A return is nothing more than a groundstroke with a short backswing. In order to force the player to shorten the backswing it is important to take away time. By standing close to the player and feeding fast bouncing shots, the coach forces the payer to shorten the backswing and work on blocking the ball in front of the body.
Exercise 1 Against the Fence A good way to teach players to use short swings and meet the ball in front of the body is by having them stand against the back fence and rushing them with fast feeds that do not bounce. The players against the back fence cannot take large backswing so they are forced to keep the …
A common problem on the return is moving too much and therefore loosing precision. In this drill the player works on staying totally still to return using as little body movement as possible. The idea is to work on stability. The player should try to keep the eyes at contact for a second or two before looking up to see …
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.
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!
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 you return. Watch the ball to contact!
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.
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 backswing significantly.
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.
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 routine can make a big difference. Here are some things you should focus on.