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-   -   We can and should be attacking the net a LOT more as rec players (http://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/showthread.php?t=493558)

Power Player 03-03-2014 10:14 AM

We can and should be attacking the net a LOT more as rec players
 
There was a really great post recently about tips on the serve and volley somewhere and I can not find it. Regardless, I loved it and there was a key part that stuck out - "attack the net, commit to getting to the net regardless if you get passed or not".

The more I play 4.0s to 5.0s, the more I see that standing back and baselining is why I lose some matches. And it is not because I get outhit, but more so because I choose to stay back and not attack the net as much as possible. As a result, the opportunity for UE's piles up and attackable balls extend the point for the opponent instead of ending it for me.

So I went out yesterday and played and practiced with a more advanced pusher type - a guy who hits deep loopers and gets everything back. His backhand is a weakness. I decided that I would attack the net as much as possible. It was a very simple strategy - hit i/o forehands to his backhand, deep and to the corner with a lot of pace and spin. I would run back a little when I saw the high, deep ball coming, and get off the ground and pound the ball into the corner.

As soon as I hit that shot I would come to net. My position was near the top of the service box on the deuce side to cover the line. What I noticed was this - just the mere act of me coming to the net caused multiple UE's. I barely had to do anything except come to net. Short balls came right to me, and I was able to put them away with a half volley to the open court. Or he would hit a DTL backhand winner. This was rare. Maybe he hit 2 of those the whole time.

Afterwards, he said that just seeing me come to net put a lot of pressure on him and he realized his next shot was going to have to be perfect or he would lose the point.

I think attacking the net is still the best way to win at rec tennis. This is not the ATP tour, and frankly you are not going to face many players who can bend the ball down to your feet and hit screaming winners part you. Add to the fact that I just watched Federer win an ATP 500 event utilizing S&V tactics, and I think it is safe to say that the net game will always have a place in tennis.

All that aside, the reality is that I am not very good at net yet. I have been a baseliner my while life and grew up watching Agassi play, and copying him. So I still struggle with a few things.

The main is aligning the racquet face properly, especially on the forehand side. For some reason I am able to volley rather well utilizing a conti grip on my backhand side, but on my forehand side it feels awkward and I tend to sky the ball into the fence at times. So I HAVE to fix that issue, and am open to any advice there.

As for this strategy summarized - think about how many people post about pushers here, and how many times you have lost to someone with lesser strokes who waited on you to give away the match and just got everything back. Why did you sit back and allow this to happen? They have lesser strokes - EXPOSE THAT. Get to the net and make them hit real shots that are past their ability. Don't sit back and baseline them all day when the reality is that they can and will get everything back until you dump one or hit long trying to get too aggressive.

Topspin Shot 03-03-2014 10:19 AM

I agree that some players should attack the net more than they do. I don't think it's a panacea though, and I don't think it will work for all players.

maggmaster 03-03-2014 10:26 AM

I play a very attacking game. My coach told me that I can't outhit guys who played as juniors extensively from the baseline but I can out opportunity them. I serve and volley, I chip and charge every know and then and I am always looking for a ball that I can chip down the line and approach off of. It works for me, it changes the game from a tennis game to an athletic competition and I can win that more easily.

Power Player 03-03-2014 10:29 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by maggmaster (Post 8160143)
I play a very attacking game. My coach told me that I can't outhit guys who played as juniors extensively from the baseline but I can out opportunity them. I serve and volley, I chip and charge every know and then and I am always looking for a ball that I can chip down the line and approach off of. It works for me, it changes the game from a tennis game to an athletic competition and I can win that more easily.

I agree totally there. I do think this is a key part in beating players you should be beating as well.

Any advice on the forehand volley?

maggmaster 03-03-2014 10:31 AM

Turn your shoulders, get into the hitting position and drive through it with your legs. The high forehand volley looks so easy but it is so easy to dump it in the net. The lower one you have to open the racket face a bit and get down, bend your knees and get the ball to eye level.

TennisCJC 03-03-2014 10:38 AM

If you can develop a net game that is competitive with your level of play - say you are a 4.5 player and have legitimate 4.5 approach/volley/overhead skills; then attacking the net pays big dividends in my opinion. If you are 3.5 playing a 4.5 then you serve and approach shots are not going to apply enough pressure to make it beneficial.

If you come in on a decent shot, most players do not respond well to net pressure and their UE rate goes up. It goes up even more if you knock off a few volleys because then they are thinking I have to do something special because this guy can volley.

Also, when you play a good attacking player, it is a big advantage to come in before he does so he has to deal with hitting passing shots instead of you.

Ballinbob 03-03-2014 10:38 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Power Player (Post 8160152)
Any advice on the forehand volley?

Biggest thing that helped me was to make sure I'm catching it out in front, though you probably knew that.

Now my turn to ask... How has the IO forehand approach been working for you against 4.5 players? I love approaching the net, I just never get the chance to do it because everyone hits deep. This seems like a good option though. I don't like approaching cross court but as you said not many rec players will pass me DTL with their backhands

Topspin Shot 03-03-2014 10:41 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Ballinbob (Post 8160179)
Biggest thing that helped me was to make sure I'm catching it out in front, though you probably knew that.

Now my turn to ask... How has the IO forehand approach been working for you against 4.5 players? I love approaching the net, I just never get the chance to do it because everyone hits deep. This seems like a good option though. I don't like approaching cross court but as you said not many rec players will pass me DTL with their backhands

Approaching inside out works for me, as long as my opponent doesn't have a good down the line backhand.

Power Player 03-03-2014 10:46 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by maggmaster (Post 8160159)
Turn your shoulders, get into the hitting position and drive through it with your legs. The high forehand volley looks so easy but it is so easy to dump it in the net. The lower one you have to open the racket face a bit and get down, bend your knees and get the ball to eye level.

Great thanks. My problem is that I tend to sky the ball. I mean literally I am hitting the back fence with no bounce.

Quote:

Originally Posted by TennisCJC (Post 8160174)
If you can develop a net game that is competitive with your level of play - say you are a 4.5 player and have legitimate 4.5 approach/volley/overhead skills; then attacking the net pays big dividends in my opinion. If you are 3.5 playing a 4.5 then you serve and approach shots are not going to apply enough pressure to make it beneficial.

If you come in on a decent shot, most players do not respond well to net pressure and their UE rate goes up. It goes up even more if you knock off a few volleys because then they are thinking I have to do something special because this guy can volley.

Also, when you play a good attacking player, it is a big advantage to come in before he does so he has to deal with hitting passing shots instead of you.

I pretty much agree with all of this.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Ballinbob (Post 8160179)
Biggest thing that helped me was to make sure I'm catching it out in front, though you probably knew that.

Now my turn to ask... How has the IO forehand approach been working for you against 4.5 players? I love approaching the net, I just never get the chance to do it because everyone hits deep. This seems like a good option though. I don't like approaching cross court but as you said not many rec players will pass me DTL with their backhands

Yes, but I have a very well developed i/o forehand that I have been using since I was a kid. It is probably my best shot.

That being said you can attack in many ways. Slices down the line can be excellent shots to rush the net behind.

Also, like you said - approaching cross court is not as conventional, but that is part of the beauty - it really takes the opponent by surprise and they basically have to hit a DTL backhand - which is a low % shot unless they have developed strokes.

mikeler 03-03-2014 10:50 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Power Player (Post 8160104)
There was a really great post recently about tips on the serve and volley somewhere and I can not find it. Regardless, I loved it and there was a key part that stuck out - "attack the net, commit to getting to the net regardless if you get passed or not".

The more I play 4.0s to 5.0s, the more I see that standing back and baselining is why I lose some matches. And it is not because I get outhit, but more so because I choose to stay back and not attack the net as much as possible. As a result, the opportunity for UE's piles up and attackable balls extend the point for the opponent instead of ending it for me.

So I went out yesterday and played and practiced with a more advanced pusher type - a guy who hits deep loopers and gets everything back. His backhand is a weakness. I decided that I would attack the net as much as possible. It was a very simple strategy - hit i/o forehands to his backhand, deep and to the corner with a lot of pace and spin. I would run back a little when I saw the high, deep ball coming, and get off the ground and pound the ball into the corner.

As soon as I hit that shot I would come to net. My position was near the top of the service box on the deuce side to cover the line. What I noticed was this - just the mere act of me coming to the net caused multiple UE's. I barely had to do anything except come to net. Short balls came right to me, and I was able to put them away with a half volley to the open court. Or he would hit a DTL backhand winner. This was rare. Maybe he hit 2 of those the whole time.

Afterwards, he said that just seeing me come to net put a lot of pressure on him and he realized his next shot was going to have to be perfect or he would lose the point.

I think attacking the net is still the best way to win at rec tennis. This is not the ATP tour, and frankly you are not going to face many players who can bend the ball down to your feet and hit screaming winners part you. Add to the fact that I just watched Federer win an ATP 500 event utilizing S&V tactics, and I think it is safe to say that the net game will always have a place in tennis.

All that aside, the reality is that I am not very good at net yet. I have been a baseliner my while life and grew up watching Agassi play, and copying him. So I still struggle with a few things.

The main is aligning the racquet face properly, especially on the forehand side. For some reason I am able to volley rather well utilizing a conti grip on my backhand side, but on my forehand side it feels awkward and I tend to sky the ball into the fence at times. So I HAVE to fix that issue, and am open to any advice there.

As for this strategy summarized - think about how many people post about pushers here, and how many times you have lost to someone with lesser strokes who waited on you to give away the match and just got everything back. Why did you sit back and allow this to happen? They have lesser strokes - EXPOSE THAT. Get to the net and make them hit real shots that are past their ability. Don't sit back and baseline them all day when the reality is that they can and will get everything back until you dump one or hit long trying to get too aggressive.

The red part was his problem. He did not need to be perfect especially considering that you admit volleying is not a strength of yours.

I used to be terrible at hitting passing shots until I regularly played a serve and volleyer/chip and charger. The first few matches I would panic and think I had to hit a screaming passing shot or lose the point.

Then I figured out passing might be a 3 shot process with the first shot forcing the net player to hit up, the next shot would be more aggressive going for an outright pass. If the net player does get it with a stab, then he has probably opened up the court for an easy pass on the 3rd ball unless he is really good at crazy stab drop volleys.

There are a few guys I play that are content to grind. Those are the ones I can attack at net. The other guys just hit the ball so hard that the only percentage play is to get them stretched out and hitting a slice that I can sneak in and volley.

maggmaster 03-03-2014 10:53 AM

The saddest that I ever feel on a tennis court is when I get passed by a slow moving ball that there is absolutely no way for me to reach. Stab out to the forehand side and then the next shot floats by me on the backhand...

Velvet Ga el 03-03-2014 10:53 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Power Player (Post 8160104)
There was a really great post recently about tips on the serve and volley somewhere and I can not find it. Regardless, I loved it and there was a key part that stuck out - "attack the net, commit to getting to the net regardless if you get passed or not".

The more I play 4.0s to 5.0s, the more I see that standing back and baselining is why I lose some matches. And it is not because I get outhit, but more so because I choose to stay back and not attack the net as much as possible. As a result, the opportunity for UE's piles up and attackable balls extend the point for the opponent instead of ending it for me.

So I went out yesterday and played and practiced with a more advanced pusher type - a guy who hits deep loopers and gets everything back. His backhand is a weakness. I decided that I would attack the net as much as possible. It was a very simple strategy - hit i/o forehands to his backhand, deep and to the corner with a lot of pace and spin. I would run back a little when I saw the high, deep ball coming, and get off the ground and pound the ball into the corner.

As soon as I hit that shot I would come to net. My position was near the top of the service box on the deuce side to cover the line. What I noticed was this - just the mere act of me coming to the net caused multiple UE's. I barely had to do anything except come to net. Short balls came right to me, and I was able to put them away with a half volley to the open court. Or he would hit a DTL backhand winner. This was rare. Maybe he hit 2 of those the whole time.

Afterwards, he said that just seeing me come to net put a lot of pressure on him and he realized his next shot was going to have to be perfect or he would lose the point.

I think attacking the net is still the best way to win at rec tennis. This is not the ATP tour, and frankly you are not going to face many players who can bend the ball down to your feet and hit screaming winners part you. Add to the fact that I just watched Federer win an ATP 500 event utilizing S&V tactics, and I think it is safe to say that the net game will always have a place in tennis.

All that aside, the reality is that I am not very good at net yet. I have been a baseliner my while life and grew up watching Agassi play, and copying him. So I still struggle with a few things.

The main is aligning the racquet face properly, especially on the forehand side. For some reason I am able to volley rather well utilizing a conti grip on my backhand side, but on my forehand side it feels awkward and I tend to sky the ball into the fence at times. So I HAVE to fix that issue, and am open to any advice there.

As for this strategy summarized - think about how many people post about pushers here, and how many times you have lost to someone with lesser strokes who waited on you to give away the match and just got everything back. Why did you sit back and allow this to happen? They have lesser strokes - EXPOSE THAT. Get to the net and make them hit real shots that are past their ability. Don't sit back and baseline them all day when the reality is that they can and will get everything back until you dump one or hit long trying to get too aggressive.



I can't like your post any more than I do. I had brutal groundstrokes at 3.5. Hell, had you looked at my backhand alone, you would have thought I was a 3.0. But I went undefeated and lost one set the entire year precisely because of the ethos in your post.

Every match, I took the first two games to decide if my groundstrokes were better than the other guy's and if I could consistently get to his weaker side. If I wasn't better from the baseline or couldn't get to his weaker side, I exclusively served and volleyed, and on my return games, I did whatever I could to run around balls and hit them to his bad side, at which point in time I'd come in just as you described.

I still use this basic strategy, although much more judiciously now, as a 4.5. The moment I stretch a guy out during a rally, I'll come to the net. Want to block back my serve? I'm coming to the net. Want to take my serve deep behind the baseline? I'm coming to the net. Like to slice your backhand often? I'm coming to the net.

Frankly, my groundstrokes suck compared to my peers, and so I have to cover that by being more aggressive in my court position. I don't win nearly as much as I did with this strategy as a 3.5 and 4.0, but I've beat some guys with much better strokes simply by shifting the pressure to them.

Regarding the volley, and assuming you're in a true continental, I'd almost bet you're taking it late. If there's a clock on the ground with your feet in the middle and the 12 o'clock mark directly at your navel, you want to make contact somewhere in the 2 o'clock range. To go cross court or DTL, you just reorient the clock with your feet. But the contact should always be slightly out in front of your body.

My forehand volley occasionally goes off the tracks. When it does, the two issues for me are my grip (I tend to drift to an eastern backhand grip with the heel pad) and taking the ball late. And like you, while I don't hit the back fence, I do hit a bunch of volleys long.

MeMyselfandI 03-03-2014 10:54 AM

Good thread.

At rec level you can assume the movement is weaker and therefore attacking the net is a good strategy.

At higher levels, I dont like it unless you are very good at the net as it is so easy for guys nowadays to rip dipping topspin passes at your feet.

If you see the pros when they get a short low ball that the cant thump for a winner, it is actually a hinderance as they are forced into the net and know they will give the opponent a pass attempt which is nearly always made.

Power Player 03-03-2014 10:57 AM

Yep, that all makes sense to me Mikeler. Any idea why my forehand volley is so inconsistent? Or maybe more, why does it feel so unnatural to volley in the conti grip on my forehand side?

Power Player 03-03-2014 10:59 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by MeMyselfandI (Post 8160219)
Good thread.

At rec level you can assume the movement is weaker and therefore attacking the net is a good strategy.

At higher levels, I dont like it unless you are very good at the net as it is so easy for guys nowadays to rip dipping topspin passes at your feet.

If you see the pros when they get a short low ball that the cant thump for a winner, it is actually a hinderance as they are forced into the net and know they will give the opponent a pass attempt which is nearly always made.

This thread is only about rec play. Read the title again.

boramiNYC 03-03-2014 10:59 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Power Player (Post 8160224)
Yep, that all makes sense to me. Any idea why my forehand volley is so inconsistent? Or maybe more, why does it feel so unnatural to volley in the conti grip on my forehand side?

Hard to say but often hit out in front is over emphasized on fh volley. This places the arm in a not so stable position in its range of motion when the torso is turned toward sideway. Do you tend to try to volley out in front all the time?

Power Player 03-03-2014 11:02 AM

Velvet, you are most likely correct. I may be taking the ball late.

MeMyselfandI 03-03-2014 11:03 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Power Player (Post 8160229)
This thread is only about rec play. Read the title again.

A good way to improve your feel and control with conti grip on volley is to play in service boxes half court with a partner and only hit slices or half volleys on both sides.

A lot of beginners hit a forehand volley like a groundstroke and dont understand to swing at the ball and finish underneath it rather than over the top.

Power Player 03-03-2014 11:03 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by boramiNYC (Post 8160231)
Hard to say but often hit out in front is over emphasized on fh volley. This places the arm in a not so stable position in its range of motion when the torso is turned toward sideway. Do you tend to try to volley out in front all the time?

Yes I do. I struggle more with balls that are slower and I need to half volley. The balls that are coming at me in faster volley exchanges, I am usually fine with on either side.

I think I just need to volley more and maybe dedicate a lesson to just Volleys.

boramiNYC 03-03-2014 11:09 AM

Yep I think you need to reexamine the fh volley sweetspot when your torso is facing forward and when it's facing sideway like when you have to reach out to the side to volley. When reaching to the side your sweetspot is not in front toward the opponent but in front of your right shoulder. So the contact point would be more retracted.


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