Want an unstoppable serve? – Click Here! Get huge serve power and spin – Click Here! Facing a high kick serve from a player who likes to serve and volley can be very tricky and uncomfortable. There are 3 different ways that you can approach this scenario… Here’s the one that will give you the best results the easiest. Hit the most confident and effective serves of your life – Click Here! 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. 82 Comments James Wechsler February 21, 2017 at 9:20 pm - Reply Excellent. n extremely helpful demo and analysis. Bill February 13, 2017 at 1:59 pm - Reply With the short chip shot all Ira has to do is slow up expecting this return and let the ball bounce to hit a drop shot, go deep down the line deep to put the returner on the defensive. So this is where the returner has to vary the return. Michael Perry February 13, 2017 at 11:17 am - Reply Excellent stuff. Definite like. Buz February 12, 2017 at 8:23 pm - Reply Very good. Thanks tomd February 11, 2017 at 9:32 pm - Reply sorry that was meant say does not serve and volley…. tomd February 11, 2017 at 9:31 pm - Reply what is the solution, if the server does to serve and volley. seems like solution 3 could just bounce right to his strike zone, Ian Westermann February 12, 2017 at 8:49 am - Reply The solution is to aim either deeper or shorter! Adam Jameel February 11, 2017 at 5:04 pm - Reply Hi Ian. Thank you very much for your informative video on returning kick serves. It really helps to know these 3 options. But I like the advice on keeping it simple. Well done. Jorge Alberto Castro February 11, 2017 at 2:55 pm - Reply Wow great piece of advise. I like to watch your videos and actually they have been helping me so much. I´ve been recovering from an ankle surgery and an eye near-surgery and just by following your tips you have made my game a lot more easier for me due to my limitations. Thanks a lot. I would like to see a video about volley approaches and techniques. Thanks again. Paul February 11, 2017 at 2:34 pm - Reply Thanks so much for sharing this, Ian. Karen February 11, 2017 at 2:32 pm - Reply Ty Ray February 11, 2017 at 12:22 pm - Reply Thanks Ian. Would you do the same option 3 in doubles where the net man can poach and put the ball away? Bhushan February 11, 2017 at 11:20 am - Reply Hi Ian, Am asking a oft repeated question which you have probably answered, but still remains a big issue- especially for me: How do I tackle a lefty's serve, especially the slider in the ad court & the outer(going out wide) in the deuce court? I tried all stunts including standing in the far corner in ad court, hitting topspin(I have a single handed b.h.), slicing back to his backhand, etc. I realised that the spin on slider in ad court, takes my ball in the net when I try to play crosscourt to his forehand.Butthe ball does remain in when sliced to his backhand. At times I wait for the ball & try to lob it up to his backhand side. When he serves to my f.h. taking the ball out, I find that sliced or top spin to his b.h. makes the ball go in, but when I try down the line, it either goes out or in the net. Honestly, the success rate of my returns against lefty's at present is just 40-50%. I would like you to answer specifically with demos as you yourself are a lefty & must've used it against many in your initial years in competition. Do share your thoughts please. Thanks a ton, Bhushan John Snead February 11, 2017 at 10:30 am - Reply Good lesson, I have a hard time hitting top spin bhand returns Mary P. February 11, 2017 at 10:05 am - Reply good quick lesson!! Noushin Kananian February 11, 2017 at 9:55 am - Reply Many thanks for sharing your experience! It's quite useful! Michael Mazer February 11, 2017 at 9:46 am - Reply Ian, I have had success returning kick serves down the middle from the deuce court the way you detailed here. I struggle with kick serves short in the box and out wide with heavy slice on the deuce court. Please advise. JOey February 11, 2017 at 9:42 am - Reply I use this strategy all the time, in doubles and singles. If the server is able to hit an approach shot off your return, you will usually get a ball which you can hit for a passing shot or lob. I find it's better to start with the lob…this will make him less eager to close in after his next serve, which will open up your passing shot possibilities. Some times, you don't even have to slice the serve, if it jumps up higher than you anticipated…..just block it flat and soft around the mid court line. If you are a serve and volleyer, and you see your opponent using this strategy, the next step for you is to serve and FAKE coming in for a step, so you position yourself three to five feet INSIDE the baseline….In this way, you will be in perfect position to take an aggressive swing at the little chip your opponent blocked back off your serve (as Ian demonstrated)….You will be able to drive a big approach shot into a corner, or off the court, and come in to the net behind it. It was learning this last strategy that allowed Tim Henman to finally reach his potential (at the age of 29), and rise to number four in the world…..He never had a big enough serve to dominate at the highest levels, but he had maybe the best volleys ever. But by mixing up coming in with faking coming in, he could beat anyone. Nicolas March 5, 2016 at 2:23 pm - Reply I liked the video, can please you show the same video but returning the kick serve in the rise? Nate Walker March 4, 2016 at 4:05 am - Reply Good video, Ian. Thank you! john Nixon March 3, 2016 at 5:36 pm - Reply I normally hit my backhand with slight under spin (Rosewall backhand hopefully) this is good advise. Thanks Noushin March 3, 2016 at 10:59 am - Reply Many thanks for sharing your experience! DN March 3, 2016 at 12:44 am - Reply Great! Big thanks. James March 2, 2016 at 8:43 pm - Reply That's great Ian & Ira … Thank you ! How about on the forehand side … Tougher to hit with slice over there, No ?? Art March 2, 2016 at 8:41 pm - Reply Ian great topic and video. Many thanks to you and your team. I would like to share some of my thoughts though. Watching your video, I thought that Federer is chipping his returns back quite a lot probably more than any other player on the tour but he is a master of disguise, his timing is impeccable and his game is very hard to read. For most of us though if you are playing a good level player and you are chipping back every time he serves you a kicker he will make you pay every time – if you do it then it must be unexpected! I play one handed backhand and I personally don't like using option 1 at all. I believe that if you are playing a good opponent then your success rate trying to use option 1 will be very low. Option 2 – stepping in and taking a ball on the rise is what I would suggest most players who play competitively should concentrate on because if someone sends you a heavy kicker at 100mph it is a lot more difficult to chip it back than to take it on the rise. For those who play socially chipping back all the time may probably work ok first because a 50mph kick serve is a lot easier to chip back and second because lower class opponents often don't know how to deal with a low volley. vijay March 2, 2016 at 3:41 pm - Reply looks like a restricted video. Can you please unlock it. Ian Westermann March 2, 2016 at 4:19 pm - Reply I'm honestly not sure how its possible you're seeing an error message…it is most definitely public! Kevin F. March 2, 2016 at 2:36 pm - Reply Hi Ian This works great for lower levels, I have used it against guys up to about USTA 3.5 or so but what about higher levels, that have a lot more pace on the kick serve? I often play against guys that are higher level than me, they are USTA (4.5/5.0+) and they have Heavy Heavy kick serves and often can use it as a body serve. How do you handle kick serves that are heavy and with pace (110 mph+) and are body serves? Jason March 2, 2016 at 1:16 pm - Reply Awesome!!!!!!! Thanks a lot! Ian Westermann March 2, 2016 at 2:05 pm - Reply You're very welcome, Jason. Ian Westermann April 28, 2016 at 12:47 pm - Reply You're welcome! Ian Graham March 2, 2016 at 1:14 pm - Reply Good solid advice about returning a kick serve- no drama, gets you back in the point. Ian Graham Daniel February 8, 2016 at 4:49 pm - Reply Hi Ian, I have a one handed backhand, and I feel that slice backhand return lends itself more to the one hander, or two handers just have a harder time with it, but I use it on high balls when I haven't moved in. My comment is when I use it I try to get the ball deep but here you're saying just a few feet past the net. If the opponent is approaching this would work, but what if they are staying back and now you've just given them a half court week ball that they can move up and put away? Or worse they are already at the net, say in doubles, isn't this show an easy put away? Ian Westermann March 2, 2016 at 12:36 pm - Reply You're exactly right: what I'm suggesting here is a solution to a very specific scenario – you're playing singles and the server is coming in behind their serve (serve and volley). If your opponent stays back then this is NOT a target you want to aim for, you'd want to place it deep instead, which it sounds like you're doing already. In a doubles scenario it depends on the level of play. At beginner levels poaches are rare so the slice can be a very viable shot. Against intermediate and certainly advanced opponents you can't get away with it anymore unless you place it absolutely perfectly. Taking the return early with a drive becomes the best solution in that case. Every specific scenario has its own solution! alok October 7, 2015 at 12:46 pm - Reply hw to start after a long break alok October 7, 2015 at 12:45 pm - Reply thanks for tips Newt Harband August 2, 2015 at 3:46 pm - Reply Great advice. Not easy to do but as you point out once you master this you can do it consistently. And after a few points, the server may change his technique!! One of the keys (as you mention) is to stay calm and consistent with that attitude is keep your grip on the racket loose until you hit the ball. This idea has made my serve much more consistent to the point that I rarely double fault any more! I also hit a one handed backhand and I have found that if I hold on the to the racket with the non-hitting hand (my left) as long as possible, I prevent the early lunge-hit the ball too soon- into the net problem! Thanks. Newt DN July 31, 2015 at 12:55 am - Reply Great stuff. Christian July 26, 2015 at 11:08 am - Reply Ian, Thanks for another fantastic video! We have similar insight, yet you can explain it on video so much better!!! I'm sending all my students to your videos. I do like that you reversed the video so you're playing right handed. You lefties confuse me! Keep it up brotha!!! Jesus Hernandez Franco July 24, 2015 at 2:53 pm - Reply Thanks for answering my question! I play competive USTA tournaments and a lot of the players I face use kick serves. I will practice these techniques to overcome my weakness. Thanks again for answering my question, its the first time a youtuber addresses my comment. It really made my day. Ian Westermann July 24, 2015 at 10:06 pm - Reply You're very welcome, Jesus! Carol S July 22, 2015 at 5:04 am - Reply Great lesson. Thanks. Susan McCrank July 21, 2015 at 4:07 pm - Reply I liked your lesson on how to handle a kick serve and volley very much! I have enjoyed all the lessons you have sent to me immensely! Thank you! Ian Westermann July 21, 2015 at 9:01 pm - Reply You're very welcome, Susan. Terry July 21, 2015 at 1:02 pm - Reply great video – simple and enjoyable. I will be trying that in my match this evening Ian Westermann July 21, 2015 at 3:14 pm - Reply Great, let us know how it goes for you. Bev Thompson July 21, 2015 at 12:01 pm - Reply Loved this video on how to deflate a kick serve and volleyer (sp). Ian Westermann July 21, 2015 at 3:12 pm - Reply Great to hear, Bev. Raj July 21, 2015 at 8:40 am - Reply Hi Ian, great lesson!! Since most of us are right handers, the kick serve on the Ad court backhand is the tougher serve to return and the slice is harder. It would be nice to a demo of that shot. Also, what was the rough speed of Ira's kick serve in the video – more or less than 70 mph? It would be nice to see a demo where the kick serve is faster? Thanks Raj Guido Renner July 21, 2015 at 1:59 am - Reply Hi Ian, this orks well on the backhand side. However, what about the kick serve return on the forward side? Dong July 20, 2015 at 11:16 pm - Reply Thank you very much Ian for sharing these wonderful videos with excellent tips. I have not been playing for year, but when I got back recently and used all the techniques that you showed on the videos and can see some improvement already. Btw, I thought you are a lefty. In the video you used your right hand. 🙂 p.s: One of my father's friends who stationed in Viet Nam as an American Advisor has (do not know if he is still alive or not) the same last name as yours (Westerman). He was a Lieutenant Colonel in Viet Nam and probably got promoted to Colonel when he got back. I am wondering if you are related. Ernie Redaja July 20, 2015 at 9:05 pm - Reply like Rich July 20, 2015 at 3:15 pm - Reply Same concern as Bill….for doubles does it rquire a bir more depth,pace & wide placement? Overall strategy looks good.Thx Ian Westermann July 20, 2015 at 3:27 pm - Reply Yup, a good net player definitely complicates this. As I told Bill the slice is still completely doable at lower to intermediate levels of play, but at higher levels something a bit more forceful starts to become necessary. Robyn July 20, 2015 at 2:40 pm - Reply Great tip! I've been doing exactly the same as I don't like to move back and get pushed out of the court. Ian Westermann July 20, 2015 at 3:12 pm - Reply Good instincts, Robyn. Thanks for the feedback. Rubens Silva July 20, 2015 at 2:35 pm - Reply Great informatiothank you Ian Westermann July 20, 2015 at 3:12 pm - Reply You bet, Rubens. Mike July 20, 2015 at 11:26 am - Reply Firstly, I am surprised that lobbing over the incoming kick serve and volleyer was not an option. Secondly, how would someone be able to decide which is your backhand? You seem to play pretty well from both sides. I am ompressed! Ian Westermann July 20, 2015 at 3:15 pm - Reply Honestly, the only way that immediately lobbing over the server is going to work is if the server either has a poor overhead or really poor footwork. If they split step or shuffle step the way they're supposed to then they won't even be to the service line yet as you're hitting the return…..which means a perfect lob has to be hit. Going over the net player in doubles is usually a different story…. Thanks for the kind words regarding the backhand, I appreciate it! Bill July 20, 2015 at 11:14 am - Reply Looks promising for singles. Could you comment on dealing with the kick serve in doubles, where the short slice return would often get put away by the net player? Ian Westermann July 20, 2015 at 3:17 pm - Reply Against a solid net player the slice is definitely tricky in doubles, Bill. It has to be placed perfectly to keep from having it be picked off. On the other hand, it largely depends on the level of play. At 3.0 and 3.5 the slice can absolutely still be used. At 4.0 or 4.5 moving in and driving on the rise starts to become more necessary. Rod July 20, 2015 at 10:29 am - Reply Ian, Thanks for the tips, as always. Props for flipping the video to make it more comfortable for us righties. ~Rod Ian Westermann July 20, 2015 at 3:18 pm - Reply Glad you appreciate that, Rod. ken July 20, 2015 at 10:17 am - Reply Great advice! Ian Westermann July 20, 2015 at 3:18 pm - Reply Thanks, Ken. Dan July 20, 2015 at 10:14 am - Reply Good to review all options and why this has the most safety. Demonstration might be better if Ira's kick serve had more pace as you are typically going to experience rather than this "sitter" kick serve that Ira served up. Ian Westermann July 20, 2015 at 3:18 pm - Reply Ya, Ira definitely wasn't going full speed…..just wanted to get the concepts across. Jim July 20, 2015 at 10:12 am - Reply Ian…wit a minute…you're a lefty and Ira is a righty…what gives in the video?! Great advice again as always. Jim C Ian Westermann July 20, 2015 at 3:19 pm - Reply We flipped the video to make things more useful for the 90% of players who are right handed. George July 20, 2015 at 10:01 am - Reply Great tip, will definitely give it a try. I am just wondering though. Shouldn't the opponent react after 3-4 of these and stay back? He should be able to hit a forehand from inside the baseline after such a slice, which would give him control of the point. Having said that that, I still think that this slice is a good idea (assuming taking the ball early is not an option) as the opponent will have more work to do to win the point compared to having a volley (which he will probably feel very comfortable to hit). Ian Westermann July 20, 2015 at 3:21 pm - Reply My first response to an opponent staying back instead of coming right in is "great!". I've successfully caused them to change their tactics to something less aggressive which gives me a lot more breathing room. My suggestion would be to then pick a deep target down the middle, which means aiming a foot or two higher over the net. You've now neutralized their aggressive attack! fanny July 20, 2015 at 9:55 am - Reply Liked the tip; ) Do you have a course/video for a 10 year old to watch. Something fun that keeps him interested and improves his strokes and footwork. Thank you Ian Westermann July 20, 2015 at 3:21 pm - Reply Unfortunately we don't have anything geared towards kids specifically, Fanny. Maybe in the future. Noushin July 20, 2015 at 9:19 am - Reply Many thanks for sharing your invaluable knowledge and experiences! It's really appreciated! Ian Westermann July 20, 2015 at 3:22 pm - Reply You're very welcome, Noushin. Thank you for watching. Satjiwan July 20, 2015 at 8:30 am - Reply So when they start reading this play and stay back, your short ball becomes a low sitter for them. How do you recommend a counter adjustment? Try to see them and hit it a little harder and deeper so they can't attack easily? I try not to change my mind mid shot but moving from a dying slice hit to the midcourt to a more biting slice hit to the backcourt backcourt seems doable. Ian Westermann July 20, 2015 at 3:23 pm - Reply Good question. My first counter adjustment would be to hit the same type of shot but aim a foot or two higher so the ball travels nice and deep into the court, completely neutralizing the point. If they start serve and volleying again then go right back to the shorter target to make them volley/half volley up. Phil July 20, 2015 at 7:57 am - Reply Great suggestion; I've ended up doing this on a grass court with great effect, but it never occurred to me to try it on a hard court. Ian Westermann July 20, 2015 at 3:24 pm - Reply Yup, this is super effective on grass. Great for all other surfaces as well though. Garreth July 20, 2015 at 7:54 am - Reply Great tips on the kick return Ian – i was playing doubles with three able-bodied players yesterday and a kick was causing me a huge amount of trouble from a particular player because of my height (wheelchair player) so I eventually stayed back on it but then that opened up the court for him. The slice option is really great as my natural tendency is to roll in on serves to cut off angles. Also, loving the GREEN grip! I'm taking that as direct dedication & support to me ok! #teamgg #irl Ian Westermann July 20, 2015 at 3:25 pm - Reply Haha, I'll send some more support your way soon, Garreth.