It’s one of the most underrated shots in tennis, but the return of serve sets the tone for the rest of the point. It’s a different beast to a normal groundstroke and should be tailored according to the power, depth and spin of the serve.
To help improve your technique, we’ve trawled through the murky waters of YouTube to pick out three of the best free videos showing how to return a serve. They cover everything from the basics to more technical, tactical advice.
1. Tennis Now
We’re big fans of Blair Henley’s straightforward instructional videos for Tennis Now. In this one, she argues that the return of serve is “the most neglected shot in tennis” before explaining how to put pressure on the server by managing your rhythm, footwork and the direction of your shot.
This excellent video from Essential Tennis takes the return of serve to the next level by exploring three key techniques you can use in different situations: a defensive return against a big server, a guided topspin return and an aggressive wallop. The best thing about this tutorial, however, is the amount of realistic demonstration – not all of the returns make it over the net.
Intosport.com’s run-throughs are fast becoming a regular feature on Tennis Talent’s “best videos” lists. And with good reason: they’re simple to understand and packed full of information. This tutorial looks at the best way of reading the server’s body language and making their life as difficult as possible with the return.
And, finally, here’s a supercut of a few half-decent returns from the professionals, including a lot of very excited commentators:
Now that you’ve got the return nailed down, check out the three best videos showing how to serve