In today’s video lesson I’m going to show you three different techniques to use in different situations for the return of serve. It’s vital to your success on the court that you adjust your swing size and focus depending on what phase of play that your opponent is putting you in: defensive, neutral or offensive. Using an appropriate swing size and picking an appropriate target will raise your level of success big time! Comments? Questions? Leave them down below. Thanks for watching! Return of Serve| Related Posts Leave A Comment Cancel reply Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment. 60 Comments Terri May 2, 2017 at 12:27 pm - Reply This is helpful to work on varied return of serves. What abou the use of a slice return to pull opponent in? Noushin Kananian May 2, 2017 at 11:56 am - Reply Many thanks for sharing your experience! GDQ May 1, 2017 at 7:55 pm - Reply In what universe can that be considered a big or aggressive serve?!! Susan Swenson May 1, 2017 at 7:31 pm - Reply Great video, going to work on this tomorrow Dick Kean May 1, 2017 at 5:07 pm - Reply What technique do you recommend for returning kick serves? Blocking doesn't work for me nor does guiding the ball back seem to get good results. Does one need to take a full swing? Kend May 1, 2017 at 4:42 pm - Reply I thought this was a very encourageing video especially for people who have been playing some time and thinking that they weren't improving very much. It seems to me that. you have to have been playing for a while to actually understand what Ian was saying and that understanding what he said showed an understanding capable of improvment.. capable of going to the next step… making reasonable choices. Noushin April 30, 2016 at 9:38 am - Reply Many thanks for sharing your experience! It's awesome! Ian Westermann May 11, 2016 at 11:16 am - Reply Thank you for watching! Yolanda ConleyAggers April 27, 2016 at 7:25 pm - Reply Thank you for the 3 return of serve techniques. When my opponent has a soft "dink"the ball over the net serve what technique do you recommend? Steve Shaver April 27, 2016 at 6:38 pm - Reply Thanks Ian. How about backhand and forehand slice returns? David April 27, 2016 at 4:18 pm - Reply What about the chip return??? Ian Westermann April 28, 2016 at 8:00 am - Reply I never said 3 was all of them 😉 subbarao cherukuri April 27, 2016 at 3:42 pm - Reply Thank you for your lesson. You have simplified 3 return of serve techniques. I will focus on these techinques right from to day. ame April 27, 2016 at 1:33 pm - Reply Thanks for the pointers; I learned something. Ian Westermann April 28, 2016 at 12:36 pm - Reply Good. So glad to hear that, Ame. Ian Westermann May 11, 2016 at 11:18 am - Reply Thats awesome. Glad to hear it. El Mac April 27, 2016 at 1:05 pm - Reply How about slice and kick. I am older player — usually try to move in and chip/block but perhaps you have another suggestions. Played a gal who actually kicked it above my head if did not pick up on rise which for my 5' is difficult. Like the instruction, excellent. El Yehudah Ya'akov April 27, 2016 at 11:29 am - Reply How about showing some clips of the greatest quick return of serves like Connors and Aggasi as examples of where to stand, how to return with more control and power simultaniously using single and double handed return of serves. Ian Westermann April 27, 2016 at 11:33 am - Reply Great suggestion. Bruno April 27, 2016 at 10:45 am - Reply Thanks Ian you always help me. Ian Westermann April 27, 2016 at 10:59 am - Reply You're very welcome, Bruno. Vic November 11, 2015 at 2:28 pm - Reply Excellent thoughts on return of serve. Noushin November 11, 2015 at 7:53 am - Reply Many thanks for sharing your invaluable experience and knowledge! Marc November 10, 2015 at 8:16 pm - Reply Great instructional video for R of S . I will try to incorporate those 3 returns fsilber November 10, 2015 at 7:37 pm - Reply How do you apply heavy topspin on a block? John Mori February 14, 2015 at 2:30 pm - Reply Ian, Great video as always! I've been finding that using a slice against a big serve when I don't have enough time for a full swing and the ball is coming low also seems to work and sometimes can even turn defense into offense but maybe this is because I'm typically playing 3.0 players. Another issue you may want to address in the future is how to deal with kick servers. I don't see that many servers using the kick serve at my level but i'm starting to see more of it. The high bounce can really through you off. Thanks again, John Carol S February 9, 2015 at 8:08 am - Reply Enjoyed this video. I see that I set myself up for strong returns by giving a predictable serve to the middle of the box. I will have to work on placement so my opponents don't kill me with their returns. Dennis bailey February 7, 2015 at 9:29 pm - Reply What did you mean when you said "top spin" grip? I liked watching your receiver's split-step: essential in every return of serve/ return. Carolyn February 7, 2015 at 5:07 pm - Reply I had no idea about the three types of return of serve. I thought you just hit the ball over the net into the right place! jaynes Friedman February 7, 2015 at 1:03 pm - Reply Ian: Really enjoy your relaxed, low key and informative videos. I am a USPTA….one suggestion please…talking is not teaching, listening is not learning…please less talk and more action. Would like to see you use as an exampled student someone who is not a 4.5+ player but rather a 3.5 player. Majority of USTA players (over 70%) are within the 3.5 level of play…so why not teach to that target? Keep up the good work and less talk,…deal? Best JIm Lynda November 10, 2015 at 2:08 pm - Reply Dear Jim, I REALLY like the talk. Ian has "talked" me to two National Tournaments (2nd place for both). I head to Florida sectionals again this December. Please talk less during your own instruction for your lessons but rememberer the ole "different strokes for different folks" saying. I honestly hope Ian continues his winning instruction. Lynda Srimati Dessert February 7, 2015 at 3:46 am - Reply Is it possible to show some fitness exercises ? I' ve been neglecting that part for a while and have become slow on court especially when the ball comes back hard on my backhand i just stay rooted on the spot and that bothers me ! If you can suggest some excersises to be quick on the feet and also spotting the ball early that would help . Many thanks for the valuable tips. Keep up the goos work , nantachai February 6, 2015 at 10:36 pm - Reply thank you Bev February 6, 2015 at 9:03 pm - Reply This was REALLY insightful – I thought of 'return of serve' as just one type of stroke – but you showed me it could be one of 3 (or maybe more!). Thank you! Joe Shelton February 6, 2015 at 3:44 pm - Reply I can think of two additional responses that I often use that are variations on a similar theme. The first would be a deep slice or chip down the center or, in doubles, deep into the server's court. This allows time for attacking the net or, the slice alone (whether in be because of a low bounce or the difficulty in returning a heavily sliced ball) might throw the return off and elicit a poor response. The second would be a short and low slice or chip to around the service line or shorter causing the server to have to move forward and return a higher ball for an easier put away if you've also moved forward to cover the response. Daniel B February 6, 2015 at 3:34 pm - Reply I like it!! Jean Carrière February 6, 2015 at 9:03 am - Reply Good video, Ian; however, I believe it's particular important to SPLIT STEP at the proper time upon recieving the serve. The question is: WHEN DO YOU SPLIT STEP? Steve February 6, 2015 at 8:29 am - Reply I often receive serves from opponents who bloop their serves in. It has some slice to it. It just skims the next within inches and lands very short with very little bounce. It results in my running up from the baseline and I find myself just getting to it but have to hit up which puts me in a defensive position to start the point. My solution was to stand really close to the service line to receive. But then they see this and surprise me with a medium paced serve but well placed which again puts me in a defensive position. So, these guys CAN hit medium paced serves but the serve would get creamed by a receiver standing at the baseline. So, they actually use the blooper described above as an "offensive" serve. It's so frustrating. I don't know how to deal with it. Steve February 6, 2015 at 8:36 am - Reply Steve here again. Just to add a twist. There're a couple of guys in my club that rush the net after this blooper serve. It's like a drop shot off a serve. So, when I hit upwards on the return they're standing there waiting to pounce. Merl February 9, 2015 at 4:31 am - Reply You have to read their service action and anticipate. Most players are very obvious. Watch their toss action and you'll see when they're about to tap a short serve in, then start moving up the court a bit early. You'll get there in time to hit the ball at its peak and put it away. Peter February 6, 2015 at 8:11 am - Reply great video Ian…I like it andy February 6, 2015 at 8:08 am - Reply nice ideas I tend to hit returns of slow serves too early and long Dick September 29, 2014 at 9:53 pm - Reply Ian, What type of stroke is the best to use against an opponent who has a great kick serve. Blocking it back doesn't work. ken February 6, 2015 at 8:34 am - Reply Hey, Dick: I'm a 4.5 doubles player here in Atlanta, GA. What works best for me against someone with a great kick serve is to mix up 2 different returns (depending on the game score, and how well I'm executing each return). I like to catch a kick serve on the rise (on my backhand side) and slice it back at the servers feet, especially in doubles as this is a very safe and forgiving return for me. The ball stays low causing him to have to hit up, and it takes away time putting pressure back on the server. I always follow this shot up to the net (inside the service line), ready to pounce on the next shot. I have more confidence on my forehand return, so I usually catch a high kicker on the rise and rip it (with heavy top spin) back at the servers feet and get up to the net as quickly and as close as possible (at least to the service line). The other option is to back up and take a full swing at these serves once they've dropped back down to my "strike zone." in these instances I am hitting heavy top to get the ball over the net and dipping down to opponents feet. On wide kickers or an occasional flat serve thrown in to "keep me honest" I might have to throw in a defensive lob and retreat. Carol S August 6, 2014 at 4:14 am - Reply Very informative video. I am playing later this morning and plan to be aware of what kind of return i am using. Hopefully, it will be mostly offensive! Thanks again!!! Jyotsna Sharma July 31, 2014 at 2:57 am - Reply Excellent Techniques!! I love all your video Tips. Thanks a lot for all the good work!! Ken Y July 29, 2014 at 8:16 pm - Reply Do you have a 4th type of return, particularly against someone who serves with frying pan grip, tosses the ball low but in front instead of above, but plenty of pace with lots of back spin that skids unpredictably? I'm fraustrated returning against these beginner's serve, especially in mixed doubles. With super low toss, it's hard to time my split. With ball that skids low & hardly bounces & unpredictable pace after the bounce, I either send it back into the net or the back fence. If I slice or chip it back, the eager opponent's net partner is too happy to smash the easy volley away. Any thought with serve return against the backspin serve? Carl October 8, 2014 at 3:54 pm - Reply The slice serve Is too low to get under for a top spin response. I find an open face effective at getting the ball back. It's not really a slice. The slice server tends to slice or chop everything. So I return the ball very low and without power. This forces my opponent to hit up on the ball. If all goes well, this will set me up for an easy put away. If the serve is weak, I may drop the head to get an inside/out slice. This return of serve does not bounce up much at all. Merv July 29, 2014 at 6:57 pm - Reply Thanks Ian – nice over view for the return of serves on different levels…Merv el_orans July 29, 2014 at 5:51 pm - Reply Great and useful summary, thanks, Ian. lefty steve July 29, 2014 at 2:15 pm - Reply I stuck my racquet out on the return vs. Big Server and ball kept jumping long off of my loosely strung Babolat racquet simply by the force of the impact of the serve….I was using eastern forehand grip, not SW….what adjustments have to be made? C Azurin July 31, 2014 at 11:48 am - Reply Your racquet face is probably too open, Try closing the face more which will lower the flight path over the net. Even though you are basically blocking the ball you can still brush up slightly on the ball to give it some spin. TJ Clayton July 29, 2014 at 1:49 pm - Reply Hey Ian, good video but I had a couple of q's for ya about this. I'm limited to just having a wall that I hit off of and don't have access to a ball machine or a playing partner, is there any drills or ideas that can help me develop my return serve? Also, I have seen Federer numerous times swing at returns that are a little out of his range by having the racquet parallel to the court and only using pronation to turn the racquet head fast enough to give a good return, is this more common than I know of and should I only use it in emergencies? Thanks Ian 🙂 keep up the good work. Don McD July 29, 2014 at 12:05 pm - Reply Excellent lesson. I wonder if the arm's follow through on the mid-length stroke should be shorter? It seems to me there should be a rough symmetry of the stroke around the contact. tati July 29, 2014 at 11:18 am - Reply Hi Ian Thank you for the tips for returning serves. I wish you had served harder with your real serve. Your serves looked so easy to return. I understand you want to focus on the returner's swing. I was very frustrated in my last mixed doubles match I could not return the man's serve it must have been at least 110mph with spin….I did not know where to position myself if far too far if close too close. My best return I did with my backhand, I felt more control for some reason. Because the swing matters don't be shy with your own serve to show how effective the return is. Thank you Rob Cross July 29, 2014 at 10:39 am - Reply NIce video. I have been around tennis for decades and rarely ever received any instruction on the return. Thanks. Thomas Corcoran July 29, 2014 at 10:25 am - Reply I would be interested in seeing some return instructions for competitive doubles. Thank you. Evan July 29, 2014 at 10:14 am - Reply Nice. I have practiced this way my return of serve before. It would help viewers to have more images of the drill. Maybe, like other videos you have, while the drill is going over and over a bit faster (btw body serve is huge !!!) your voice is in the background. And…how about more specific on different spins? That is a 'biggy' too. Great work. Thanks! Craig Berry July 29, 2014 at 9:42 am - Reply Great video! Not enough tennis instruction focuses on the return so it's much appreciated. If you could do some doubles return videos that would be awesome, too! Do you believe in altering your return position very often or do you prefer to adjust your swing (as in this video) more than adjusting your positioning? I try to alter my position sometimes but I feel like I've got too much going on when I'm trying to adjust to the serve and also adjust my position in relation to the baseline, but is that wrong-headed thinking? Thanks again for the video! Mike July 29, 2014 at 9:20 am - Reply Hi Ian, What style of return would you recommend against a spin serve? When I try to return a ball with lots of spin, I find it difficult sometime to get a solid hit in the center of the racket, and if I do, sometimes the spin makes the return come off the racket in strange ways. What's the best way to account for this?