Passing shots

HuusHould

Professional
I play on synthetic grass against a good serve and volleyer who chips and charges regularly, and is very solid at the net (closes reasonably well) with a decent overhead. I find it quite frustrating as my strokes break down. My single handed bh in particular struggles with the demands of hitting a small target with power and spin under duress. Especially in the wind. Has anyone else experienced this? If so, do you have any technical or tactical advice for a single hander? Also useful drills!? Ive found Brad Gilberts chapter in "winning ugly" to be quite useful.
 

r2473

Talk Tennis Guru
“Decent” overhead? Hit lobs. Just doing that should keep him off the net and make passing shots easier.

Also, don’t give him “too much” pace that he can just redirect. Too much pace also makes you more prone to errors and gives you less time to recover / opens the court up for your opponent.
 
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I play on synthetic grass against a good serve and volleyer who chips and charges regularly, and is very solid at the net (closes reasonably well) with a decent overhead. I find it quite frustrating as my strokes break down. My single handed bh in particular struggles with the demands of hitting a small target with power and spin under duress. Especially in the wind. Has anyone else experienced this? If so, do you have any technical or tactical advice for a single hander? Also useful drills!? Ive found Brad Gilberts chapter in "winning ugly" to be quite useful.
Speaking as the guy on the other side of the net, what is most favorable to me is typically someone who goes for the small margin shot.

Why do you feel you have a small target? I'd imagine it's because you feel you have to pass him after the approach. Try this instead: hit a dipper so that he has to volley up. Having to get that low might also throw his balance off a bit. Then go for your passer/lob.

And remember he still has to make the volley: don't assume he'll put everything away if you don't hit a perfect shot. Make him play. There's nothing worse from your standpoint [or better from his standpoint] than consistently going for the low margin shot and missing.

I also agree with @r2473: test his OH by trying to lob high into roughly the BH corner. Don't try the low % super TS lob winner; just high and deep is fine. Chances are he will let it bounce and, unless he is good at OHs from the BL, you've reset the point. You might also cause him to not close to the net quite so much after a few lobs. Then you can go for your passing shot with more margin because he's further away.

BTW: the first shot doesn't have to be TS. If you have good touch, you can hit a slice that he had to get low for with the added benefit that, if he doesn't know how to volley an incoming slice, he'll dump it into the net.

Also, don't discount the value of hitting right at him [ie dominant hip]: it cuts down on the angles he has and it's also more difficult to move out of the way to hit a volley than to more towards the volley.
 

golden chicken

Hall of Fame
Everything said above, and I would specifically try to get you to think of the two-shot pass. Hit a shot that makes him volley up and then pounce on the next one.
 

HuusHould

Professional
“Decent” overhead? Hit lobs. Just doing that should keep him off the net and make passing shots easier.

Also, don’t give him “too much” pace that he can just redirect. Too much pace also makes you more prone to errors and gives you less time to recover / opens the court up for your opponent.
You're right the lob will keep him from closing in so far, I need to work on that as much as I can. It is a trade off with taking the pace off the ball, in general its a good idea, for the reasons you mentioned, but at times it can allow him to close in further. I guess I just have to mix it up.
 

HuusHould

Professional
Everything said above, and I would specifically try to get you to think of the two-shot pass. Hit a shot that makes him volley up and then pounce on the next one.
I have a bit of trouble with the first part, especially when hes hit a deep (either penetrating or floating) slice bh to my bh side that is fairly central (gives me no angle). I also have trouble really quickly slipping my grip (without the non dominant hand) at really short notice to go from slice bh to lasso fh for example. Any ideas? Should I slice the initial pass or drive do you think? I generally drive which tends to be a bit more successful than slicing for me.
 

HuusHould

Professional
Why do you feel you have a small target? I'd imagine it's because you feel you have to pass him after the approach. Try this instead: hit a dipper so that he has to volley up. Having to get that low might also throw his balance off a bit. Then go for your passer/lob.
In theory this is very sound advice, but I think my problem is that he's getting fairly close to the net and on synthetic grass a low sliced ball can skid through a bit often in an unpredictable fashion. But maybe it's more possible than I think and I'm just panicking and trying to hit the ball too hard. I'll give it some practice.

And remember he still has to make the volley: don't assume he'll put everything away if you don't hit a perfect shot. Make him play. There's nothing worse from your standpoint [or better from his standpoint] than consistently going for the low margin shot and missing.
He does have exceptional volleys, but you're right it starts with a few top notch low volley or drop half volley winners from him and all of a sudden I think he can pull those off all the time and I start just donating the point to him in a bid to stop him winning with such shots that will dry up for him under pressure to a greater or lesser extent.

I also agree with @r2473: test his OH by trying to lob high into roughly the BH corner. Don't try the low % super TS lob winner; just high and deep is fine. Chances are he will let it bounce and, unless he is good at OHs from the BL, you've reset the point. You might also cause him to not close to the net quite so much after a few lobs. Then you can go for your passing shot with more margin because he's further away.
BTW: the first shot doesn't have to be TS. If you have good touch, you can hit a slice that he had to get low for with the added benefit that, if he doesn't know how to volley an incoming slice, he'll dump it into the net.
I do have good touch, but under pressure I tend to drop the racquet head on my slice bh (I have a bit of trouble getting down due to an arthritic hip) and pop the ball up. I need to just commit to the shot and be damned. You could be right, there might be more potential to slice the pass than I think, because I'm always thinking "rip the ball at his feet with heavy top" I will explore this possibility.

You're right a good low trajectory "defensive" slice chip lob will do the trick. (especially on the return of serve believe it or not) He has fantastic volleys and a mediocre overhead, especially for someone who's dead accurate with his serve (which serves him well serve and volleying). He serves at about 150kph, but has at times aced me 15 times over 2 sets, when he's confident he pretty well hits two first serves, but can double fault under pressure if he's not having a great serving day (or even if he is). He's ok at overheads from the baseline, I would at least have a chance to block the ball back deep and reset. I would generally try to hit it too low trajectory for him to smash, but you're right if I'm in a lot of trouble out wide the higher I can throw the lob up the better.

Also, don't discount the value of hitting right at him [ie dominant hip]: it cuts down on the angles he has and it's also more difficult to move out of the way to hit a volley than to more towards the volley.
I've had success with this one before on the return of serve. Also one time he came in behind a "nude" either approach or volley than just ballooned into a space just in front of the centre tag, I tried to I think lob him and got burned, in hindsight biding my time by going at his right hip and returning the "I'm not going to give you any angle" favour may have been a better option. The only thing is I have to give it some curry or he'll drop volley me.
 

HuusHould

Professional
What do you guys think about chip and charging someone who's serve and volleying to cut down their angles. I've had someone do this to me when we were drilling serve and volley and it's really annoying haha

A big part of my game plan against this player is getting to the net before he does. Like a lot of "old school" players he has a very good swinging angled slice bh that can pull me right off the court and allow him to get into the net as I scramble and hit an elevated slice bh return to allow myself to recover. So to avoid being jerked around the court into no man's land and having to recover diagonally back to the baseline, both on my bh and fh sides, I try to approach with aggressive slice approaches even from the doubles alley, just to say to him "you can jerk me around with angles, but I'm going to attack the net on anything remotely short no matter how wide I am". This is what I have to do I think, but I have to do it better because he passes well (particularly on his bh side with the chip (also with an angled flat drive or a drive dtl)- Maybe I should take a leaf out of this slice passing shot book as you guys have mentioned), but also from his fh wing (he loves to go cross court with a reasonable amount of topspin). His fh has always been his weakness, so when I attack it he hits loopy moderately heavily topspin hfs to reduce his unforced error and starve me of pace. In the past I've hit high to his fh and then followed it in to the net and drop volleyed him with a lot of success.

He is also a bit susceptible to a well disguised drop shot, surprisingly for someone who's always looking to get to the net, to the point that sometimes he comes in behind rubbish (at times successfully partly due to the element of surprise).
 
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What do you guys think about chip and charging someone who's serve and volleying to cut down their angles. I've had someone do this to me when we were drilling serve and volley and it's really annoying haha
A couple of people have done that against me but not successfully; it's generally a higher-risk strategy that requires exceptional touch. The people that beat me do it from the BL by placing their first shot in an uncomfortable place.

A big part of my game plan against this player is getting to the net before he does. Like a lot of "old school" players he has a very good swinging angled slice bh that can pull me right off the court and allow him to get into the net as I scramble and hit an elevated slice bh return to allow myself to recover. So to avoid being jerked around the court into no man's land and having to recover diagonally back to the baseline, both on my bh and fh sides, I try to approach with aggressive slice approaches even from the doubles alley, just to say to him "you can jerk me around with angles, but I'm going to attack the net on anything remotely short no matter how wide I am". This is what I have to do I think, but I have to do it better because he passes well (particularly on his bh side with the chip (also with an angled flat drive or a drive dtl)- Maybe I should take a leaf out of this slice passing shot book as you guys have mentioned), but also from his fh wing (he loves to go cross court with a reasonable amount of topspin). His fh has always been his weakness, so when I attack it he hits loopy moderately heavily topspin hfs to reduce his unforced error and starve me of pace. In the past I've hit high to his fh and then followed it in to the net and drop volleyed him with a lot of success.

He is also a bit susceptible to a well disguised drop shot, surprisingly for someone who's always looking to get to the net, to the point that sometimes he comes in behind rubbish (at times successfully partly due to the element of surprise).
If what you're currently doing is not working, mix things up: the C&C after a S&V could definitely throw off his game because he's accustomed to having a lot more court in which to place his first volley. I'd throw it in as a change-up: that might cause other parts of his game to weaken a bit so pay attention because shots that previously didn't work might start working.

This is why I enjoy the Cat & Mouse nature of the net game.
 

sneezeey

New User
Specifically regarding the one-handed backhand, I like to mix it up as much as possible to just make life as uncertain and uncomfortable as possible. Consider a mix of
1. low, biting slices, especially down the line;
2. firm, flat slices, especially useful if angled downwards from a higher contact point as they're hard to pick up;
3. topspin backhands sacrificing as much pace as needed for placement, spin and dip;
4. full-power bash straight down the middle for the element of surprise and to force a short response; and
5. lobs
 

golden chicken

Hall of Fame
I have a bit of trouble with the first part, especially when hes hit a deep (either penetrating or floating) slice bh to my bh side that is fairly central (gives me no angle). I also have trouble really quickly slipping my grip (without the non dominant hand) at really short notice to go from slice bh to lasso fh for example. Any ideas? Should I slice the initial pass or drive do you think? I generally drive which tends to be a bit more successful than slicing for me.
I mean, sometimes you just have to tip your hat and say too good, right? Especially when the opponent's style is complimented by the court surface.

But sometimes you don't need to hit a really offensive shot to set yourself up. Either slice or top works as long as you can make it drop in front of the opponent.
 

Bender

G.O.A.T.
You don't have to hit a winning shot the moment he comes to net. It may be better for you to just make him hit another shot that you can get to, such as a how, dipping topspin shot that he has to hit up on. If he hits a deft drop volley, then whatever, he deserves the point. Otherwise, just keep lobbing if his overhead is merely decent, since from what you've shared it seems his volleys are better than his overheads.

If you can hit the dipping topspin ball and you think you can hit it reliably, then you can consider hitting the same shot but at an angle so you get the wide CC pass. Heck, even a slightly wide angled dipping CC ball would work in many cases as it would pressure the netman to hit up and back CC, ie right back to you so you can hit a follow-up shot.
 

fuzz nation

G.O.A.T.
What do you guys think about chip and charging someone who's serve and volleying to cut down their angles. I've had someone do this to me when we were drilling serve and volley and it's really annoying haha

A big part of my game plan against this player is getting to the net before he does. Like a lot of "old school" players he has a very good swinging angled slice bh that can pull me right off the court and allow him to get into the net as I scramble and hit an elevated slice bh return to allow myself to recover. So to avoid being jerked around the court into no man's land and having to recover diagonally back to the baseline, both on my bh and fh sides, I try to approach with aggressive slice approaches even from the doubles alley, just to say to him "you can jerk me around with angles, but I'm going to attack the net on anything remotely short no matter how wide I am". This is what I have to do I think, but I have to do it better because he passes well (particularly on his bh side with the chip (also with an angled flat drive or a drive dtl)- Maybe I should take a leaf out of this slice passing shot book as you guys have mentioned), but also from his fh wing (he loves to go cross court with a reasonable amount of topspin). His fh has always been his weakness, so when I attack it he hits loopy moderately heavily topspin hfs to reduce his unforced error and starve me of pace. In the past I've hit high to his fh and then followed it in to the net and drop volleyed him with a lot of success.

He is also a bit susceptible to a well disguised drop shot, surprisingly for someone who's always looking to get to the net, to the point that sometimes he comes in behind rubbish (at times successfully partly due to the element of surprise).
Excellent!!

A sharp net rusher is looking to seize the initiative and force an opponent to come up with something decent. Many of these players - myself included - have trouble when an opponent flips the script and uses this attack against them.

I grew up playing a lot of serve and volley style on grass courts. The most disarming thing for me when trying to jump on the net is when an opponent hits a low shot at me and I have to hit a volley or half-volley with little or no drive. You don't need to do this with a topspin dipper - that can be tricky to hit well and "dip" at the proper spot. A low slice can be all you need to really neutralize an opponent at the net. Just be ready to move in if your low ball forces that opponent to hit soft and short.

The kids on the high school teams I coach aren't all rock stars on the court - many are true "part-timers" who don't play a whole lot for the rest of the year. They can easily get flustered when an opponent comes to the net behind a short ball and spray a passing attempt off into who knows where. In other words, they panic. But when we work on this situation, the very first thing I try to convince them to do is to at least force that opponent to hit another ball. This won't always win the point, but it's night-and-day better than simply donating that point to the other guys.
 

5263

G.O.A.T.
The challenge you state is the same problem for all players and the key lies with not allowing him to get a ball that allows him to hit an approach that is better than your ability to pass. Even Federer will struggle to pass if his opponent hits the approach well enough, so he hits shots to prevent those type approach shots and Yes, he works to improve his passing shots as well.
 

ontologist

New User
As others have mentioned, a 2-ball pass approach is a great idea when you don't have another go-to game plan. No one is too good to assume they are just going to keep making tough shots, especially under pressure. Sometimes you have to stick with a strategy to see it pay out, which is the idea of "breaking down a shot."

There are some good drills for this:
The first is integrating some short-court or 3/4ths court cross-courts where you roll or finesse the ball. That should help you get the feel so it becomes easier to massage the ball at their feet when they come in, or the "first" ball in a 2-ball pass.
The second drill is when your partner feeds the ball in from the service line (you are back) and your first ball has to be to them. Everything is open on your second ball. I like playing that game to 5 or 7 and then switching out the net player.
 

HuusHould

Professional
But sometimes you don't need to hit a really offensive shot to set yourself up. Either slice or top works as long as you can make it drop in front of the opponent.
I played a couple of sets this week and won both (first set 6-1!), whereas last week (before getting all this advice) I was down a set and a break. I was pleasantly surprised at how effective just repeatedly making him hit the ball was.

You don't have to hit a winning shot the moment he comes to net. It may be better for you to just make him hit another shot that you can get to, such as a how, dipping topspin shot that he has to hit up on. If he hits a deft drop volley, then whatever, he deserves the point. Otherwise, just keep lobbing if his overhead is merely decent, since from what you've shared it seems his volleys are better than his overheads.
His overhead broke down completely, lobbing when I wasn't confident to pass (and sometimes when I was) was more effective than I could've hoped for! I know this isn't going to happen every time as he does have a pretty decent overhead, but still it was encouraging, I can always improve my lob.

They can easily get flustered when an opponent comes to the net behind a short ball and spray a passing attempt off into who knows where. In other words, they panic. But when we work on this situation, the very first thing I try to convince them to do is to at least force that opponent to hit another ball. This won't always win the point, but it's night-and-day better than simply donating that point to the other guys.
This piece of advice was very useful, I didn't realise how often I was donating the point to my opponent. I will try the C&C in reply to the net rush as well, although this opponent kind of has two first serve, it might be easier against someone with a spinner serve?

As others have mentioned, a 2-ball pass approach is a great idea when you don't have another go-to game plan. No one is too good to assume they are just going to keep making tough shots, especially under pressure. Sometimes you have to stick with a strategy to see it pay out, which is the idea of "breaking down a shot."
Under pressure he started to miss (or give me a shot on the pass) with his high forehand volley.

There are some good drills for this:
The first is integrating some short-court or 3/4ths court cross-courts where you roll or finesse the ball. That should help you get the feel so it becomes easier to massage the ball at their feet when they come in, or the "first" ball in a 2-ball pass.
The second drill is when your partner feeds the ball in from the service line (you are back) and your first ball has to be to them. Everything is open on your second ball. I like playing that game to 5 or 7 and then switching out the net player.
Cool, I'll give these a go. So the first one is just for developing feel for the roll?

Specifically regarding the one-handed backhand, I like to mix it up as much as possible to just make life as uncertain and uncomfortable as possible. Consider a mix of
1. low, biting slices, especially down the line;
2. firm, flat slices, especially useful if angled downwards from a higher contact point as they're hard to pick up;
3. topspin backhands sacrificing as much pace as needed for placement, spin and dip;
4. full-power bash straight down the middle for the element of surprise and to force a short response; and
5. lobs
Actually going straight at him without pace worked ok as well.
 
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blablavla

Legend
I played a couple of sets this week and won both (first set 6-1!), whereas last week (before getting all this advice) I was down a set and a break. I was pleasantly surprised at how effective just repeatedly making him hit the ball was.



His overhead broke down completely, lobbing when I wasn't confident to pass (and sometimes when I was) was more effective than I could've hoped for! I know this isn't going to happen every time as he does have a pretty decent overhead, but still it was encouraging, I can always improve my lob.



This piece of advice was very useful, I didn't realise how often I was donating the point to my opponent. I will try the C&C in reply to the net rush as well, although this opponent kind of has two first serve, it might be easier against someone with a spinner serve?



Under pressure he started to miss (or give me a shot on the pass) with his high forehand volley.



Cool, I'll give these a go. So the first one is just for developing feel for the roll?



Actually going straight at him without pace worked ok as well.
I would add as well another point, in order to throw your opponent even more off balance.

Do you dropshot?
you opponent is probably all ready to slice and rush to the net.
But what happens if you dropshot, and come-in by yourself?
Is your opponent having the skill and touch to "outfox" you in this situation?
 

HuusHould

Professional
I would add as well another point, in order to throw your opponent even more off balance.

Do you dropshot?
you opponent is probably all ready to slice and rush to the net.
But what happens if you dropshot, and come-in by yourself?
Is your opponent having the skill and touch to "outfox" you in this situation?
Yeah I do drop shot, Ive played a lot with drop shot specialists and I mean guys who regularly drop shot (quite well) from behind the baseline and off very firmly hit balls as well as high balls and their go to volley is the drop volley again often times regardless of the height or pace of the ball. One guy I played with had at least 15 different types of drop shot/volley that he used to bamboozle me.
When I first started playing tennis again seriously I read Vicy Bradens tennis 2000 and he said "win your national title first and then start drop shotting" in other words drop shots are only for the elite, which I think isnt true at all, but playing with these guys "sold" me on the essential need to have a number of drop shots in your arsenal.

He does have excellent skill, touch and dexterity on his slice bh and a firmly hit penetrating flat or slightly topspun drive bh.
On the fh side he has possibly less variety and certainly less reliability. If I drop shot to his fh side he generally tries to acutely angle the response cross court. (So maybe as I mention later a central drop shot approach so he has angle in neither direction, I just would prefer to make him hit a fh, so maybe slightly to the fh side of the centre strap).

I could consider trying this drop shot approach to his fh or possibly even a straight drop shot over the centre strap, then cut down his angles. It would have the added benefit of really annoying him haha
 
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HuusHould

Professional
“Decent” overhead? Hit lobs. Just doing that should keep him off the net and make passing shots easier.

Also, don’t give him “too much” pace that he can just redirect. Too much pace also makes you more prone to errors and gives you less time to recover / opens the court up for your opponent.
I underestimated the recovery time factor in taking the pace off the "pass" I got a lot more plays on 2nd and under pressure even 3rd passing shots.

Its only now (a few days later) that Im thinking at least some of the "easy" volleys he coughed up may have been due to "hedging his bets" regarding a potential lob and not closing in quite as far.
 
Its only now (a few days later) that Im thinking at least some of the "easy" volleys he coughed up may have been due to "hedging his bets" regarding a potential lob and not closing in quite as far.
Exactly what I was hoping for in post #3: "You might also cause him to not close to the net quite so much after a few lobs. Then you can go for your passing shot with more margin because he's further away."
 

HuusHould

Professional
This is what I believe a tennis forum should be about. HELPING OTHERS BECOME BETTER TENNIS PLAYERS! That way the game of tennis benefits along with the players who enjoy the game. Thanks, for the thread and the responses.

Shalom
I agree! You guys have been great :)
 

HuusHould

Professional
Exactly what I was hoping for in post #3: "You might also cause him to not close to the net quite so much after a few lobs. Then you can go for your passing shot with more margin because he's further away."
Yeah looking back that post was right on the money. I might be able to go for an outright pass on the first shot occasionally if he hangs back.
 

movdqa

Talk Tennis Guru
Nothing to really add on technique. Just a little suggestion for some homework.

Watch the Australian Open, 4th round match between Mischa Sverev and Andy Murray. Then watch the 5th round match between Sverev and Federer. Note the difference in styles of play between Murray and Federer.
 

HuusHould

Professional
Nothing to really add on technique. Just a little suggestion for some homework.

Watch the Australian Open, 4th round match between Mischa Sverev and Andy Murray. Then watch the 5th round match between Sverev and Federer. Note the difference in styles of play between Murray and Federer.
I was actually at the latter match. I cant remember a lot. I think Federer serve and volleyed a bit himself, Zverev kept hitting the volley straight back to Federer haha. I remember Zverev drop volleying Murray. Ill have a look.
 

HuusHould

Professional
Any ideas on dealing with the unpredictable bounce of syn grass? Get down earlier?
What are the pros and cons of passing/lobbing with a single hander vs double hander?
 

movdqa

Talk Tennis Guru
Any ideas on dealing with the unpredictable bounce of syn grass? Get down earlier?
What are the pros and cons of passing/lobbing with a single hander vs double hander?
When I play on grass, and I haven't played on it for thirty years, my strategy was to try to get to the net on every service and return game.

The thing is that Murray tried to power past Zverev - and that works against most players. Federer returned a lot of serves down the middle which took away the angles from Sverev. He also didn't use a lot of pace. Zverev had to half-volley a lot of balls as they weren't hit for depth but for Zverev having to hit up, either on a volley or a half-volley. Federer stepped into the court after the return so that he could get to drop volleys or drop half-volleys. Zverev hasn't done well for quite some time and I think that Federer showed everyone else how to play Zverev. He will still do somewhat well on grass, though, because grass favors that style of play.

That was hardcourts. It's hard to find 100% S&V players to watch these days but you could look at older tournaments on grass for some ideas. Federer vs Sampras comes to mind.

Oh yeah, one last thing about playing on grass. A continental grip can help.
 
I was actually at the latter match. I cant remember a lot. I think Federer serve and volleyed a bit himself, Zverev kept hitting the volley straight back to Federer haha. I remember Zverev drop volleying Murray. Ill have a look.
I've watched the Murray v Zverev match multiple times [for obvious reasons]. Zverev played brilliantly but I thought Murray was off: it seemed like he was frequently getting caught a few feet inside the BL and Zverev's deep volley would force him to hit an awkward passer.
 

HuusHould

Professional
it seemed like he was frequently getting caught a few feet inside the BL and Zverev's deep volley would force him to hit an awkward passer.
Murray's always got bang for his buck taking the return of serve early and the traditional school of thought is that you take the return early so that the serve volleyer has less time to get in, however it limits your options (less topspin potential, more difficult to lob) and you often end up in no mans land, which generally isnt where you want to be dealing with a volley. A few weeks earlier in Brisbane Zverev had lost 61 60 to Rafa, I saw the first few games, Zverev was testing him, but as the match went on the passes became more and more routine for Rafa. When you stand back and hit the ball on the way down you have the advantage of being able to hold up the return (to a greater or lesser extent). When you stand in you have a smaller window of opportunity to hit the ball (unless you SABR the return). So you can wait until the volleyer leans one way, whereas when you stand in you have to premeditate. So when you stand in the server has more of an idea whats coming back when they come in and that allows them a better rhythm. I find in doubles standing back and ripping a loopy return can result in an (often high) volley error, due to a mistimed poach, when even perfectly struck low flat returns had been picked off repeatedly (like cherries from a tree) by the anticipating net player.
 

Bender

G.O.A.T.
I played a couple of sets this week and won both (first set 6-1!), whereas last week (before getting all this advice) I was down a set and a break. I was pleasantly surprised at how effective just repeatedly making him hit the ball was.



His overhead broke down completely, lobbing when I wasn't confident to pass (and sometimes when I was) was more effective than I could've hoped for! I know this isn't going to happen every time as he does have a pretty decent overhead, but still it was encouraging, I can always improve my lob.



This piece of advice was very useful, I didn't realise how often I was donating the point to my opponent. I will try the C&C in reply to the net rush as well, although this opponent kind of has two first serve, it might be easier against someone with a spinner serve?



Under pressure he started to miss (or give me a shot on the pass) with his high forehand volley.



Cool, I'll give these a go. So the first one is just for developing feel for the roll?



Actually going straight at him without pace worked ok as well.
This is what I believe a tennis forum should be about. HELPING OTHERS BECOME BETTER TENNIS PLAYERS! That way the game of tennis benefits along with the players who enjoy the game. Thanks, for the thread and the responses.

Shalom
I agree! You guys have been great :)
I'm sorry but don't tell me what to do. I spend about 80% of my time sh*tposting on other parts of the forum to fill the vast emptiness in my life, and only 20% of my time making actually productive comments.

I also spend 100% of the time of my time as a 3.0 reverse sandbagging as a 4.0 (read: BSing) for extra TTW accreditation.
 

HuusHould

Professional
I'm sorry but don't tell me what to do. I spend about 80% of my time sh*tposting on other parts of the forum to fill the vast emptiness in my life, and only 20% of my time making actually productive comments.

I also spend 100% of the time of my time as a 3.0 reverse sandbagging as a 4.0 (read: BSing) for extra TTW accreditation.
In fairness, a lot of your posts are after a 3 day bender!
 

HuusHould

Professional
Anyone have thoughts on shaping the passing shot/lob, ala Nalbandian/Hewitt. Can this be done as effectively by a single hander? I like to pass to the side the wind is blowing from, so that it blows back into court after its gone past the net rusher. Only problem is if its gusting and dies down just as you hit it ends up in the doubles alley. What about the stance you hit with? Do you try to pass with an open stance (or closed or neutral for that matter) for disguise?
 

movdqa

Talk Tennis Guru
Anyone have thoughts on shaping the passing shot/lob, ala Nalbandian/Hewitt. Can this be done as effectively by a single hander? I like to pass to the side the wind is blowing from, so that it blows back into court after its gone past the net rusher. Only problem is if its gusting and dies down just as you hit it ends up in the doubles alley. What about the stance you hit with? Do you try to pass with an open stance (or closed or neutral for that matter) for disguise?
You can do it but it can be a lot of stress on your arm. It's something that I may do if I'm hitting a slow, short crosscourt backhand. If I want pace with spin, I just hit pace with spin. It's enough to do those two without worrying about trying to do an outside in.
 
Anyone have thoughts on shaping the passing shot/lob, ala Nalbandian/Hewitt. Can this be done as effectively by a single hander? I like to pass to the side the wind is blowing from, so that it blows back into court after its gone past the net rusher. Only problem is if its gusting and dies down just as you hit it ends up in the doubles alley. What about the stance you hit with? Do you try to pass with an open stance (or closed or neutral for that matter) for disguise?
I need to practice the TS lob more; I usually end up hitting it short.

But I use the chip lob with more consistency: my goal is not to win the point outright but to kick him off the net. He might muff the OH, he might not move backwards well, etc. I figure if I can keep it in, the odds have shifted to me and I'm happy with that.
 

HuusHould

Professional
Oh yeah, one last thing about playing on grass. A continental grip can help.
Especially returning serve, I think a good flat drive is useful in the arsenal, to compliment the ability to take pace off the return that people have advocated. But also dealing with low balls during the rally. I think Eastern would do though, your timing does have to be impeccable to use the classical grips though I think.
 

ChaelAZ

G.O.A.T.
Anyone have thoughts on shaping the passing shot/lob, ala Nalbandian/Hewitt. Can this be done as effectively by a single hander? I like to pass to the side the wind is blowing from, so that it blows back into court after its gone past the net rusher. Only problem is if its gusting and dies down just as you hit it ends up in the doubles alley. What about the stance you hit with? Do you try to pass with an open stance (or closed or neutral for that matter) for disguise?
For me the biggest thing is using knee bend and getting below the ball, and that is open or closed/neutral. All of that gets pressure in matches and as you mention it is the first thing that breaks down, but if I can continue to get knee bend in I find I have a better chance for a decent shot. Espcially true when wanting topspin.
 

tonylg

Legend
No, I'm from the Berra. Saw the Zverev v Nadal match on tele. You from Brizzy?
Yeah, I'm in Brizzy. A actually read some of your posts and wondered if you were playing me and didn't want to give too much advice :-D

I often have young guys look at me like I'm from another planet when they hit a loopy return only to look up and see an old grey guy volleying into the open court.

Everything @S&V-not_dead_yet said is spot on. However don't expect a competent net guy to miss many low or half volleys (particularly on a hard court). It's just a chance for you to get him hitting up, which is what you want if you're going to take control of the point.

Also, have a crack at making some "passing shot" style cross court returns on the first point of a few games. Worst case, you miss and may make him wonder when you're going to do it again, should he hit a bigger first serve, what if you get a crack at a second serve?

But whatever you do, don't blaze away trying to hit winners off every return. Unless you're Andre Agassi, that's what we want you to do ;-)
 
However don't expect a competent net guy to miss many low or half volleys (particularly on a hard court).
But you'll never know if he's competent until you test him. And not just once but multiple times. If he proves adept, you use that information for the future. If he's shaky, keep trying to exploit that weakness.

The net is my strength but I have bad days just like everyone else. And if my opponent recognizes this, it's going to be a long day for me.
 

tonylg

Legend
But you'll never know if he's competent until you test him. And not just once but multiple times. If he proves adept, you use that information for the future. If he's shaky, keep trying to exploit that weakness.

The net is my strength but I have bad days just like everyone else. And if my opponent recognizes this, it's going to be a long day for me.
Totally agree. What I meant is hit that shot with the expectation of the incoming volleyer will be hitting up, giving you chance .. not to just miss completely like Djokovic or any other incompetent net player would.
 

Morch Us

Professional
Glad that it worked for you. This is also because you had been an excellent listener too. And yes, there were some good advice. I also like the fact that you did come back and credited everyone who gave you good advice.

(vs some folks like TTPS just use some of the advice and at a later time come back and post the same thing as he invented it.. knowingly or unknowingly.. possibly because of the .. i know it all attitude).

I agree! You guys have been great :)
 

Morch Us

Professional
Till some levels of tennis an overhead becomes extremely low percentage shot when there is wind moving the ball around. So instead of trying to pass it ... try make use of the wind movement more by providing extreme height on the ball.... even if that means not really passing the netrusher... and allowing him an overhead. The higher the ball goes.. the bigger you allow the wind to take over.... and the bigger the movement on the ball... and bigger the chance of a messed up overhead.

Instead if you try to use the wind to target and land the ball in a specific "smaller area", you really have to be a magician (since the wind does change when it goes higher). So trying to land it in the middle of the court and allowing tons of margin and allowing the wind to do its thing is a higher percentage play. Let your opponent prove you wrong in your strategy by hitting solid overheads.

So instead of "fighting the wind" or "using the wind".. just "let the wind take over", do its thing and surprise you (and hopefully your opponent too).

I like to pass to the side the wind is blowing from, so that it blows back into court after its gone past the net rusher.
 
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HuusHould

Professional
Instead if you try to use the wind to target and land the ball in a specific "smaller area", you really have to be a magician (since the wind does change when it goes higher). So trying to land it in the middle of the court and allowing tons of margin and allowing the wind to do its thing is a higher percentage play. Let your opponent prove you wrong in your strategy by hitting solid overheads.
This makes sense, the higher you throw the lob up, the more the ball's going to move/swirl around in the wind, making it increasingly awkward for your opponent. I think it's always a good idea to pay attention to the prevailing direction of the wind though. Much the way you would playing golf.

Glad that it worked for you. This is also because you had been an excellent listener too. And yes, there were some good advice. I also like the fact that you did come back and credited everyone who gave you good advice.
I figure if you give people due credit for their advice, they're more likely to help you out again and no doubt I'll have more issues requiring assistance in the future!
 

HuusHould

Professional
Does anyone know how string tension affects your ability to hit a passing shot? Are some racquets more passing shot friendly?
 

HuusHould

Professional
One thing I tend to do on my drive backhand is snatch at the ball and swing too early in a bid to get the ball past the netrusher asap and this results in an embarassing lamb shank. I need to adjust (shuffle) forwards after already being side on to hit, moving forwards to a central low sliced ball.
 

andreh

Professional
Interesting thread. Not too many S&V threads these days.

I'm a S&V player myself and I can tell you what people who beat me do.

1) Work on your return. You have a much better chance of passing someone (or forcing an error) already on the return, either on the service return or on the return on the approach shot, when they are on their way in, rather than after they have established themselves at the net. If you let good S&V player hit that first volley, well, most of the time you are toast.

2) Lobbing keeps them honest. Even if you fail a few times it will make them think about not being too close to the net.

3) Hit your lob towards the backhand side of the net rusher. It will force him to move around to avoid hitting a backhand overhead, which is much more prone to errors. Many amateur S&V players have execellent smashes in training when the coach is feeding them balls. But in a match, if they have move to cover the lob, many are weak and you will force errors.

4) Chip and charge on their serve. Someone mentioned this above. Not recommended. It's simply too difficult. Look at how Edberg does this to Stich throughout this match: one example 1:54


If you think you can do this, go for it. Chances are good you will fail.

5) Go to the net yourself before he does. Take it away from him. Not chip and charging his serve then, obviously!


If there is one factor that killed me back in the day it was players who had a good service return. Players who could stand on the baseline and just ping pong my kicker back, taking time away for me to get close to the net.
 
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HuusHould

Professional
1) Work on your return. You have a much better chance of passing someone (or forcing an error) already on the return, either on the service return or on the return on the approach shot, when they are on their way in, rather than after they have established themselves at the net. If you let good S&V player hit that first volley, well, most of the time you are toast.
This is dead right, the point is pretty well decided at least 80% of the time after the return and first volley, if you freezed a video at that point Joe Bloggs whos never played tennis can tell you with almost 100% accuracy whos going to win the point.

2) Lobbing keeps them honest. Even if you fail a few times it will make them think about not being too close to the net.
Another good point, its like passing the partner of the server down the line in doubles early in the match, its always in the back of their mind that you might do it again. If you can accurately get the lob over their bh side, this might give you more room for a pass past their fh wing (possibly followed by a lob on the 2nd shot).

3) Chip and charge on their serve. Someone mentioned this above. Not recommended. It's simply too difficult. Look at how Edberg does this to Stich throughout this match: one example 1:54


If you think you can do this, go for it. Chances are good you will fail.
Yeah its a difficult one to pull off, but worth throwing into the mix as a change up though I think.

I feel a bit sorry for Stich in this video, I mean Edbergs all over the net cutting off his angles and hes too nice on the first high half volley and loses the point, then he does what he shouldve done on the first ball and tubes Edberg and gets a bit of a dirty look from Edberg and whistles from the crowd.

The same thing that happens to me is happening to Stich (at a much higher level). Missing returns when your opponent's up in the match (set/game or both) and you really need the point. Missing the second or third pass due to being in no mans land and the ball getting a bit deep for you, or not quite being able to slip the grip in time. Hitting the net in a bid to keep the pass low. The only thing he didnt do anywhere near as often as I do is missing the pass wide in a bid to keep it away from the net rusher. May have been partly due to it being indoor?Only lobbing from defensive situations and losing the point. Trying to take the net away from the net rusher and getting passed yourself.

Go to the net yourself before he does. Take it away from him. Not chip and charging his serve then, obviously!
Yeah getting a lot of first serves in is important to prevent him either chipping and charging or hitting an offensive return that allows him to come in soon therafter (usually the next ball).

On a side note, I find passing becomes more difficult as the balls fluff up, I find myself netting a lot of passing shots!?
 
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