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A question often asked by players and tennis enthusiasts when practising their groundstrokes is, “Should I take my racket back quickly?”

The simple answer to this is, No! And the answer might not be what you are thinking. It should not be the first course of action to immediately take your racket back. Every ball should be taken on its merits, some shots do not need a large swing to be taken.

Many coaches will tell you otherwise and that a fast and large backswing should be your first and automatic preparation to return a ball. But what if the ball is returned unexpectedly fast and that your racket is too far back to play an appropriate shot?

The moral of this is that you should not have preconceived ideas of any shot to be played before you know what sort of ball you are going to face. You should learn to play instinctively.

One Action Suits All

The is no such thing in tennis as one action suits all types of shots, so to think of quickly taking your racket back in a large swing is absurd. You have to learn to be quick thinking and instinctive, play at the time. Only take the racket back when you are about to strike the ball, try not to do this when you are running. Settle yourself first, then take the appropriate actions.

It is far more natural to do this once the ball has bounced, perhaps don’t think too much about the backswing and just let it happen. The more you play, this will all become quite natural and your timing will improve.

Watch The Pro’s

Study the pro’s playing, if you have seen many of them running around the court with their rackets dangling behind them, you have been watching the wrong guys.

The idea is of course quite absurd, firstly they run to the ball, set themselves, then the racket is taken back when they are about to strike the ball.

One of the most valid reasons that professional players only take the racket back when about to hit the ball is because it is far more natural to run with the racket in front. Tearing about the court with a racket dangling behind is ludicrous.

Another key reason why pro’s wait to take the racket back is because of timing, and the natural rhythm of playing the ball. Taking the racket back early will destroy this rhythm and you will misjudge the power needed to play the ball.


Many players who make this big mistake of taking the racket back too soon, have either been coached incorrectly or are overthinking too much. As said earlier, try not to even think of taking the racket back. There is no reason why you have to fill your mind with this information. Simply play the shot naturally when you have to, with no preconceived ideas.

Get as much playing time as possible, try both techniques and you will definitely see there is no point running around the court with your racket dangling behind you. Book a court at your local club today and test the theory, you will soon agree.