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What to do with an ace serve 
Date: 21 Aug 1999 05:06:20 GMT From: (Tami Evers) Organization: AOL http://www.aol.com

Newsgroups: alt.sport.racquetball No one likes ace serves unless they are

shooting them. What's the best way to handle ace serves from people who

can't be rattled, mentally?








Subject: Re: what to do vs. a good drive serve
Date: Tue, 9 Jan 2001 17:00:04 -0600
From: "Ken Zwyers"

Another thing to do is watch the server's different motions during the serve. Usually, you can find differences in one or more of the following when they drive serve to one side or the other:

1) The steps taken during the serve. Often the last step the server takes
will be toward the side that they're serving to.

2) Which way their shoulders are pointed.

3) Any other differences in their service motion.

If you can spot one or more of these, that will give you more time to react
to the serve, and you hopefully will be able to get to the ball with enough
time to set up for an offensive shot.

One other thing. I don't know what type of shot you're trying to hit when
returning a drive serve, but from that far back, going for a kill shot is a
low percentage shot. You're better off going with a passing shot, in order
to get your opponent out of the middle, and allow yourself to get into the
middle.

Hope this helps!

Ken

Ronald wrote in message ...
>set-up: I'm right-handed and the opponent was delivering
>sizzling-fast drive serves to my back-hand.
>
>problem: I stand in the back-court in the middle to guard against any
>serve. After the drive-serve is delivered, by the time I get to the
>left, it is past me and all I can do is play it off the back wall
>which results in a rather weak return. If I stand to the left, then
>the right side is open.
>
>Should I stand in the middle and move to the left during the server's
>wind-up and serve, and pray that he doesn't serve a z-serve to the
>right



Subject:              Re: what to do vs. a good drive serve
Date: 09 Jan 2001 22:37:50 GMT
From: dano (Dano 1 fit)


stand in the middle but turn your body (slightly) towards the backhand side of
the court. this way, your hip turn and your cross over to the backhand will be
quicker, and you don't have to sacrafice position


What to do with an Ace serve Date: 21 Aug 1999 13:38:01 GMT From: (JordanISRA) Organization: AOL http://www.aol.com Newsgroups: alt.sport.racquetball 

There are 2 types of ace serves. 

1) A serve that cracks out, or can't be returned no matter how great you are. Like a baseball homerun hit over the outfielders reach. 

2) A serve that is returnable, but the receiver did not make the correct play. Like the baseball player who is out of position. 

Don't worry about the first example, cause there is nothing you can do. With the exception of calling a time-out to try to break their serve, everything else would be an example of unsportsman-like conduct, like questioning a good serve (I have seen this). 

For the serve that is returnable, it could be several reasons why you have trouble. a) A new player that you are not used to yet. b) The server is good at faking different types and speeds of serves. c) The server hits harder than you are used to. d) You a flat-footed on the serve. e) You spread too much weight in ready position. Legs are so far away it becomes difficult to move on faster serves. f) You wait for the ball to come to you! 

Suggestion Try starting by the back wall and take baby steps to where you normally stand as the server starts their serve. This will give you a head start for tougher faster serves. IMPORANT: Don't pass (get suckered) more than 5 feet from the back wall until you know which side the serve is headed and DON'T wait for the ball to pass YOU- The baby steps are needed to give you a head start to ATTACK the ball before it passes you. Make a BEELINE towards where the receiving lines meet the sidewall. This will help teach you to move forward faster before the serve ball passes you or bounces twice. It works great for beginners and young kids with slow reactions, limited reach or limited court sense, but more difficult for seasoned players with old habits. Just takes about an hour to get the hang of it. Jordan 


Subject: Re: What to do with an Ace serve Date: 21 Aug 1999

If you mean drive aces that are out of reach, those are my bane, too. As a big guy, who is approaching forty, I can't anticipate, or move my bod to pick up well-placed DTL drives like I used to. One guy I play has such a good DTL drive to my forehand, that he can eat me up with it when it's on, even though the rest of his game is weak. So what to do? Well, the approach that works with this fellow is for me to stand closer and closer towards the side he is serving to, to force him to try better and better drives. Eventually, I pick them up, and he must serve something else. Naturally, this leaves you very open to the CC drive to the other side. Fortunately, this guy doesn't have a good CC drive, in that it comes around so that I can pick it up even if I am 'cheating' to the forehand side. If you run up against someone who can alternate photons down both lanes, I'm fresh outta ideas! Obviously, it helps to 'read' the serve to get that first step in the proper direction. Greg Stoner 


Subject: Re: What to do with an Ace serve Date: 22 Aug 1999 00:39:22 - Fred Welfare

Hmmm, Sudsy, John Ellis, Andy Roberts each have excellent drive serves and use them predominantly. The only pro I know of that uses the lob exclusively is Jason Mannino. I don't think the one serve rule deters these players from drive serving. I think the choice depends on two factors: do I need to drive serve this opponent to win or can I beat him with the lob; and two, I want to save my arm for as long as possible and pace myself, therefore I will use the lob unless I have to drive. There are several drives that do not incur the risk of the short serve, namely, the hard-Z and the jam, both of which are frequently used by the pros. As for returning the drive, I recommend the Racquetball magazine article, May-June 98, featuring Mike Guidry. The article compares the old 70's approach with the current 90's approach. Some of the critical features of the return of the hard drive serve that I use is to firstly take a strong stance with feet spread wider than shoulders and flat on your soles. The reason for this is to get a low position in order to see the ball being hit by your opponent. A good reason for being faked out is because you don't see the ball until its too late. So take a low set position. I also turn slightly to my backhand side to let the opponent know/think that I am expecting the serve to the backhand. I simply doubt that my opponent can execute successfully to my forehand, because if he makes a mistake, he will have to suffer the consequence of my forehand. The reason for taking a flat footed position, as opposed to one that is on the balls of your feet, is the different kind of anticipation you will attempt. Your focus should be on the quickness of your first step, a step about 4 inches left or right, when you are trying to dig out a low hard drive. This is what matters. If you are on your toes or standing too high with a short stance, you can move real quick forward but not to the side; you would be off balance when you try to crossover. You want to get your body turned as quickly as you can and a low flat stance accomplishes this better than any other. The explosiveness of your first step will get your body in position, so make that the focus of your serve return. The smae could be said of any defensive positioning. There are about four main moves that you might have to make when returning the drive serve: you may have to move hard towards the wall to push a ceiling ball back, but this is the least preferred shot as it is defensive and lower level players should master this before attempting more advanced serve returns. You may have to move away from your position to handle a ball that comes off the backwall, that jams you, or that kicks off the sidewall but will not come off the backwall. The optimal serve return is a pass to the opponents backhand but also near to the sidewall. For righties, this would be a narrow V-pass down the line. Another type of serve is the Drive Z that may take a right angle off the side wall, the best serve return is the down the lane pass. But, splats and pinches should also be considered. Any other drive serve that does not require you to move to hard or to back up at all, should be pinched in the near corner. When a serve is very low and hard, the impulse is to hit to the ceiling, but rarely do the pros do this, they usually follow the rule, if served low, return low. The only refining I would recommend here is try to pass the ball behind your opponent by hitting the ball out of reach widely on his backhand side, unless he leaves his forehand wide open with poor court positioning. It is the angle of the serve return that makes it effective and yields the weak 3rd shot from the server. One other type of return I have noticed is the return of any of the above types of serve cross court, but very widely so that the ball hits the side wall early and jams the server. An advantage to this attempt is that it makes the server clear quite a bit of space for the cross court return, and it may crack out on the side wall. Also, it looks like a plum coming back, but you know how that goes!!! 
 


Subject: Re: What to do with an Ace serve         Date: Sun, 22 Aug 1999 14:39:01 GMT        From: "Rob Kulp"  Organization:   Newsgroups: alt.sport.racquetball I know this is a bit late, but the best way to move in the right direction to return a serve is to watch the position the server drops the ball and steps. Some servers can disquise which way they are gonig to serve, but most cannot. Tim Hanson is probably the best amateur at this because he is in a more upright stance when making contact with the ball. For example, a right handed player starting on the right side of the service box hitting a serve down the right wall will drop the ball and step slightly towards the right wall. A server that is going to drive the ball cross court will drop the ball step more to the left. It's tough for me to describe but if you watch the player when he is serving you can catch some particular action that will give it away. React more based on the action of the server and you will be there in time to rip it back in his or her face. Hope this helps, Rob Kulp Orlando, FL 
Subject: Re: What to do with an Ace serve         Date: Sat, 21 Aug 1999 23:17:05 -0500        From: Ed Arias 

 > The reason for this is to get a low position in order to see the ball being hit > by your opponent. A good reason for being faked out is because you don't see > the ball until its too late. So take a low set position. > I also turn slightly to my backhand side to let the opponent know/think that I > am expecting the serve to the backhand. I simply doubt that my opponent can > execute successfully to my forehand, because if he makes a mistake, he will > have to suffer the consequence of my forehand. 
Another great tip..."most" players will try to serve to the "weak side"...and the weak side is usually the receivers "backhand"...even at the Open level. Thing is...many Open players practice the backhand SO much that it becomes far better than the forehand...which turns into their "weakness". I watch a pro match once between Mike Guidry and Sudsy Monchik...for a while Mike served exclusively to Sudsy's backhand...didn't matter where...Sudsy's would roll it out consistently. Then Mike started serving to the forehand and he got enough points to win the game!
> The reason for taking a flat footed position, as opposed to one that is on the > balls of your feet, is the different kind of anticipation > you will attempt. Your focus should be on the quickness of your first step, a > step about 4 inches left or right, when you are trying to dig out a low hard > drive. This is what matters. If you are on your toes or standing too high > with a short stance, you can move real quick forward but not to the side; you > would be off balance when you try to crossover. You want to get your body > turned as quickly as you can and a low flat stance accomplishes this better > than any other. The explosiveness of your first step will get your body in > position, so make that the focus of your serve return. The smae could be said > of any defensive positioning. Great advice Fred...when receiving against a very strong drive server...you don't want to be moving foreard-backward...GOOD TIP...you want to stay near the back wall and just have to move Left-Right! The worst thing you can do against someone that hits a great drive into the corners is...be too far away from the back wall! Then you have to move back into the corner...and when you get there the balls "jukin" all over the place. You want to be able to take ONE step to either corner...and be able to easily adjust to the serve (vs moving back into the corner and then adjusting). OK...but what it your opponent serves a good drive that hits the side wall right past the short line...your way in the back court...how are you going to get up there to make the return. All I can say is...WELCOME TO THE BIG LEAGUES! If your opponent can BOTH drive well into the corner and "jam" you short...you're in trouble ;-) If this happens to me...I'll usually give him a few (no more than 2...absoltuely no more than 3) of the "short jam" serves before I move up a bit to cover them. If your opponent can adjust to my adjustment...consistently...THEN you've got big trouble ;-) IF you're in these categories...the best thing you can do is drill...DRILL! DRILL FOOTWORK...if you're playing players like this (or even close) you HAVE to be able to move your feet as fast as you can...to get you in the best position in the shortest amount of time...it ALL comes down to fundamentals! FOOTWORK! You can't hit a shot (whether it be a return serve or chasing down a pass) unless you're in the best position...and that means you have to move your feet. \ My best advice would be to get DanO's video and work on those "speed drills"...or use ankles weights as I do (but we all know that's bad for ya ;-)
> There are about four main > moves that you might have to make when returning the drive serve: you may have > to move hard towards the wall to push a ceiling ball back, but this is the > least preferred shot as it is defensive and lower level players should master > this before attempting more advanced serve returns. > > You may have to move away from your position to handle a ball that comes off > the backwall, that jams you, or that kicks off the sidewall but will not come > off the backwall. The optimal serve return is a pass to the opponents backhand > but also near to the sidewall. For righties, this would be a narrow V-pass > down the line. 
I agree...the best service return (on average) is a DTL (down the line) pass...BUT, you MUST cover the potential pinch from your opponent! The problem with the crosscourt pass is usually you won't hit it wide enough...plus, your opponent will probably be looking more for the cc pass than any other shot. Try hitting a heard shot DTL...the best your opponent can do (if you hit a good shot) is make an easy pinch if they're in position...so when you hit it, move to center-opposite court immediately!
> Another type of serve is the Drive Z that may take a right angle off the side > wall, the best serve return is the down the lane pass. > But, splats and pinches should also be considered. this all depends on your opponent...specifically, how quick they are. Not too quick...hit a shot that will die in the forecourt (pinch/splat)...you can often catch them moving back from their serve...so much that they can't recover for the shot up front. If they're quicker...a pass is probably better as they will be moving forward by the time you hit you're shot...so they'll have that "first step" going forward...might as well "turn'em around" ;-)
> When a serve is very low and hard, the impulse is to hit to the ceiling, but > rarely do the pros do this, they usually follow the rule, if served low, return > low. The only refining I would recommend here is try to pass the ball behind > your opponent by hitting the ball out of reach widely on his backhand side, > unless he leaves his forehand wide open with poor court positioning. It is the > angle of the serve return that makes it effective and yields the weak 3rd shot > from the server. 
This is your best advice yet...you often don't have to return a hard shot off a hard serve...just place it right. Just think of it...if your oppoent is serving hard, they're making all kinds of movements in the service box and it'll take them that much longer to get into position to return your shot. If the serve is hard and to the corner...try just hitting it so that it angles and hits the far side wall near the service box area. Note that this is NOT intuitive and takes a lot of practice! But think of it...as your opponent is making all kinds of body movements to hit a hard serve into a corner...they will normally have just as hard a time to get back into center court to cover the return...as they're moving back is when you want to hit your wide-angle pass.


Subject: Re: What to do with an Ace serve Date: Mon, 23 Aug 1999 09:40:32 -0500 From: Bruce Pohl 

I used to be a sucker for a cross court drive serve. I corrected this by keeping a really low profile stance - in effect I watch the ball through my opponent's legs, where their body would otherwise obscure it on cross court serves if I were standing upright. This was a tip that came out of clinic Mike Guidry did at our club last year. Of course, this still asumes you are doing a bunch of other stuff correctly - moving as soon as you detect the ball's direction of travel, cross-stepping toward the sidewall, etc. But for me the low-profile stance thing was key. I still catch myself on occasion waiting to see if a good serve will cross the service line before moving, but that is pure laziness. No quick fix there except self motivation. Bruce Pohl Team E-Force http://www.lmra-racquetball.org 


Subject: Re: drive serve footwork? Date: 06 Oct 1999 00:43:01 GMT From: dano1fit@aol.com (Dano 1 fit) Organization: AOL http://www.aol.com Newsgroups: alt.sport.racquetball References: 1 Dave Peck had one of the most interesting and most effective returns for the drive serve. I remember watching him beat Egan and Brett Harnett in a tournament in Michigan where the walls were very fast, and Egan and Brett were two of the top four power hitters in the world. First, Dave would start at the back wall and lead with either his left or his right...as if he was walking towards the front wall. As the serve was being struck, he would execute what tennis players call a "split step"....... From that walking position he would kind of jump and allow both feet to square up to the front wall...while he was in the air he would make his decision to go left or right. A tennis player does a split step when they approach the net...they jump and spread their feel about shoulder width as the ball is being struck by the opponent..as they are landing they make the committment to vollley from the forehand or backhand side. Imagine walking forward and jumping over a two by four with both feet,,,,as you are landing you are mentally preparing to sprint left or right... This works...I started doing this in Houston against big servers and in not only got me moving quicker..it kept me on the balls of my feet more often..One of the important things to remember is that you need to do something smart with your return...Dave Peck would use just wrist to guide the ball wherever he wanted to and he ate guys up with precision shots...Based on your level of play, make the shot that is smart and within your limitations, using just your wrist,,,,,If you try to use the entire body and set up for a shot, it won't happen. If I can expand on this for anyone...let me know. DanO
Subject: Re: drive serve footwork? Date: 06 Oct 1999 05:30:33 GMT From: jordanisra@aol.com (JordanISRA) Organization: AOL http://www.aol.com Newsgroups: alt.sport.racquetball References: 1 Dano mentioned how he witnessed the Receiver Starting On The Back Wall to return a tough Drive Serve. Here is how I learned it (have used it ever since with goofy looks from players and onlookers). I learned the "Receiving Position on the Back Wall" for difficult drive serves from several dozen "experienced" players. I have never seen anything like this before by any player, instructor or tournament pro. Sure, I REAL GOOD serve is tough to return no matter what you try, but this method turns a PLAYABLE TOUGH DEFENSIVE serve into a very offensive return by the receiver. The best part about this method is you don't have to worry or practice which foot to use or how many steps into the swing to step! I couldn't believe how effective or simple it was with a little practice. The return was the complete opposite of how everyone (and I) taught to return serves. And this method was easy for beginners to use within 1 hour of practice! Unfortunately, this is difficult for the experienced player to do since it goes against everything they have seen or heard! I first saw these "experienced players" return using this wacky new method about 10 years ago. I couldn't believe how effective they were in returning 100 mph serves, to the backhand or forehand! OK, I know what you are thinking, big deal, anyone can return 100 mph serves… right? Well, all these "experts" were actual beginners with less than 12 hours (that was 12 hours) of playing experience- and only 1 or 2 hours of practice returning any type of serve! Yea, your thinking "big deal" beginners at 100 mph with 2 hours practice, not that hard, maybe lucky… right? Well my point is these "expert" beginners with only 2 hours of experience were all 3 and 4 years old. No typo- THREE and FOUR years old. This worked so well the big kids, 6 - 10 years old, were using it too! I have seen adult "A" and "Open" players serve 100 mph serves to 5 and 6 year olds and not return the receivers return of their own serve- heck, they couldn't even touch the ball! This method of receiving is simple. Instead of standing "flatfooted" 4 - 5 feet from the back wall, these kids would relax "against" the back wall. When the server dropped the ball to serve, the receiver would start taking very small "baby steps" towards the normal receiving position 4 - 5 feet in front of the back wall. The secret is to get to the 4 - 5 foot area with MOVEMENT that will "ROCKET" the receiver into a "BEELINE" (to where the receiving line meets the side wall side wall) and intercept the "drive" serve before it gets near the side wall or near the back court. With this done correctly, the receiver is a few feet behind the "receiving line" when returning the ball. Because this happens so fast, the server is still in the service zone and has very little time to react to the return- even if it comes right back down the middle to the server! So the trade off is a return of the serve without any particular "swing form" for poor court position by the server. Remember using the OLD WAY, if the receiver waits in the backcourt for the serve ball it gives the server time to move into a "center court" position for the next shot. This new receiving method puts the server on the defensive immediately! Jordan (it really works) 

Returning lob serves to backhand



Subject:              Re: returning backhanded lobs

        Date:              13 Sep 2000 18:30:39 GMT

       From:     (Jordan Kahn)



Now you understand why even the "pros" use the "lob" serve!



A "good" lob serve will force the receiver to hit from deep in the court, by

the back wall and usually near a sidewall, to make it even tougher.



A "real" good lob serve will not be playable off the backwall, but may look

like it will.



The lob serve allows the server more time to position, move back "way" out of

the service zone, for the return shot.



This is the "key" in returning a "good" or "real good" lob serve. Not only is

the serve hard to return, it puts the receiver usually in a back corner hitting

the ball high over the receiver's head. Not much to do with a return.



OPTIONS TO RETURN A LOB SERVE:



1) Use your current strategy.



2) Try changing strategies. Since this is new, you need to learn positioning

first and the return type of shot second.



3) Have patience. After some practice it gets easier.



TYPES of LOB SERVE RETURNS



1) Your current method.



2) Ceiling shot, if allowed from serve placement. Suggested for newer players.



3) "Cut-Off" or "Short-Hop" which allows you hit the serve just behind the

receiving line after one bounce. Suggested for players with experience, or

newer players with plenty of practice time and help.



4) Overhand pass, pinch, half-speed return. Only suggested if server takes poor

position after serve.  Suggested after you have mastered the above returns, ads

more shots to your game and may be needed on "Great" lob serves.



Basically, you NEED to learn the "cut-off" return.



CUT-OFF RETURN ADVANTAGES



1) Forces server to stay in service zone, not enough time to move back. Very

difficult for a return by the server.



2) Allows receiver to use more power on serve return at a lower height, like

"kill-shots", "pass-shots", "pinches" and "Splatts".



3) Server, if smart, will stop "lob" serves like this and be forced to use

another serve.



This will make you into a much better player, not just on serve returns, but

throughout the game rallies too.



The "cut-off" is also needed for "A", "Open" and "Pro" players.



WARNING:



Once you learn the "cut-off", don't forget to "look" at "bad" serves that will

still allow a "killshot" from deep backcourt.



For the only defense to stop the receiver from "cut-offs" is for a server to

serve a lob that bounces first between the receiving line and short line,

making it difficult for the "cut-off" without violating the receiving line

first.



Off course this would be a easy "kill-shot" or "ceiling shot" from back court,

but many players who learn and master the "cut-off" somehow forget about

re-positioning for a bad lob serve by the back wall.



The "cut-off" is difficult to explain in print.



Have someone show you.



Good luck,

Jordan



---

>returning backhanded lobs

>From: bayesian

>



>     I'm a C player, hoping to turn into a B soon, and here is a major

>problem area for me: many of my regular opponents serve deep, high lobs

>to the right side of the court. I'm LEFTHANDED, so these lob serves are

>to my backhand. My returns of these serves are typically weak,

>consisting of ceiling balls to the right or the left side. My usual

>backhand is fairly strong, so when the lob serve fails I'm able to pass

>or kill fairly effectively. The problem is that A players don't mess up

>their lobs very often.

>

>     My question is this: when backhanding a lob that's at chest level

>or higher, what sort of shot should I usually attempt? Should I always

>plan a ceiling ball, and focus on the touch required to force a

>similarly weak return, or does someone have a technique to hit an

>effective pass? Bear in mind that I am usually deep in the right corner

>when attempting to return.

>

>     Thanks for any help.

>

>

>Sent via Deja.com http://www.deja.com/






Subject: Re: returning backhanded lobs Date: Wed, 13 Sep 2000 13:47:43 -0700 From: "Steve Edwards" "Peter Mcmillin" wrote in message > a good ceiling game will frustrate the best players. The key in that statement is the word "good." I am also a lefty, and these types of serves have always frustrated the heck out of me. I can hit ceiling balls, but if the ceiling ball is barely short or long off the back wall, the guys I play with can kill it, even if it only hits the back wall a few inches above the floor. So if you can hit a good ceiling ball that doesn't set your opponent up, then great. Otherwise, you're in trouble. What this forced me to do was work on other shots, such as passes that still keep my opponent in the back court. Andy Roberts did a clinic at my club a few months ago, and he made the point that you won't win with ceiling balls, but you will with passes. Now I'm not saying that you should never hit ceiling balls. Sometimes you don't have a choice unless you want to try a really crazy shot. But what you want to try to avoid is getting into a routine where he hits a lob serve, you hit a ceiling ball, and he gets set up for a really good shot, and that's the point. You need to try something that will throw them off balance. Doing this will require some practice, but once you can take them out of their game and force them to use another serve, you have the advantage. Steve Team E-Force