6 Tips to hit great returns!

The return is one of the most important shots in tennis. Some even say it´s the MOST important shot. Just like the serve, you start 50% of your points with the return of serve.

Having a good return will enable you to put pressure on your opponent and it will put a bit less pressure on your on service games.

Generally speaking, players don´t work enough on their return of serve. If you care about winning your matches, return of serves should be practiced!

When you start working on your return of serve with our tips below, I will promise you that your returns will become much and much better.

Ready position

If you are not in a proper ready position, how can you expect yourself to hit a good return of serve?

Try to position your feet on shoulder width apart or even a bit further, an athletic position is key for a strong and stable return! Bent your knees a bit as it will lower you center of gravity. Doing this will enhance your balance, and power.

Novak Djokovic is ready to hit his return of serve

Split step

In tennis, the split step in tennis is one of the most important of footwork techniques. Unfortunately, it’s also one of the most overlooked by recreational players. Granted, it’s a small move, but when timed perfectly, it makes a BIG difference on how well you will strike the ball.

The split step is essential for the succes of your return or serve. 

  • It will prepare you for the shot that´s incoming
  • Executing the split step the right way will help you to move towards the ball more explosively, which will really impact the quality of your return of serve

Short backswing

Especially on serves with a decent speed, you want to keep your back swing short. Making a backswing like you normally would on a normal groundstroke will really hurt your return game.

You will be late on most of the balls and the ball will hit your frame many times, that´s what we want to avoid on the return right?

When returning a fast serve, just try to turn your upper body and shoulders. This will give you enough power, IF you follow also the next tips. 

Awesome video of Rafael Nadal practicing his return of serve. Notice his short back swing on pretty much all returns.

find the Contact point in front of you

This one will make or break the quality of your return of serve. Hitting the ball in front of you will enable you to use the power of the incoming serve. Using the tip about the short backswing will help you to achieve this.

Hitting the ball next to or behind you on the return of serve will often result in a low quality shot, giving your opponent the chance to dominate the rally. 

Drive the ball

In the return of serve, your goal is to drive the ball to the direction you want it. You don´t want to start hitting the ball with crazy power, neither just pushing the ball back.

You follow through in the return of serve is key. Keep the backswing short but try to follow through towards your target as much as you can. This won´t only make your return of serve more stable, it will also be a better quality shot.

Forward momentum

During your shot, try to keep the forward momentum going. This is not always possible but if it is, move your body weight to the direction you want to hit the ball. Doing this will even add more power to your shot. Awesome right?

Start implementing these 6 return of serve tips into your game see the result for yourself, you will be surprised by the result 🙂

If you want your doubles partner to start hitting as good returns as you will hit after implementing these tips, don´t hesitate to share this article with him/her!

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