Revisiting the flat shot... Old guys only please...

eelhc

Hall of Fame
The modern game has a lot of emphasis on use of the topspin ball to keep your opponents deep. Does this apply to us old guys as well?

How many of you... 45 and older find opponents who hit a flat, skidding ball is harder to deal with than the guy who hits with lots of topspin? It's just getting harder and harder to bend the knees and get low shot after shot. With a topspin shot, at least I can back up or move in to control where in the arc I hit the ball. Against a flat shot, I feel like I have very little window of height where I can comfortably hit the ball.

A driving slice may bounce lower but at least there's less pace and more time to read/anticipate.

I play with a full western and hit with a decent amount of topspin (at least according my opponents), but I've been experimenting mixing in a flat, driving shot with a continental for a bit now. I throw it in once in a while and have been pleasantly surprised with the results.
 

S&V-not_dead_yet

Talk Tennis Guru
I've always had problems with a hard, deep, flat shot; I usually end up dumping it into the net. It's not that I can't bend my knees but I get lazy and fail to do so enough. My solution is to recognize that my opponent hits that type of ball and to play further back to give me more distance from where the ball lands to where I contact it. That extra few feet makes a difference.
 
D

Deleted member 23235

Guest
I'd much rather hit against flat hitters.

Once I adjust to the depth/pace they are hitting... I can get into a groove, since the ball tends to stay waist height, with little deviation of direction.

With slicers I tend to play up and slice back

With heavy topspinners, I'm constantly dancing to get into position. They also have more court to hit into (flat hitters tend to hit through the middle of the court. Topspinners can hit short sharp angle shots, that pull me off the court)


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

eelhc

Hall of Fame
I'd much rather hit against flat hitters.

Once I adjust to the depth/pace they are hitting... I can get into a groove, since the ball tends to stay waist height, with little deviation of direction.

With slicers I tend to play up and slice back

With heavy topspinners, I'm constantly dancing to get into position. They also have more court to hit into (flat hitters tend to hit through the middle of the court. Topspinners can hit short sharp angle shots, that pull me off the court)
Must be the guys I play against or the court surface... the ball never seems get to waist level.
 

Moveforwardalways

Hall of Fame
Must be the guys I play against or the court surface... the ball never seems get to waist level.
Wait. You play against guys hitting top spin but the ball never gets to waist level? It isn't that hard to get a topspin forehand kicking up head high on an average height person, unless they are way far behind the baseline. You see this all the time even at the 4.0 level. If your experience of topspin is that the ball only bounces to waist level, it's no wonder you don't think it is that effective. When playing an opponent who actually hits with real topspin, the ball is almost never in your strike zone, is difficult to time, and comes off of your string bed at odd angles unless you are a strong player with well developed technique.
 

eelhc

Hall of Fame
Wait. You play against guys hitting top spin but the ball never gets to waist level? It isn't that hard to get a topspin forehand kicking up head high on an average height person, unless they are way far behind the baseline. You see this all the time even at the 4.0 level. If your experience of topspin is that the ball only bounces to waist level, it's no wonder you don't think it is that effective. When playing an opponent who actually hits with real topspin, the ball is almost never in your strike zone, is difficult to time, and comes off of your string bed at odd angles unless you are a strong player with well developed technique.
No I play against guys who drive a flat shot that clears the net with not much margin and skids rather than bounce up. These shots never get high enough to be in a comfortable hitting zone for me..
 
D

Deleted member 23235

Guest
No I play against guys who drive a flat shot that clears the net with not much margin and skids rather than bounce up. These shots never get high enough to be in a comfortable hitting zone for me..
i bet they are hitting slice drives. if i had issues bending low (fatigue, age, injury, etc,...)

i would either slice back, or hit topspin moonballs (tougher to hit a slice drive off a shoulder height ball)
 

iChen

Semi-Pro
No I play against guys who drive a flat shot that clears the net with not much margin and skids rather than bounce up. These shots never get high enough to be in a comfortable hitting zone for me..
Odd. It's really that with flat hitters, you know where they are going to hit. And so it's easy to sort of "build" a strike zone of where to anticipate and stand to hit. Flat just doesn't have a ton of court to hit to or as big as with TS. Also, playing against flatters, easy to redirect pace and hit back.
 

eelhc

Hall of Fame
i bet they are hitting slice drives. if i had issues bending low (fatigue, age, injury, etc,...)

i would either slice back, or hit topspin moonballs (tougher to hit a slice drive off a shoulder height ball)
Could be... but their racquet path is pretty horizontal and it's more of a boring shot with a lot of pace. I think there's hardly any spin on the ball. There are 3 guys I play against who hit this ball.

Odd. It's really that with flat hitters, you know where they are going to hit. And so it's easy to sort of "build" a strike zone of where to anticipate and stand to hit. Flat just doesn't have a ton of court to hit to or as big as with TS. Also, playing against flatters, easy to redirect pace and hit back.
Which is what I end up doing... shorten up the stroke and redirecting.
 

Wise one

Hall of Fame
The modern game has a lot of emphasis on use of the topspin ball to keep your opponents deep. Does this apply to us old guys as well?

How many of you... 45 and older find opponents who hit a flat, skidding ball is harder to deal with than the guy who hits with lots of topspin? It's just getting harder and harder to bend the knees and get low shot after shot. With a topspin shot, at least I can back up or move in to control where in the arc I hit the ball. Against a flat shot, I feel like I have very little window of height where I can comfortably hit the ball.

A driving slice may bounce lower but at least there's less pace and more time to read/anticipate.

I play with a full western and hit with a decent amount of topspin (at least according my opponents), but I've been experimenting mixing in a flat, driving shot with a continental for a bit now. I throw it in once in a while and have been pleasantly surprised with the results.

Yeah, there is one of those at our club. I find it difficult to return such shots when we are just hitting and rallying for practice. He's not good at doubles though.
 

Friedman Whip

Professional
Must be the guys I play against or the court surface... the ball never seems get to waist level.
On hard courts that have lost a lot of grit from their surface, it certainly seems as if the balls skid and stay lower. Not only that but the balls don't seem to lose much of their speed after the bounce because there is no grit to slow them down. Low and fast does not make for an easier return.
 

kramer woodie

Professional
Back in the day, 1960s, no grit, just green paint, white balls left a 1 to 1-1/2 foot long skid mark and Rosewall's driving power slice rarely
bounced more than 8 inches high. Playing with some older guys in 74, I was asked how I got so much power using a 65 inch head Yonex
YY8500 green anodized aluminum racquet. My answer was take the ball on the rise. They could not do it because they could not get to a
ball only 1 to 1-1/2 feet above the court or put another way at or below the knees.

My how things have changed. Now the d**m ball is bouncing up around my ears. I'm now 6' 2-1/2" tall instead of being 6' 4" when I was
a young whipper-snapper. O, for the old days I long, except wonder how long my knees would last?

Aloha
 

34n

Semi-Pro
One of my partners has a very classic style and excellent overall technique. Think Chris Evert type of play. Zero unnecessary spin, 2 inches over the net, deep shots, perfect balance. From both wings, double handed back hand and still flat - I often can read the brand name on the incoming ball.
I agree that a flatter shot is easier to predict but often the moment I predict her shot I realize I am in trouble )) With her predicting should be done earlier - where to place your shot in order to keep her behind the base line.

As for myself , in the early 80s when I was a kid I thought I had a decent topspin. Now I don't think I have a fraction of it compare to the young guys I play with.
I can post a video of me playing I anybody is interested.
 

mcs1970

Hall of Fame
Older players who play with a pure conti/weak eastern grip have excellent directional control. The speed is deceptive too. I've not had the pleasure (and I consider getting thrashed by these guys as fun too) to play a lot of these guys, but the ones I've played can drive and hit slices off both sides. So even the not so fast drive deep suddenly gets more difficult to handle when they are constantly changing speeds and depth. It's like the pitcher with an excellent change up. His high 80s fast ball is more difficult to hit than a guy who consistently throws in the mid 90s but doesn't have variation. While topspin allows you to hit hard and keep the ball in play, it's more difficult, especially at the rec level, to paint the lines with topspin shots. The guys I've played, the flatter hitters seem to be more precise when it comes to painting the lines and when it comes to varying depth on the shots.

It's a shame that more kids are not being taught this style. I don't see a reason why this old school game wouldn't still work at the highest levels provided you have all the other attributes of a pro (hand eye coordination, speed, fitness, anticipation, footwork,..etc.)
 
Last edited:

Wise one

Hall of Fame
Older players who play with a pure conti/weak eastern grip have excellent directional control. The speed is deceptive too. I've not had the pleasure (and I consider getting thrashed by these guys as fun too) to play a lot of these guys, but the ones I've played can drive and hit slices off both sides. So even the not so fast drive deep suddenly gets more difficult to handle when they are constantly changing speeds and depth. It's like the pitcher with an excellent change up. His high 80s fast ball is more difficult to hit than a guy who consistently throws in the mid 90s but doesn't have variation. While topspin allows you to hit hard and keep the ball in play, it's more difficult, especially at the rec level, to paint the lines with topspin shots. The guys I've played, the flatter hitters seem to be more precise when it comes to painting the lines and when it comes to varying depth on the shots.

It's a shame that more kids are not being taught this style. I don't see a reason why this old school game wouldn't still work at the highest levels provided you have all the other attributes of a pro (hand eye coordination, speed, fitness, anticipation, footwork,..etc.)

Precisely! Today's tennis coaches are morons!
 

iChen

Semi-Pro
Howls of derisive laughter!

You just don’t understand that hitting a flat shot these days are just limiting the amount of court and angles you can hit to or target. Modern day coaching is just trying to give players a higher percentage of court to hit to with a higher amount of consistency. Games will always evolve.

Is hitting flat bad? No. But you can’t deny once you get the hang of predicting a flat hitter, hitting back is easier than predicting a TS heavy hitter.
 

Wise one

Hall of Fame
You just don’t understand that hitting a flat shot these days are just limiting the amount of court and angles you can hit to or target. Modern day coaching is just trying to give players a higher percentage of court to hit to with a higher amount of consistency. Games will always evolve.

Is hitting flat bad? No. But you can’t deny once you get the hang of predicting a flat hitter, hitting back is easier than predicting a TS heavy hitter.

That's simply false. Extreme topspin shots are more likely to be missed outright, because of the steep path the racquet takes in meeting the ball. Unless a player is constantly practicing (the pros have nothing else to do) such shots are less reliable. More moderate topspin is easier to manage.
 

iChen

Semi-Pro
That's simply false. Extreme topspin shots are more likely to be missed outright, because of the steep path the racquet takes in meeting the ball. Unless a player is constantly practicing (the pros have nothing else to do) such shots are less reliable.
Oh so swinging flat and hard and begging for gravity to drag ball down. Okay I get your point.
 

mcs1970

Hall of Fame
You just don’t understand that hitting a flat shot these days are just limiting the amount of court and angles you can hit to or target. Modern day coaching is just trying to give players a higher percentage of court to hit to with a higher amount of consistency. Games will always evolve.

Is hitting flat bad? No. But you can’t deny once you get the hang of predicting a flat hitter, hitting back is easier than predicting a TS heavy hitter.
If you've played flat hitters who are predictable, you've not played the right type of flat hitters. I'm talking about guys who consistently vary the pace and depth on those flat shots. It's like a chess match on top of an athletic endeavor. Win or lose, those guys make you run a ton around the court. There's nothing predictable about it. None of us are talking about pros, nor are we talking about beginners. Just from a purely rec level perspective, I've played some pretty good top spin hitters as well as some solid players who hit flat. Both types are a load to handle if they are doing it very well. Each style has its strengths that can give you problems. Each style has its disadvantages that you can take advantage of too.
 

Wise one

Hall of Fame
If you've played flat hitters who are predictable, you've not played the right type of flat hitters. I'm talking about guys who consistently vary the pace and depth on those flat shots. It's like a chess match on top of an athletic endeavor. Win or lose, those guys make you run a ton around the court. There's nothing predictable about it. None of us are talking about pros, nor are we talking about beginners. Just from a purely rec level perspective, I've played some pretty good top spin hitters as well as some solid players who hit flat. Both types are a load to handle if they are doing it very well. Each style has its strengths that can give you problems. Each style has its disadvantages that you can take advantage of too.

Yes, and these shots are good to use as approach shots!
 

ChaelAZ

G.O.A.T.
How many of you... 45 and older find opponents who hit a flat, skidding ball is harder to deal with than the guy who hits with lots of topspin? It's just getting harder and harder to bend the knees and get low shot after shot. With a topspin shot, at least I can back up or move in to control where in the arc I hit the ball. Against a flat shot, I feel like I have very little window of height where I can comfortably hit the ball.
I agree the knees don't want to get low as much anymore, but my shoulders hate taking a lot of high balls too. I have two players I hit with that give me both extremes. The first is one of the young Jr's I have hit with and known since she was 11. She is 16 now, stands all of 5'2 and is a super flat, hard hitting machine. Rarely do I get a ball above waist level, so I am down low for everything. Even when I can get a ball up on her, she drives it back down low and flat. On the opposite end though I have a guy in his 30's I hit with who is all high jumping topspin with AMPLE net clearance, and I am taking almost everything chest level and up. He is a fast moving 6'3 Asian with a super Rafa type brush up on the ball. Not a ton of weight to the ball, but I get to practice taking a ball early on the bounce to TRY to get it in my strike zone, or I end up with sore shoulders after a few hours practice.

Both are extremes, and really good for practice in those varieties of shots. But they do challenge ye ol' body.
 

34n

Semi-Pro
I get to practice taking a ball early on the bounce to TRY to get it in my strike zone, or I end up with sore shoulders after a few hours practice.
Me too. I practice with topspin hitters to develop this forward -backward movement. To me this is the only approach to the fast dropping and bounding balls.
With a flat hitter I can just wait behind the baseline and the ball will only get comfortably higher. But angels with low bouncing balls are very difficult to take some times. No time for waiting.
 

Fintft

Legend
I'd much rather hit against flat hitters.

Once I adjust to the depth/pace they are hitting... I can get into a groove, since the ball tends to stay waist height, with little deviation of direction.

With slicers I tend to play up and slice back

With heavy topspinners, I'm constantly dancing to get into position. They also have more court to hit into (flat hitters tend to hit through the middle of the court. Topspinners can hit short sharp angle shots, that pull me off the court)


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

The above is true for hardcourts only and older opponents/regular club members, b/c the high bounce of top spin shots on clay can cause you problems!

Especially if you are playing against pros on clay, like I do occasionally take lessons from a 21 who tries to get on the challenger circuit or his 24 old sister who also has a couple of WTA matches under her belt.

I'd rather have the pros (even when they baby their shots a bit) hit flat and hard, rather then with top spin on clay (imagine playing Nadal on clay).

The two 18 and 21 (girl and boy) university varsity team students I've been playing this summer with on clay are usually flat hitters (with some top spin) and I can barely hold my own decently against them.

My other top partners 39 (guy, intermediate club champion) and girl 30, are also flat hitters and I have a slightly easier time with them; again the experience of hitting against a flat baseline hitter being very nice.


Long story short, I'd rather face flat hitters on all surfaces, especially since that's also my bread and butter.
 
Last edited:

Fintft

Legend
If you've played flat hitters who are predictable, you've not played the right type of flat hitters. I'm talking about guys who consistently vary the pace and depth on those flat shots. It's like a chess match on top of an athletic endeavor. Win or lose, those guys make you run a ton around the court. There's nothing predictable about it. None of us are talking about pros, nor are we talking about beginners. Just from a purely rec level perspective...

I see what you mean, but myself I'm on top of the ladder myself doing what you just said those flat hitters might try to do to us, so I usually get the upper hand against pure rec level flat hitters (not so much against top spins, especially on clay)
 
C

Chadillac

Guest
You get a slower bounce, not higher on a good hardcourt. Use flat for on the rise/peak and top on the decline. Very basic rule that will always apply.

Flat players arent good until you get at least 4.5. Then around 5.5 it goes back to topspin, but a huge window in reguards to skill.
 

kramer woodie

Professional
I agree the knees don't want to get low as much anymore, but my shoulders hate taking a lot of high balls too. I have two players I hit with that give me both extremes. The first is one of the young Jr's I have hit with and known since she was 11. She is 16 now, stands all of 5'2 and is a super flat, hard hitting machine. Rarely do I get a ball above waist level, so I am down low for everything. Even when I can get a ball up on her, she drives it back down low and flat. On the opposite end though I have a guy in his 30's I hit with who is all high jumping topspin with AMPLE net clearance, and I am taking almost everything chest level and up. He is a fast moving 6'3 Asian with a super Rafa type brush up on the ball. Not a ton of weight to the ball, but I get to practice taking a ball early on the bounce to TRY to get it in my strike zone, or I end up with sore shoulders after a few hours practice.

Both are extremes, and really good for practice in those varieties of shots. But they do challenge ye ol' body.
ChaelAZ

I try to teach both flat and spin as I feel a quality tennis player must know how and when to hit both. As for comments here about
waiting behind the baseline for a flat stroke to get to you. I am a junk yard dog screaming behind you, at a student to split step and
step into the ball seeing how far you can return the shot from inside the baseline, depending on where the ball will bounce. Always, focus and be prepare to move forward through the ball, keep your balance, be quick to move to the net on a deep well placed approach shot, or quickly reposition to the baseline if your shot is easy to return. Always looking for a way to create the upper-hand for a winning point, ending put away whether a groundstroke or a volley.

I try to teach stroke variety, never waiting for your opponents ball to get to you, NEVER, but instead you move to the ball keeping it
in front of you. You play the ball, Never let the ball play you!!!

I do admit that in the mid 60s, I played mostly Serve and Volley, loved that style of play. Now today, a player must have more tools and
must move aggressively, always balanced and on the balls of their feet to move to the ball. I have seen way to many rec players who play
today like the women's Virginia Slim player of yesterday. Wait for the ball to bounce take 2-3-4 steps back hit ball after it starts to drop
from the apex of the bounce, move forward and again rinse repeat. That style of play bored me to death. In fact I quit watching women's tennis because of it.

Today, I think more young tennis students, would be better off learning how to play defensively and absorb pace and learn how to
use shot selection to create the opportunity to pounce on a short return for a put away winner. It takes a special breed to absorb the
Pain from the Conditioning and Concentration to play winning tennis.

Aloha

P.S. Take the ball on the Rise, use your opponents power and re-direct it!!!
 

ChaelAZ

G.O.A.T.
Me too. I practice with topspin hitters to develop this forward -backward movement. To me this is the only approach to the fast dropping and bounding balls.
With a flat hitter I can just wait behind the baseline and the ball will only get comfortably higher. But angels with low bouncing balls are very difficult to take some times. No time for waiting.
I will take less time than the moonball/lob/dink match I was subjected to last night. We had a very good first set and won 6/3 and then the other team started lobbing everything. I am talking ever serve return and 90% of the ground strokes were lobs. The other 10% were frying pan dinks. One of the main reasons I always played up in 4.0 instead of 3.5.
 

ChaelAZ

G.O.A.T.
ChaelAZ

I try to teach both flat and spin as I feel a quality tennis player must know how and when to hit both. As for comments here about
waiting behind the baseline for a flat stroke to get to you. I am a junk yard dog screaming behind you, at a student to split step and
step into the ball seeing how far you can return the shot from inside the baseline, depending on where the ball will bounce. Always, focus and be prepare to move forward through the ball, keep your balance, be quick to move to the net on a deep well placed approach shot, or quickly reposition to the baseline if your shot is easy to return. Always looking for a way to create the upper-hand for a winning point, ending put away whether a groundstroke or a volley.

I try to teach stroke variety, never waiting for your opponents ball to get to you, NEVER, but instead you move to the ball keeping it
in front of you. You play the ball, Never let the ball play you!!!

I do admit that in the mid 60s, I played mostly Serve and Volley, loved that style of play. Now today, a player must have more tools and
must move aggressively, always balanced and on the balls of their feet to move to the ball. I have seen way to many rec players who play
today like the women's Virginia Slim player of yesterday. Wait for the ball to bounce take 2-3-4 steps back hit ball after it starts to drop
from the apex of the bounce, move forward and again rinse repeat. That style of play bored me to death. In fact I quit watching women's tennis because of it.

Today, I think more young tennis students, would be better off learning how to play defensively and absorb pace and learn how to
use shot selection to create the opportunity to pounce on a short return for a put away winner. It takes a special breed to absorb the
Pain from the Conditioning and Concentration to play winning tennis.

Aloha

P.S. Take the ball on the Rise, use your opponents power and re-direct it!!!

Good thoughts!
 

eelhc

Hall of Fame
I try to teach stroke variety, never waiting for your opponents ball to get to you, NEVER, but instead you move to the ball keeping it in front of you. You play the ball, Never let the ball play you!!!
I take clinic from an old timer pro who subscribes to the same approach. Learn how to hit with varying pace, spin, shape, depth, angle, etc... and take the most efficient path to get to the ball and to hit it early. He's constantly yelling at us for being on rails along the baseline rather than moving at an angle to cut the ball off.
 

bitcoinoperated

Professional
I'd much rather hit against flat hitters.

Once I adjust to the depth/pace they are hitting... I can get into a groove, since the ball tends to stay waist height, with little deviation of direction.
Me too. They have a very narrow window in which to get the ball over the net and still in the court with pace so every ball is very similar. Topspin also has another variable of well, the actual spin, so you have to judge the ball flight and bounce based on how much spin you think it has which is always different. This is also why flat servers (unless they hit absolute bombs) can often be easy to return against once you get a read on the serve.

Side note: never play these guys with dead balls on a cold damp day, the ball hardly comes off the court surface
 

mightyrick

Legend
47 years old here. I'd much rather play against a flat hitter. They hit with less margin and tend to float the ball more than topspin hitters.

If I hit a really good heavy topspin shot to a flat hitter, I often will get the short-takeback block floating reply.

Coincidentally, most pushers are flat hitters. Very beatable. But topspin pushers? Those guys can reach as high as 4.5 if they have good fitness.
 

34n

Semi-Pro
I will take less time than the moonball/lob/dink match I was subjected to last night. We had a very good first set and won 6/3 and then the other team started lobbing everything. I am talking ever serve return and 90% of the ground strokes were lobs. The other 10% were frying pan dinks. One of the main reasons I always played up in 4.0 instead of 3.5.
Doubles is something else. I play doubles terribly, Hated them since school ( hated myself in the doubles game actually ). That is where I have no patience at all. I just cant stand looking at slow balls flying past me. Try to volley or overhead everything. But I play more and more and discovered that most comfortable "net" position for me is about 6 feet inside the court - the apogee of most lobs orbits and from this point is just a couple of steps to a good overhead position
 

S&V-not_dead_yet

Talk Tennis Guru
Doubles is something else. I play doubles terribly, Hated them since school ( hated myself in the doubles game actually ). That is where I have no patience at all. I just cant stand looking at slow balls flying past me. Try to volley or overhead everything. But I play more and more and discovered that most comfortable "net" position for me is about 6 feet inside the court - the apogee of most lobs orbits and from this point is just a couple of steps to a good overhead position
I empathize but I think you're going in the wrong direction: instead of adapting to your current situation of "non-doubles", how about playing up where everything's faster and there are poaches, fakes, different formations, getting burned DTL, etc. I don't think you're going to improve by playing your current style with your current group.
 

34n

Semi-Pro
That would be great, but I need to practice all the elements you mentioned. Only once I convinced my partner using hidden gestures before serve for poaching.
And that was in a real game. After a few fails we abandoned this. Formations, I dont even mention...
In my reality the only tactical element that is possible without prior practicing is moving to the opposite side of the court once your partner moves sideways.
 

mntlblok

Hall of Fame
The top seed in singles at the National 65's Clay Courts currently going on down in New Orleans is the best "flat" hitter I've ever seen. Short, little Aussie. A touch of topspin on the forehand and a touch of slice on the backhand. Have watched him beat some *really* good players. Got to play against him once when he was playing down in a doubles event. Fun stuff. :)

Talented flat hitters are a nightmare to me. I find those low, flat shots more difficult to volley. Off the ground, the shots get there mighty fast, and they never seem to land short. Spin - top or under - slows the flight of the ball down.

The advantages of a flat ball are clear to me, but the skill required to make it work strikes me as being quite rare. I've been impressed by the overall skills and athleticism of every one of the flat hitters whom I've run across over the years.

Is it better than a hard, dipping topspin drive? No, just different - and more rare. And, I think the rarity is difficulty-related. Most of us could never pull it off. Having the option of doing either? Keep that rascal away from me.

kb
 

Friedman Whip

Professional
I find those low, flat shots more difficult to volley.
kb
Really? Volleying balls with topspin or underspin present problems that flat balls don't. A flat ball will get to you a little faster but that is outweighed by the adjustments necessary to hit balls with a lot of spin.
 

mntlblok

Hall of Fame
Really? Volleying balls with topspin or underspin present problems that flat balls don't. A flat ball will get to you a little faster but that is outweighed by the adjustments necessary to hit balls with a lot of spin.
I've done a *lot* of volley practice in the past few years, so I've come up with ways to deal with slice and topspin. I guess I just don't get that much practice against flat balls. It seems that a lot of volleying - for me - is related to taking pace off the ball whilst also controlling the trajectory. Just can't seem to make both those things happen with a flat ball. But, I *do* tend to over-do putting slice on my volleys.

Now, I will add that when I come up against the youngsters that really dip it with their topspin, I'm initially pretty lost. Takes a while to realize that it isn't as necessary to "add" underspin with those, as when I do, the ball basically just stops right there beside me. :) Have had very little opportunity to practice against it, but it improves some when I go to more of "downward" stroke rather than "under". I also go far too often to the drop volley against those. Too hard to control that shot against those faster dipping balls, at least in my experience. So, I just lose against those folks.
 

Friedman Whip

Professional
I've done a *lot* of volley practice in the past few years, so I've come up with ways to deal with slice and topspin. I guess I just don't get that much practice against flat balls. It seems that a lot of volleying - for me - is related to taking pace off the ball whilst also controlling the trajectory. Just can't seem to make both those things happen with a flat ball. But, I *do* tend to over-do putting slice on my volleys.

Now, I will add that when I come up against the youngsters that really dip it with their topspin, I'm initially pretty lost. Takes a while to realize that it isn't as necessary to "add" underspin with those, as when I do, the ball basically just stops right there beside me. :) Have had very little opportunity to practice against it, but it improves some when I go to more of "downward" stroke rather than "under". I also go far too often to the drop volley against those. Too hard to control that shot against those faster dipping balls, at least in my experience. So, I just lose against those folks.
Against guys who hit with a lot of spin I'll generally miss the first couple of volleys until it dawns on me that I need to make some adjustments.
 

mntlblok

Hall of Fame
Against guys who hit with a lot of spin I'll generally miss the first couple of volleys until it dawns on me that I need to make some adjustments.
Agreed. If it's only a foot or so lower than I was expecting, I can adjust just fine. Significantly lower. . . :)
 

Fintft

Legend
I try to teach stroke variety, never waiting for your opponents ball to get to you, NEVER, but instead you move to the ball keeping it
in front of you. You play the ball, Never let the ball play you!!!


P.S. Take the ball on the Rise, use your opponents power and re-direct it!!!
I (as my young Challenger pro suggests) with the former: move forward(and don't stop/plant your feet) as you hit the ball/put your weight behind your shot by stepping into your shot

With the later, I'm not so sure, as it is difficult for rec players, but we try :D
 

Shroud

G.O.A.T.
I think it's the opposite, the old school guys I play do well against flat fast shots. But looping topspin shots that kick up high give them all kinds of trouble.
Yeah if they are old and are hitting conti fhs and dont take it on the rise you can get free points.
 

atp2015

Hall of Fame
Not entirely related but Karolina Pliskova of WTA hits very flat forehand consistently. It's the horizontal swing path (and racket face angle) that makes it a flattish shot. She does not get under the ball, but pummels it hard horizontally with razor thin margin over the net. A lot of videos of her forehand online.
 

Shroud

G.O.A.T.
Not entirely related but Karolina Pliskova of WTA hits very flat forehand consistently. It's the horizontal swing path (and racket face angle) that makes it a flattish shot. She does not get under the ball, but pummels it hard horizontally with razor thin margin over the net. A lot of videos of her forehand online.
Saw her in person and yeah a big flat hitter. She was blasting the ball almost as fast as Sureshs. But with a much better body. I left that match thinking she could be #1 if she was on. But its a lower margin stroke
 
Top