Serve and Return
Common errors: -
1. Do you watch the ball long enough, or is your head dropping too early?
2. Does your arm that you place the ball up in the air with, drop too fast, so as you go to make contact with the ball the dropping arm pulls your head down too early?
3. If you are serving long, is your ball placement not in front enough?
4. If you are serving into the net, is your ball placement too far in front?
5. If you have not got enough speed, try to stand tall and hit the ball at the highest point and once you feel that you are really stretched on the contact, then start to slap the ball down with your wrist.
6. If you start to net with pace, then you are possibly snapping the wrist over too quickly.
7. If your serve has no penetration, are you actually jumping and landing inside the court? You should be landing at least over the baseline, to be having any kind of penetration.
Common errors: -
1. If you are netting, are you looking at the target too early and dropping your head, pulling your shoulders down? You should finish with your chin held high and your back more or less straight bending only at the hips yet still able to see the opponent.
2. If you are serving into the ground, is your wrist just snapping over the ball or are you throwing the ball up too far in front?
3. If you are hitting the baseline, with your serve way long, are you throwing the ball up behind you? Or are you pushing the serve, with your wrist leading, rather than your racket head leading?
4. Are you having to walk around to hit the ball? In other words, are you chasing your ball toss? Learn how to hit a serve keeping the front foot still, as this will give you the initial control that you need to begin serving well.
5. Exactly like with the ground strokes, when you have not been playing too long, the first thing you need to do is get control of the serve and then be able to hit the serve with direction. Practice serving in different directions, but not too hard. Once you have control and direction, then you can think about increasing the pace.
Not being able to return serve well:-
1. The common error here is not watching your opponent put the ball up in the air. If you watch their toss, you will start to pick up earlier which way the ball is going. This will allow you to prepare earlier and be able to make more returns.
2. A second error made on returns happens when you contact the ball and you are looking at the target, rather than the ball. Watch the ball for longer and try to see it hit the strings of your racket.
3. A third error on the return of serve is when a player hits the ball and starts to recover to the middle of the court and finishes the shot pulling away from the ball.4. A fourth error is always being the player who fails to take the initiative. Firstly find a good rhythm and make a lot of balls. Most matches are won or lost on mistakes, so if you are not making the mistakes, allow the other person to make them.
If by just controlling the ball and rallying well the other person starts to hit winners all over the place, then yes you have to take a bit more of a risk and start to take more initiative yourself. But until that point comes, where they are actually not making mistakes, then you can stick to the above.
by David Sammel