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March 1, 1998
Return of serve for doubles

Welcome to the tennis lesson hotline, sponsored by Tom's Tennis Tapes, "educating players one mind at a time." I'm Tom Veneziano. This lesson lasts approximately 2 minutes and changes on the first of every month.

I would like to focus this lesson on return of serve for doubles. The three areas I will cover are:

  1. Returning serve when your opponent stays back
  2. Returning serve when your opponent charges the net
  3. The mind-set you should adopt when returning serve

Since the mind-set is so important let's begin there. Whether your opponent serves and stays back or serves and runs to the net the mindset is the same. In both cases do not try to play in what I call the hit winners mindset (you know everything you hit has to win the point). Instead, adopt a consistent mindset. Think in terms of getting the ball back and neutralizing your opponents serve. Most players do too much with the ball and make entirely too many unforced errors. This is due to faulty thinking. They're putting too much pressure on themselves to win the point off the return of serve. Do not fall prey to this temptation.

Okay, here's what you can do to make it more difficult on the server. If your opponent serves and stays back you must master a deep cross court return of serve. The key here is depth. You must keep your opponent from coming up to the net by hitting a deep cross court return of serve. Depth makes your opponent stay back and at the same time gives you more time to react to the next shot. Hitting deep tilts the percentages in your favor. You're attempting to create pressure, not win the point outright.

Now, if your opponent is serving and running to the net you must also hit the ball cross court but, this time you should keep the ball low at their feet. This will make your opponent hit up at the ball and possibly give you a pop up, which you then can put away. Remember, you are trying to create pressure, not hit a winner!

To summarize, when your opponent serves and stays back, you should return cross court and deep. When your opponent serves and runs to the net, you should return cross court and low at their feet. And finally in both cases make sure you stay in the consistent mindset and not the hit-winners mindset.

For more detailed information about my audio tape "Three Mental Techniques to Increase your Speed in Tennis" click here

Copyright © 2000 Tom Veneziano.  All rights  reserved. 

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