How Can You Use Visual Clues To Help You Return The Frist Serve?

by John Debnam Tennis Tips

Four main serve phases of the serve

The main serve phases are four: preparation, ball raising, contact and finish.


Your opponent’s grip considerably influences what they can do with their serve in terms of rotation and speed.

Less experienced opponents often use forehand grip which restricts their possibility and this gives you an opportunity to attack the serve you are going to return.


The position on the court from where your opponent serves (for example close to the center of the base line) often gives you clues about the serve’s direction.

This too gives you an opportunity to attack the serve and so gain an advantage in the point’s development.


Your opponent’s ball toss, in many cases suggests how they can serve.

The position of the ball in contact with the racket is crucial to determinate the serve direction, rotation and speed.

As a consequence, less experienced rivals often toss the ball to a point (on the right or behind) that allows only one or two types of serve, giving you an obvious advantage when you return a first ball.


Look at the grip.

Is the racketperpendicular to the ground or has it a small angle (like in eastern forehand).

Opponent’s position.

How much closer are they to the center of the base line?

Evaluate ball’s throw.

The wider is the ball’s throw , the more your opponent’s shot will be limited in terms of direction, speed and rotation.


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