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View Full Version : Good returns against an s&v player


vkartikv
05-25-2006, 10:56 AM
I hate to brag but I think I have a good first serve and decent second one. Most often I have no problem holding serve by finishing off points at the net. I have never had my serve speed clocked but its got plenty of action.

Y'day I played this guy whose returns can be compared to Agassi's. I had very little, if any chance of making a decent volley against his returns. I altered my serves and went for his body and he still took big cuts out of it, aimed for the lines and made them ( he is probably a full point ranking above me). At the end of the day, I was left with no answer. I believe he enjoyed it because he is used to playing people with the same baseline style as him. We are supposed to play again this weekend. I have no idea what I need to do - I know this much that the secret lies in the serve. Or do I just have to concede defeat to a better player? Any help?

kevhen
05-25-2006, 11:02 AM
Lots of spin and less pace, even on first serves, mostly down the T or to his weaker side (likely backhand). Hitting with more spin and less pace gives you time to get in and gives him less pace to beat you with. Serving down the T gives him less angle to beat you with. Serving to his weaker side will often give you floaters that you can finish.

Have fun and keep playing him even if he has all the answers as you will only improve by playing up.

vkartikv
05-25-2006, 11:07 AM
Thanks kevhen. What you are suggesting requires me to serve somewhere in between my first and second serves, is that correct?

And yes, I absolutely love getting beaten by a better player - JK! I love a challenge and I'm quite glad I have found myself a competitive opponent who will make me want to go back to the courts the next day with a different strategy.

Rep. Timothy Calhoun
05-25-2006, 11:19 AM
I agree with the advice for spin serving on the first.

I would also recommend serving in some heaters every now and again in order to change it up. Once he gets used to your spin serves, the way they curve, bounce, and their timing, throw him off by ripping one into him. That may jam him, causing him to block the ball back in an ackward position. Hopefuly they would turn into weak replies, giving you the opportunity to volley. On the plus side, jamming him would have a higher margin of error, since you would be aiming for the middle.

I too am a S&V. Hope that helped.

kevhen
05-25-2006, 11:25 AM
Yeah, somewhere between a first and second serve, and use that same serve for your second serve. Occasionally mix it up with more pace if he is getting used to the spin and starting to place his returns. Placement is probably the key, not so much power. I would definitely go down the T with second serves giving yourself a foot or two for margin of error. First serves you can go wide more (but up the T is still a better play generally) and into the body when you do hit them harder to jam him and get a weak reply.

Have fun, don't give up but keep trying different things to see what works best and even go back to what you first tried as it may win you the most points even if you don't win many games and sets against this stronger player. Your vollies may improve but his passing shots may continue to improve as well.

Rickson
05-25-2006, 11:32 AM
I hate to brag but I think I have a good first serve and decent second one. Most often I have no problem holding serve by finishing off points at the net. I have never had my serve speed clocked but its got plenty of action.

Y'day I played this guy whose returns can be compared to Agassi's. I had very little, if any chance of making a decent volley against his returns. I altered my serves and went for his body and he still took big cuts out of it, aimed for the lines and made them ( he is probably a full point ranking above me). At the end of the day, I was left with no answer. I believe he enjoyed it because he is used to playing people with the same baseline style as him. We are supposed to play again this weekend. I have no idea what I need to do - I know this much that the secret lies in the serve. Or do I just have to concede defeat to a better player? Any help?
Stay back, dude. If your serves are as good as you say they are, you should be able to get some weak replies.

drakulie
05-25-2006, 11:49 AM
Stay back, dude. If your serves are as good as you say they are, you should be able to get some weak replies.

Totally agree with Rickson. Although your plan "A" is to serve and volley, you have to be able to have a plan "B". Stay back or mix it up. I also s & v, but there are days my serve is off or I am just playing someone better than me and "have my number". At minimum, by the second set if it ain't happening, I start staying back and mixing it up.

Also, as already stated take a little off the first and put more spin. Mix it up with your placement and speeds.

Good luck and let us know what happens.

vkartikv
05-25-2006, 11:53 AM
Thanks for the input. Away from the net, I feel like a fish out of water. I don't know how you guys do it! Thanks kevhen, I will go down the middle and see how the results come out.

Midlife crisis
05-25-2006, 12:28 PM
Thanks for the input. Away from the net, I feel like a fish out of water. I don't know how you guys do it! Thanks kevhen, I will go down the middle and see how the results come out.

I think if this is true (that you feel like a fish out of water away from the net), this is a worse strategy. The likelihood is that no matter how well you can hit your serve, if that person is truly a level above you, they will have seen it before and will be able to return it deep. Then, you'll be at the baseline where you feel uncomfortable, and your opponent will be doing exactly what they love, which is to bash away from the baseline.

You can definitely give it a try, but I have never had problems returning a serve from a player one level below me with only one exception, and that was a brute of a guy who was 6'6" or so and honestly hit it around 125 MPH. Timing it wasn't the problem, timing it while trying to return it at or above shoulder level (where I'm not used to returning these serves) was the problem. Unless you have some weapon like this, if you can't get any weak returns pretty quickly off, I think you should go down doing what you do best.

andreh
05-26-2006, 02:12 AM
Mix up the serves with different spins and varied pace and placement. Keep him guessing. In your match he might have had a very good day and perhaps found a groove and could just pound in his returns. Mixing the serves up decreases the likelyhood of this happening. My experience is that if you keep coming in the returner will sooner or later start missing a few returns. Then I would suggest you stick to your S&V game if you don't like baseline. If you can't beat him with your A-game your're certainly not going to beat him with your B-game.

vinouspleasure
05-26-2006, 07:52 AM
Thanks for the input. Away from the net, I feel like a fish out of water. I don't know how you guys do it! Thanks kevhen, I will go down the middle and see how the results come out.

So this points to a place in your game that needs improvement. I s&v but I`ll often play an entire set or two with no s&v to give my groundstrokes more of a workout.

Serving up the middle cuts down the angle of return but eventually your opponent is going to sit on it. I prefer to mix it up...if you can can get to the volley off a wide serve you have a pretty good chance of hitting into open court. For example, I like to hit a twist wide on the ad court and volley into the open court.

I think the most important thing is to try different speeds, locations and spin and see where he has trouble.

rasajadad
05-26-2006, 08:02 AM
I play against 2 guys like you in that they have big serves and S&V every point. (I would be more like your opponent. I am a ranked 50+ and 4.5 player.) I will give you the secret kept by better players for decades. 9 out of 10 4.0's and below tip their serve off. What is it that you do in your prep that's clueing him in?

vkartikv
05-26-2006, 08:36 AM
I admit, I am no Sampras or Federer. My second serve invariably goes up slightly behind me. I think I am good enough to spot changes in my opponents' ball toss, so obviously this guy must be good enough to know what to expect.

Secondly, there is this machine working inside my head saying words like 'sliced BH', 'chip and charge' and it always screams out 'volley'. With that kind of an audience constantly bickering and pushing me to the net, I have no option but surrender to its demands. Don't get me wrong, I play the game only for s&v and the thrill I get out of doing a one-two finish. I guess I need to wear ear-plugs inside my head and keep those voices out...

kevhen
05-26-2006, 08:45 AM
But serve and volley is not a one-two finish. Your first volley should set up a putaway volley, so it's really a 3 shot combo. Sometimes you can do it in 2 with a really good serve and really good volley, but you shouldn't think of it like that.

lucky leprechaun
05-26-2006, 02:03 PM
Y'day I played this guy whose returns can be compared to Agassi's. I had very little, if any chance of making a decent volley against his returns. I altered my serves and went for his body and he still took big cuts out of it, aimed for the lines and made them ( he is probably a full point ranking above me). At the end of the day, I was left with no answer.

Did you see any signs at all that your constant pressure was wearing him down? Was he returning as well at the end of the match as he was in the beginning? Were you being overpowered by volleys that you had a shot at?

Wtitanium
05-26-2006, 02:12 PM
Hit short balls, try to pull him up to the net. See how he plays up there. Then, hit some lobs, or passing shots. I would probably go for the lob, and do it often, so he gets tired out. If he starts staying back for the lob... well then figure something out.