Where you stand to return serve says a lot about what you intend to do – or want your opponent to THINK you intend to do.
“Cock-eyed” return of serve position
From Naples teaching pros Phil Landauer and Mark Vines … they say, “On the first serve, show them you are ready for your weaker return side. They will automatically serve more to your stronger side (which you want anyway). Make sure you move forward with your back foot to get the ball on the rise.”
“On the second serve, move more to your weaker side and show them you are ready to crunch the return off your stronger side.” This, by the way is a basic Roy Emerson teaching principle. He says, on a big point second serve “show them your forehand.”
Standing Back or In Close?
If you are facing a huge server, don’t be afraid to stand back behind the baseline to return serve. And it is not a weakness to also ask your doubles partner to start back with you – so that they don’t get creamed after your short and weak return of serve.
This positioning also has the strange effect of changing the server’s visual when they look across the net, getting ready to serve. I believe the returner’s partner provides a touchpoint for the server; and when they are not there, that throws them off.
And conversely, when facing a server with a short, soft serve, don’t stand too far back and have to run in to return serve. The added impact of all your body weight rushing forward will throw off your return and have you asking yourself, “How in the world did I miss that puff ball serve?”
By starting well inside the baseline, you not only avoid the body-weight-forward problem, but you also send a message to the server that you are going to attack that weak second serve.
What are YOUR return of serve principles?
P.S. Tomorrow morning i go in for heart MRI #2 (!) and then over to Naples Hospital for pre-op meeting. (Heart cath next Friday).
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