Squash & Racquetball/Returning a Z serve

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Question
Hi Rob:

I am kind of frustrated as this guy I have been playing with lately almost always wins the games because most of the times I cannot return his z serves.

What's the best strategy to return a z serve?

Cut the ball off before it hits the floor (after front then side wall)?

Wait until it bounces off the floor?

The thing is most of the times the ball has some swing and it kind of confuses me as after it hits the floor it sometimes comes directly to my and it's very difficult to hit it correctly.

Thanks,
Robert

Answer
Sorry for the delay - was out of town.

On your Q - you have two options with Z serves (to either side): i) let it hit the side wall and HOPE it doesn't bounce funny or it gives you enough space between the ball and the back wall to get in a good flat swing OR ii) attack it BEFORE it hits the side wall. Your odds are better if you go with ii). It DOES take practice ESPECIALLY when the Z is to your backhand. But it's the only tactic that is in your favor if you can practice. Option i) is way too risky (as your message to me has already borne out).

Whether you want to strike the ball before it hits the floor or after it hits the floors is NOT as important as striking it BEFORE it hits the side wall. You can't cross the dotted service line when striking a return to a serve so you have to factor that into your decision.

If your uncomfortable with attacking a Z serve with a drive return, you can always go to the ceiling to i) buy you time and ii) until you become more confident in your drive return.

Hope this helps!

Rob

P.S. Generally speaking, if the Z serve is going to the right corner (your forehand if you're right handed) AND if the server is also right handed, I find it VERY effective to either hit a cross court drive to his backhand (left corner) OR ceiling to his backhand. Mot people don't have good footwork and that shot will cause themselves to trip over their own feet.

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Rob Chabot

Expertise

Racquetball. Know all the rules, etiquette, etc. Am familiar with equipment and am active on the applicable newsgroups when I have time. I can be of service to players up to the "advanced" level. Have been playing since the mid 1980s. NOTE: I cannot answer questions on "what kind of racquet should I get?" This is like asking "what kind of dog or car should I get?" There are so many factors I do not know where to begin - how long have you been playing, do you prefer a top heavy or frame heavy racquet, how often do you plan on playing, etc. I recommend you find a pro shop that allows you to "demo" (borrow) racquets. You can usually borrow racquets for one to three days. A borrowing fee may be involved - and if you end up buying the racquet from that shop, it will usually credit you the loaner fees you have already paid against the purchase price of the racquet.

Experience

Won the Ohio State University Intramurals tournament ("A" Division) six out of six times entered.

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