How to Slay a Dragon (or an Opponent with a Fiery, Earth-Shaking Serve)

  1. Stand back, stand very far back (out of firing range) to return serve.
  2. Stand in and take the serve early to neutralize the dragon’s evil spin and pace.
  3. Set the hands in front of your body with little or no backswing to return the dragon’s serve.
  4. Stay lively with your feet to get a jump on the ball or dodge the ball (fiery projectile) if necessary. Ensure to split step (unweight the feet) at service contact.
  5. Focus on holding your own serve, knowing it will be difficult to break the dragon. Hopefully, you can generate your own heat.
  6. In doubles, have your partner stay back (stay very far back) to take pressure off your return and to ensure no one gets hurt.
  7. In doubles, lob the return over the partner of the dragon.
  8. Look for body cues to get a better read on the serve. Does the toss giveaway the location and spin of the serve?
  9. Look for pattern tendencies to get a better read on the serve. Does the dragon prefer to hit out wide on the deuce side of the court?
  10. Don’t play the dragon in his den (a “fast, hard court”).

Steve Gallagher

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