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Returning Side Spin
By:  Scott Baker | Tennis4you  | Tennis Forum  | E-mail

Returning a ball that spins sideways after it bounces requires good footwork. Footwork is important when dealing with any shot but is absolutely key when dealing with balls that bounce sideways. When someone hits a slice shot with side spin you need to take small steps to adjust to the spin of the ball. If you take large steps and plant your feet before the ball bounces, the ball can jump away from you or towards you and you will not be able to move your feet properly to hit a good return. Use small steps to be able to move left or right once the ball bounces. Typically shots that have side spin on them are not coming very fast, since the side spin shot has to be hit with slice. This will allow you proper time to adjust your footwork and return the shot in the proper position. Just like any other shot, you do not want to be too close to the ball or too far from the ball with your body. You want to make sure when you swing the racquet you are not stretched or jammed by the spinning ball. This is why it is so important to keep those feet moving and take smaller steps to make adjustments with the spin of the ball.

Whenever someone hits a slice shot down the line look for the ball to bounce further away from you and into the doubles alley. This will require you to take an extra step or two to reach the ball. When someone hits a slice shot crosscourt chances are that the ball will bounce away from your body if they used side spin. Again, stay focused, use small quick steps and get into a good position to hit the ball. What you do not want to have happen is have the ball bounces towards your body and you cannot use a full extension to hit the ball and your return is not successful.

You will have much better success returning shots with side spin if you watch your opponent and see how they hit the ball. The more you play the more you will realize how the ball will bounce once your opponent hits the ball. This will allow you to adjust when the ball is in mid-flight and on it's way to your side of the court. It is one thing to know where the ball is going to bounce, it is another to know how the ball will bounce. Being able to judge the spin of the ball before it bounces will be to your benefit.

Good Luck on the Court!
Scott Baker