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View Full Version : Serve and Volley players please help


Kenny022593
11-07-2009, 11:07 AM
So, i am starting to see why serve and volley is beautiful to watch. I want to play serve and volley too and i can ask my pro but that would be biased without many other opinions. So, what do you serve and volliers think is the best serve for it? A high % kick first and 2nd serve or a flat first and a kick second? Also, what is the biggest weakness of a serve and vollier/

BajeDuane
11-07-2009, 11:20 AM
A 'very good' high % kick first is advantageous because it gives you time to get into the net as the ball is in the air longer and as I said a 'very good' kick serve is not easy to return, so it should give you easier volleys.

The thing with a flat first serve is while most of the time if it is well placed it might be hard to return, if someone is able to block it back it will come back very fast at you not giving you as much time to get to net.

P.S. nice choice on racket, lol

2ndServe
11-07-2009, 11:26 AM
where to begin, as beautiful as it is sv isn't something that you just wake up and decide to do. Especially in today's game with the rackets and strings. There are so many nuances that take years and years to get, like when you should hit a low volley or when you should let it bounce, the movement is also so more strenuous.

Even without playing I could move side to side all day, sv movement gets me tired in about 6 games. I consider my serve a very strong weapon and have a vid of it here somewhere, that being said I don't sv against a good player on my 2nd serve if I play singles. I just get a forehand shoved down my throat. Look at taylor dent the last pure sv, he doesn't even come in on the 2nd ball now.


You need to mix up the serve, be able to slice, drive, kick, twist to all corners and the short wide one too. Your split step has to be well timed and balanced. But you have to get in a good percentage because even if you hit a 2nd type serve on the first serve you opponent isn't in the mindset of bash it. That's key.

Post a vid of your serve, your volley and movement but I'm going to say sv only against your weaker opponents, there is a reason it's a dieing breed in today's game.

Kenny022593
11-07-2009, 11:48 AM
P.S. nice choice on racket, lol

I am actually about to make the switch to the Rebel 95 :cry:

Ripper014
11-07-2009, 11:51 AM
It is all about how effective your serves are... and that obviously changes from opponent to opponent. Mixing up your service is key... if you can keep the returner off balance with a mixture of speed spin and placement it really doesn't matter what you hit for a first serve.

As a friend said to me last night... it doesn't matter how hard I hit my serve (my serve has been lacking pace since my return to tennis) I can back it up with a solid set of volleys (I do mix up my patterns well). It really doesn't matter how hard the returner hits it to me, it is more about where it is hit to me and with what kind of spin. Power up the middle of the court just makes it easier for me to make my volleys. Something taking me out wide and out of position is an issue as would be something dipping at my feet.

In the pro game I am not sure why it is not as affective as it once was... it could be that the server has less time to close the net... (faster serves and with the equipment what does come back shortens the time you can get in for a good first volley position). But at our level of play... you can make a good serve close on the net and have the opportunity at making a volley. It is still not that easy to hit winners off the return of serve on a consistant basis.

The other key to being a serve and volleyer is that you will be passed, it is part of the game and you need to be in the mindset to accept that. Like being a defensive back being beaten for a touchdown. Accept it and move on... better would be to learn from it and move on.

ubermeyer
11-07-2009, 12:17 PM
So, i am starting to see why serve and volley is beautiful to watch. I want to play serve and volley too and i can ask my pro but that would be biased without many other opinions. So, what do you serve and volliers think is the best serve for it? A high % kick first and 2nd serve or a flat first and a kick second? Also, what is the biggest weakness of a serve and vollier/

Flat first and kick second of course, don't come in on a kick serve ever unless you have some kind of ridiculously amazingly fast kick serve.

Weakness: Lobs / passes

Nellie
11-07-2009, 01:31 PM
Personally, I think that you can serve and volley off of any serve, so long as you can place the serve well. It does require a bit of a change in mindset, however. A flat serve is often problematic because it takes away from your time to get to the net and can be blocked back to your feet. Either a good slice serve that stays low or a good kicking serve that rises out of the opponent's comfort zones are good for forcing weaker returns.

With a serve and volley game, you don't need winners - you need to prevent dipping returns at your feet- deep blistering returns are fine, because you are in a good position to response to these high shots. In fact it is often very effective to switch up your serve and volley and staying back, so that you can take advantage of the wrong return (e.g., punish the short return when you stay back).

Things to keep in mind if you want to serve and volley.

1) be aggressive - S&V is a very aggressive mindset - its about hitting winners and forcing your opponent to hit either winners or unforced errors.

2) similarly, this means you cannot get discouraged when a couple of the opponents shots get past you. it happens a lot. You need to have a short memory and force your game. Think of if this way - if you are getting passed at will by someone who rips winners, chances are that you are playing someone a lot better than you.

3) practice the serve/approach foot work, so you explode forward towards the net after the serve. With just an hour of practice, you could get a lot better and deeper into the court before the return.

4) likewise, you need to stop with a jump step when your serve bounces in the service box. You will never hit effective volleys running forward.

2ndServe
11-07-2009, 01:32 PM
the reason I find it harder to sv today is because in the past if you hit a good deep hard approach/serve you cover the line and they can only hit a decent cross court shot that's fairly easy to cut off diagonally and pop for a winner.

Now I'll hit the same good shot to the forehand and guys are whipping it cross court half way up the service line. With that kind of angle I have shade more the cross court leaving a little more of the line open. Same deal with the backhand but of course less frequent.

naylor
11-07-2009, 06:08 PM
If your fellow players are of a high standard - for doubles, rather than just singles - you'll be forced to play S&V on all your service games, on both first and second serves. So, that'll give your volleying plenty of practice. But also, the good thing is that you'll only have half the court to cover, so - provided you have played a half-decent serve - in most instances you'll be able to get your racket to most balls that come your way, rather than being passed outright. Hence, you'll get a chance to intercept blistering returns that if you were playing singles - because of the extra width available to your opponent - you wouldn't get a sniff at. So, good practice in a match situation.

The second thing you learn when you play doubles is to place your first serve - you take a fraction off the pace, but you nail the spot you want to nail. If you like, you learn to crank up your second serve closer to the pace of a first serve, but you still retain some of the extra safety features of a second serve, such as spin and/or placement. For instance, a very effective serve for singles S&V is the slider from the deuce court (or for that matter, the kicker from the ad court), that takes the returner wide and opens the court for a cross-court volley. In either case, if you're playing such a serve as a first serve you will never hit it flat and hard, you'll play a hard kicker (i.e. a hard second serve kicker, trying for extra kick) from the ad side. From the deuce court, you'll play a sliced serve (or topspin serve, or a mixture of both) that goes over the lowest part of the net - here, what you want from the spin is to keep taking the ball away to the side, and the reason for adding top (rather than pure slice) is that it enables you to aim for a very acute angle higher up the sideline, with the topspin bringing the ball down and in and then making the ball kick to the sidefence. In either case, slightly slower but well placed first serves - when playing singles, will give you extra time to come up for volleying.

Two things you need to watch when playing wide serves where your partner intercepts the return are the quality of the return and the position your partner intercepts them, because that's the position you'll have to get to when playing singles to intercept them. Put it another way, if on your wide serves from the deuce side your partner usually gets a hard down-the-line pass which he just manages to volley with his backhand (assuming a righty), then if you play the same serve in singles you'll get passed/killed because you won't be able to cover it - basically, your serve is not wide enough and falls nicely into the returner's strike zone (and you'll also see a fair share of returns coming back to you, either down to your shoelaces or hard and wide to your forehand, again a sign that you're serving plum into the returner's zone). On the other hand, if he gets weak floating returns which he puts away easily, then your wide serve is working nicely for singles S&V also.

fuzz nation
11-07-2009, 06:19 PM
Cool!

Having the option to serve and volley gives you more of a capacity to make things happen from more areas of the court. Even if you can't realistically S&V all day against every opponent you face, it's a solid option to have in your bag of tricks and if you ever get into heavy doubles, you won't be able to hang if you can't do it well.

I usually prefer to go in behind a funky spin serve. If I'm not even sure how it's going to bounce, it will usually keep a receiver off balance and give me a little more time to set myself up a little closer to the net. My flat serves are better for just occasionally keeping someone honest. Instead of going in behind a flat heater, I might wait and see if it coaxes out a weak return that's short. Then I can move in behind my second shot.

T1000
11-07-2009, 06:23 PM
I usually use a flat serve, but I take pace off it to place it, usually to the weaker side. Sometimes I hit a slider to catch them off guard. For the second serve, slice so they have to pop it up or kick to the backhand to force them to make a good passing shot.

The biggest weakness I find is in the serve. If it isn't good enough, you're screwed. It doesn't matter how good of a volleyer you are, you're gonna get passed. Another thing is don't stand on top of the net or the guy is gonna hit lob after lob. You also have to come in real fast off the serve or you're caught in no man's land.

Blake0
11-07-2009, 06:51 PM
Serve and volley requires a good serve that forces your opponent to hit weak returns most of the time. A good flat serve is a great choice, but over a course of a match the opponent might get used to it and start firing back faster returns. Well it's the same with any serve. Best choice is to have a variety of serves placed everywhere and choose your choice of weapon varying by the opponent. (ex: weak backhand returner. Flat/kick/slice serve to backhand side)

Biggest weakness really are good returners...passing and lobs..are pretty obvious. Good returners even will make it harder to finish off points easily.

Djokovicfan4life
11-07-2009, 07:46 PM
Flat first and kick second of course, don't come in on a kick serve ever unless you have some kind of ridiculously amazingly fast kick serve.

Weakness: Lobs / passes

Never come in on a kicker, huh? I guess we'll have to inform Pat Rafter that he was doing it wrong.

xFullCourtTenniSx
11-07-2009, 11:13 PM
Never come in on a kicker, huh? I guess we'll have to inform Pat Rafter that he was doing it wrong.

Oh give him a break. He's like what? A 3.0-4.0? He wouldn't know any better.

The best serve to use is the one that your opponent doesn't see coming.

Focus on placement more than spin and spin more than pace.

You need a body serve, a wide serve, and a T serve you can use as perfectly as possible whenever you want, on both first and second serves (assuming you wish to come in on both serves). Now you also need to be able to hit topspin, slice, kick, and flat. Granted you might not need to hit many flat serves, but it's good to have in the bag for a change-up.

Next, you want to be as good with disguising the ball as possible. This makes it even tougher for the returner to get a solid return back consistently.

Having a high first serve percentage is ALWAYS good in the game of tennis. It can NEVER hurt you more than it helps unless you're throwing in creampuffs for first serves. Anything with solid racket acceleration hit at a high percentage works, which means spin is your friend.

As for second serves, you want one that can hopefully push your opponent back, move them around, and keep them from putting returns down low on you. The very minimal is keeping them from putting returns down low on you.

You don't want to hit nothing but kickers for first serves, but use heavy topspin/slice with a bit of pace. Kickers are for change-ups on first serves.

Now, for volleys, you must learn to block volleys above the net either deep to a corner or at a wide angle. You must also learn to block low volleys deep (or at an angle if you're close enough to the net). The overhead is crucial! Don't skip out on practicing the overhead (both standard and backhand). And develop a good half volley! It will save your *** more times than you can count just like the low volleys.

So the strengths of a great serve and volleyer are as follows:
-The second serve (meaning their first serve is even scarier!)
-The low volley
-The half volley
-The overhead

The weaknesses of a serve and volleyer are as follows:
-The low return off the serve (hence why the best volleyers master this aspect of their net games more than anything else)
-The high, deep lob off the second passing attempt (if they hit a good one off a solid approach shot or serve, then too good, but let them try to hit a good one past you all day long; but off a second passing attempt where you might not have done enough with the ball, they can seriously punish you with this shot)
-The sharp crosscourt dipper. Not only is this shot hit at a great angle that's difficult to cover, but by the time you're there you have to hit a low volley or a full stretch half volley. Generally you're lucky to put this ball back into play unless you anticipated it and covered it early.

Overall, don't let them hit these 3 shots. Make sure your approach shots and serves are solid and force defensive or conservative returns. Next, make sure the first volley puts them off balance or on the full run. Finally, make sure they don't have enough time to hit the last 2 shots. The low return is one thing since it will likely have pace that you can use (and that you should have practiced these shots extensively), but the other 2 are going to tear you apart if you let your opponent get too many looks at hitting them. Force them to hit either a standard crosscourt or down the line shot past you.

Ken Honecker
11-08-2009, 12:59 AM
Ah tennis the way it was meant to be played, at least by the young. Hit the crap out of the serve (flat of course, spins are for wimps) charge the net daring your opponant to return it and allow you to murder it. Volley him into submission, repeat. In a perfect world you will play most of the game within 5 feet of the net and display God like talents that make woman swoon at your feet. Always have a Sharpie handy to sign body parts.

ubermeyer
11-08-2009, 11:54 AM
Never come in on a kicker, huh? I guess we'll have to inform Pat Rafter that he was doing it wrong.

Me: "don't come in on a kick serve ever unless you have some kind of ridiculously amazingly fast kick serve."

Read.

Plus, the courts today are much slower so discussing Pat Rafter is irrelevant. And pros can do things most players can't.

BajeDuane
11-08-2009, 12:00 PM
You might as well say don't come in on a flat serve either unless it is an amazingly had or accurate flat serve.
I would hope most people would know not to come in on weak serves, whether they are kick, flat or slice.

fruitytennis1
11-08-2009, 03:02 PM
NO matter what kind of serve make sure its deep into the service box. Also mix it up dont just rush the net every time.

Ripper014
11-08-2009, 03:59 PM
Never come in on a kicker, huh? I guess we'll have to inform Pat Rafter that he was doing it wrong.

There was that other guy too... hmmm... Stephan something that came in all the time behind a kicker.

2ndServe
11-08-2009, 05:54 PM
just because edberg and rafter came in on kickers does not mean the rest of us should. If you mix it up well yeah sure, but if you're hitting kickers all the time, you better have the best kicker and best volleys like edberg to do this. Any 5.0+ if he sees kickers all the time is going to take it on the rise before it kicks high and make you look silly.

Sure if you're playing jokers who are clueless enough to return kickers at the back fence waiting for it to come down and letting the kick play them. Hit it 100%

NamRanger
11-08-2009, 06:25 PM
just because edberg and rafter came in on kickers does not mean the rest of us should. If you mix it up well yeah sure, but if you're hitting kickers all the time, you better have the best kicker and best volleys like edberg to do this. Any 5.0+ if he sees kickers all the time is going to take it on the rise before it kicks high and make you look silly.

Sure if you're playing jokers who are clueless enough to return kickers at the back fence waiting for it to come down and letting the kick play them. Hit it 100%




A 5.0+ is not going to consistently return a 5.0+ kick serve the majority of the time (if it's a good one).

2ndServe
11-08-2009, 07:16 PM
A 5.0+ is not going to consistently return a 5.0+ kick serve the majority of the time (if it's a good one).


Well if you're a 5.0 and you want to hit mostly kick serves and s&v I'm in the socal area if you want to test this theory. I could be wrong but I'd like to find out.

Kenny022593
11-08-2009, 07:22 PM
Didn't Navarro hit all Kick/Spin serves against Dent?

2ndServe
11-08-2009, 07:29 PM
could be but Dent has arguably the worst return I've seen for a pro. I've never seen a pro hit so many slice forehand returns and slice backhands all the time. Seriously slice forehands? He was a beast in the juniors in socal and I hope his return to the pros is a good one. His groundies at the US open were very impressive I was in awe compared to what they used to be.

I love watching him play but I think he has a bit too much weight to play sv. Such a beautiful game minus the return of serve. Yeah you can also kick it to feliciano lopez's backhand, karlovic's backhand and blake's backhand all day.

LeeD
11-09-2009, 07:45 AM
Yeah, let's diss on Dent. And while we're at it, diss on TommyHaas too, who also slices the majority of backhands returns, but also a fair percentage of forehand returns.
Right, only topspin returns counts for anything.
And for S/V serves, ANY serve which you can WIN THE MAJORITY of points is good enough for S/V.
And any serve with you think you can win the particular point, the majority of times, is the choice of serve.
PLAY some tennis, guys, and you'll know that not every serve works equally well against everyone player.
Really, try playing some tennis.








v

EikelBeiter
11-09-2009, 08:49 AM
Me: "don't come in on a kick serve ever unless you have some kind of ridiculously amazingly fast kick serve."

Read.

Plus, the courts today are much slower so discussing Pat Rafter is irrelevant. And pros can do things most players can't.

It is actually a good idea to come in on a kick serve, because it gives you more time to reach the net, since a kick serve is slower. And when you are closer to the net you have an easier volley.

Plus a decent kick serve on the backhand side of the opponent is often more difficult to return than a hard flat service.

2ndServe
11-09-2009, 08:54 AM
the more you slice the return the more defensive and more running you'll be doing. The better movers have a better chance because a slice return is simply to get them into the point. Haas and blake can effetively do this but they are 2 of the fastest and best court covers, but I disagree, hass crushes some forehand returns. Notice sv slice returners who can't move well, karlovic, lopez, dent have almost no chance of breaking people. These guys almost always slice the backhand return and are among the worst break percentages relative to their peers in the ranking. If these guys go down a break have you ever seen them win a set or even break back.

LeeD
11-09-2009, 08:58 AM
The slow moving big hitters will ALWAYS have trouble breaking serve.
The super fast fit guys who can hit with hard top, but CHOOSE to chip/slice returns can break serve, because they can move.
When Haas played Safin, he chose to chip slice his forehand returns easily 60% of the time, and sliced his backhand returns closer to 75% of the time.
Of course, he could back it up with topspin passing shots off both wings...and the speed to get there and set.

Kenny022593
11-09-2009, 11:07 AM
LeeD i agree with you on the statement that you can S/V off of any serve, but what is the best serve? Would it be the kicker as many people have said it gives you more time to get yourself closer to the net to hit a good first volley. Or the flat which can make your opponent go off balance because of the pace?

2ndServe
11-09-2009, 11:24 AM
lol it's all, like a pitcher you have to keep people off balance. You hit one type and I guarantee any decent player will destroy you. But it changes depending on your best serve and what your opponent doesn't like, there is no one way, each day and opponent is different.

LeeD
11-09-2009, 11:29 AM
As said, you choose your serve with regards of how well you hit it, but also how well (either strong but can miss or very consistent) the returner can hit his returns. If the returner can hit strong and consistent off both sides, and able to return that way on your into the body serves, can cover the whole service court, then count your blessings. You don't have to think anymore, you'll just lose to a superior player!
Fast firsts need to illicit a slower moving return, so you can get into the court, so you can get into position, so you don't get passed.
Slower serves need to illicit an awkward return from the reciever, so you can do the same things and get into position to volley.
Cheap easy points you cannot count on, as it's luck of the draw there.
And you gotta give your opponent SOME credit, if they hit one winner out of 5 of your serves.

jazzyfunkybluesy
11-09-2009, 12:24 PM
My trick is to vary the serve in which you charge the net on. Flat to the body, kick to the backhand, sweeping slice off the court to the forehand.

SlapChop
11-09-2009, 01:19 PM
I would think that a hard flat serve would be the worst for S&V because the speed it is returned. I think a kick serve or a medium speed well placed flat serve would be best. Placement has alot to do with it because you need to have somewhat of a prediction of which way your opponent will go with the shot.

junbumkim
11-09-2009, 02:06 PM
LeeD i agree with you on the statement that you can S/V off of any serve, but what is the best serve? Would it be the kicker as many people have said it gives you more time to get yourself closer to the net to hit a good first volley. Or the flat which can make your opponent go off balance because of the pace?

Kick serve works great because it does give you extra time to close in and it is difficult for a returner to get the return down low. But, your kicker has to be good to pull this off.
If well-executed, slice into the body on deuce side is a great serve as well. But you really need to make the ball curve into the body.

As you move up the level, you need more and more pace and the kick to get a weak reply because people at high level will crush mediocre kick serves -especially if they get into a good rhythm.

The goal with your serve when you serve-volley is alway to keep your returner under pressure. To do this, you need consistency, variety, pace, and spin. And, the opponent's capability will have a lot of influence on how you use your serve.

I kinda agree flat serve isn't the most optimal serve for serve-volley. But if you serve is big and your opponent is simply blocking and floating your flat serve back, then there is no reason not to use it. You will be getting a lot of high volleys. If your flat serve is about average, then I suggest you use it as a change up. When your opponent is used to seeing slice and kickers, even mediocre flat serves can feel like a bomb.

In addition, one of the best ways to get your opponent off balance with your serve is to vary the placement while exploiting their weakness and utilizing your strength. You really need to focus on what kind of serves you are using and how your opponent is responding.

However, you CANNOT NEGLECT PACE. You can mix it up all you want with all the spin in the world, but without pace, good players will eat up your serve.

Slazenger07
11-10-2009, 08:34 AM
Ah tennis the way it was meant to be played, at least by the young. Hit the crap out of the serve (flat of course, spins are for wimps) charge the net daring your opponant to return it and allow you to murder it. Volley him into submission, repeat. In a perfect world you will play most of the game within 5 feet of the net and display God like talents that make woman swoon at your feet. Always have a Sharpie handy to sign body parts.

lol according to Honecker, once you get down the S&V game you'll be signing titties in no time.

LeeD
11-10-2009, 10:22 AM
Once you get down the S/V game, you'll find your competition improves and you have to work on your groundies again, and then your S/V.
Learning and getting better never stops, until you decide it's time to take a break. If you improve ONE aspect of your game, you'll notice the rest of your game lags behind immediately. That is improvement, not a steady curve, but fits of ups followed by slacks of poor play. Fortunately, if the overall game is improving, the ups are higher than the slacks are low.
And flat serves hardly ever come back fast, unless you tell the returner WHERE your're serving it. So move it around.
A real fast first flat serve has the returner standing 4' behind the baseline. Lots of depth and time for you to move in. A weak first flat can be fully groundstroked back at you, so should be saved for times when your're going for the lines.

SlapChop
11-10-2009, 10:37 AM
I have a hard flat serve but when returned with a block it comes back DTL like missile. I have had that happen 2 or 3 times, by different players. I did also ace both of these players at least 3 times each. in the same set, with the same serve.

LeeD
11-10-2009, 10:55 AM
Since you know where the "missle" is going, it should not be a problem. Just head that way after your serve.
If you match his winners with your aces, and it's even, maybe you should start counting his weak returns or missed returns.
Advantage who?

LuckyR
11-10-2009, 11:45 AM
LeeD i agree with you on the statement that you can S/V off of any serve, but what is the best serve? Would it be the kicker as many people have said it gives you more time to get yourself closer to the net to hit a good first volley. Or the flat which can make your opponent go off balance because of the pace?

There is no one answer to this question (which might be obvious given the answers in this thread). It all depends on what the returner is having trouble with. Lots of classic players have trouble with high kickers but lots of modern players eat high spinny balls for lunch. Myself, I rush kickers and dink them at the toes of S&Vers (taking away the extra time for them approaching).

If you have a flat serve that noone can return, good for you and there is your answer. For those not named Sampras, you will devastate some with your flat serve and you will get your clock cleaned by others with the same serve.

So in conclusion: it depends.

EP1998
11-10-2009, 12:49 PM
lol according to Honecker, once you get down the S&V game you'll be signing titties in no time.

Does anyone here remember a player whose last name was

In D Zone
11-12-2009, 08:59 AM
any serve as long as you don't feed the ball straight to the opponents strike zone (for short don't get pummeled by the return).

You got to commit, and not stop and stare at your serve. Must have a realiable serve (avg speed is good as long as its place well). Key is distract your opponent to focus more on the ball and not you.

Move in after the serve, first stop is close to the service line (split step), if you move in too close to the net you'll get lob. Attack the incoming ball.

rk_sports
11-12-2009, 10:54 AM
just good to hear someone considering the wonderful art of S&V..

its not going to be easy.. need to be/get fit as there is lot of effort in good serving (key) and then quick stepping to net and be ready for low volleys