The Problem You’re slow to react when returning first serves. It could be because you’re not moving quickly enough once the ball leaves your opponent’s racquet, or you’re taking too big a swing. The result is late contact and a shaky return, putting you at a disadvantage right from the start.
The Solution The key to speeding up your racquet on the return is to combine your shoulder turn and racquet take-back into one movement. To practice, get in your ready position and have a partner hit serves toward your forehand but deliberately into the net.
Because you know where the serve is heading, you can jump-start your motion and have your racquet back and ready before the ball even hits the net. Then just shadow your swing.
Next, have your partner hit serves in the net to either your forehand or backhand side. Continue to practice getting your racquet back before the ball hits the net, and then shadow your swing. Finally, have your partner serve over the net to either side. You’ll be amazed how quickly you react to both forehand and backhand returns.