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Friday, August 12, 2016

Positioning after the Serve

Several posts have focused on positioning and I want to continue that theme with a post about where players should go immediately after serving. Many players take to heart the rule of thumb about getting to the kitchen line as quickly as possible by stepping forward after the serve. This can be a risky strategy if the return of serve is hit deep. A better strategy is to stay on or behind the baseline.

The photo below shows a team that has stepped into the court after they served. This is extremely common with most players. Note the player in yellow is at least 3 feet inside the baseline.

The problem is that they are vulnerable to a deep return that reaches their feet. Remember that the return of serve must bounce before being struck. A deep return to these players requires them to back up and hit a weak shot. An example is shown below.

Now, compare where top players position themselves after a serve. They serve and stay as shown in the following screen capture from Mark Renneson's video coincidentally called "Serve and Stay".

There really is little advantage to stepping forward. A return of serve that is too short to get reach is rare and almost all returns can be made by moving forward when needed. These points are made by Mark in his video.

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