For the S&V crowd

#1
Interested to hear from those who play S&V as a core strategy. I may end up taking just to @S&V-not_dead_yet here, but maybe some stalwarts out there still like to play this way.

What percentage of the time do you approach on your serve, both first and second? What type of serve works best - for you - to improve your volley game? What things does your opponent do that tend to change your tactics?

Also curious about your level and how successful S&V is for you. I’m reasonably successful playing S&V at the 4.0 level, but if my serve is off at all guys will make my life difficult. Do you ever have to abandon S&V and what are your prospects when you do?

When returning serve, do you chip & charge often, or if not do you tend to approach as soon as you can, whether the opportunity is good or not?

Anything else you’d like to share about how you play this style - if it’s your bread and butter - I’d be interested to hear.
 
#2
I generally will only do it in doubles and more off my second serve since that's slower and I have more time to get in behind it. I roll in a topspin/kick serve deep in the box as my second.
On return I'll come in if I get my return deep. Otherwise I'll come in off the next shot which I can often place a bit better.

I imagine you won't get as many singles players using this strategy these days although i've run into a few guys that do.
 
#3
Over the last month I've been making a concentrated effort to add S/V to my game, and it's been a challenge that is now starting to pay off. So, in order to gain experience I do it on every point, every serve. I know that's not ideal long term but I've gotten comfortable with it and frankly love it.

What I have found is that I really needs to asses my opponents return of serve to get an idea of what works best. I played a guy with a huge power forehand and tried to avoid serving it into the teeth of his forehand, but did so accidentally and he hit it back super hard and I was able to easily block it into the open court for a clean winner every time. So, I've added that to my list of things to try.

If the returner keeps it low, I'll come in slower and be ready to take a half volley or approach shot. If they float it I come in pretty strong.

In general, the wide slice serve from the deuce court and wide kick serve from the add court work best for me since that opens the court up. When i go down the T it's less clear what to do but if I can draw them across the center of the court I'll hit behind them.

It's a very demanding style of play but when it works I can see the pressure it puts on people. I was playing a buddy last night and the first thing he said to me was "you aren't going to serve and volley are you?" I did.
 
#4
Interested to hear from those who play S&V as a core strategy. I may end up taking just to @S&V-not_dead_yet here, but maybe some stalwarts out there still like to play this way.

What percentage of the time do you approach on your serve, both first and second? What type of serve works best - for you - to improve your volley game? What things does your opponent do that tend to change your tactics?

Also curious about your level and how successful S&V is for you. I’m reasonably successful playing S&V at the 4.0 level, but if my serve is off at all guys will make my life difficult. Do you ever have to abandon S&V and what are your prospects when you do?

When returning serve, do you chip & charge often, or if not do you tend to approach as soon as you can, whether the opportunity is good or not?

Anything else you’d like to share about how you play this style - if it’s your bread and butter - I’d be interested to hear.
you know there's no hard rule on how much to s&v... even the sampras stayed back at times...
i guess my pseudo decision tree:
* am i successful s&v, if so, continue
* when i fail to s&v... when do i (ie. serve to short, on all 2nd serves, when they are expecting it, etc...), then stop s&v except when "success conditions" (ie. well placed serve, after the return, intermittently, etc...) are met.

same for c&c... you have to take note of when it's successful (and distinguish between when they got lucky).

it's gonna vary.

ie. let's say you have great kicker to the righty bh... you might be a great s&v'er against the righty... but really struggle/fail against a lefty.
 
#7
25% is more than most these days. Second serve because you have time to get further into the court, you have a kick second that sets up your volley, other?
The element of surprise maybe moreso than the kick of my second? My first is fairly big so I feel a lot of the time people are looking to get my second back deep and start the point and the S&V allows me to sabotage that return? My go to second is also a little faster than it should be, more like a first and a half so when I slow it down and go to the spin it's the double whammy of the offspeed and the coming in behind it.

J
 
#9
Serve and Volley....

In singles....I will jump on it of my opponent r floats returns back...even slightly floating. When I do, I’m looking for a good stab volley that doesn’t come back...more old school S&V....where if you’re averaging two volleys, you’re doing it wrong. To do this you have to serve smart with enough zip on it to keep them off balance and you’ve got to be quick coming in.

In doubles, just about every point, unless I’m playing the dreaded, lob every return back guy...then I’m coming in somewhere around the Service line and if I can, I’m lighting up his partner...nothing like extra pressure from your partner as well as someone cracking overheads off every return.

I’d light up the returner, if the lob return guy ever comes in behind it...it happens, but it is rare.
 
#10
Serve and Volley....

In singles....I will jump on it of my opponent r floats returns back...even slightly floating. When I do, I’m looking for a good stab volley that doesn’t come back...more old school S&V....where if you’re averaging two volleys, you’re doing it wrong. To do this you have to serve smart with enough zip on it to keep them off balance and you’ve got to be quick coming in.
Hi, please elaborate.

By "will jump on it" do you mean you make observations of your opponent's return for a few service games, f your opponent tends to float them back, then switch up strategy to S&V?

At first I read it as "I will jump on it if I see my opponent's return on this one serve is floaty", which was confusing because there's no time for that in an S&V situation.
 
#12
Here is me S&V some practice points if you were curious.


J
Good serve is setting you up nicely. And you picked a few good returns off your shoe tops. If you S&V mostly off your second and just 25% of the time overall, seems like you could do it behind your first serve more often and capitalize. Don’t listen to me though... I come in behind 90% of my serves so that’s always my suggestion.
 
#13
Serve and Volley....

In singles....I will jump on it of my opponent r floats returns back...even slightly floating. When I do, I’m looking for a good stab volley that doesn’t come back...more old school S&V....where if you’re averaging two volleys, you’re doing it wrong. To do this you have to serve smart with enough zip on it to keep them off balance and you’ve got to be quick coming in.

In doubles, just about every point, unless I’m playing the dreaded, lob every return back guy...then I’m coming in somewhere around the Service line and if I can, I’m lighting up his partner...nothing like extra pressure from your partner as well as someone cracking overheads off every return.

I’d light up the returner, if the lob return guy ever comes in behind it...it happens, but it is rare.
Yes, I love playing the lob returner when you just medium kick to the backhand, saunter in two steps and smoke the overhead at their partner. I don't even make eye contact after, just head down, fix my strings, and walk to the other side.

J
 
#14
Good serve is setting you up nicely. And you picked a few good returns off your shoe tops. If you S&V mostly off your second and just 25% of the time overall, seems like you could do it behind your first serve more often and capitalize. Don’t listen to me though... I come in behind 90% of my serves so that’s always my suggestion.
Thanks, I'm working hard at becoming an all court, all surface player. I'd like to do it more, but I unfortunately don't get the chance to play singles matches very often and the ones I do play are very important so I am not going to be experimenting. I'd love to find some guys who could just play a couple of sets at the park instead of just hitting/drilling.

J
 
#15
What percentage of the time do you approach on your serve, both first and second?
100% if I'm winning the majority of the points. Every now and then, you get an opponent who just can't adjust to the immediate pressure and he makes a lot more errors than he would have otherwise.

If my opponent is dismantling my serve, I will only come in occasionally. But I'll look for a decline in his return accuracy to start S&V again.

What type of serve works best - for you - to improve your volley game?
The slow kicker that gives me plenty of time to get in. Also, the hard flat that makes me volley from far away.

What things does your opponent do that tend to change your tactics?
Pass me; a lot.

Slice low and make me volley from my shoelaces constantly [very tiring].

Also curious about your level and how successful S&V is for you. I’m reasonably successful playing S&V at the 4.0 level, but if my serve is off at all guys will make my life difficult. Do you ever have to abandon S&V and what are your prospects when you do?
4.5 with about a 60% win rate in singles.

I've had to switch to Plan B multiple times; I usually lose because S&V is my strength and grinding is not. On the rare occasion, switching can throw an opponent off.

The single biggest improvement I can make is my serve.

When returning serve, do you chip & charge often, or if not do you tend to approach as soon as you can, whether the opportunity is good or not?
I'll C&C if the opportunity presents itself. Usually not on a 1st serve because my control isn't good enough. But I can usually handle the 2nd serve; whether I can hit a challenging enough approach remains to be seen.

I have a tendency to be impatient and will approach when perhaps I shouldn't. But darn it, patience takes too long.

Anything else you’d like to share about how you play this style - if it’s your bread and butter - I’d be interested to hear.
It's my bread and butter and meat and potatoes.

The mere threat of someone coming to the net is enough to cause some opponents to tighten up and donate points.

People avoid coming to the net because they don't like the possibility of being passed but they ignore the pressure that you're putting on your opponent, who doesn't want to dish up a floater. I've become mostly immune to worrying about being passed and try to apply maximum pressure on my opponent [the better ones simply hit better passing shots].

Another reason to avoid the net is the lob: well, improve your OH. I should welcome the lob: my opponent has decided he's not in a good enough position or confident enough to attempt a pass and now I get a crack at ending the point.

This is all singles. In doubles, my tendency to approach is even higher. Of course, some people have GSs that are a half level or more better than my net game. C'est la vie.
 
#16
100% if I'm winning the majority of the points. Every now and then, you get an opponent who just can't adjust to the immediate pressure and he makes a lot more errors than he would have otherwise.

If my opponent is dismantling my serve, I will only come in occasionally. But I'll look for a decline in his return accuracy to start S&V again.



The slow kicker that gives me plenty of time to get in. Also, the hard flat that makes me volley from far away.



Pass me; a lot.

Slice low and make me volley from my shoelaces constantly [very tiring].



4.5 with about a 60% win rate in singles.

I've had to switch to Plan B multiple times; I usually lose because S&V is my strength and grinding is not. On the rare occasion, switching can throw an opponent off.

The single biggest improvement I can make is my serve.



I'll C&C if the opportunity presents itself. Usually not on a 1st serve because my control isn't good enough. But I can usually handle the 2nd serve; whether I can hit a challenging enough approach remains to be seen.

I have a tendency to be impatient and will approach when perhaps I shouldn't. But darn it, patience takes too long.



It's my bread and butter and meat and potatoes.

The mere threat of someone coming to the net is enough to cause some opponents to tighten up and donate points.

People avoid coming to the net because they don't like the possibility of being passed but they ignore the pressure that you're putting on your opponent, who doesn't want to dish up a floater. I've become mostly immune to worrying about being passed and try to apply maximum pressure on my opponent [the better ones simply hit better passing shots].

Another reason to avoid the net is the lob: well, improve your OH. I should welcome the lob: my opponent has decided he's not in a good enough position or confident enough to attempt a pass and now I get a crack at ending the point.

This is all singles. In doubles, my tendency to approach is even higher. Of course, some people have GSs that are a half level or more better than my net game. C'est la vie.
You are speaking my language here... agree with you on just about everything, except I may be more reluctant than you to give up S&V when things aren’t going well. I tend to just soldier on when I probably should back off and reset.

It’s an aggressive play to come to the net. You’d think that would appeal to more people.

A lot of people probably don’t enjoy playing me because of the shape the match takes, unless they just pass me at will. I guess that would be pretty entertaining. But I think they should appreciate the practice and opportunity for some muscle confusion.
 
#17
You are speaking my language here... agree with you on just about everything, except I may be more reluctant than you to give up S&V when things aren’t going well. I tend to just soldier on when I probably should back off and reset.
If I lose the first set 1-6, I'll change plans. If I lose 4-6, I'll stick with S&V and work on execution. Somewhere in between and I'll play it by ear.
 
#19
The mere threat of someone coming to the net is enough to cause some opponents to tighten up and donate points.

People avoid coming to the net because they don't like the possibility of being passed but they ignore the pressure that you're putting on your opponent, who doesn't want to dish up a floater. I've become mostly immune to worrying about being passed and try to apply maximum pressure on my opponent [the better ones simply hit better passing shots].
Being passed is only the result of several flaws that take place before it. People know if they have sucky serves or setup shots for them to not come forward. If your serves or your setup shots are good, you still need a good volley to close the point. It's simply difficult for many people to possess all three.

Unlike s&v "specialists" I do not come in on every point. I only come in if I think it's the right play, ie short ball. My opponent knows that I got better with passing shots and volleying over the years, he has also increased his skill of blasting his shots. He has gotten pretty quick with picking an optimal side to pass or lob, and you know no matter how good you are, you can't cover the whole court. Then, I learned to guess the better side to cover.

It's simply a race of weapons. There's really no clear advantage of one style over the other.




As for doubles, since I decided to work on the volley 2 years ago, I have gotten pretty good and feel very clear headed at the net, net playing in doubles feels quite easy/simple. Most players don't know that a crappy but willing net player is 10x better than a baseline player in doubles. Occasionally when I team up with another good net player, which is very rare because we have to split, the court feels very crowded. We would be toying with the opponents. :)
 
#20
Years ago when my home courts were hard courts with a fast surface I was a S & V guy on practically every point on my serve, singles and doubles. Went to the net during every point just as soon as I could. The last few years I play on soft courts, mostly doubles and just mix in SV part of the time.

One question I've had that I've never seen discussed anywhere. When serving and coming to the net now I generally hit the best serve I can, then lose focus on the ball as I start my sprint to the net, then look for the ball again. During one period years ago I tried keeping head up and my eye on the ball as I ran in, and it felt that I could read where my serve was going quicker and therefore could read the return quicker, both of which were a plus. But I went away from that approach because it seemed to throw my balance off a bit and slow me down getting started toward the net. Kind of like you gain something here but lose something there. I've always wondered what the conventional wisdom is with this - I have a feeling that it's that you should watch the ball all the way.
 
#21
Years ago when my home courts were hard courts with a fast surface I was a S & V guy on practically every point on my serve, singles and doubles. Went to the net during every point just as soon as I could. The last few years I play on soft courts, mostly doubles and just mix in SV part of the time.

One question I've had that I've never seen discussed anywhere. When serving and coming to the net now I generally hit the best serve I can, then lose focus on the ball as I start my sprint to the net, then look for the ball again. During one period years ago I tried keeping head up and my eye on the ball as I ran in, and it felt that I could read where my serve was going quicker and therefore could read the return quicker, both of which were a plus. But I went away from that approach because it seemed to throw my balance off a bit and slow me down getting started toward the net. Kind of like you gain something here but lose something there. I've always wondered what the conventional wisdom is with this - I have a feeling that it's that you should watch the ball all the way.
Absolutely you should be watching the ball all the way. I can see where you might feel off balance or stumble looking over your shoulder chasing a football or a fly ball. In those cases you can look away briefly because you know where the ball is going to be. There are too many variables in tennis to take your eye off the action.

I guess if you have significant balance issues you have to do what you have to do, but I’d say go back to watching the ball and work on improving your balance.
 
#24
As for doubles, since I decided to work on the volley 2 years ago, I have gotten pretty good and feel very clear headed at the net, net playing in doubles feels quite easy/simple. Most players don't know that a crappy but willing net player is 10x better than a baseline player in doubles. Occasionally when I team up with another good net player, which is very rare because we have to split, the court feels very crowded. We would be toying with the opponents. :)
If you can toy with your opponents, you're significantly better than they are and should be playing higher-level opponents.

Also, I don't agree that a "crappy but willing net player is 10x better than a baseline player in doubles". A crappy net player will miss volleys, try for volleys that he shouldn't, miss OHs, etc. He'll lose more points than he wins. A competent BLer will at least keep the ball in play. Just because there are 2 at net doesn't mean that team will win the majority of the points; you have to look at strengths and weaknesses.
 
#25
Years ago when my home courts were hard courts with a fast surface I was a S & V guy on practically every point on my serve, singles and doubles. Went to the net during every point just as soon as I could. The last few years I play on soft courts, mostly doubles and just mix in SV part of the time.

One question I've had that I've never seen discussed anywhere. When serving and coming to the net now I generally hit the best serve I can, then lose focus on the ball as I start my sprint to the net, then look for the ball again. During one period years ago I tried keeping head up and my eye on the ball as I ran in, and it felt that I could read where my serve was going quicker and therefore could read the return quicker, both of which were a plus. But I went away from that approach because it seemed to throw my balance off a bit and slow me down getting started toward the net. Kind of like you gain something here but lose something there. I've always wondered what the conventional wisdom is with this - I have a feeling that it's that you should watch the ball all the way.
I doubt I follow the ball from my racquet onward. I probably shift my view to my opponent before I contact so I re-acquire the ball as it's heading towards the service box. I'm pretty sure I pick it up well before it crosses the net.
 
#26
I loose balance when I race toward the net after I serve, the few times I was successful, I served, took 2-3 steps, split step, and was relaxed for the volley even if I was only almost at service line
It's not *where* you split-step, it's *when*: you may not be able to take 3 steps in if you hit a fast, flat serve and your opponent clocks the return. Then again, if you hit a slow kicker and your opponent is near the back fence, you might be able to get past the SL. The key is to time the split step, not to focus on a specific area of the court where to split.

Also, balance is super important: it sounds like when you raced forward, you sacrificed balance.
 
#27
If you can toy with your opponents, you're significantly better than they are and should be playing higher-level opponents.

Also, I don't agree that a "crappy but willing net player is 10x better than a baseline player in doubles". A crappy net player will miss volleys, try for volleys that he shouldn't, miss OHs, etc. He'll lose more points than he wins. A competent BLer will at least keep the ball in play. Just because there are 2 at net doesn't mean that team will win the majority of the points; you have to look at strengths and weaknesses.
Do you think higher-level players are plentiful at city courts?

My statement is just general to show the importance of net playing in doubles. Of course you'll need to look at specific strengths and weaknesses.

There's one guy in our group who doesn't know how to volley at all (I kid you not) but when he teams up with me he goes close to the net, raises his racket and swat any balls he could reach, like swatting flies. This really overwhelms even hard hitting baseliners. I rarely lose with him. His way is what I call "willing".

Think about it, do you know any recreational players that can rip blinding speed shots from the baseline? I don't think so.
 
#28
Absolutely you should be watching the ball all the way. I can see where you might feel off balance or stumble looking over your shoulder chasing a football or a fly ball. In those cases you can look away briefly because you know where the ball is going to be. There are too many variables in tennis to take your eye off the action.

I guess if you have significant balance issues you have to do what you have to do, but I’d say go back to watching the ball and work on improving your balance.
and how exactly do you “watch the ball all the way”? to do so you must take your eyes off the contact, before contact...
 
#29
Do you think higher-level players are plentiful at city courts?
If the courts I play at doesn't have the level of competition I want, then I'll expand my horizons. Are there any clubs nearby with better players? Can you enter tournaments and network a bit?

My statement is just general to show the importance of net playing in doubles. Of course you'll need to look at specific strengths and weaknesses.
Understood. I too believe taking and defending the net are important, as well as trying to deny your opponent same. Plus it's a lot of fun. All other things being equal, I'd think the net team would tend to win. But your scenario was definitely not "all other things being equal".

There's one guy in our group who doesn't know how to volley at all (I kid you not) but when he teams up with me he goes close to the net, raises his racket and swat any balls he could reach, like swatting flies. This really overwhelms even hard hitting baseliners. I rarely lose with him. His way is what I call "willing".
If the guy can't volley and yet overwhelms BLers, that tells me the BLers, hard hitting or not, aren't that good when someone's at net, not necessarily that the strategy is sound.

It obviously works so he should continue doing it. If he's interested in improvement, he should also work on his net game; otherwise, he'll get dismantled by good BLers.

Think about it, do you know any recreational players that can rip blinding speed shots from the baseline? I don't think so.
First, one doesn't have to crush the GS to cause a poor volleyer to make an error: medium speed directly at them, high BH, low dipper, etc. will all work nicely.

Second, I know players who can hit fast enough that it gives me problems. Only considering those who can rip the ball is a false logic, IMO.
 
#30
and how exactly do you “watch the ball all the way”? to do so you must take your eyes off the contact, before contact...
I took his comment to say he was not focusing on the action and just looking where he needed to look to stay balanced while running. Probably better for me to have said you need to watch what’s happening all the time, not necessarily follow the ball with your direct vision all the time. You’ll still be following the ball peripherally at least.
 
#31
I took his comment to say he was not focusing on the action and just looking where he needed to look to stay balanced while running. Probably better for me to have said you need to watch what’s happening all the time, not necessarily follow the ball with your direct vision all the time. You’ll still be following the ball peripherally at least.
personally, when playing my best, i lose track of the ball completely after contact... then have to reacquire the ball just after it crosses the net
i also don't need to watch it to see where it's going, i know where it's going (unless i shank it), and also generally aware of how solidly i hit it (therefore will have more depth/pace than usual).
trying to follow the ball peripherally during contact is bad advice.
 
#33
personally, when playing my best, i lose track of the ball completely after contact... then have to reacquire the ball just after it crosses the net
i also don't need to watch it to see where it's going, i know where it's going (unless i shank it), and also generally aware of how solidly i hit it (therefore will have more depth/pace than usual).
trying to follow the ball peripherally during contact is bad advice.
I think this is what I do also. It occurred to me that, just as I, as the receiver's partner, will shift my focus to the opposing net man as soon as I'm sure the serve was in, so might I as the server shift my focus to the opponent once I'm sure I'm going to contact the toss. In both cases, there's minimal benefit to continuing to focus where the ball is and more benefit to shifting to where it's going to be.

"Most people skate to where the puck is. I try to skate to where it's going to be." - Wayne Gretzky
 
#34
I think this is what I do also. It occurred to me that, just as I, as the receiver's partner, will shift my focus to the opposing net man as soon as I'm sure the serve was in, so might I as the server shift my focus to the opponent once I'm sure I'm going to contact the toss. In both cases, there's minimal benefit to continuing to focus where the ball is and more benefit to shifting to where it's going to be.

"Most people skate to where the puck is. I try to skate to where it's going to be." - Wayne Gretzky
personally if i let my focus shift from contact, before i make contact, i risk affecting my ability to make clean contact.
so basically i'm never sure i'll make clean contact, until after i've made contact.

that's partly why poaching/faking/etc... is effective... it's making the opposing player "peek" when they should just decide, and stay focused on the contact area.
 
#35
that's partly why poaching/faking/etc... is effective... it's making the opposing player "peek" when they should just decide, and stay focused on the contact area.
I think that's slightly different: the receiver may well continue focusing on the contact area but be distracted by movement in his peripheral whereas the server shouldn't be able to see his opponent if he's concentrating on the toss.
 
#36
I think that's slightly different: the receiver may well continue focusing on the contact area but be distracted by movement in his peripheral whereas the server shouldn't be able to see his opponent if he's concentrating on the toss.
oh, nm, sounds like we're in agreement about server & receiver should focusing on his contact.
and yeah, when i'm serving, i don't bother looking at opponents... and i already know (generally) where my serve is gonna go.
 
#39
much easier way to simplify describing what should be done. thx.
Having some trouble buying this in the terms described. For instance, there’s zero chance you’re not watching to see if your serve lands in, and I think that would apply to most groundstrokes as well. Maybe we all test this out next time we hit and report back?

I’m talking about singles and not doubles here.
 
#40
Having some trouble buying this in the terms described. For instance, there’s zero chance you’re not watching to see if your serve lands in, and I think that would apply to most groundstrokes as well. Maybe we all test this out next time we hit and report back?

I’m talking about singles and not doubles here.
realistically, when i'm "doing it well", i just catch when the ball lands on serve (or after a groundie)
but for example, if i see the ball hit the net... usually i looked up too soon.
that said, i like the idea of exaggerating the idea of "watch the contact, while hittingthe ball", then the next thing i should actively look for, is not the ball, but the racquet of the opposing player (they will always be the same - and when they are not, it doesn't matter)

singles and doubles should be the same.
 
#41
Back when I was playing more often, I was doing serve and volley probably 9 times out of 10, sometimes 10 out of 10 if I'm feeling good and it's working.

Usually I'll do it off of just about any serve. With the better returners I keep it more limited to slice into the body and kickers. First or second serve doesn't necessarily matter to me.

I'm a 5.0 level player and have been pretty successful just about anywhere I've gone, but I haven't done any serious competitions in over a year now which sucks, so I'm probably down to a 4.5 now if I tried to do something serious.

Returning I chip and charge a lot off of second serves but not very often off of first serves. It happens, just not quite as often.

If I don't serve and volley or chip and charge, I'm always looking to get into the net as soon as I can. I will go in on opportunities most people don't these days.

I'll change tactics if I'm not winning. Usually that's a lot of tough passing shots that I force my opponent to hit. If I change and it gets worse, I might go back just because I'd rather make them hit the tough passing shots than the easier groundstrokes with be at the baseline.
 
#42
If the courts I play at doesn't have the level of competition I want, then I'll expand my horizons. Are there any clubs nearby with better players? Can you enter tournaments and network a bit?
You forgot one cardinal rule of RECREATIONAL tennis that is it's supposed to revolve around the player. Meaning, it is the one that fills in the empty spots. Not the other way around. I do not go looking for tennis and make my schedule fit it.

Anyway, you misunderstood me. There are some good players, just not plentiful. And even with few good players we can make it work by pairing good/mediocre players. That's usually the case. I said only on rare occasion that I team up with a good volleyer.

First, one doesn't have to crush the GS to cause a poor volleyer to make an error: medium speed directly at them, high BH, low dipper, etc. will all work nicely.

Second, I know players who can hit fast enough that it gives me problems. Only considering those who can rip the ball is a false logic, IMO.
Do you know anyone who can stand 1 or 2 feet close to the net to play? They are not your traditional volleyer and won't fit your thinking with low dipper, high bh, etc.

If an opponent can rip a hard shot and don't get a higher winning percentage, there'll be less chance for softer hitters.

I play very well with players who have specialties and consistently rely on them. My mind is settled. We know our goals and understand each other. That's usually better than two good players with no goals, playing tentatively.
 
#43
realistically, when i'm "doing it well", i just catch when the ball lands on serve (or after a groundie)
but for example, if i see the ball hit the net... usually i looked up too soon.
that said, i like the idea of exaggerating the idea of "watch the contact, while hittingthe ball", then the next thing i should actively look for, is not the ball, but the racquet of the opposing player (they will always be the same - and when they are not, it doesn't matter)

singles and doubles should be the same.
Agree with looking too soon. That’s one of the things on my checklist when my serve goes awry. A serve in the net is the typical manifestation.

Singles and doubles shouldn’t be the same. I don’t have to sacrifice a view of the ball in singles as I do in doubles (not talking about the serve here).
 
#44
Interested to hear from those who play S&V as a core strategy. I may end up taking just to @S&V-not_dead_yet here, but maybe some stalwarts out there still like to play this way.

What percentage of the time do you approach on your serve, both first and second? What type of serve works best - for you - to improve your volley game? What things does your opponent do that tend to change your tactics?

Also curious about your level and how successful S&V is for you. I’m reasonably successful playing S&V at the 4.0 level, but if my serve is off at all guys will make my life difficult. Do you ever have to abandon S&V and what are your prospects when you do?

When returning serve, do you chip & charge often, or if not do you tend to approach as soon as you can, whether the opportunity is good or not?

Anything else you’d like to share about how you play this style - if it’s your bread and butter - I’d be interested to hear.
I have only played doubles recently, back from a long hiatus (like since HS) of playing competitive league type matches. So I tried to SnV on all serves. Problem is, I'm not as fast as I used to be (and think I should be) and really get caught in NML too much, so I've started to SnV less often, usually only on first serves. This is 7.5 mixed doubles.
 
#45
I have only played doubles recently, back from a long hiatus (like since HS) of playing competitive league type matches. So I tried to SnV on all serves. Problem is, I'm not as fast as I used to be (and think I should be) and really get caught in NML too much, so I've started to SnV less often, usually only on first serves. This is 7.5 mixed doubles.
What exactly do you mean by "get caught in NML"? Do you mean having to volley in NML? That shouldn't be too much of a problem as long as A) you're balanced; and B) you can hit low volleys and half-volleys.

Also, you're *more* likely to get caught in NML after a first serve because the serve and the return are likely going to be happening faster and so you have less time to get to the net. If you want to maximize your chances of getting to the SL, hit a slow kicker.

For me, the quality of my serve is more important than where I hit my first volley from.

I get "caught" in NML all of the time; it's part of the price of admission.
 
#46
I'm going to try this other approach again. When I talk about keeping focused on the ball I guess I mean keep watching the ball and the flight of the ball. If I'm keeping my head up and watching the flight of the ball then it seems I also get a quicker look at where the ball is actually going (ball doesn't always go exactly where I meant to hit it), and peripherally what the returner is doing that would indicate what kind of shot he is trying to hit.
 
#47
What exactly do you mean by "get caught in NML"? Do you mean having to volley in NML? That shouldn't be too much of a problem as long as A) you're balanced; and B) you can hit low volleys and half-volleys.

Also, you're *more* likely to get caught in NML after a first serve because the serve and the return are likely going to be happening faster and so you have less time to get to the net. If you want to maximize your chances of getting to the SL, hit a slow kicker.

For me, the quality of my serve is more important than where I hit my first volley from.

I get "caught" in NML all of the time; it's part of the price of admission.
actually for me it's a little different I'm having trouble with high balls that come in in no-man's-land I'm having to hit higher volleys than I'm comfortable with so I'd rather stay back and let them bounce, or be in further so I have more margin for error on the high volleys. so yes another thing I've been working on is my high volleys or swinging volleys
 
#48
actually for me it's a little different I'm having trouble with high balls that come in in no-man's-land I'm having to hit higher volleys than I'm comfortable with so I'd rather stay back and let them bounce, or be in further so I have more margin for error on the high volleys. so yes another thing I've been working on is my high volleys or swinging volleys
Stutter step is key for me on high volleys.

J
 
#49
actually for me it's a little different I'm having trouble with high balls that come in in no-man's-land I'm having to hit higher volleys than I'm comfortable with so I'd rather stay back and let them bounce, or be in further so I have more margin for error on the high volleys. so yes another thing I've been working on is my high volleys or swinging volleys
Got it. I just wouldn't characterize that as "getting caught in NML", which has negative connotations. You're getting a shot that you can be offensive with, which is great! You just need more practice on how to deal with it.
 
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