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FedererUberAlles
06-08-2005, 11:26 AM
Serving and volleying has been something I have been aspiring to do since I first started playing tennis. When I serve my opponents unintentionaly (I don't play against very good kids, I'm talking 3.0>=) hit passing shots/lobs. I've got a pretty nice serve from what people tell me (haven't clocked it). It's mostly flat, but I model it off of Sampras so I get some decent spin on it. Do you guys have any suggestions of how I should force my opponents into hitting forehands that are volley-able (serves forcing lower shots)? I'm sick of sitting on the baseline hitting back moonballs.

Thanatos
06-08-2005, 11:45 AM
I'm a serve and vollyer (snv) or all courter. Before I snv:
1. I assess how well my opponent returns the ball. It maybe an opponent I've played before or the first couple of games will give me an indication. Some opponent's are excellent returners. In this case I will not snv, but will wait for a short ball after the serve and hit a good approach shot. If my opponent serves, then I will chip-n-charge keeping the ball low and deep to my opponent's BH side.

2. Decide before you come up to the line if you are going to snv and what type of serve to hit and where. I will always hit a kicker to my opponent's BH side or jam him.
Kickers are higher percentage serves then flat. This will force a weak reply permitting me to hit the 1st volley. A lot of players make the mistake of whacking the serve as hard as possible and missing the serve.

3. You need to be a good and consistent server. Take a bucket of balls and practicing hitting both 1st and 2nd serves. Also after hitting the serves, stimulate moving forward and hitting the 1st volley in no man's land. Some people just stand on the line and start practing serve. They don't situmate the entire point.

4. Watch video's of Tim Henman, Roger Federer, or Taylor Dent.

There are many more aspects to snv, but this should be a start.

FedererUberAlles
06-08-2005, 11:51 AM
I'm going to skip on Henman and Dent. :p I'll watch Sampras ;) My serve is quite consistent if I'm feeling good. I can't do anything about my serve if I'm lacking confidence. Thanks for the reply.

erik-the-red
06-08-2005, 12:17 PM
Aw come on!

What's wrong with Henman's now-only-occassional serve and volley approaches?

Or Dent for that matter? He might not have Sampras and Rafter's flair, but he is a SVer.

volleyman
06-08-2005, 12:21 PM
Sounds like they're feeding off the pace on your serve. Some options:

1: work on moving your serve around. If they're lunging for the ball because they anticipated wrong, you're more likely to get a short ball that's easy to volley. Plus, you'll get a few more aces, which are always good for boosting your confidence and lowering theirs.

2: develop a serve with more spin and action and less raw pace. Not a poofball, but a little slower than your fastball with a lot more spin. That way, in addition to moving them around, you cut down on the amount of pace they have to work with, and make it harder for them to properly judge the ball, leading to less solid hits. Both should produce more volleyable balls for you.

antontd
06-08-2005, 12:35 PM
Don't lower your serve speed. Faster serve in the body is much better. Improve your serve speed, then its accuracy. A lot of people will not agree with me. However without speed, accuracy will work against you - allowing almost a perfect set up for your opponent.

Kana Himezaki
06-08-2005, 01:20 PM
I'd change where you're hitting it to. I'd like to make a long post, but everyone's said most of it.

For S&Ving, serving down the middle is the way to go for limiting angles and therefore passing shots. It also makes it easier to rush in on. You can also try serving directly into their body, as anton said.

Jonnyf
06-08-2005, 01:22 PM
i think a Kicker to the body or to the BH as Thantos suggested would be very smart idea

drakulie
06-08-2005, 01:24 PM
Placement, placement, placement.

Kana Himezaki
06-08-2005, 01:30 PM
Placement down the MIDDLE, unless it's to the opponent's clearly weaker wing.

Jonnyf
06-08-2005, 01:31 PM
remember to vary your serve and when you come up aswell as you don't want them to know exactly what you'll doand read you like a book

antontd
06-08-2005, 01:36 PM
For S&Ving, serving down the middle is the way to go for limiting angles and therefore passing shots. It also makes it easier to rush in on.
it doesn't limit the angles, but your opponent has to make them(this is good for you). However an experienced player will not try to pass you. He will try to hit in you feet. This will make your first volley very hard, while your opponent will be in a perfect position for the next shot.

Mixing serves works best: middle, in the body, wide / flat, kick, slice.

Kana Himezaki
06-08-2005, 02:33 PM
Mixing serves DOES work best, you don't want to get your opponent into a rhythm. When I want to serve and volley, I usually mix between mostly down the middle serves, sometimes a big kick serve as a first serve, or whatever. Occasionally I aim for a flat or usually topspin serve wide for variety -the topspin gives me more consistency in blasting it back.

It DOES limit their passing angles. They have to make them on their own, like you said, and they don't have a portion of the court open down the line like they do on wide serves.

Also, especially with hard hit serves, or if you can put enough topspin to make it uncomfortable for the other player, returning close to your feet is hard. If you're an effective server (essential if you want to S&V, lol), it should be hard to successfully aim most shots at all on well placed/huge serves. Unless the opponent is an extremely effective returner, I'd be hard pressed to find one that could hit it back low and with ease into my body or legs with the pace carried over from the serve.

If I do get caught with a low ball at my feet, I've got a deep half volley aiming for the middle again, or down the line if it's simply low and at the side. I don't want to set him up for a clean passing shot if I aim for the corners, and even for experienced players it's hard to repeat shots going at the feet. If I can keep the ball deep, another passing shot isn't going to be easy.

kying1031
06-08-2005, 02:46 PM
I'm personally a very heavy S&V-er myself.

What I try to do is to put my opponent in an uncomfortable/defensive position. placement on serves is everything, and spin helps out quite a bit to achieve these ends.

And if your opponent enjoys lobbing you at every turn, don't charge nearly so quickly. and don't forget to split-step.

antontd
06-08-2005, 02:54 PM
It DOES limit their passing angles. They have to make them on their own, like you said, and they don't have a portion of the court open down the line like they do on wide serves.


It doesn't - simple math. take a piece of paper, draw a tennis court and see for yourself.
edited: The further from the middle, the smaller the angle.


Also, especially with hard hit serves, or if you can put enough topspin to make it uncomfortable for the other player, returning close to your feet is hard. If you're an effective server (essential if you want to S&V, lol), it should be hard to successfully aim most shots at all on well placed/huge serves. Unless the opponent is an extremely effective returner, I'd be hard pressed to find one that could hit it back low and with ease into my body or legs with the pace carried over from the serve.


you're right. Serving well is essential. But hitting(when receiving) in the feet is easier than making a passing shot.


If I do get caught with a low ball at my feet, I've got a deep half volley aiming for the middle again, or down the line if it's simply low and at the side. I don't want to set him up for a clean passing shot if I aim for the corners, and even for experienced players it's hard to repeat shots going at the feet. If I can keep the ball deep, another passing shot isn't going to be easy.

it seems you don't play against 5.0-5.5 players like me. placing a volley in the middle is not a good idea. Most good players can make the angles when they are not troubled. The best thing you could do is a stop volley. When they expect it, then hit deep in the corners.

Kathy
06-08-2005, 04:46 PM
If you center the serve by serving down the middle, you do restrict the Angle of Return. If you serve down the middle, they must return up the middle. Even if they hit their return to a corner, it crosses the net in the center. Where you are. Within your reach.

When the reciver runs wide to return serve, he has a straight shot down the sideline for a winner or a sharp angle crosscourt for a winner.

So, the ideal net-rushing serve is a centered serve, because it gives the reciever no passing angle.

Don't follow every serve. The receiver wants to return deep when you stay back and wants to return to service-line depth when you rush. So, make him try to hit the return with one eye on you to see what you're doing.

You can hit most of your approching serves down the center. Go at the body just often enough to keep the receiver guessing. There are players who give you a nice return when you stretch them out, but otherwise avoid serving wide so you don't get passed on your way in.

The pressure is agmented by surprise. Sometimes follow a second serve. Sometimes hit a second serve as your first and follow it. Keep him guessing.

You'll be most successful in the deuce court, because your centered serve goes to the backhand. Very likely to draw you a floater, especially with a kick serve.

Follow serve just often enough in the ad court to keep the receiver guessing.

Net-rushing serves don't necessarily have to be hard. Some relatively slow ones work well, especially when thrown in as a change-up on a first serve.

Kana Himezaki
06-08-2005, 04:49 PM
Anton-

As for your first remark, it DOES limit PASSING angles. First, yo uDO have a wider range. However, most of these angles are covered by who at the net. You intercept them much better than when aiming for the corners. This is why many coaches, even at the pro level, tell players to aim deep and down the middle when attempting to recover.

Hitting into the feet is mostly HARDER than hitting a passing shot. Reason being its hard to put topspin on a hard hit shot to make it dip right at the feet. For many players, they are forced to sacrifice pace (short floater), or simply hit more into the body. Also, when more of the pace is carried over from your shot, it's often hard to make to make an effective short ball out of it. It'll usually carry over into no man's land, and it's easier to volley those deeper balls back.

And for your final remark, I am a 4.5 player according to tournaments. I play with others at this level, and have other people who are highly nationally ranked in the 16 and Unders, which I believe to be a 5.0-5.5.

Yes, a stop volley/drop volley/touch shot is effective, and is an effective and usually easy option for those dippers coming in at your feet. However, aiming for the corners, ESPECIALLY on a mostly defensive shot, simply gives them more angles and places to pass you at. You're aiming for mostly low height and depth to set up for a more effective, NEXT volley. You want to keep your chances of staying on the offensive. When serving down the middle, as is usual with S&V, you're in the MIDDLE of the court, not favoring any particular side. A down the line half-volley is not possible to limit the most angles.

Hitting deep in the corners is fine when you want variation or it's to a clearly weaker wing. However, I don't expect a mostly defensive half-volley to attack at the corners.

ferreira
06-08-2005, 06:06 PM
Serving and volleying has been something I have been aspiring to do since I first started playing tennis. When I serve my opponents unintentionaly (I don't play against very good kids, I'm talking 3.0>=) hit passing shots/lobs. I've got a pretty nice serve from what people tell me (haven't clocked it).
If your 3.0 opponents consistently pass you, chances are you do not have as good a serve as you are being told (points off of unintentional lobs and passes don't come by the dozen). A hard serve with no placement can be easy even for 3.0. Thus, it is likely you are hitting hard, but lacking placement, which makes for a not so good a serve. You must work on placement. You must devise a plan before serving, in order to narrow down the possibilites for getting passed/lobbed. Like they say, you have to focus on playng good percentages.

FedererUberAlles
06-08-2005, 06:51 PM
No, they just always hit moonballs. :p It's just how they play; they don't have very well developed strokes. No matter where I place it it ends up being a moonball. I'm just tired of having to sit back at the baseline in a rally that takes forever because I can't attack due to the constant moonballing. I guess I'd better just work on overheads and slices until I start playing people who like to return lower. : /

Rickson
06-08-2005, 09:37 PM
I serve and volley according to my opponent's return position. If he's waiting way behind the baseline, I'm gonna go in on him, but if he plays me inside the baseline, he's disrespecting my serve so I stay back and aim right at the body. The reason I don't move in on players who are inside is because they sometimes get lucky with blocking back returns or they're actually aggressive returners like Agassi. Remember, if the opponent is waiting for your serve far behind the baseline, move into the net.

enk
06-09-2005, 12:00 AM
FedererUberAlles,

You should broaden what you think a S&V needs to do to win.

Of course digging out a shoe top volley is one of the HARDEST (glamorous) shot for a S&V BUT to hit such a low pass on a return is just as HARD too.

Your 3.0 opponent wouldn't have much success trying for these passes. So instead of giving you freebies, they hit the much easier lob return and off pace moon ball pass.

To make them let you play a ‘real’ volley, you must:
1. Smash their lob and win the point with consistency. After a few of these, they’ll know lobbing doesn’t work.
2. For off pace moon ball pass, the key is to be aware of them. These balls are usually slower but you must learn to move into position, hit with good placement and generate your own pace. Also, lookout for lobs after you volley.

When you take away these 2 shots from them, they will start to let you play ‘real’ volleys. If they still refuse to pass you ‘decently’, then there is not much you can do but at least you will always come out on top.
:D

antontd
06-09-2005, 06:01 AM
Kana,

the angle is smaller when the ball is wide - it’s the fact. Just move a step or two in that direction.(you know that)

I’m not saying that placing a deep volley in the middle is bad. I do it too, but not consistently. Don’t forget, you are at the net - so many variants to make them run. You’re never on defense.

Kana Himezaki
06-09-2005, 06:10 AM
Yes, there are less angles. But there are more PASSING angles.

You never want to be on defense. But a low ball at the feet is a defensive shot. It's not going to attack, even if placed at a corner. It's a low ball with slight underspin, I don't see that attacking. Hit it at the corners, your opponent is going to have an easy time passing you around the side. You want to stay on the offensive, set yourself up for a subsequent volley.

When put in that situation, I sent it deep back up the middle, and 40% of the time to the opponent's backhand side.

antontd
06-09-2005, 06:49 AM
"Yes, there are less angles. But there are more PASSING angles"

:confused: I give up.

Kana Himezaki
06-09-2005, 06:56 AM
Yes, if you hit down the line, you intercept and block the most angles. But if you're in the middle and you hit a defensive shot into a corner, it's not going to be hard to set up for. That's most of what I'm attempting to say.

Actually, yours might work too. You wouldn't be able to attack with it, but you could move to the side and cover it just as well. Sorry for my posts. XD I guess it works for me because I have freakishly long reach and can do a series of John McEnroe-like maneuvers and lunges. :P

FedererUberAlles
06-09-2005, 07:17 AM
FedererUberAlles,

You should broaden what you think a S&V needs to do to win.

Of course digging out a shoe top volley is one of the HARDEST (glamorous) shot for a S&V BUT to hit such a low pass on a return is just as HARD too.

Your 3.0 opponent wouldn't have much success trying for these passes. So instead of giving you freebies, they hit the much easier lob return and off pace moon ball pass.

To make them let you play a ‘real’ volley, you must:
1. Smash their lob and win the point with consistency. After a few of these, they’ll know lobbing doesn’t work.
2. For off pace moon ball pass, the key is to be aware of them. These balls are usually slower but you must learn to move into position, hit with good placement and generate your own pace. Also, lookout for lobs after you volley.

When you take away these 2 shots from them, they will start to let you play ‘real’ volleys. If they still refuse to pass you ‘decently’, then there is not much you can do but at least you will always come out on top.
:D


I must not be explaining this well enough; they don't try to pass me, they just hit it back and try to keep it in; "pushers." Nothing wrong with this, I'm just aggravated by it. I'm tired of sitting at the baseline and I want to attack instead of just wasting time. They don't organize a game plan, they just hit it in. I guess I'll wait until I'm playing people that don't moonball to serve and volley. I'll refer back to this thread when I get to that point. I'm just going to make my overheads better now so that I can just stand midcourt and slam lobs.

Rickson
06-09-2005, 08:21 AM
Going up the middle limits angles, but a great passer like Federer always seems to find the little crack he needs. I agree with an up the middle approach shot as long as it's deep and well past the service line. I'll play the net if I serve up the T on the deuce side, if it's his backhand side or if he's way over at the corner on the ad side, I'll go to net too even though it's his forehand side. I also like wide approach shots that take the opponent outside the court. You may think that he would have a shot at a good crosscourt pass, but more times than not, he has to go up the line because when he's taken wide and off balance, he won't make good enough contact with the ball to take it crosscourt.

antontd
06-09-2005, 10:29 AM
I guess it works for me because I have freakishly long reach and can do a series of John McEnroe-like maneuvers and lunges. :P

"series" you say? you play against girls right? try that with men, but put protectors all over your body. Otherwise you might finish with a few extra holes ;)

Kana Himezaki
06-09-2005, 01:34 PM
For practice, I play 4.5 boys, too. I don't really want to go up against the 5.5 junior at our club, he's just scary. XD I play a 5.0 occasionally (I'm lucky to have a variety of players to play),and pretty much get beaten 6-1 most of the time. Occasionally 6-2 if I'm having a bad day, and a lot of 6-0s. The only games I get are my service ones, since I'm six feet. He still breaks serve most of the time.

My serve is lucky enough to not be that attackable. But he's fast, and generally, if I can't put the ball away quickly, he sometimes rips the ball right at me. Or if I don't set it up perfectly, I'm forced into a more defensive "McEnroe-like" lunge that he passes me cleanly on.

Reflex volleys when the ball is coming at your hips (at the net) are impossibly hard. >_< Harder than the feet

I'm tempted to buy those protectors, LOL. Hey, when people go snowboarding, they sell butt padding all over the place.

antontd
06-09-2005, 01:54 PM
He-he. don't turn you back against 5.0+ players. It's better to crouch down, hiding behind the net with the racquet standing over your head. ;)

"I can't put the ball away quickly" - yep. you should not hit more than 2 volleys.

Kana Himezaki
06-09-2005, 02:13 PM
Exactly. In those situations, when it's harder to immediately rush the net, I stay back until I blast a down the line shot and attempt to put it away to the open court.

I remember crouching, I did that when I was just starting.

When the balls at your hips, it's hard to get. I can deal with hardhit balls when they're coming at my general body. I usually sort of sway my torso to the side, and still push out with a compact backhand volley. For an idea of swaying (not a good word), rotate your shoulder connected with the non-dominant arm to the side so you're perpendicular to the net, then lean back slightly. It's difficult for me to angle these volleys to the right, but I can still produce most of the power and angle it to the left easily.

Hips = HARD. THE place to volley at in doubles at the opposing net player, if you can't do it down the middle/T.

Kathy
06-09-2005, 03:25 PM
Look
http://www.operationdoubles.com/austdoubsservingtactics.htm

Yes, I know it's doubles, but the angle of a shot's return is its Angle of Return no matter how many players are out there. I show why you should center the serve when your partner will poach the service return: your poacher can easily get passed if you serve wide. Centering the serve requires a return he can reach. Same thing in singles when following serve to net.

See also:
http://www.operationdoubles.com/judgingtheangleofreturn.htm

One thing rarely mentioned. So many people just parrot statements that hardly anybody notes that the BEST return against a net-rushing server is one that makes him break to either side AND bend low for a ball AT THE DEPTH OF his feet. Statistically, this return is more likely to draw an error or weak first volley than a return RIGHT AT his feet.

This has been known since William Talbert's classic books on tennis. But, few servers give you much of an angle with their serve when they intend to follow serve to net.

But, when a server does serve wide despite the risk, he's giving you an angle, so go for it. Make him cut sharply to either side AND bend low to dig up a shot that bounces around service-line depth. In doing that you are maximizing the difficulty of his first volley.

Kana Himezaki
06-09-2005, 04:42 PM
Kathy, thanks for the information. Actually, now that I think about it, I remember reading your site before. When I was on the freshman/sop****re girl's tennis team, they put me on doubles first. One of the first things I remember doing was looking it up, and finding Operation Doubles. :D Thanks, it's really one of the most informative sites out there.

Thanks also for the insights on two occasions, this and some thread on approaching.


I'd like to point out though that while bending low AND moving is definitely a difficult shot, a shot into the legs or hip at the player is certainly as difficult, especially for tall players. You can't really step into the ball, and have to lift it over the net in a defensive shot. Players with long reach/height (the majority of S&V players, from the ones I've seen), have less problems with balls at arm height than balls coming right into their body, especially low. Not to mention if the return has any pace (carried over from your serve), reflex volleys certainly aren't as effective, especially when you have to lift it over the net at the same time.

I can't find it now, but I believe Stan Smith had a quote somewhere on how nobody ever recognized it was hard to hit balls coming into his body, and just tried to pass him on shots he could reach.

I hope I said what I was trying to say, or got the message from your post right. Thanks for the insights.

Kathy
06-09-2005, 05:53 PM
Thanks. And I agree. The only time the body shot or hip shot wouldn't work is if you are too far away to get that shot there quick. It hurts tall people and two-handers most.

enk
06-09-2005, 07:43 PM
I must not be explaining this well enough; they don't try to pass me, they just hit it back and try to keep it in; "pushers." Nothing wrong with this, I'm just aggravated by it. I'm tired of sitting at the baseline and I want to attack instead of just wasting time. They don't organize a game plan, they just hit it in. I guess I'll wait until I'm playing people that don't moonball to serve and volley. I'll refer back to this thread when I get to that point. I'm just going to make my overheads better now so that I can just stand midcourt and slam lobs.

Now I am confused.

If they are not trying to pass you, then they must be HITTING THE BALL TO YOU. Aren't these the nicest 'setup' for you to hit aggressive volley. How come you would wait it out and refuse to attack. When I see these soft replies I'll make sure I move in ASAP and take the ball as close to the net (better angles) as possible. These are great practices to finish the point.

If you tell me that 'not trying to pass you' means a lob then I'll tell you a lob is technically a 'pass' (just not to your side).

What if Sampras is playing against someone who only does lob returns. Will Sampras stop serving and volleying and 'grind it out' with this guy from the baseline? Not very likely.

S&V is an aggressive style of play. Don't let the moon ball stop you from coming in. Pressure them to lob deeper & deeper and they'll start missing.

FedererUberAlles
06-10-2005, 03:32 PM
Thanks, enk. I'm confused now too. :p I think I see what you mean.