Coaching Tip - October 2019

    Attacking a weak Second Serve
    Not an easy task

    Playing an opponent with a weak Second Serve should be a huge advantage to the player returning serve. This is not always the case particularly at the club, social and recreational level.
    There are a number of strategies for attacking the weak Second Serve and the options are as follows
    Chip and Charge
    • This tactic is somewhat of a dying art as there are not many Serve and Volley players in the modern game.
    However this form of attack can still effective
    Take the serve on the rise and slice your return deep in to the court, move into the net and wait for the return to volley away for a winner
    The ball keeps low with the slice and pressures your opponent to hit the ball up
    Groundstroke attack
    • Hit your return hard with enough spin to clear the net and move to the net
    You can hit this shot with heavy topspin which makes the ball boss higher or almost flat so that your opponent is under pressure with little time to make their next shot
    In this play you are at or near the net just in case they do get the ball back
    Hit to their Weaker side
    • In the warm up you should have identified the strengths and weaknesses of your opponent’s groundstrokes so on the weaker Second serves hit your return to that weaker side
    In this way you can take control of the rally and look for the next opportunity to put the ball away into the open court.
    Use Angles when the opportunity comes
    • On the weak shorter Second serves hit an angled return by rolling the ball with topspin crosscourt or hit a backhand slice or dropshot
    Your opponent will then be off court leaving the court open or near the net vulnerable to the lob or passing shot
    Run your opponent around the court
    Hit your return with heavy topspin to one side then move your opponent from side to side with similar shots so that the ball bounces higher and higher forcing him/her further back behind the baseline
    Go for the Outright Winner on the return of Serve
    • When the second serve lands in the middle of the Service box or closer to the net don’t be afraid to move into postion quickly and go for the outright winner
    Remember to allow for some margin of error on the stroke by
    Hitting with enough spin to get the ball over the net and into the court length wise but you will also need to aim for a target about a half a metre inside the sideline to successfully complete the winning shot
    Keep your Opponent guessing
    Shot selection is the key to keeping your opponent guessing
    When returning weak second serves
    • Vary your shots as appropriate so that you use a mixture of drop shots when appropriate, hit Heavy topspin deep to the back of the court and slice return of serves to keep the ball low
    Your opponent will as a result feel uncormfortable and won’t be able to settle into a routine.
    The pressure will be on your opponent and as nerves set in some double faults will creep into his/her game.

    Coach Steve