nodot nodot
Tennis Warrior
July 2010 Article

Tennis Warrior Archive

Send a message to Tom

Get Tom Veneziano's book The Truth about Winning! at Amazon.com

Tennis Server

Do You Want To Be A Better Tennis Player?

Then Sign Up For A Free Subscription to the Tennis Server INTERACTIVE
E-mail Newsletter!

Tom Veneziano You will join 18,000 other subscribers in receiving news of updates to the Tennis Server along with monthly tennis tips from tennis pro Tom Veneziano that won't be found on the web site.
Best of all, it is free!

Tennis Features Icon TENNIS FEATURES:

TURBO TENNIS - Ron Waite turbocharges your tennis game with tennis tips, strategic considerations, training and practice regimens, and mental mindsets and exercises.
TENNIS ANYONE? - USPTA Pro John Mills' quick player tip.
WILD CARDS - Each month a guest column by a new writer.
BETWEEN THE LINES - Ray Bowers takes an analytical and sometimes controversial look at the ATP/WTA professional tour.
PRO TENNIS SHOWCASE - Tennis match reports and photography from around the world.
TENNIS SET - Jani Macari Pallis, Ph.D. looks at tennis science, engineering and technology.
MORTAL TENNIS - Greg Moran's tennis archive on how regular humans can play better tennis.
MENTAL EQUIPMENT - Explore the mental side of the game with Dr. John Murray.
TENNIS WARRIOR - Tom Veneziano's Tennis Warrior archive.
HARDSCRABBLE SCRAMBLE - USPTA pro Mike Whittington's player tip archive.

Tennis Community Icon TENNIS COMMUNITY:

Tennis Book, DVD, and Video Index
Tennis Server Match Reports
Editor's Letter
Become a Tennis Server Sponsor

Explore The Tennis Net Icon EXPLORE THE TENNIS NET:

Tennis News and Live Tennis Scores
Tennis Links on the Web
Tennis Warrior Banner

Tom Veneziano's Tennis Warrior articles are archived onto the Web six months after they are first published in our free email newsletter, Tennis Server INTERACTIVE. You can receive Tom's most recent columns by subscribing to Tennis Server INTERACTIVE using the subscription box in the left side column of this page.

Green Dot
Tennis Warehouse Logo
Green Dot


After serving... then what?!

Tom Veneziano Photo
Tom Veneziano

Are you having trouble getting ready for your opponent's return after serving? If you do get ready, are you having trouble deciding what shot to hit? Should it be a slice, topspin, or flat stroke? In this lesson I will answer both of these questions in two parts.
The first plan of action would be to practice hitting your serve without standing there watching to see if it has gone in! Instead, you should prepare for the return. This sounds simple but there are two inherent problems that plague most players when recovering after the serve.
One, they wait to see if their serve is in before getting ready for the return. It does not matter whether your serve is in or out, you should prepare for a return either way. And two, most players do not practice the balance to recover properly after a serve.
This problem is the downfall of many players in their match points. They are so busy watching their last shot, they do not get ready and prepare for the return. As a result they are slow to react to the opponent's ball coming back at them. It does not take a genius to figure out that if you prepare quickly after your shot, you will have more time to hit your opponent's return. I think the phrase, "he who hesitates is lost," sums it up quite well! You must practice hitting your serve and not waiting to see if it lands in or not. Instead, begin your preparation for a possible return. Notice I said "possible return," whether there is a return or not is irrelevant... you prepare anyway! Doing this will keep you alert and ready to move faster in whichever direction the return comes.
* Many, many points are lost because players are NOT PREPARED to make quick adjustments (mentally or physically) to retrieve shots after they have served. They have fallen into the trap of watching the magnificence of their own glorious shot and not thinking about the possible return.
Next you must practice your balance over and over and over again by serving and bouncing back to ready position about a foot behind the baseline (unless of course you are serving and volleying).
A word of caution! Just because you can execute this move does not mean you're totally balanced yet. There is a smooth rhythmic feel to the movement that takes practice. In addition, this move has to be subconscious enough so that you can concentrate on your opponent's return while you are recovering.
Tying both techniques together you would serve and IMMEDIATELY (not waiting to see if your serve is in or not) BOUNCE BACK on balance to prepare for the return. This is all done automatically and instinctively without hesitation! A little practice in these two areas and you will be surprised how focused you become on your opponent's return of serve and how quickly you begin reacting to that return.
As I have said before, learning tennis is doing simple things over and over and over again until it is committed to the subconscious. Then the magic begins!
You own a slice, a flat, or a topspin shot off both the forehand and backhand groundstokes. Now, which shot should you select after your opponent returns your serve? The answer to this question is not black or white, but depends on many factors:

  1. Are you in trouble?
  2. Are you tired?
  3. Does your opponent have difficulty with topspin or slice shots?
  4. Are you trying to pass your opponent at the net?
  5. Do you want to rush your opponent by hitting the ball with speed?
  6. Do you want to dip the ball at their feet?

There are many different situations that dictate which shot you hit. In some of my matches I have even hit shots without knowing why I did it that way... it just felt right at the moment! I told you this game must be learned on a subconscious level!
Here are a couple of general guidelines that can help you make your decisions.
If you are on the defensive after your opponent returns your serve, a slice can keep you in the point. Why? The slice offers a slower more controlled shot and can be hit easier if you are in trouble and the ball gets behind you.
If you are not on the defensive and can get a good crack at the ball, use your drive or topspin. In fact, if you have good flat or topspin shots you must use them more often than a slice in a match. Your drive and topspin are weapons you must use in any opportunity to keep your opponent on the defensive. The slice has backspin which is naturally a slower shot that exerts less effort. So reserve the slice for the defensive, for taking a rest, for approach shots, or for slowing down the game.
If you only possess a slice shot, obviously you are stuck slicing the ball. But if you wish to use the slice as an offensive weapon you can move the ball away from your opponent, keeping him or her on the run.
Be flexible and adjust your game with the shots you possess at the moment. Champions do this all the time... why shouldn't you?
After you serve, stay balanced and IMMEDIATELY recover for the return, then pick a shot that the SITUATION dictates and play ball!

Green DotGreen DotGreen Dot

Tennis Warrior Archive

If you have not already signed up to receive our free e-mail newsletter Tennis Server INTERACTIVE, you can sign up here. You will receive notification each month of changes at the Tennis Server and news of new columns posted on our site.

This column is copyrighted by Tom Veneziano, all rights reserved.

Tom is a tennis pro teaching at the Piney Point Racquet Club in Houston, Texas. Tom has taught thousands of players to think like a pro with his Tennis Warrior System.


In Tom Veneziano's book "The Truth about Winning!", tennis players learn in a step-by-step fashion the thinking the pros have mastered to win! Tom takes you Step-by-step from basic mental toughness to advanced mental toughness. All skill levels can learn from this unique book from beginner to professional. No need to change your strokes just your thinking.

Audio CDs by Tom Veneziano:


Web tennisserver.com
nodot nodot
The Tennis Server
Ticket Exchange

Your Source for tickets to professional tennis & golf events.
Wimbledon Tennis Tickets
Citi Open Tennis Tickets
Rogers Cup Tennis Tickets
Western & Southern Open Tennis Tickets
US Open Tennis Tickets
ATP World Tour Final Tennis Tickets


Tennis MindGame

Popular Tennis books:
Smart Tennis by John Murray
Winning Ugly: Mental Warfare in Tennis-Lessons from a Master by Brad Gilbert, Steve Jamison
The Best Tennis of Your Life: 50 Mental Strategies for Fearless Performance by Jeff Greenwald
The Inner Game of Tennis by W. Timothy Gallwey
Most Recent Articles:
Tennis Warrior: Slowing Down a Speeding Tennis Ball by Tom Veneziano.
July 2017 Tennis Anyone: Your Serve by John Mills.
July 2017 Turbo Tennis: Equilibrium In the Game of Tennis by Ron Waite.
Tennis Warrior: This Moment in Tennis by Tom Veneziano.
June 2017 Tennis Anyone: As You Get Older Playing Doubles by John Mills.
June 2017 Turbo Tennis: Notes to the Tennis Neophyte... Do It Your Way!!! by Ron Waite.




Featured events in the Tennis Server Ticket Exchanges:
  Featured Tickets:
BNP Paribas Open Tickets Indian Wells CA Tennis Garden
Miami Open Tennis Tickets Miami Key Biscayne FL Crandon Park Center
US Open Tennis Tickets

  Featured Tickets:
AT&T National Golf Tickets Bethesda MD Washington DC Congressional Country Club
US Senior Open Golf Tickets Omaha NE Omaha Country Club
Bridgestone Invitational Golf Tickets Akron OH Firestone Country Club
PGA Championship Golf Tickets Rochester NY Oak Hill Country Club
Dick's Sporting Goods Open & Tim McGraw Tickets Endicott NY Enjoie Golf Course
Solheim Cup Tickets Parker Denver CO Colorado Golf Club
2013 Presidents Cup Tickets Dublin Columbus OH Muirfield Village Golf Course
Masters Golf Tournament Tickets Augusta GA National Golf Club
2014 US Open Golf Tickets Pinehurst NC Resort
2014 Ryder Cup Tickets Auchterarder Scotland UK Gleneagles Golf Course

  Featured Tickets:
PGA Championship Golf 7 Day Pass Tickets Rochester NY Oak Hill Country Club
PGA Championship Golf Monday Tickets Rochester NY Oak Hill Country Club
PGA Championship Golf Tuesday Tickets Rochester NY Oak Hill Country Club
PGA Championship Golf Wednesday Tickets Rochester NY Oak Hill Country Club
PGA Championship Golf Thursday Tickets Rochester NY Oak Hill Country Club
PGA Championship Golf Friday Tickets Rochester NY Oak Hill Country Club
PGA Championship Golf Saturday Tickets Rochester NY Oak Hill Country Club
PGA Championship Golf Sunday Final Tickets Rochester NY Oak Hill Country Club

  Featured Tickets:
Masters Golf Tournament Tickets Sunday Competition Augusta GA National Golf Club
Masters Golf Tournament Tickets Saturday Competition Augusta GA National Golf Club
Masters Golf Tournament Tickets Friday Competition Augusta GA National Golf Club
Masters Golf Tournament Tickets Thursday Competition Augusta GA National Golf Club
Masters Golf Tournament Tickets 4 Four Day Badge Augusta GA National Golf Club
Masters Golf Tournament Tickets Wednesday Practice Round Augusta GA National Golf Club
Masters Golf Tournament Tickets Tuesday Practice Round Augusta GA National Golf Club
Masters Golf Tournament Tickets Monday Practice Round Augusta GA National Golf Club

  Featured Tickets:
US Open Golf Tickets Final Round Sunday Fourth 4th Pinehurst NC Resort 2014
US Open Golf Tickets Third 3rd Round Saturday Pinehurst NC Resort 2014
US Open Golf Tickets Second 2nd Round Friday Pinehurst NC Resort 2014
US Open Golf Tickets First 1st Round Thursday Pinehurst NC Resort 2014
US Open Golf Tickets Wednesday Practice Round Pinehurst NC Resort 2014
US Open Golf Tickets Tuesday Practice Round Pinehurst NC Resort 2014
US Open Golf Tickets Monday Practice Round Pinehurst NC Resort 2014
US Open Golf Weekly Pass Tickets Pinehurst NC Resort 2014

"Tennis Server" is a registered trademark and "Tennis Server INTERACTIVE" is a trademark of Tennis Server. All original material and graphics on the Tennis Server are copyrighted 1994 - by Tennis Server and its sponsors and contributors. Please do not reproduce without permission.


Tennis Server
Cliff Kurtzman
791 Price Street #144
Pismo Beach, CA 93449
Phone: (281) 480-6300
Online Contact Form
How to support Tennis Server as a Sponsor/Advertiser
Tennis Server Privacy Policy