5 simple tips on how to improve your return of serve

by John Welton

Your Stance whilst preparing to return and light feet.

Look to stand approximately in line with the back of the service box and keeping yourself outside the width of the service box. Ensuring you have plenty of space between you and the side wall is essential. Look to stand approximately in line with the back of the service box, this will allow you to take the ball as early as possible. Make sure you are facing the front wall so the body serve won’t catch you out. You will most likely then turn into the back corner but prepare for every possible serve! This also allows you to have a good view of your opponent and get a read on the style of serve they may use.

Always look to volley the serve.

As a rule I would always coach my players to rather volley than take the risk of getting the ball out of the back corners. Not only is this the best way to return the serve it will also take time away from your opponent and instantly put the pressure back on them. As soon as you let the ball bounce into the back your are gifting your opponent the T area from the very first shot of the rally.

Decide early if you can attack a loose serve or look to build the rally with a solid length.

Decision making is vital when returning the serve, you need to make the call early whether the serve is ‘loose’ and you have the opportunity to attack or whether you are dealing with a good serve that needs to be dealt with using a solid volley to length. If you are given the opportunity to attack the serve then don’t be fearful of maximising the opportunity!

Use height on the front wall.

Height is your friend in the game of squash and never more so than with the volley return of serve. Keep the swing slow and smooth aiming to strike the ball around shoulder height. Your aim is to strike the ball cleanly and hitting slower and utilising the height will help you achieve this. The harder and fast you swing the harder it will be to hit the middle of the strings, it will also cause you a lose of balance. A solid platform to strike from is also hugely important, make sure you can feel both feet on the floor. Lastly really focus on where your follow through finishes up! You are aiming high so ensure the follow through points high towards the area you are aiming for.

Create space between your and the ball. keep your feet light.

Spacing is vital for the return of serve and one of the biggest reasons players find inconsistency with their returns. While you are waiting to return keep your feet light and on your toes. This will allow you to adjust your body position quickly depending on the serve your opponent plays. Be very aware of your position in relation to the side wall, this is why I would look to keep your stance outside the service box width.

Many happy returns

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