The first step towards winning a point in tennis is to get the point started. Even though the return of serve looks like a regular groundstroke, there is quite a bit more to it. Learning to block fast serves, chip and charge, and returning spin serves are skill sets that must be targeted and developed.
Review the advice in the return technique section to take your return of serve to a whole new level.
We recommend you start with our series of return lessons below. It includes 11 lessons from footwork all the way through the swing. Alternatively, you can use the filters below to find a specific return technique video.
Start Here: 11 Expert Return Technique Lessons
1 vs 2
Agility and Speed
Approach Shot Tactics
Basics of the Serve
Coordination and Balance
Fitness Warm up
Functional Warm Up
Green Ball Stage
Kids on Court
Learning from the Best
Live Ball Drill
Mobility and Flexibility
Mobility and Flexibity
Net Play Tactics
Orange Ball Stage
Pre-Match Warm Up
Preparing the Body
Red Ball Stage
Rhythm and Timing
Swing Path Animation
Technical Guideline of Backhand
Technical Guideline of Forehand
Technique of Backhand
Technique of Backhand Volleys
Technique of Forehand
Technique of Forehand Volleys
Technique of Groundstrokes
Technique of Return
Technique of Serve
Technique of Volleys
Tennis over 50
One of the most common mistakes when returning is failing to track the ball into the racquet after the bounce. Here is a drill to help you practice this.
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Tension is one of the main causes of unforced errors in tennis and the return is one of the strokes where players tense up the most. Improve your return by first recognizing tension and the eliminating it.
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A very common source of mistakes in tennis is failing to track the ball from the bounce to the racquet, and the speed of the serve makes it even more prevalent on the return. Next time you are on the court keep that in mind every time y...
In order to return effectively you need to be able to perfectly time a ball coming at great speed towards you, and the only way to do it consistently is by eliminating any superfluous movement. Stay still for better returns!
At times the serves are coming so fast that the only way to generate some forward momentum is to use your forearm. On these extra fast serves set up with the racquet head close to contact and use your forearms not your arms to send your...
To return effectively you need to avoid swinging in a steep angle. Instead a solid return swing will usually be fairly flat. Here is a good way to achieve this.
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Every return involves the split step but different players take different approaches. Some move in, some stay in place and some even move back. Take a look at your options.
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To block a return you will need to set the strings behind contact and push forwards with a little under spin. If you picture a volley you will be on the right track.
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As a returner you are under tremendous time constrains. If you do not move as soon as the ball leaves the opponent’s racquet you will most likely not reach a well placed serve. Therefore having an automatic, efficient split step routi...
Anytime you have a chance, move behind the ball to return. Avoid reaching if it is not absolutely necessary. Reaching will easily get you off balance and will decrease your chances of hitting a powerful return.
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The key to returning effectively is to make contact with the ball in front of the body. Due to the serve speed, taking a normal swing at the ball will usually lead to a late contact point. A much better alternative is to shorten your ba...
This is a good example of a return with a full swing, one used to attack a weak serve. The side view shows cleary how the player exploits a weak serve by starting an early move to set up her forehand and attack it with an aggressive swin...
One of the most effective serves is the body-serve, which forces the player to move sideways away from the ball to return. This return requires an extremely short backswing and follow through since the player is not really able to swing ...
Returning a very fast requires a very compacto swing. The player barely has time to turn the torso and set the racquet head behind the incoming ball. In addition, the swing will usually aquire more of a linear form when compared with muc...
Returning a very fast serve requires a very compact swing. The player barely has time to turn the torso and set the racquet head behind the incoming ball. In addition, the swing will usually aquire more of a linear form when compared wit...
The slice serve will make the ball rotate sideways and curve. In order to accomplish this, the player has to hit the side of the ball and attack the ball with an angled racquet head. From this back view, it is very easy to see how the pl...
The faster the serve, the less time to recae and return it. Therefore, the player has to shorten the swing both on the backswing and on the forwards swing to be able to return effectively. Here is a good example of this.
In women and junior tennis the return can be one of the weakest shots in the point. A good returner will take advantage of this and start the point attacking using an aggressive swing Let's take a look at an example.
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Here you will have a chance to take a closer look at a return of a week serve. The player has time to step into the court and take a large backswing to generase pace.
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This is a good example of a return of a weak serve. The side view will show us clearly how the player takes advantage of the slow ball to step into the court and attack it with an aggressive swing.
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A slice return is a control shot very similar to a vollley. The player uses a compacto swing to block the ball safely back. Let's take a look at its key components.
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