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Return of a lob serve

Published: 18 Mar 2007 - 04:53 by snuffy

Updated: 24 Sep 2008 - 16:53

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Great forum here. I'm a 'D' player who has a great deal of difficulty returning lob serves. Any tips/hints? I am especially weak returning the lob serve on the backhand.



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From rippa rit - 19 Mar 2007 - 07:55   -   Updated: 19 Mar 2007 - 07:59

snuffy - the A grade players look as though nothing is deliberately done, and it just seems to happen.  Sometimes I have looked at a player, who is not doing well, though things look ok, and then analysed what is going wrong, so I start with the observations on return of serve, eg
  • is the return of serve tight (close to the side wall)
  • is the return landing in the front corner
  • is the return making the back corner before being intercepted
  • is the opponent stepping across from the T and taking control of the rally
  • is the return repetitious (always going down the same wall)
  • are the drives hard and low
  • are the lobs going high enough to go over the opponent's head
  • are there unforced errors
  • what position is the player standing to return serve
  • is the return just a reaction rather than a deliberate placement
  • standing front or side on when striking the return.
Until you can answer those questions, and then go about changing them, who will ever know if the opponent was that good, or the player trying to manouvre the opponent around the court.  If there is a lack of technique it is difficult to place the ball accurately.

So, snuffy, your problem is you cannot get the return tight enough.  What do you need to look at:
  • the position of your feet within the service box
  • the body movement towards the ball to return it
  • watching the ball when the opponent is serving to get as many clues as possible as to the angle of the serve, the height, speed etc.
  • the return of serve technique, eg the wrist, the swing, the shoulders, the movement from the ball after striking
  • the aiming point on the front wall (a tight serve needs a different aiming point to a serve that comes, say, 1m off  the side wall.
  • is the return of serve being placed carefully, or being bashed out of control causing the swing/wrist to get the wobbles leading to a lack of control
  • is the server hitting the ball towards the body causing a defensive hit at the ball
  • swinging parallel to the side wall
There probably are a few other things.  I recommend.  Go to the Squash Library/Strokes Movement/Return of Serve and try to at least sort out the feet positioning, the height of the backswing, the angle of the racket head on contact with the ball, approach to the ball.

Maybe play some restricted games where your opponent just keeps serving, and you keep trying to get a tighter return of serve concentrating on the above tips.

Good luck with it.

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From snuffy - 19 Mar 2007 - 01:15

Thanks for all the replies! My main problem is that my return ends up floating towards the middle of the court and is easily put away by my opponent.

I find it interesting that the lob serve is used as a weapon in the D division, but is almost non-existent in the A's.

I will do a search for "return of serve" and read up.

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From rippa rit - 18 Mar 2007 - 21:11

snuffy - put in a search "return of serve" and you will get enough replies to keep you busy for 6 months....saves reinventing the wheel.
Let us know how you go.

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From hagesy - 18 Mar 2007 - 10:14

1.Give yourself plenty of room. preparation face the side wall, so you are ready to step in with your front or back foot.

3.when in the motion of your swing have your weight forward.

4.During your follow through keep your weight forward, dont pull up your body. Watch videos of roger federer in tennis and notice how he keeps his body weight forward during his follow through.

I hope this helps, it is very hard to coach someone over the internet. Perhaps you should maybe ask the club coach to do a few routines with you and he/she will correct what you are doing wrong.

Good luck.

When playing your shot dont try and steer into the corner. swing through the shot dont check your follow through.

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From rskting - 18 Mar 2007 - 09:25

obviously the person is having trouble with control. Trying to control it and hit down the wall is not something the person can execute, even though that may be  something to work on. But during a game,

Just  take and big swing and wack it somewhere, as least you dont end up with a soft floater in the middle of the court.

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From hamburglar - 18 Mar 2007 - 08:45

Remember, the server is trying to hit the wall high and next to you. You can't be too close to the sidewall and you need good forward and backward movement once you decide where the ball will be contacting the wall. You also need to have good ball judgement so you know where the ball will contact the sidewall, if it will hit the backwall, and what your options will be

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From nickhitter - 18 Mar 2007 - 05:42   -   Updated: 18 Mar 2007 - 05:43

most people are weak returning on the backhand at first. make sure you turn your shoulder on the backhand side, too many people try to return the serve facing forward. also try and take the ball either before it hits the side wall on the volley or as it bounces off the sidewall on the volley. waiting till it goes to the back will be unretrievable on a good lob serve. don't stand too near the wall before they serve either. stand with your feet covering the corner edge of the service box so you can step in if necessary, turn your shoulder and return safely back down the wall. don't go for power on the return, try and hit it higher and softer with an open racket face to get it to the back as this will help your accuracy until you get better at it. I don't recommend you hit crosscourt returns too much from serves - they can be easy pickings for a good volleyer. and to re-iterate turn your shoulder! otherwise your straight return will more likely go into the middle.

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