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-   -   3.5 Serve and Volley? (http://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/showthread.php?t=447797)

texacali 12-10-2012 07:57 AM

3.5 Serve and Volley?
 
How common is serve and volley in 3.5 men's league tennis, singles or doubles? Or chip and charge? I'm REALLY old school and it has always been on short balls, chip and charge and if you can hit a pretty good serve ( 1 & 2) come in behind it. Any thoughts?

sundaypunch 12-10-2012 08:02 AM

At 3.5 you get a little bit of everything. You have people with big serves and groundstrokes that can't keep the ball in play, people who dink the ball back & forth, and everything in between.

S&V is a good strategy if you have decent volleys, especially if your groundstrokes aren't all that solid.

beernutz 12-10-2012 08:27 AM

I think S&V is pretty common in 3.5 doubles particularly among the more successful teams. I play 4.0 in our all doubles local league and have played up at 4.0 doubles in USTA and I'd say the same thing about those players--the better teams get to the net at the first opportunity whether they are serving or receiving. In singles I don't see much S&V but the guys who do it tend to be at the upper end of 3.5. The only two S&Vers I played last season got bumped to 4.0.

Fuji 12-10-2012 08:28 AM

At 4.0+ I've never met a pure serve and volley guy, below 4.0 I've seen a couple. The issue is the passing shots / lobs even at top end 3.5 get pretty solid which makes S&V a difficult strategy.

-Fuji

Cindysphinx 12-10-2012 08:38 AM

I have played with and against many different 3.5 guys in 7.0 mixed. I have never seen one who could S&V effectively, and most won't even try.

I think the problem is that some 3.5 guys have nice hard serves. Their serve elicits weak replies. Rather than come in, they just hit the next ball as a groundstroke (preferably FH) and win the point that way.

The other issue is that some 3.5 guys are horrid volleyers. Just horrid. They aren't coming in because approach volleys are too difficult.

There are a lot of 3.5 women who make a living coming to net. I think the reason is that the returner isn't likely to smoke the return so hard the server cannot reach it. Also, a lot of 3.5 women take instruction and have better hands for that first volley.

schmke 12-10-2012 08:47 AM

I'm a serve and volley guy and started at 3.5 when I got back into tennis a few years ago and am 4.0 now.

In singles, at 3.5, it is pretty effective but at 4.0, it really requires at least two of good placement, movement, pace on the serve and then you have to back it up with well executed volleys. I can hang with or beat most "lower" 4.0s but I have to really be on my game to stick with "higher" 4.0s. Their passing shots are just too good if you give them a good swing at it.

In doubles, I agree with other posters. Having a good serve and volley game, or at least getting to the net quickly, is a big advantage at 3.5 and begins to be a must at 4.0 unless you have pinpoint passing shots and great offensive lobs.

tennismonkey 12-10-2012 08:50 AM

+1 with cindy.

i don't see any 3.5 guys s&v more than a few times a match. it's definitely not their bread and butter play -- more of something they mix up here and there. volleys have to be really solid and they have to be able to dig out tough half volleys.

i do think that chip and charge on returns is a very effective and relatively easy strategy that should work at 3.5 though. chip the ball short or deep cross court and move in. puts pressure on the opponent to hit a good passing shot or lob with two guys at net.

ABtennis 12-10-2012 09:09 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Cindysphinx (Post 7055943)
I have played with and against many different 3.5 guys in 7.0 mixed. I have never seen one who could S&V effectively, and most won't even try.

I think the problem is that some 3.5 guys have nice hard serves. Their serve elicits weak replies. Rather than come in, they just hit the next ball as a groundstroke (preferably FH) and win the point that way.

The other issue is that some 3.5 guys are horrid volleyers. Just horrid. They aren't coming in because approach volleys are too difficult.

There are a lot of 3.5 women who make a living coming to net. I think the reason is that the returner isn't likely to smoke the return so hard the server cannot reach it. Also, a lot of 3.5 women take instruction and have better hands for that first volley.

You aren't serious I hope? Women are almost always horrible volleyers. I play extensive mixed. Several members of my mixed team just won a national championship. I would say all but one can't volley worth a damn. The most I expect from them is to be able to smash a sitter off my return. The higher caliber 3.5 women are those that can return a man's serve occasionally, have solid groundies, and can put away the sitter. I'm not the world's greatest volleyer, but I know to move forward and make volleys as easy as possible. Most women seem to stand flat footed, take volleys low and make them difficult.

schmke 12-10-2012 09:13 AM

I should also add that I very rarely seen another serve and volley guy in singles at 3.5 or 4.0. Really the only one was in a 4.0 match last year I had against a senior just bumped down from 4.5. We were both racing each other to the net when serving and returning and was one of the most fun matches I've had, even though I lost 4 and 5. My teammates said the only thing missing was both of us using wood racquets.

texacali 12-10-2012 09:42 AM

In my limited league experience, I have never seen anyone try S & V in singles or doubles until yesterday. But then, I have never seen many 3.5 players with a serve that lends itself to S & V. And I do see what is being said about the approach volley and half volley being hard to pick up.

I want to try more S & V, and perhaps make it about 50% of my game....it kind of makes the game more fun for me.

Cindysphinx 12-10-2012 10:20 AM

I definitely think learning to S&V is important. It needn't be your "A" game. But if the opponents are returning my serve and coming in, I do much better just trying to win the race to the net rather than trying to hit passing shots for two hours from the baseline.

Can women volley? Well, a 4.0 woman is akin to a 3.5 guy. Many 4.0 women have their default setting as hit the return and come to net. This requires volleying. So yes, women can volley.

As for me, I think my volleys are OK. I work on them constantly. I struggle with pace, and I often don't get as much angle/placement as I should. Despite those deficits, I can assure you that when I was a 3.5 playing 7.0 mixed with a 3.5 guy, the only way we wound up two at net was when I came in.

dizzlmcwizzl 12-10-2012 10:49 AM

My experience in 3.5 is that you had a huge range in age and skill .... The ability to volley is a marker of someone that is moving one way or another.

3.5 and moving up: These guys are younger, and make up for a lack of skill through athleticism ... these guys may throw in a serve and volley occasionally but lack the skill to do this successfully more than a couple times a match. Most hit hard and hope for weak replies to step into. When they develop the patience and skill to S&V they are moved up to 4.0.

Former 4.0s moving down to 3.5. These guys are mostly seniors that have had their movement diminished with age. You wont see them play singles but they will kill you in doubles because they actually know how to volley consistently into the court and have a basic understanding of how to play doubles.

Perennial 3.5s. Probably happy to push and unwilling to press the action. Not looking to come forward and often play dubs one up and one back. Not interested in learning to volley and that holds back their game. Or ... unwilling to learn to hit with control and just want to punish every ball, regardless of the game situation.

tennismonkey 12-10-2012 10:58 AM

here's an example of 4.0 ladies dubs for reference.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OVoaSx9oQHM

Maui19 12-10-2012 12:18 PM

I agree with dizzl mostly. In dubs, the only 3.5s I see S&V are the ones who are trying to get better. I rarely see S&V in women at 3.5 and 4.0. 4.5 men and women S&V in dubs all the time.

Cindysphinx 12-10-2012 12:32 PM

Yeah, I would agree with Dizz. Right on all counts.

Cindysphinx 12-10-2012 12:37 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by tennismonkey (Post 7056173)
here's an example of 4.0 ladies dubs for reference.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OVoaSx9oQHM

Yeah, that looks familiar. I only watched the first few points.

Notice how one player will wait to attack the ball and then come to net, and the opponent will lob. Notice how the players that are two up win the point.

Most of the net play in 4.0 that I see is "opportunistic." A player sets up a point such that she can get to net without hitting the dreaded approach volley. That means a lob over the net player (buying time to get to net) or a short slice (ensuring the opponent cannot easily put it at her feet).

These are perfectly good ways to play doubles. My own tactic is -- and I know you will be shocked to hear this -- topspin lob over net player, run in, volley or smash. Second favorite tactic is topspin angle into side curtain, run in and volley wounded duck between the opponents.

Angle Queen 12-10-2012 05:15 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by tennismonkey (Post 7056173)
here's an example of 4.0 ladies dubs for reference.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OVoaSx9oQHM

That's an interesting "reference." That's way more lobbing and overall net clearance...and whole lot less net pressure than what I'm used to seeing in my little corner of the world. In a recent scrimmage, at least two points of every game had at least 3 players inside the box...even though both our pairs have traditionally been more of a 1-up/1-back style. We've all come to learn that, like Cindy said, the 2-up teams tend to win more and so we're diligently trying to up-the-ante in our own collective games.

But to the OP's original question, I think S&V can work at 3.5 (singles), especially if you think of it as Surprise & Volley. I love to start out a match that way, particularly with opponents I've not played before. Then, as the match settles in and I weigh my success with that tactic, I can/will adjust it. Even if I fall back to a more baseline game, I've at least established that I can S&V...and they won't know what to expect. I especially love to chip-n-charge, especially on 2nd Serves. They know I'm coming in...and am often the beneficiary of a DF. :p

The main key to my success with it isn't so much a powerful serve...but an accurate and consistent 1st Serve as I feel the element of "surprise" is usually lost on a 2nd. Still, I'll throw in a (real) soft one sometimes and follow it in.

End Story: Nothing wrong with Old School. It's tiring, more so than all but the worst baseline battles...but is a whole lot more fun. :)

CFreeborn 12-10-2012 06:23 PM

I fall into the "former 4.0" recently slid (bad year) to 3.5 group (but intending to get back to 4.0....).
@ 56 yrs old I simply don't have the wheels anymore to charge in after a hard 1st (I'm 6'4" - playing since I was 10, so my 1st is still up near or in 3 digits). It simply gets there too fast for me to have enough time to recover and charge.
My preferred serve to follow in - either 1st or 2nd - is a hard slider (sorry I use baseball terms for tennis too) into the body. If I can get my opponent crossed up they're going to set up a sitter for me to pick off as my 1st volley, or if they manage to get more than that on it I still have an easy first volley to set up the kill.
The hard slice serve (into the body) is a very underrated weapon. When it works it's easily as effective as a boomer and much more reliable, as the topspin keeps it in.
I reserve my flat 1st for when I'm comfortably up in the score (40-L or 40-15) and I'm purely going for an ace.
Just my .02
-C

dcdoorknob 12-10-2012 06:29 PM

I'm a 3.5 guy. In my experience, S&V at this level isn't completely unheard of, but it also isn't particularly common. Most guys 3.5 doubs matches that I've been involved in don't have a lot of S&V, and for sure not consistent, every point S&V.

Haven't played as much singles as doubles, but have also never come across a true S&Ver in singles.

Personally I've been trying to work some S&V into my (doubles) game more frequently over the past several months, with mixed results. It's great when it works, doesn't always work for me yet.

tennismonkey 12-11-2012 05:42 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Angle Queen (Post 7056783)
That's way more lobbing and overall net clearance...and whole lot less net pressure than what I'm used to seeing in my little corner of the world.

i wasn't sure if this video was indicative of most ladies dubs. in this video anyway the lob seems to be devastating and volleys while mostly consistent - lack pace and placement. lots of volleys hit but very few volley winners or volleys that forced errors.


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