask there.

sure, if you don't mind. could be interesting to hear what they say. :) thanks

TennisLurker
10-16-2004, 08:04 PM
http://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/viewforum.php?f=12

thats the link to the forum, the thread is Any tips on playing big servers by I love Chokers.

alfonsojose
10-16-2004, 08:04 PM
Smash your nose with your raquect, use a ponytail, wear a Nike bandana and a shirt with the logo "4 GS winner". He will think "JesusFed come to earth to save me" and pass out

MisterQ
10-16-2004, 08:10 PM
http://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/viewforum.php?f=12

thats the link to the forum, the thread is Any tips on playing big servers by I love Chokers.

Awesome! thanks

MisterQ
10-16-2004, 08:11 PM
Smash your nose with your raquect, use a ponytail, wear a Nike bandana and a shirt with the logo "4 GS winner". He will think "JesusFed come to earth to save me" and pass out

:lol:

See, alfonsojose, this is why I come to you for advice. You think outside of the box.

Deboogle!.
10-16-2004, 08:51 PM
Smash your nose with your raquect, use a ponytail, wear a Nike bandana and a shirt with the logo "4 GS winner". He will think "JesusFed come to earth to save me" and pass out

:haha: :haha: I think that will definitely help Q kick this guy's ass. Good luck Q, you can do it! if I knew anything about how to actually play tennis, I would help you but... I don't LMFAO :bolt:

I'll be your resident cheerleader instead :bounce:

zoltan83
10-16-2004, 09:32 PM
Smash your nose with your raquect, use a ponytail, wear a Nike bandana and a shirt with the logo "4 GS winner". He will think "JesusFed come to earth to save me" and pass out

:lol: Nice tip :lol:


Sorry Q, I can't help you. Until now, I didn't meet an opponent who have a monster serve that would be impossible to return.

MisterQ
10-16-2004, 09:35 PM
:lol: Nice tip :lol:


Sorry Q, I can't help you. Until now, I didn't meet an opponent who have a monster serve that would be impossible to return.

That's probably because of your Andre-esque skills, Zoltan. ;)

thanks :)

Fedex
10-16-2004, 09:37 PM
Smash your nose with your raquect, use a ponytail, wear a Nike bandana and a shirt with the logo "4 GS winner". He will think "JesusFed come to earth to save me" and pass out
:haha: :rolls: :lol:

ae wowww
10-16-2004, 09:41 PM
return well?

Fedex
10-16-2004, 09:44 PM
Q, do you have a single or double handed backhand? I have a single handed backhand. When I play big servers, I generally chip or block the ball rather than take a full swing at it. Its not a bad strategy if you can develop a good slice return. I vary the return position, but you put much more pressure on you're opponent if you stand on the baseline, and force him sometimes into double faults. I usually struggle more with servers who mix up there serve consistantly, as opposed to those who serve with pure power.

MisterQ
10-16-2004, 09:46 PM
return well?

why didn't I think of that?! thanks! :yeah:

croat123
10-16-2004, 09:47 PM
i always like to put pressure on big servers by changing my position on the return a lot. i'll sometimes be 6 feet behind the basline and then on the next point i'll move inside the baseline to simply block the return back. also, definately stay inside the basline on his second serves and go for them. if you start making big returns it will affect his game.

Fedex
10-16-2004, 09:48 PM
return well?
Thanks Mal. ;)

MisterQ
10-16-2004, 09:50 PM
Q, do you have a single or double handed backhand? I have a single handed backhand. When I play big servers, I generally chip or block the ball rather than take a full swing at it. Its not a bad strategy if you can develop a good slice return. I vary the return position, but you put much more pressure on you're opponent if you stand on the baseline, and force him sometimes into double faults. I usually struggle more with servers who mix up there serve consistantly, as opposed to those who serve with pure power.

I usually position myself quite aggressively, close to or on the baseline. Sometimes even inside. I have a two-handed backhand, but I do also have a one-handed slice (not a great one, though) and volley. I'm not used to using it on the return, however. For this guy, I obviously need to try some different things, so thanks for your advice! :)

MisterQ
10-16-2004, 09:54 PM
i always like to put pressure on big servers by changing my position on the return a lot. i'll sometimes be 6 feet behind the basline and then on the next point i'll move inside the baseline to simply block the return back. also, definately stay inside the basline on his second serves and go for them. if you start making big returns it will affect his game.

Thanks, croat. :)

problem with this guy is, he doesn't have a second serve. He hits it nearly as hard as the first. So I can't really come in on the second serve to apply pressure.

only good thing is that this approach causes him to double fault a lot... :yeah:

Fedex
10-16-2004, 10:06 PM
I usually position myself quite aggressively, close to or on the baseline. Sometimes even inside. I have a two-handed backhand, but I do also have a one-handed slice (not a great one, though) and volley. I'm not used to using it on the return, however. For this guy, I obviously need to try some different things, so thanks for your advice! :)
Do what I do. Attempt an occasional chip and charge, even if you're not the best volleyer. Even though I like to volley and come to net, I dont C&C often, but I do suprise my opponent. Even if the return lands out, or he passes you, you've still made him do some extra thinking. He may get nervous, and start to miss more 1st serves, as well as double fault.

Fedex
10-16-2004, 10:08 PM
MisterQ, dont tell me this guy already has you're number. ;) Actually I need some tips too. Do you know of an effective strategy against Serve and Volley players? I struggle miserably with them. And if he has a big serve and serves and volleys, the better. ;)

Jennay
10-16-2004, 10:13 PM
Whenever I play huge servers (including guys) I don't step back, I step in. One of the things I do is try to dropshot the return. I use his or her's pace to chop it back, but at the same time putting a lot of backspin on it. Since the guy you're playing has a huge serve and doesn't come in after it, that strategy could help :) It might be tough though if you don't have a good selection of spins!

Another thing I try to do is take a huge rip at it, especially if I know where in the box my opponent consistently serves. If you like your forehand more than your backhand then maybe take a step back and towards the middle right before your opponent serves. If you get the correct bounce and placement, take a hit at it, if not, just try to get it back in play :)

Good luck, Q! :yeah:

MisterQ
10-16-2004, 10:17 PM
MisterQ, dont tell me this guy already has you're number. ;) Actually I need some tips too. Do you know of an effective strategy against Serve and Volley players? I struggle miserably with them. And if he has a big serve and serves and volleys, the better. ;)

LOL, he doesn't have my number yet. ;) We only played once, and he won 7-5, 6-4. But I had to work hard on my serve, and had little chance of breaking him unless he double-faulted a lot.

I try to do what Agassi does: don't always try to get the ball past the guy right away. Hit balls that will dip down right over the net (using either topspin or finesse to accomplish this) so that he has to volley up. Chances are he won't be able to put the volley away right away because he has to be sure to clear the net. That gives you another look at the ball and a chance to pass.

Also, how's your lob? Sometimes we forget that shot is an option. It's really discouraging to get lobbed a lot.

Fedex
10-16-2004, 10:23 PM
Dropshot a serve? :confused: That would seem very hard to do, esp. off of a big serve! ;)

Jennay
10-16-2004, 10:25 PM
Fedex, the dropshot is one of my best shots, and it helps that the surface I usually play on is clay ;)

Jennay
10-16-2004, 10:27 PM
Plus it tends to throw off my opponents like "What the hell are you doing drop shotting a serve?!" ;)

Fedex
10-16-2004, 10:28 PM
LOL, he doesn't have my number yet. ;) We only played once, and he won 7-5, 6-4. But I had to work hard on my serve, and had little chance of breaking him unless he double-faulted a lot.

I try to do what Agassi does: don't always try to get the ball past the guy right away. Hit balls that will dip down right over the net (using either topspin or finesse to accomplish this) so that he has to volley up. Chances are he won't be able to put the volley away right away because he has to be sure to clear the net. That gives you another look at the ball and a chance to pass.

Also, how's your lob? Sometimes we forget that shot is an option. It's really discouraging to get lobbed a lot.
I actually am not sure why I'm not more successful against serve and volley players. I do have a good chip/block return that stays pretty low, although if I'm having an off day, my chip return ends up sitting up over the net, nice and easy for the volleyer. My main strategy against them (mainly when I'm serving) is to take the net away from them and serve and volley when possible. Maybe I shoulden't do this? I rarely use the lob, so I think I need to practice it more, before I use it in a match.

Domino
10-17-2004, 12:11 AM
Here's an option, watch his toss. I find that very big servers almost always, unless they are incredibly good at serving, need to change their ball toss to help direct their serves. Pay attention real well, and you can usually pick up where he's going with his serve. It gives you a chance to position yourself and get ready; you wont need to change your returning position. Also, keep your weight forward, it helps you return the serve and prevents you from being shell-shocked easily.

Action Jackson
10-17-2004, 06:48 AM
Thanks for the tips Domino, they are very helpful and I will put them to use for sure, the only thing when it comes to tennis that I can actually do well, is the tactical side of things, everything else is just crap.

WyveN
10-17-2004, 08:00 AM
Play him on clay.

superpinkone37
10-17-2004, 08:08 AM
Play him on clay.

hahaha :lol:

WyveN
10-17-2004, 08:20 AM
Seriously......

Keep your racquet head relatively high, between your chest and belt line. This gets you ready to make contact with the optimal height of the ball when it bounces in.

For a hard server like this guy, probably all you will be able to do initially is make certain:
- you are going forward at the point of contact
- watch the ball from the toss to your racket so you
have the optimum amount of time to ready yourself
- hit a low return or just slice it up high since this person doesnt run to the net.
- if he messes up and hits a serve well in your hitting
zone->then by moving forward into the serve, and watching
the toss; then even if it is a fairly hard serve, you should
be able to return this with some authority with some work.

Also try to shorten your backswing while still doing a shoulder turn and following through. Most people tend to take their usual loopy backswings on the forehand, for example and there isnt time against big servers
If your opponent serves fast then you dont need to worry about getting power on the ball, just try to get placement and use your opponents service speed.

tennischick
10-17-2004, 01:18 PM
in addition to all of the sound suggestions, i will add that:

1. you need to be conscious of your own body language. one of the mistakes a lot of returners make is that they indicate too early where they are going to position themselves and what kind of serve they're expecting to have to respond to. it's important to split-step while he is serving so that your body movement gives nothing away and you are ready to turn in either direction to receive his serve. even if he mainly serves down-the-tee, don't let your body movement make it obvious that you are only preparing for those serves.

2. you have no choice but to back up a bit. not so far that he then reads this and switches to a kick serve, but not so close to the baseline that you are basically ineffective in your response. if he kick-serves, try to return the ball as it is going up bec if you wait too long, and if he's very good at it, the bounce will sail over your head. this is why your moving back just a bit is critical.

3. you also really should switch to a one-handed blocked return. a chip, even if you don't charge. chip the ball back and begin the point all over with the groundstrokes. if his backhand is weaker, try often to chip the return there so that you have the advantage in the groundies. but it's very difficult to chip with two hands on the racket.

4. use his power against him. don't try to muscle back the serve. the fact that it is coming with so much force can be used to his disadvantage. if you just block it back to his weaker side, it's coming back with a lot of force to the side where he himself would be less able to control the power.

hope this makes sense. i play against guys a lot and these are the strategies i use to give myself a chance to win a game or two. ;)

zoltan83
10-17-2004, 02:16 PM
That's probably because of your Andre-esque skills, Zoltan. ;)

thanks :)

:lol: more probably :D lol thanks ;)
But I think my serve is better than my return.

MisterQ
10-17-2004, 02:31 PM
thanks for your great suggestions, WyverN and tennischick! :yeah: :)

Fedex
10-17-2004, 04:00 PM
Play him on clay.
Then that gives him the option of using his kick serve.

WyveN
10-18-2004, 01:06 AM
Then that gives him the option of using his kick serve.

Hasn't helped Roddick on clay ;)

RonE
10-18-2004, 10:38 AM
Not much I can add here- just listen to the advice given by Fedex, TC and WyveN. :yeah:

When playing big servers, don't try to out-do yourself. I used to make that mistake too, but I learned the best way to handle a big server who doesn't rush in to the net is to just keep your racquet arm steady and block the return back as deep as possible and get yourself into a rally. Important too- like WyveN said, keep the racquet head up, don't let it dip, otherwise you will find your returns floating beyond the baseline. Not that I can always implement it myself, but the theory is sound :lol: