Split Step Return of Serve

gforehandIt is common wisdom among tennis players that they do not want to “run through” their first volley; so they need to split step as their opponent is striking the ball in order to be balanced for their next shot. This variation comes in a reader’s question:

“So I get that split steps are mandatory for coming to the net and at the net. Do you step and split on return of serve?”

Actually, I am one of the relatively few players I know who do this. I picked the concept up from a Tennis Magazine article years ago by the great Australian doubles team called the Woodies (Mark Woodforde and Todd Woodbridge).

They recommended starting back a couple of steps as you are waiting to return serve; and then coming forward as the server serves and doing the split step to start your return. Rather than being a passive returner, this action will make you a more aggressive one, with your body weight going forward on the critical return of serve.

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2 thoughts on “Split Step Return of Serve

  1. George,
    Back in the days of serve and volley the spit step was taught and used often. McEnroe looked like he ran through his volleys, but split step first and then ran. When you watch pros on TV many pros step up and split – Andy Murray in particular. For us older gentleman split step is good on serve and volley (not much done in singles) and in doubles if you are doing chip/hit and move in. Good balance is the key and ability to react to any kind of shot. If you are not doing it, give it a try once and awhile, but needs some practice first.

    Larry – thanks for the support! george

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