Feedback on serve and volley

Dragy

Hall of Fame
Serve to his BH in ad court. Or if he cheats too much hit a down the T slice tighter to the line, not just somewhere to the box.
First volley is transition. Good enough to end point? Perfect. But not prime expectation. So - go on, position yourself, don’t get stuck observing how good was the shot.
After first volley get closer to net - at least halfway from service line. Standing too far leaves you exposed to passers and dippers. Don’t be afraid of lobs, but be ready to move back sideways and smash em.
 

tonylg

Hall of Fame
How come you are the only person in the world still playing tennis??
I'll answer for him rather than make him defend himself.

He's in Australia. Most members on here seem to be from the USA. We have around 6000 total infections thus far with about 60 total deaths. Although our population is much lower, the percentage of population infected is still about 10 times higher in the USA, probably closer to 20 times higher in Spain.

Hence, our restrictions are not as severe. We are still allowed to play tennis. He's playing singles on a sole court and in each video I've seen recently he is playing with Mr Hightoss, so it's not like he's mixing dozens of people.

If our rate of infection increase goes up, tennis may go. At the moment that rate of increase is going down, so we can still play.
 

tonylg

Hall of Fame
Serve to his BH in ad court. Or if he cheats too much hit a down the T slice tighter to the line, not just somewhere to the box.
First volley is transition. Good enough to end point? Perfect. But not prime expectation. So - go on, position yourself, don’t get stuck observing how good was the shot.
After first volley get closer to net - at least halfway from service line. Standing too far leaves you exposed to passers and dippers. Don’t be afraid of lobs, but be ready to move back sideways and smash em.
Echo all that, in fact I think I've said most of it before. The first volley always needs a purpose. I note a few just bunted up the middle, not even deep.

1. Serve to a target (body is okay, but make it good)
2. Move forward quickly acticipating where the return may go
3. SPLIT STEP (shuffle after is okay, but don't shuffle before)
4. Preferably close to make first volley, but sometimes you have to prop
5. Volley with purpose, that purpose is to put yourself in charge of the next shot
6. Close the net down and split step again
 

Dan R

Semi-Pro
Pretty much every point, except the one at 1:10, you served it right to mostly his forehand or backhand. You didn't use your serve to put him under any pressure - he didn't have to move at all on all most of the returns. Make him move by either serving out wide, or down the T - otherwise you don't open up the court or get him out of position. Or, if you go right at him it needs to be a body serve.

The key to serve and volley is the serve - you have to use the serve to dictate where your opponent hits the return, and that determines where the volley will go. Every serve volley point you should have the first three shots scripted out. For example, from the duece court, if the serve is a slice out wide making your opponent return from outside the doubles alley, the return will almost always be short to your backhand, then cross court backhand volley. Another example, kick serve out wide from the add side should produce a short return to your forehand, then cross court forehand volley. It has to be wide though, you need to force a return from outside the alley. Down the T is a little more complicated but still predictable. A serve down the T from duece court should produce a return to your forehand side. If my opponent crosses over the center line on the return, I'll volley cross court behind him, if not I'll go down the line or deep down the middle right at him.

You should have a 3 shot plan for a wide, T, and body serve from both sides of the court. It won't always work but if you land the serve you want it will work most of the time.

That said I think you have the ability to be good at it. Keep up the good work.
 

Shroud

G.O.A.T.
I put my s&v points together from the weekend match. I’m very keen to improve on this. What errors, flaws do you guys see? Especially @S&V-not_dead_yet of course.

Two things. When you are at the net the racquet seems to drop to your left hip. It should be infront of you at head level.
2nd. Try hitting the 1st volley crosscourt. Let us know how that works.
 

Capt. Willie

Hall of Fame
He's playing singles on a sole court and in each video I've seen recently he is playing with Mr Hightoss, so it's not like he's mixing dozens of people.
"Mr. Hightoss" LOL I was just watching another one of their matches on YouTube so I totally get that nickname. Good one!
 

Curious

Legend
I'll answer for him rather than make him defend himself.

He's in Australia. Most members on here seem to be from the USA. We have around 6000 total infections thus far with about 60 total deaths. Although our population is much lower, the percentage of population infected is still about 10 times higher in the USA, probably closer to 20 times higher in Spain.

Hence, our restrictions are not as severe. We are still allowed to play tennis. He's playing singles on a sole court and in each video I've seen recently he is playing with Mr Hightoss, so it's not like he's mixing dozens of people.

If our rate of infection increase goes up, tennis may go. At the moment that rate of increase is going down, so we can still play.
Example of Aussie mateship
Here’s another one.

https://www.reddit.com/r/funny/comments/g24bi5
 

Curious

Legend
Move forward quickly acticipating where the return may go
Volley with purpose,
The key to serve and volley is the serve - you have to use the serve to dictate where your opponent hits the return, and that determines where the volley will go.
I must admit I don’t really have a plan other than whether I will serve dtl or out wide. Then move towards the net, not trying at all to anticipate where he will return, just wait and see and react.
Maybe you should have a much better serve to dictate the point, like pinpoint accurate serve. I don’t know.
 

tonylg

Hall of Fame
When you are playing Hightoss, your serve is the strongest shot on the court. If you are going to serve and volley against him then treat it as such, not just a way to get the ball in play and start the point ala clay court tennis.

On the deuce side, serving out wide to his forehand will expose his backhand to your first volley - every time. You don't have to hit that volley for a winner, just getting him running into that backhand corner will win you most of the points. If he starts to cheat on the wide serve and hurt you with the forehand return, you've got the serve up the T. You don't even need to paint the line with it, just make sure you really close for that first volley because you'll probably have less angle.

On the ad side, you 100% know that if you get the serve wide to his backhand you'll get a floaty ball back, probably to your forehand volley. That just opens the court for you, particularly if you can hit that volley from well inside the service line. In this scenario, you are in complete control of the point and you could probably play every single ad side point that way. Unless he stands out in the tram lines to return, you'll never even need to go down the T.

Did you note my emphasis on a split step? You're not doing it and that one thing will help you a lot.
 

Curious

Legend
Did you note my emphasis on a split step? You're not doing it and that one thing will help you a lot.
Thanks. I’ll try to do a little more planning next time.
Regarding the split step, of course I think and focus a lot about that. Most of the time pros use a subtle flowing type split step rather than a full proper one. The key I think is to have a proper pause to stabilise, balance yourself when the opponent is about to hit the return. At times I just find myself still running, rushing at that critical moment which ruins everything I believe.
 

tonylg

Hall of Fame
Thanks. I’ll try to do a little more planning next time.
Regarding the split step, of course I think and focus a lot about that. Most of the time pros use a subtle flowing type split step rather than a full proper one. The key I think is to have a proper pause to stabilise, balance yourself when the opponent is about to hit the return. At times I just find myself still running, rushing at that critical moment which ruins everything I believe.
It doesn't matter if you do a Cash style massive jump and then lunge or a McEnroe style float and then glide, you have to land on both feet with the option to push off either one. You're still doing the 4 or 5 stutter steps rather than commiting to a proper split.

Watch Edberg, Henman, Federer, Sampras, Becker, Rafter, Krajicek or pretty much any good serve and volleyer .. it happens fast but there's always a single split step off which they can move in either direction.
 

Curious

Legend
It doesn't matter if you do a Cash style massive jump and then lunge or a McEnroe style float and then glide, you have to land on both feet with the option to push off either one. You're still doing the 4 or 5 stutter steps rather than commiting to a proper split.

Watch Edberg, Henman, Federer, Sampras, Becker, Rafter, Krajicek or pretty much any good serve and volleyer .. it happens fast but there's always a single split step off which they can move in either direction.
I know. I’m not happy with how I’m doing it at the moment. Most of the issue might be from rushing imo. Will work on it.
 

tonylg

Hall of Fame
I know. I’m not happy with how I’m doing it at the moment. Most of the issue might be from rushing imo. Will work on it.
Make it simple. Do a large jump to split. Give yourself time in the air to make the decision on how to move from the split. Hear the shoes squeak.

Only once you've got that timing down should you try to emulate a McEnroe style gliding split.
 

StringSnapper

Hall of Fame
I put my s&v points together from the weekend match. I’m very keen to improve on this. What errors, flaws do you guys see? Especially @S&V-not_dead_yet of course.

Ahh yeah I remember this court from awhile ago. Is it a public one? Ive been dying for a hit but it seems all the clubs in Melbourne have closed and I've heard horror stories about people lining up for public courts now!!
 

Curious

Legend
Ahh yeah I remember this court from awhile ago. Is it a public one? Ive been dying for a hit but it seems all the clubs in Melbourne have closed and I've heard horror stories about people lining up for public courts now!!
Hard to believe but it’s a single court club.:)
 

Curious

Legend
Make it simple. Do a large jump to split. Give yourself time in the air to make the decision on how to move from the split. Hear the shoes squeak.

Only once you've got that timing down should you try to emulate a McEnroe style gliding split.
But I find a big jump split harder to time than a gliding one.
 
I put my s&v points together from the weekend match. I’m very keen to improve on this. What errors, flaws do you guys see? Especially @S&V-not_dead_yet of course.
Well, you're not dead yet, right? So it must be working!

Nice points. Here's my surface-level analysis, having watched straight through.
- There were very points where he outright passed you [ie you had no chance]; maybe 2 or 3?

This means S&V can be an excellent strategy against this player because he doesn't have the weapons to consistently pass you.

I bolded "consistently" because after getting burned once, the fledgling S&Ver might say "well that was a failure. I'd better stay back." But that's not important to get passed a few times, no matter how great the shot or how close to the line. What matters is how consistently can he do it? If I'm winning > 50% of the points, I'm still coming in. At least some opponents will not be up to the mental challenge of having to hit passing shots all match long.

- You had the most trouble with the mid-speed, mid-height volley: you weren't out of position so maybe you took your eye off the ball? Maybe you were thinking too much of a winner? You hit at least 3 BHs and 1 FH straight into the net.

- The 2nd most common scenario was a weak return such that the ball bounced before you could volley it. I see you possibly experiencing some indecision as to what to do with this ball? I will occasionally try to hit a drop shot but it's situation- and opponent-dependent. Against one of my regular opponents, I'd better be darn sure I can hit a good one because he can run down most of what I attempt and hit a winner. Against him I will usually try to go deep and maybe middle to cut down his angle.

Your opponent doesn't have that mobility so you might experiment a bit with the dropper; just make sure not to cut it too fine. You'd rather he get to it off-balance than you netting it.

- Even when you served wide to his FH on the Deuce court, he usually didn't take advantage with an aggressive return. This should inform your anticipation.

- Very few lobs [1?]. Again, if this is typical, you can afford to be more aggressive on your footwork and close the net more.

- I like that you didn't go crazy with the first volley and try to punch a winner into the open court; you went with the high % play.

Having said that, you should allocate some practice time to putting those away. You'll develop the sense of when to go for it and when to play higher %.

- You can be almost assured that his BH return won't be strong [with the occasional gotcha]. So most of your Deuce serves should be going T to his BH; if he starts cheating towards the middle, slice a few out side.

On the Ad side, trying to loop a kicker to his BH is also good: he likely doesn't have the control to use the extra angle you're giving him so most of the advantage will be to you by making him hit his weaker shot.
 

golden chicken

Professional
If I were you I would pound 80% or more serves at opponent's backhand. Felt like he was more successful on the forehand return.

I also notice you duff a couple of volleys into the net that had slice. If I were playing you, I'd give you a steady diet of that until you proved you could put them away. Remember you need to adjust for the slice!

Lastly, you occasionally sometimes stopped closing to the net. Against someone who doesn't lob, keep closing after each volley and go get the ones you can put away!
 
Sampras didn't shuffle in place of a split step. He often took small flowing steps after the split like McEnroe, but it didn't replace a proper split.
At 3:55, Sampras plants on his left foot but not his right. Since I define a "proper split" as landing on both feet simultaneously, this is an example of not the traditional split but a hybrid; whether one calls it shuffle, stutter, or flow is semantics.

 

tonylg

Hall of Fame
At 3:55, Sampras plants on his left foot but not his right. Since I define a "proper split" as landing on both feet simultaneously, this is an example of not the traditional split but a hybrid; whether one calls it shuffle, stutter, or flow is semantics.

Don't you think the very fact that you had to go almost 4 minutes into the video and use an unreturned serve as an exception kind of supports the idea that Sampras split steps?

The OP isn't split stepping. Of the points I watched, he didn't do it once and it's not helping his first volley. I'm just encouraging him to try to do it.
 

jm1980

G.O.A.T.
How come you are the only person in the world still playing tennis??
LOL, he is most definitely not the only person in the world still playing tennis. Even here, many members live in areas where tennis isn't banned, and some are playing despite the bans
 

Curious

Legend
Don't you think the very fact that you had to go almost 4 minutes into the video and use an unreturned serve as an exception kind of supports the idea that Sampras split steps?

The OP isn't split stepping. Of the points I watched, he didn't do it once and it's not helping his first volley. I'm just encouraging him to try to do it.
Mate, I accept that I'm not doing it properly. That's a fact but I think most of the time what high level players are doing doesn't look like a proper split step, either. It's something like a hesitation or a momentary pause to me, just to put the brakes on a little to be ready to move to the ball in balance to hit a good volley.
Federer is giving so many examples of what I mean here.


 

tonylg

Hall of Fame
I watched the first 2.5 minutes. Couldn't see the 4th point because they changed camera angles. Every other serve and volley point he split stepped. Us mere mortals can only hope to do it (or any other piece of footwork) as quickly as Federer.
 
Don't you think the very fact that you had to go almost 4 minutes into the video and use an unreturned serve as an exception kind of supports the idea that Sampras split steps?
Maybe I wasn't clear. I wasn't implying Sampras always does the stutter step. He obviously did traditional split steps in the first 4 minutes. You, on the other hand, made a categorical statement that he never stuttered. I'm sure I could find more examples. It's not the majority. Which was my point to @Curious: under certain circumstances, it's advantageous and worth the risk to do the stutter vs the traditional because it allows one to close better to the net. If you're not worried about a lob, it's a good gamble, IMO.

If you want to always do the traditional split, fine; you're still ahead of all of the people who don't bother splitting and wonder why they get passed so often.

The OP isn't split stepping. Of the points I watched, he didn't do it once and it's not helping his first volley. I'm just encouraging him to try to do it.
By your definition, no; by mine, yes. We should at least be able to agree that he's partially arresting his forward momentum and not simply running through the volley prep. How much he arrests varies from play to play, from reasonable to hardly at all.

Even on the first play, which was barely a hint of a split, I did see a slight stutter. This one could be improved big time. On a scale of 0-10, this would be about a 0.8.

The important thing is that he recognizes what his weaknesses are and how to address them.
 
Mate, I accept that I'm not doing it properly. That's a fact but I think most of the time what high level players are doing doesn't look like a proper split step, either. It's something like a hesitation or a momentary pause to me, just to put the brakes on a little to be ready to move to the ball in balance to hit a good volley.
That's because high-level players don't dogmatically do the traditional split step every time; there are certain scenarios where a modification would be even better. Of course, they are very good at quickly determining those scenarios in real-time.
 

Curious

Legend
Interesting observation from Federer's serve and volley points:
He almost always split steps on his 3rd step ( excluding the landing step ).
Land 1-2- split
Land 1-2 -split
Every single time.
I guess this is dependent on the serve pace though.
On my slow serve, smaller steps it could be Land 1-2-3-4-5-6-7 split!:p
 
Interesting observation from Federer's serve and volley points:
He almost always split steps on his 3rd step ( excluding the landing step ).
Land 1-2- split
Land 1-2 -split
Every single time.
I guess this is dependent on the serve pace though.
On my slow serve, smaller steps it could be Land 1-2-3-4-5-6-7 split!:p
My advice is to ignore how many steps you're taking [where you split] and focus on opponent contact [when you split].

As you observed, you will split in a completely different part of the court on a flat, hard first serve and flat, hard return vs a slow, loopy second serve and a chip return.

Look at my two examples: the first split occurred very close to the SL, maybe 4' back because it was a 2nd serve and I had more time to close.

The second split occurred well behind the SL because it was a first serve and I had less time to close.
 

golden chicken

Professional
Rmember that split doesn't mean lose all forward momentum, and it certainly doesn't mean stop. It just focuses you on regaining your balance so you can make an explosive move to any ball.

On serve and volley I tend to stutter as I close for the first volley because I have half an idea as soon as I hit my serve if it was a forcing shot and what to expect based on my placement. As I close the net, the split steps become more pronounced.
 

J011yroger

Talk Tennis Guru
For example, from the duece court, if the serve is a slice out wide making your opponent return from outside the doubles alley, the return will almost always be short to your backhand, then cross court backhand volley. Another example, kick serve out wide from the add side should produce a short return to your forehand, then cross court forehand volley. It has to be wide though, you need to force a return from outside the alley.
Who are you playing?

J
 
Rmember that split doesn't mean lose all forward momentum, and it certainly doesn't mean stop. It just focuses you on regaining your balance so you can make an explosive move to any ball.

On serve and volley I tend to stutter as I close for the first volley because I have half an idea as soon as I hit my serve if it was a forcing shot and what to expect based on my placement. As I close the net, the split steps become more pronounced.
The split step runs the gamut from full stop [most conservative] to stutter [most aggressive].

Like you, I've developed a decent sense of when I can get more aggressive with my split step; it's certainly not a one-size-fits-all.
 

FatHead250

Rookie
What a beautiful court! I'm super jealous. Morons banned tennis where I'm at. We have 3 people dead in the whole big city and we even live in the suburbs. Such amazing weather has been on lately - like in your video- and we can't even play on an open court. Everyone breaks quarantine anyway and yet I can't go and social distance by playing tennis.. I'm so depressed
 
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D

Deleted member 769694

Guest
I put my s&v points together from the weekend match. I’m very keen to improve on this. What errors, flaws do you guys see? Especially @S&V-not_dead_yet of course.

Your transition looks really good, i do notice you raise your elbow on some of the bh volleys, when you do that you lose stability. Could be making contact a touch early.

Your improving alot
 

MyFearHand

Rookie
The biggest thing I noticed is that you're running through pretty much all of your first volleys. You need to take a second to split step as they hit the ball so that you're prepared to change directions if necessary. Notice how even though I'm trying to get close here I make sure to split step so I'm ready to change directions as he returns.


The other big thing is you need to make sure that you close after the first volley. You should pretty much always be trying to get closer to the net because it's easier to hit damaging volleys from close to the net. Look to be closing after every volley that you hit solidly if possible.

Lastly, you have to make every first volley. Don't worry about hitting them well, worry about making them. One thing you'll start to realize as you serve and volley more is that people get nervous when you come to the net. Players will start rushing their shots and trying to hit big to pass you a lot of the time. You'll get a lot of free points off of that first volley even if it's mediocre against a lot of players. I think it's far better to make sure you get that first volley in play than try to hit a hard shot and end up missing it. Even when I play D3 level players I will often get misses off of serve and volleys and average approaches because they get panicked that I'm coming to the net. Take advantage of this and make them pass you. I'm not saying, however, that you shouldn't try to put away the first volleys that are actually within your range, but don't try to put a first volley away unless you are 90% sure it will actually be a put away.
 
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Curious

Legend
The biggest thing I noticed is that you're running through pretty much all of your first volleys. You need to take a second to split step as they hit the ball so that you're prepared to change directions if necessary. Notice how even though I'm trying to get close here I make sure to split step so I'm ready to change directions as he returns.


The other big thing is you need to make sure that you close after the first volley. You should pretty much always be trying to get closer to the net because it's easier to hit damaging volleys from far away. Look to be closing after every volley that you hit solidly if possible.

Lastly, you have to make every first volley. Don't worry about hitting them well, worry about making them. One thing you'll start to realize as you serve and volley more is that people get nervous when you come to the net. Players will start rushing their shots and trying to hit big to pass you a lot of the time. You'll get a lot of free points off of that first volley even if it's mediocre against a lot of players. I think it's far better to make sure you get that first volley in play than try to hit a hard shot and end up missing it. Even when I play D3 level players I will often get misses off of serve and volleys and average approaches because they get panicked that I'm coming to the net. Take advantage of this and make them pass you. I'm not saying, however, that you shouldn't try to put away the first volleys that are actually within your range, but don't try to put a first volley away unless you are 90% sure it will actually be a put away.
Thanks. Great tips. Nicely demonstrated as well. Also @Tonyl , yeah I see very timely good split stepping. (y)
I'm a beginner at this, getting good tips here, I feel I will improve fast.
 

tonylg

Hall of Fame
Lastly, you have to make every first volley. Don't worry about hitting them well, worry about making them. One thing you'll start to realize as you serve and volley more is that people get nervous when you come to the net. Players will start rushing their shots and trying to hit big to pass you a lot of the time. You'll get a lot of free points off of that first volley even if it's mediocre against a lot of players. I think it's far better to make sure you get that first volley in play than try to hit a hard shot and end up missing it. Even when I play D3 level players I will often get misses off of serve and volleys and average approaches because they get panicked that I'm coming to the net. Take advantage of this and make them pass you. I'm not saying, however, that you shouldn't try to put away the first volleys that are actually within your range, but don't try to put a first volley away unless you are 90% sure it will actually be a put away.
This is so true. A huge part of serve and volleying is building pressure. As we watched the video over a beer my mate commented on how many errors he made simply because of the pressure of knowing I could be coming in. He's only 40 (runs like he's 20), so most of his tennis has been against baseliners.

Taken in isolation, the point I posted doesn't mean much. I pick on his backhand relentlessly to the ad side. Yes, I'm a *****. I hope he doesn't read this, but I know that if I go at his body like I did with that serve, he'll back away to hit a forehand, opening the court for me. I did it a few times and either got an open court to volley into, or an error as he realised the pattern and went for a winner. I only went down the T on the ad side once last night and it was an ace. It's these patterns that make serve and volley effective, not just hitting random serves and lumbering in (yes, I know I lumber).

And speaking of average approaches, I completely mishit this one and it goes short up the middle. He's too good a player to miss this easy backhand so badly, but he knows I'm closing and that's what forces the error (not the lame approach). Note the way I look at the strings and shake my head, like it was the racquet's fault I mishit the approach :-D

 
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