How can I be a dominant Serve and Volley player?

Discussion in 'Tennis Tips/Instruction' started by tuan0290, Nov 4, 2012.

  1. tuan0290

    tuan0290 New User

    Oct 20, 2012
    Hi guys,

    What are some characteristics of a good S&V player like Llodra (in present days) or Edberg (in the 90s)? Does the person have to possess _______ to be a good S&V player?
    -6ft height
    -Powerful serve
    -Mid-size racquet (about 90sq inch)

    What are drills/practices that I can use to develop to a S&V player at the collegiate level?

    Thanks in advance.
  2. Fuji

    Fuji Legend

    Aug 30, 2010
    Play doubles. LOTS and LOTS of doubles. It will help your net game overall better than any single drill I can think of.

    You don't need a hard serve to be a good serve and volley player in today's game. I like to think of 2 forms of serve and volley.

    1) Sampras S&V. Absolutely huge serve, and you come in to pick off the weak returns. This pretty much only works if you have a top level serve at your level.

    2) Rafter S&V. Loads of kick/twice with a really high bounce to give you lots of time to get into the net, so you aren't picking up topspin returns at your shoe laces all the time.

    Both work, and sometimes you can be a master of both! 1st big serve, and monster kick 2nd is a good thing to practice.

    It's more the mentality then anything though really. I used to play pure S&V 4ish years ago, and it was great. The biggest thing is, is that you have to realize you will get passed, and it will happen very often. If you can accept that, you should do okay!

    Racket wise, it really doesn't matter what you use. Some argue that mid's give the best "feel" and precision, but it really depends on your hand eye coordination. I feel as though a 95 gives the best of both worlds. (The 6.1 Series is a tried and true classic for S&V players!) It gives enough head size for forgiveness, and it gives enough "feel" to pull off touch shots. That being said, just take a look at what some top doubles guys are using. I see a lot of Pure Drives being used, and although it doesn't give the purest feedback to the ball, put away's are easy peasy!

    String wise, stay away from poly is what most people will tell you. Gut is the grail of volleying I find, if you can afford to use it and you aren't a string breaker. Fully poly is sort of a pain for me at least, but with a softer hybrid it definitely does have some advantages.

    Any questions, just ask! :razz:

  3. Doubles

    Doubles Hall of Fame

    May 4, 2010
    Approaching the net
    I don't think that using a midsize racket will help you S&V any better than a Pure Drive. With that said, I think that a serve and volleyer has to have placement. Possessing a powerful serve and crisp volleys is always a good thing, but, it's more about being able to place your serve exactly where you want it to set up your ability to get into the net where you can hit a solid volley.
  4. Say Chi Sin Lo

    Say Chi Sin Lo G.O.A.T.

    Aug 30, 2005
    What Fuji said. I want to add a few things myself too.

    I'd go for the corners and open up the court. Just be mindful if you go for the corner, they'll have the angles to the returner's advantage. But once you cut off the angles, you have the whole court to yourself.

    Lastly, I hardly ever come in off of a flat serve, it's easier for the return to take advantage of the pace and block it back , and it gives me less time to get to the net.

    And yes, you will get passed a lot, that's why I choose to use the tactic when I feel like I've got the game in the bag.
    Last edited: Nov 4, 2012
  5. Mick3391

    Mick3391 Professional

    Aug 13, 2012
    WA State
    I don't know, but I saw a GREAT INTERVIEW with Pete Sampras.

    They asked him, "In this era of hard hitting baseliners, would you change your game". He said paraphrase "I only have one gear, that's serve and volley", they guy said "Well they have more powerful racquets and strings", Pete said "I would have more powerful racquet and strings, if someone stays at the baseline I lick my chops".

    That actually might be ver batum.
  6. corbind

    corbind Professional

    Oct 18, 2010
    Chicago, IL
    Tracking this topic...
  7. Larrysümmers

    Larrysümmers Hall of Fame

    Jun 29, 2009
    1313 Mockingbird Lane.
    You just don't want to be a sv player. its another tactic.
  8. vil

    vil Semi-Pro

    Mar 18, 2012
    I certainly wouldn't be S&Ver only but using it as a surprise tactics to mix things up, is not a bad idea.
    For an OP, keep practicing service placement and mid-court volleys. Also, you have to practice your serve in such way, that after follow through, your body will naturally lean into the court,(as if you were falling into the court) thus giving you perfect position to accelerate towards the net. If you are landing flat footed after serve, you are already losing time, if you know what I mean. I can't explain technicalities 'cos I'm not a coach but maybe someone else could shed a bit of light on this.
  9. tennis_balla

    tennis_balla Hall of Fame

    Mar 16, 2006
    Here and There
    Work on serve mechanics and toss placement which allow you to move forward right after your serve. First explosive step is key, be it after the serve or after your split step at the net.

    Learn to know when to dart after a ball and hit a volley or slow down and hit a half volley.

    Large percentage of first serves is key, the last thing you wanna be doing as a s&v player is hitting too many second serves.

    Develop spins and placement on your serve. Flat serves are easier to return then ones with movement on them.

    I read a great quote from Patrick Rafter a long time ago, "Volley with your legs".

    Learn to hit volleys from the service line, as thats where your first volley will always be. Set up your practice where you hit volleys from back there to become comfortable covering more distance. For example, stand 3 steps behind the service line and feed a ball in to your partner and start your volley sequence from there working your way to the net.

    Those are just a few examples, depends on your level to get more in depth.
  10. spaceman_spiff

    spaceman_spiff Hall of Fame

    Aug 24, 2005
    The crappest town in Britain
    The thing that people often forget is that, in addition to working on your serve, you need to work on your serve strategy.

    You have to focus on hitting serves that will cause weak returns, and that requires a lot of observation and being to hit a wide variety. For example, if your opponent can't handle slice into the body, then you have to spot that weakness and have the ability to exploit it. Different people have different weaknesses, so you need to have a fairly good number of options.

    Variety also helps when facing an opponent who doesn't have a particular weakness. Then, unpredictability and good placement are your friends.
  11. Say Chi Sin Lo

    Say Chi Sin Lo G.O.A.T.

    Aug 30, 2005
    I feel like if this thread were to keep going, we'll just end up with a list of impossibles. Explode into the court, hit the corners, slice it into the other court, kick it above the fence, perfectly timed split steps, perfect punch volley, blah blah blah.

    I'll add to it though:

    Disguise your toss the best that you can. If the opponent pick out your pattern of serves based on the current/previous matches, kudos to the opponent.

    But if you can have (more or less) the same toss for all of your serves, it'll help your serve and volley a lot. One way to do that I think, it's too have your back facing the opponent when you serve. So while your toss will be different for different serves, it'll look like the same toss from your opponent's perspective.
  12. Bobby Jr

    Bobby Jr Legend

    Jul 5, 2010
    The key thing about being a good serve and volley player is practice. You must be prepared to put in the hard yards - often with little reward for a while. Your s'n'v wont get to a high enough level if you only use it when you think it'll work against people who can't return well or are lower level than you generally. You'll never get used to the violent lunging and reaction volleys that make guys like Llodra who they are if you aren't doing it often.

    As someone said above, play a lot of doubles if you can - and go into every match with an intent to work on something. For example: to serve and volley first or second serve in the deuce court for the whole match. If it's not working after your first service game - keep doing it. Serve and volley tennis is a strategy (or tactic, depending how you use it) with obvious and immediate disincentives when it's not working. But you'll never get any better if you only do it when it's working well (probably because you're playing weaker opponents). You can't really get into a groove or play safe like you can standing on the baseline hitting ground strokes - it's do or die so the skills have to be on-call and extremely consistent right from the first serve of the match.

    Edberg is a perfect example of this. He may not have always hit the perfect volley from the start of a match - but he rarely stuffed them up either. He was making the vast majority of volleys, which added immediate pressure on his opponent early on to make passes. Llodra did this brilliantly in his matches last week - until he met Ferrer who kept in touch just enough to find his own groove and keep Llorda out of his.

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