Return Of Serve – Get A Great Tennis Return

The return of serve is the second shot in any point, and once finely tuned with certain tips and techniques, a player will find that he has a chance at every point! A tennis players whole confidence and morale gets a boost from FREE points and once we cut out those missed or weaker tennis returns…

They will suddenly feel under a lot more pressure. Andre Agassi certainly put an enormous emphasis on the tennis return where he spent hours a day practicing his tennis returns! This ultimately achieved one of the most difficult players to beat in the world.

Preparation For Return of Serve

Know what you are to do before the opponent serves. Do not just react to whatever happens! You simply do not have enough time to hit a good tennis return like that. So, clarify with yourself exactly where to hit your tennis return when you step up to the line. For example, think… If it comes to my forehand I hit cross court, if it comes to my backhand I hit down the line. Players find this helps to reduce the element of surprise which comes with trying to return a good serve.

Andre Agassi

Tennis Return – Footwork and Swing

Ok, so when to split step? You should split step when your opponent has tossed the ball. That way when he makes contact with the ball, you land ready and balanced. Then next thing depends largely on your opponents serve.

If it is a first serve? Then a short take back will suffice and rather than swinging at the ball just move forwards. The serve has plenty of pace on it all ready! On top of this, if you swing at it then the chances of hitting the perfect contact point becomes minimal.

If it is a second serve? And you have time then move in on the return of serve. Split step, then step in a bit (with left leg if forehand) or (right leg if backhand) and put pressure on the opponent with your closed stance.

No need to go for a winner on the line, one of the best tennis return strategies is to go to the center and therefore jam the opponent. If you miss, you will have still made them doubt their serve! Continue reading

Three Tips To Nail A Fast Serve

#1. Relax. Go to your happy place, think about being on the beach with a cocktail! In fact do whatever except “Trying to hit the fastest tennis serve.” It will tense too many muscles which impedes the swing speed. Don’t believe me?

Try snapping your wrist as hard as you can, tense your muscles and give it your all. How fast was it? Now, try relaxing your wrist… and snap it again. Hopefully, the latter is much quicker!

To improve tennis serve? It is not only the wrist, but the muscles ALL the way down your arm that can impede you swing speed! Learning to relax into your serve is VITAL for speed. Check out the learning to play tennis article for this approach to learning to play tennis.

#2. Rhythm. The best servers have rhythm. Rhythm is essential for consistency and improvement of your tennis serves. After all, if you are hitting serves with different rhythms, you are hitting different serves. Its like trying to improve several serves instead of just one. On top of this, a good rhythm can be used to your advantage in gaining YOUR fastest tennis serve!

If we watch a Andy Roddick serve. We will see that there rhythm transfers their weight from their front foot onto the back foot. Once all this weight that is loaded onto the back foot… It is exploded back forwards and into the serve at the striking point!

That is where the power comes from! BAM, a server that has learnt to do this, has just gained a couple hundred pounds of moving weight behind his serve and is gaining his fastest tennis serve. You can feel the ball knock you back a bit kind of like a tennis overhead … if you return it!

Practice using your weight effectively by rocking your weight back onto your back foot, and transferring it forwards and through into the court when you hit! The details are your personal serving style, everyone has different preferences.

#3. Technique. They have good technique. While this statement may not win any noble prizes for originality. The cold truth is that if there is some funky technique in your tennis serves, you are probably not letting yourself hit the ball to your full potential. As this is a very personal area, I suggest you get your tennis serves checked out by your local coach. However, here are the three most common technical errors. That through coaching and playing, I have seen many times. That once adjusted can allow you to improve tennis serve power and technique.

1) Lack of bending of the legs. Your upper body must be loose when serving. So where does the raw power come from?

The legs. You have to get low with your legs and explode, catapult, or push off upwards. Look at all the photos of the famous tennis players pros serving. They all bend their legs to a great extent.

2) Shoulder and arms not in line. By this I mean… When you toss your ball up and are waiting to hit it. Your left hand in the sky should run straight all the way down to where your right elbow bends.

3) Stance too open. Many people do not realize how closed the Pros really are… This creates power through rotation into the ball. Pete Sampras arguable one of the best servers ever lived, is a classic example of this. Andy Roddick Serve is another great example, but we have all ready mentioned that a little 🙂

Hope you have enjoyed the tennis how to serve fast page, feel free to look around other tennis strokes , tennis drills or any other pages on the site… you get the idea 🙂

The Lob


The stroke which sends the ball above the head of the net player. A high lofted ball which goes higher than the reach of the net player to land near the baseline.


The lob is an underestimated stroke used ineffectively by the majority of players. Matches could often be won by effective lobbing at the right time and are often lost through lobbing too infrequently and inaccurately.

1. In singles the lob is used to give the player time to recover correct court position when driven off the court. Also it is used to give the player time to recover her breath during a hard fought rally.

2. It is used as a point winner in singles, when the opponent is unable to run back and return the lob.

3. In doubles and singles it is used to drive the opponent back from the net.

4. In doubles the lob is used to mix up the team work of the opponents in addition to driving them from the net.

tennis Lob

Types Of Lobs

In general there are two types, the offensive and the defensive lob. The offensive lob is hit just out of reach of the opponent and does not give her time to run back and hit it on the first bounce. This lob is very difficult to accomplish successfully and is an advanced stroke, safe only in the hands of an expert. The defensive lob is hit very high, and the opponent may have time to go back and return it, but only if there is a goodly space behind the baseline. When there is little backcourt space the defensive lob is also a point winner. There is some question as to the fairness of lobbing in this situation, however. Continue reading

The Volley


The stroke used by a player at the net in which the ball is hit before it bounces. The volley is an aggressive hit which wins the point quickly because the opponent lacks time to return it accurately out of reach of the net player.

Types Of Volley

1. Concerning momentum

a. Aggressive volley.

1. A crisp stroke with definite swing, which sends the ball into the backcourt or alley near the feet of the opponent.

2. The flight of the ball is swiftly downward.

3. Definite body action assists the sharpness of the stroke.

b. The “stop” or “blocked” volley.

1. The racquet is held against the ball, deflecting it off to the side, or dropping it over the net.

2. There is no swing. The racquet is thrust out, or up, to catch the ball as it comes over the net.

3. Sometimes the racquet will “give” back at the contact, to counteract the force of the ball hitting the racquet.

Note – The stop volley is an immediate point winner, for it must place the ball where the opponent cannot possibly reach it.

tennis Volley

2. Concerning ball spin

a. The flat volley.

1. The ball is hit squarely by the racquet in a flat position, similarly to a nail being hit by a hammer.

2. No spin is placed on the ball so that it shoots to its destination like a bullet.

3. This volley is the swiftest and most effective. Continue reading



“Footwork is the adjustment of the feet to place the body in position for activity.” Good footwork in tennis may be thought of as the action of the feet in placing the body in position to stroke the ball most efficiently.

Importance Of Footwork

In tennis the ball never comes in the same direction, at the same height, nor bounces in the same spot twice in succession. The player is never able to “take up his stance” as in golf, knowing that the ball will lie still until he hits it. A tennis player is busy taking up his stance all over the court during the entire game, and mobility is the watchword. The only times the player is motionless is in the waiting-for-service-position, watching to see which direction the ball is to take.

tennis Footwork

1. Good footwork aids power in a stroke because when the stance is correct, body action can be thrown into the stroke.
2. Good footwork allows the ball to be hit off the forward foot, at racquet’s reach from the body.
3. Good footwork insures perfect timing, so that the stroke is not hurried, and the weight shifts forward with the forward swing, to result in a more accurate direction of ball flight.

a. With a transfer of weight, the racquet swings in a flatter arc and can carry the ball forward in the desired direction for a longer distance than if the racquet swings in small arc.

1′. Without a transfer of weight forward, the flight of the ball is the tangent to a circle of which the racquet swing is a segment.

2′. With a transfer of weight, the ball flight is in continuation of the direction of the swing, the racquet sweeping the ball forward in that direction.
Rules Of Footwork

1. Body weight is carried on the balls of the feet at all times, ready for quick body action.
2. The knees are slightly flexed and never hyperextended or stiff.
3. Use small movements of the feet, for example, many little steps rather than a few large ones. Continue reading

The Serve


The stroke used to put the ball in play before each point of the game.


To put the ball in play in such a way that the opponent will have difficulty returning the service. To achieve this the serve should have:

1. Placement

It should not only land deep in the service court but be placed to the disadvantage of the opponent.

2. Speed

The serve should be fast enough to prevent the opponent from placing the return to the disadvantage of the server.

3. Spin

A ball with spin is much harder to return accurately than one without any spin. Even a fast serve which bounces straight, without any spin on the ball, may be easy to return.

Because the player can plan the timing of the ball and swing, and the exact court position from which the serve is sent each time, he should develop a machine-like precision in his serve, which will insure the winning of the service game.

tennis serve

Various Types Of Serve

The serve is more or less an individual stroke which adapts itself to the type of player using it. However, every serve should have the three qualities mentioned above. They may be in different proportions according to what type of serve suits the individual player best.

1. The Top Slice Serve. This serve is fast, accurate, and causes the ball to spin from right to left with some top spin.
It is not difficult to learn, does not tire the player unduly, and is the most practical and universally used serve among topflite women players. Continue reading

The Backhand Drive


The stroke used to return balls which bounce to the left (non-racquet’s) side of the body. Like the forehand drive, it consists of a horizontal swing which imparts some top spin to the ball, and sends the ball forward swiftly to land near the baseline.

Note – This stroke should be just as easy as the forehand drive. The only reason players think it more difficult is that they do not practise and use it as much as the forehand stroke. Except for a change of grip and body position, it is much the same.

Backhand Drive Analysis

1. Grip

a. Eastern grip (there is a change in grip for the forehand and backhand drives).

1′. The racquet handle is shifted slightly so that the first knuckle is on the top side plate of the handle, palm is on top of handle, facing downward.

2′. The thumb may be placed directly up the back plate of the handle, acting as a brace, thus strengthening the grip. However, this position of the thumb is optional, many players preferring the thumb in a diagonal position so wrist action is facilitated.

3′. The opposite face of the racquet is used to hit a backhand from that used in the forehand.

2. Wrist Action

a. Adduction of the wrist, or movement of the wrist toward the body, during the backswing, and abduction, or a definite throw of the wrist away from the body, accompanying the forward swing. Since the hand is more or less on top of the handle in the backhand grip, lateral movement of the wrist takes the place of the flexion and extension used in the forehand drive, when the hand was more on the back of the handle.

b. The wrist holds the racquet well up, so that the racquet head is higher than the wrist, throughout the entire stroke.

The hand is in a strong position on the top side of the racquet handle. The thumb may be placed up the back plate of the handle. The opposite face of the racquet is used from that in the forehand drive.

Note – Players who fail to change the grip find the wrist in a weak position for action, since the hand is on the front of the handle rather than the top. If the player attempts to hit the ball with the same side of the racquet as in the forehand, the wrist faces the ball and is in an awkward position for the stroke. This happens frequently when the incorrect forehand grip has been used.

Backhand Drive

3. Body Position And Action

a. Body is at right angles to the net, with the right foot toward the net and the left foot away from the net.

b. Because the backswing is across the body, there must be decided body rotation away from the net to insure a full backswing.

1′. Thus it is best to place the right foot diagonally forward toward the left net post.

2′. The player’s back is almost turned on the net during the backswing, with the player looking over her right shoulder at the oncoming ball.

c. Weight shifts to left foot during backswing and forward onto right foot with forward swing, trunk rotating definitely toward net. Continue reading

The Forehand Drive

Introduction – The Courtesy Stroke

As an introduction to the forehand drive, the courtesy stroke should be learned. This stroke is a forehand volley with a half swing, used to start the ball for a rally or to get it back to the opponent before service. It allows the player on the opposite court either to catch it in his hand on the first bounce, or to get it into play for the rally. The ball flight of the “courtesy stroke” is an upward arc over the net. The ball is not hit forcefully, and will land nearer the service line than the baseline. A tennis player has use for this stroke from the first day he wields a tennis racquet to the last day of his tennis career.

Champions, warming up before a match, start the ball to their opponents with the courtesy stroke. Coaches use this stroke in setting up the balls for their pupils. Since ball boys are a rarity in most tennis matches, the courtesy stroke assists the players in getting the balls back politely to the server before each point.

Note – It is decidedly impolite to start the ball, or retrieve it by tossing it up in front of the face, and hitting it in a downward direction over the net. Too frequently the ball will not clear the net, and if it does, the bounce is usually difficult for the opposite player to handle.

The Forehand Drive

The technique of the courtesy stroke will aid the beginner in learning the true forehand drive, for they have the following points in common:

1. Grip.
2. Body position.
3. Horizontal racquet swing.
4. Body moving toward the net as the stroke is made.

The points of difference, which do not affect the learning of the true forehand drive, are:

1. The length of racquet swing is cut down. The racquet is swung back only to a position opposite the right thigh.
2. The ball is hit on the volley (before it has bounced).
3. The ball is started with a toss by the player, instead of coming from the opposite side of the net.
4. The ball is hit when it is farther forward toward the net, and slightly lower than it is in the usual forehand drive.
5. The ball flight is slightly more in an upward direction.
6. The ball is hit with less force.

Technique of The Courtesy Stroke

1. Stand with the left side toward the net and the racquet held out horizontally opposite the right thigh.
2. Hold the ball in the left hand, pointing in the direction of the right net post.
3. Toss the ball out toward the right net post, about two feet from the body, at thigh-height (half way between the knee and waist).
4. Immediately step toward the net on the left foot, letting the racquet swing forward to contact the ball before it has dropped to knee-height.
5. Let the racquet finish at shoulder height, out in the direction of the ball flight.


The simplicity of this stroke allows for good results in accuracy of ball placement as long as the ball toss is correct, and the racquet swings in a horizontal plane. Most beginners can master the stroke during the first tennis practise. Pupils having difficulty will be found to be tossing the ball badly; taking too wide a back-swing; or not lining up the center of the racquet with the ball. Often these pupils will prefer to let the ball bounce before hitting it. This is not advisable, since the bounce should be reserved for the true forehand drive, wherein a full backswing is taken, and more force is applied to the ball than should be used on a courtesy stroke. Continue reading

Step-By-Step Learning In Tennis

Tennis is easy to learn if you have a baseball background. The forehand and backhand drives are similar to batting; the serve involves the same muscular action as an over-arm throw. Of course the tennis drives do not aim to be homeruns, but neither do all baseball hits. Ability to control the base-hit, grounder, and bunt should carryover into controlled tennis drives. Effective overarm throws should carryover into forceful, accurate serves. Wrist flexibility and strength developed in baseball practise should help tennis grips and wrist action. Examples of .carryover from baseball to tennis are found in the former tennis champions, Frankie Parker and Alice Marble. Both were outstanding baseball players and both learned to be outstanding tennis players in a few years because of the direct carryover of skill from one sport to the other.

Skill in any sport with coordinations similar to tennis is excellent background for rapid learning. Thus Fred Perry became a famous tennis champion in five years by transferring his skills from table tennis, in which he was an International Champion. One American tennis star held the California State championships in tennis, badminton and table tennis at the same time. Likewise, golf players tend to become good tennis players and vice versa.


Learning Steps

1. Get acquainted with your tennis racquet and ball. Feel the difference in the racquet swing and the liveliness of the tennis ball, as contrasted to your baseball, badminton, or golf swing. You must locate the proper grip on the racquet handle in order to hit the ball squarely in the middle of the gut. You must learn to bat both right-handed (forehand) and left-handed (backhand) in tennis. A slight shift in grip will be necessary in the backhand.

2. Check your form in swinging against that of a good tennis player to be sure you are using the right mechanics. Try to imitate the good player.

3. Practise stroking the ball against a backboard or on the court, learning to apply topspin. A drive can be hit with great force to land within the court boundaries if the ball carries topspin. You can prove this by placing lots of topspin on the ball and watching its flight. The ball will curve up over the net and start to drop immediately. Thus an arced flight is characteristic of a topspin drive. Of course a fast ball aimed too high above the net will not have enough arc to bring it down within the 39 feet area on the other side of the net. The Margin of Safety above the net is found to be approximately ten feet. The so-called “flat drives” of the champions carry very little topspin and use a narrow margin of safety over the net. These drives shoot like bullets across the net. The beginner should not attempt these advanced strokes because the ball will land in the net more times than not. Continue reading

Is Murray back?

The year 2014 has not been kind to Andy Murray, not kind at all. After a whirlwind two years between 2012-13; Murray won gold at the 2012 Olympics, his first Grand Slam at the 2012 US Open and of course, the 2013 Wimbledon Championship. Murray was at his zenith, he had become the first Brit to win Wimbledon since the late Fred Perry, who achieved the feat in 1936, becoming a national darling and assuring himself of a knighthood years down the line.
Andy Murray
Then that troublesome back flared up again. After the 2013 US Open Murray underwent surgery in an attempt to try and rid himself of the lower back pain that had plagued him since the early stages of the season.

Returning from injury is one thing but splitting with your coach, the coach that has guided you too your Gold Medal and Grand Slam successes, is far from ideal. In Murray’s defence, it was more Ivan Lendl, who had family commitments that he wasn’t able to meet when travelling around the world coaching, than him behind the split.

Back to 2014, quarter-final appearances at the Australian Open, Wimbledon – where he upset the betting, going out to Grigor Dimitrov in a feeble fashion, leading many to question the mentality of the 27-year-old – and the US Open, as well as a semi-final appearance at Roland Garros; his joint-best performance there, meant it was the first time that Murray had not competed in a Grand Slam final since 2009.

But it wasn’t just a drought in the Grand Slams, rather tennis as a whole. Murray struggled profusely throughout 2014. He has seriously toiled but in recent weeks, he has not only made it to his first final since his Wimbledon victory, but he has tasted success. After taking a wildcard for the Shenzhen Open he managed to beat Tommy Robredo, after saving five championship points, to end his 14 month drought and get his hands on some much needed silverware.

So now that he is back to winning ways, is it back to the Murray we have come accustomed, the all-conquering Murray?

The comeback is no longer in its primitive stages. Murray’s lower-back is perfectly healed now; actually the surgery would have made it stronger. So from a fitness standpoint Murray is as fit as ever. Now that is a real worry for those who have leapfrogged him in the rankings, as Murray is coming for you. Nobody likes a cold, calculated man chasing them but, that is exactly what all the players up to Novak Djokovic will now have to look out for.

Changing coach is a big moment in any sport – look at Manchester United without Sir Alex Ferguson – and tennis is no different. Murray has had to adapt from the coaching regime of Lendl to that of new coach, Amelie Mauresmo, who has been in place since the French Open concluded. These two are building up an intrinsic working relationship, something that will only get better with time.

Amelie Mauresmo by Carine06

Amelie Mauresmo by Carine06

Tennis is full of waves. Murray was riding one in the years prior: reaching the final of Wimbledon, winning the US Open and then finally winning Wimbledon. Murray was red-hot for those 18-months. But as waves go in, they must also go out – this is the crest that Murray was on for most of 2014. All players go in and out of form, sustaining it is the biggest problem, and you can only sustain form when you are playing regularly, something that Murray has not been doing this year, but will be from now.

Hopefully Murray will be able to qualify for the ATP World Tour Final in November. A good showing there will put in him in the right frame of mind to do well at the 2015 Australian Open. Murray needs to use Shenzhen as a springboard. He’s broken his duck and now its time to go back to playing tennis.