Serve and Volley vs. Baseline play

Discussion in 'Adult League & Tournament Talk' started by HowardH, Feb 2, 2008.

  1. HowardH

    HowardH New User

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    I'm pretty much a baseline player and love to rally and work my opponent around until I find a time to make a an aggressive move. I'm only a 3.0, play on a 3.5 team and 3.5-4.0 ladder so I'm not implying I'm this great baseliner, I just love to rally with other baseliners. Lately I've been getting my lunch eaten by aggressive serve an volleyers that come to the net on every point.
    I'm a shorty and the guys I play stand well over 6' and havehave huge wingspans. If they set me up with a sitter I can generally pass them crosscourt or down the line but they learn fast to keep the volleys low so I have to dig them up and try to go over them from mid court. Not easy.

    Just wondering how many play an aggressive net game vs baseline. As I play up more and more I find this tactic more often. It really make me work on my all court game so I like it but I generally find it hard to beat a good net player.
     
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  2. randomname

    randomname Professional

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    its tough but I've found the best way to play a serve and volleyer as a baseliner is to be as aggresive as possible myself. I'm not saying to come into the net when you dont feel comfertable, but I try to play as close to the baseline as I can, and take everything early to take as much time away from the other guy as I can and catch them in no-mans land
     
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  3. HowardH

    HowardH New User

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    I try to work on taking the ball early and placing it at their feet with topspin or down the line to their backhand side when I return. Some guys I play have such a good net game that they can scoop them up from their feet every time. If my return is not a clean winner from the forehand then I will try and follow my return in for the return volley. Needs lots of improving. :) Smart players though will punish my backhand with hard serves or high bounces. My only play, skill level wise, is to try and slice the backhand return but it comes in low, slow and right in their perfect volley zone. Wish I could rip backhand winners on the service return but not there yet. Guess I could work on my backhand lob return, that'll keep them home. :)
     
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  4. THSBOI

    THSBOI Rookie

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    Its like saying pete sampras vs andre agassi. Just try to keep them back like lob early in the game or hit very deep shots so he cant come up the net or find out his habits before coming up the net then prepare and hit a passing or lob shot =P
     
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  5. goober

    goober Legend

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    There are fair number of decent net players at 4.0. When I first started at 4.0I had a real problem against them. Basically you have to develop good passing shots and a decent lob. There is no other way around it. Most net players won't come in if you can keep passing them:) Also if you are a good baseliner than keep them pinned on the baseline as well with deep shots. It's hard to approach on a ball hit within 3 ft of the baseline.
     
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  6. Doc Hollidae

    Doc Hollidae Hall of Fame

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    I can somewhat relate to you in that I do a good amount of serving and volleying, especially when I play against players at lower levels. (I play 4.5's)

    The first thing I'd suggest is don't panic or get rushed. A lot of the time I'll find opponents trying to swing harder or rush their stroke, just because they see me coming to the net. All this does is lead to unforced errors and makes my life 10x easier.

    Next, make sure to mix it up. Different paces, spins, net clearance, etc. Keep a serve and volleyer on his toes and constantly guessing. You might blast a couple at the him, then dip one at his feet. Of you might lob him and then try blasting the next one. Whatever it is, mix it up and don't let them get in a rhythm.

    On returns, try and return cross court as much as possible. It's a higher percentage shot for yourself and to go to the open court, the volleyer much change the direction of the ball which is a lower percentage shot than going back crosscourt.

    Lastly, don't just think about hitting a good passing shot. Think about how you can set yourself up for passing shots as well. Making a volleyer hit a volley below his waist and below the net is a good way to do this. Just realize that you don't have to hit a spectacular passing shot every single time. I say the same thing about going for winners, most unforced errors come from going for the winner too soon and no setting themselves up to hit the winner.
     
    Last edited: Feb 4, 2008
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  7. drakulie

    drakulie Talk Tennis Guru

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    You need to learn to return better.

    Guys at the level you speak of are not huge servers, and don't have the best control. You are most likely floating everything back. Step inside the baseline to return the serve, and put pressure on them.

    Good luck.
     
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  8. swimntennis

    swimntennis Guest

    If the people you are playing are coming up every single point, to the point where you're 99% they'll be waiting at net when you hit your shot, you step well inside the baseline and hit a swinging volley. This would take time away from them and you would have a better angle to go at their feet. Good luck!

    Btw, I know almost everyone hates the swinging volley; I'm just throwing this out there.
     
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  9. HowardH

    HowardH New User

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    Thanks everyone for the great replies.
    Thanks Doc!

    I know I'll be seeing this more and more as I either move up or play up. Another area of my game to work on. I've found I can have some success by working on my swing and half volleys to help me get to the net myself. That seems to be a way to put pressure back on them and make them rush their volleys a little, knowing I'm coming in to. They were volleying winners while I'm still sitting on the baseline twiddling my thumbs.

    Fight fire with fire seems to be the way.
    I do have some success with my forehand returns down the line or deep but if I miss then I have to go forward and meet the volley head on. :)

    Forward ho!
     
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  10. boilerfan

    boilerfan New User

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    There is a lot of good advice in here for ya. I have always loved playing against volleyers, especially serve and volleyers. Like everyone else mentioned, the key is taking the ball early. If you are too far behind the baseline, a volleyer will have too much time and angle.

    One other thing to think about is that you shouldbe more aggressive with the placement, not necessarily the pace. There is a lot of mention of being aggressive, but if you just hit hard at them, that is what volleyers want. Most voleyers hate it if you take pace off the ball and get it lower. Also, you don't have to hit it very hard to get an error of get it past them(especially if you are taking the ball early). Just hit a nice topspin angle or go for more placement near the sideline instead of trying to hit it through the opponents gut :)
     
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  11. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

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    I'm not much of a singles player, but I have found sometimes that dealing with someone at net with a fast blast isn't nearly as effective as a ball with a lot of topspin and less pace.

    Poor volleyers can block back a ball with pace. All heck breaks loose if poor volleyers have to generate their own pace on a low ball. They can have their nose on the net and still dump the ball into the net.
     
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  12. spot

    spot Hall of Fame

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    Lob the backhand. Really- don't try and hit through them, don't worry about passing shots. Lob the backhand until they ahve to start playing more at the service line. Once they back up because they ahve to cover the whole court then your passing shots will be much more effective.
     
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  13. bad_call

    bad_call Legend

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    too funny...but true. might even get some points here from better volleyers.
     
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  14. Doc Hollidae

    Doc Hollidae Hall of Fame

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    There's a time and place when you want to slam it at them though. I like to do it early in a match and "establish dominance". The worst thing a volleyer can do is back peddle. So if you get them antsy from the get go, you won't have to worry about poaching as much. The ones to be weary about are the ones that crowd the net in a hammer like grip. If they touch the ball in anyway, 99% of the time it's a drop shot. Whether it be clean or a mishit.
     
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  15. dork2tennisstud

    dork2tennisstud Rookie

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    I'm 4.5 all-court guy now, but I've had plenty of time taking licks when I was a 3.5 baseliner against volleyers. I think everyone's already covered most the things I would suggest for you, but here goes:

    Recognize when you can pass someone with one shot (fairly easy forehand pass) and hit those shots. Some parts of the court or certain balls are just tough passes for anyone. In these cases, you need to set up a second or third shot. Dip your return below the net so your opponent has to volley up and work on your lobs (the closer in you are, the more topspin you need). And obviously, make your opponent hesitant to charge the net to begin with by mixing up your returns (lobs, slices, and drives). If your opponent is the crank the ball and come to net type of player, you need to get into a rally until he/she misses (because he/she will) or you get an easy pass. If your opponent is more of a steady-play serve and volleyer and doesn't actually put a lot of balls away, keep your balls deep and don't panic with the passing shot, just get it back and you'll usually get another chance.

    If your opponent just handles everything you can throw at him, you've found a very good player, all the strategy in the world won't help you until you get better.
     
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