Serve & Volley bad with kick serve (and split step not effective)

#1
I tried serving and volleying (in doubles) with my kick serves, and did not do well as the opposition was able to tee off it and I was stuck hitting either high backhand first volleys or low half volleys. The half volleys I hit into the net. I switched to flat later and it was more effective even though the returns were not slow, they were not able to control it and my partner (who doesnt poach ) intercepted several.

Is this normal or is my kick not good enough? My partners (I had two or three) did not poach or maybe the kick serve returns would have been intercepted also. it seems like the kick by nature is just slower and lets the returner place the return better. My kick serve is not horrible.

Also, my split step seemed to hurt me, when I started just running through without a stop I did better, even though I should have been off-balance.

In retrospect I wonder if the mistakes I made in the transition game seemed to be related to not turning to the side and for the low ones not bending enough, but the returns were too good.
 
#2
I think it because your kick is too predictable and doesn't have enough movement. Sometimes when I play with someone I haven't hit with for a while, it takes one or 2 games before i figure out his serve, especially if that's all he uses. Then he is just dead meat from my returns.
 
#3
kudos on having a kicker... but so many other questions...
* what quality is the kicker... can you make it bounce and hit the back fence on 1 bounce (ever?)
* can you place it well (eg. see jolly kicker challenge)
* is your opponent standing way over to avoid their bh
 
#4
Kick serves can be very effective for serve and volley, but it can also be terrible. If you can't surprise your opponents with the placement and the amount of spin or your serves land short, they can be very easily attacked. If your opponents are attacking your kick serve, then it's not good enough to use against that opponent.

As for split stepping, as you get more advanced, it can actually be more beneficial to do a stutter step instead. It can be a little more challenging at first, but it helps you keep moving forward while getting your feet ready to get you into the right position for the first volley.
 
#6
Kick serves can be very effective for serve and volley, but it can also be terrible. If you can't surprise your opponents with the placement and the amount of spin or your serves land short, they can be very easily attacked. If your opponents are attacking your kick serve, then it's not good enough to use against that opponent.

As for split stepping, as you get more advanced, it can actually be more beneficial to do a stutter step instead. It can be a little more challenging at first, but it helps you keep moving forward while getting your feet ready to get you into the right position for the first volley.
I don't think I have ever thought about doing a split step on the way to the net. There are running forehands and running backhands, why not running volleys?
 
#7
I tried serving and volleying (in doubles) with my kick serves, and did not do well as the opposition was able to tee off it and I was stuck hitting either high backhand first volleys or low half volleys. The half volleys I hit into the net. I switched to flat later and it was more effective even though the returns were not slow, they were not able to control it and my partner (who doesnt poach ) intercepted several.

Is this normal or is my kick not good enough? My partners (I had two or three) did not poach or maybe the kick serve returns would have been intercepted also. it seems like the kick by nature is just slower and lets the returner place the return better. My kick serve is not horrible.

Also, my split step seemed to hurt me, when I started just running through without a stop I did better, even though I should have been off-balance.

In retrospect I wonder if the mistakes I made in the transition game seemed to be related to not turning to the side and for the low ones not bending enough, but the returns were too good.
It's not that the split step wasn't effective; if you hadn't split stepped, you likely would have done worse. The problem is that your kick serve wasn't challenging the returner enough. If they can tee off accurately, the split stepping probably won't save the day.

At 4.5 doubles, I can hit kickers and successfully get into the net against most returners. But there are some who will destroy my serve if I'm not very careful about where I place it [and I mix things up by throwing in the occasional slice].
 
#8
I don't think I have ever thought about doing a split step on the way to the net. There are running forehands and running backhands, why not running volleys?
There's one guy in one of my doubles groups that charges the net, as in "once I start moving forward, I'm not going to stop until the point is over". A simple chip lob can end the point. But to challenge myself, I try to work on my TS dippers. But if I'm too high, he can close and crush them.
 
#9
Kick serves can be very effective for serve and volley, but it can also be terrible. If you can't surprise your opponents with the placement and the amount of spin or your serves land short, they can be very easily attacked. If your opponents are attacking your kick serve, then it's not good enough to use against that opponent.

As for split stepping, as you get more advanced, it can actually be more beneficial to do a stutter step instead. It can be a little more challenging at first, but it helps you keep moving forward while getting your feet ready to get you into the right position for the first volley.
For years reading this forum I was convinced I was not split stepping and it was on my list to work on. Ugh it was tough. Anyhow I recently realized I was just doing a stutter step and the natural instinct to close was leading me to that step. Its like an abbreviated split step.
 
#10
I tried serving and volleying (in doubles) with my kick serves, and did not do well as the opposition was able to tee off it and I was stuck hitting either high backhand first volleys or low half volleys. The half volleys I hit into the net. I switched to flat later and it was more effective even though the returns were not slow, they were not able to control it and my partner (who doesnt poach ) intercepted several.

Is this normal or is my kick not good enough? My partners (I had two or three) did not poach or maybe the kick serve returns would have been intercepted also. it seems like the kick by nature is just slower and lets the returner place the return better. My kick serve is not horrible.

Also, my split step seemed to hurt me, when I started just running through without a stop I did better, even though I should have been off-balance.

In retrospect I wonder if the mistakes I made in the transition game seemed to be related to not turning to the side and for the low ones not bending enough, but the returns were too good.
assuming you have a good kicker as you say, were you varying depth? Its a guess but when I attack kicks the only way I can do it is to move close to the service line and hit on the rise. If thats happening try throwing in a short one or a long one to mess up their rhythm. By short one I mean one with more spin and long one has higher trajectory or is slower. Said another way you can vary the serve by more than just left to right placement. In doubles that short ad side kicker is pretty hard to defend against since it gets out wide. You have to really attack that serve though.

Another thing is to hit at the body but if you are righty and they are righty hit it just on the fh side of their body and if you have some twist they will have to run a round it a bit and it will jump toward them. Often they dont run around enough and can get jammed.

Also stand in different places to serve. Try way out wide and in close to the hash mark too. Get your partner to play some aussie and get them thinking about where he lines up, etc..
 
#11
There are kick serves and then there are KICK serves. Keep hitting it and try to increase the depth and the amount of spin over time in your practice. It takes time to create a good kick serve. As mentioned previously try to keep this serve to the backhand or body if possible most of the time.

As far as volleying goes I think it’s very important to try to come into the court under control and balanced. As my coach put it to me “don’t get your nose out over the end of your skis”. It’s hard to react when you’re that committed to moving forward.


Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
 
#12
Don’t be predictable!! I mix up my serves on many occasions to keep my opponents guessing. Every now and hen serve the 2nd serve first and vice versa. I’ve had opponents step in on my second serve and that’s when I’ll blast a flat body serve right at them. Not to injure them, but I don’t ever want them to know what my serve will be until it’s coming at them. Also don’t give up on the split step, it takes time to master and even remember at times, but it is effective.

If you have a halfway decent doubles partner there should be no reason you have to serve and volley. They should be picking those returns off at the net.
 
Last edited:
#13
I believe it’s all about switching up the serve. You can have an ok serve but throw off opponents if you slice/kick/flatten or just place it around. If you hit a 120mph serve on the same spot all the time I would get it back. The game is all about variety in my opinion.

So the problem isn’t you kicking the serve. but where you are kicking it.
 
Last edited:
#14
You need to have a good serve whether it be kick serve, slice serve, etc.

I toss the ball unpredictably but make sure you choose placement before serving.

The most important is you need to get heavy spin with pace, so they will return the ball to you in the middle when rushing to the net. Just watch the ball before you quickly put it away.
 
#15
kudos on having a kicker... but so many other questions...
* what quality is the kicker... can you make it bounce and hit the back fence on 1 bounce (ever?)
* can you place it well (eg. see jolly kicker challenge)
* is your opponent standing way over to avoid their bh
It bounces behind the baseline (which is my minimum standard for kick) but not the fence
I can place it well
Usually, though my opponents have sucky backhands.

I play 3.5 and 4.0s and am a local 4.0. My local pro said the flat serve is better since they cannot control the return as much, and the kick is better to keep it in the lines.
 
#17
It bounces behind the baseline (which is my minimum standard for kick) but not the fence
I can place it well
Usually, though my opponents have sucky backhands.

I play 3.5 and 4.0s and am a local 4.0. My local pro said the flat serve is better since they cannot control the return as much, and the kick is better to keep it in the lines.
i genera the effectiveness of a kicker partly relies on your ability to get it head high at an opponent standing at the baseline (ie hard o attack a head high 2hbh)

if you can place it well, how are your opponents crushing it? with their fh or bh?


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 
#18
I tried serving and volleying (in doubles) with my kick serves, and did not do well as the opposition was able to tee off it and I was stuck hitting either high backhand first volleys or low half volleys. The half volleys I hit into the net. I switched to flat later and it was more effective even though the returns were not slow, they were not able to control it and my partner (who doesnt poach ) intercepted several.

Is this normal or is my kick not good enough? My partners (I had two or three) did not poach or maybe the kick serve returns would have been intercepted also. it seems like the kick by nature is just slower and lets the returner place the return better. My kick serve is not horrible.

Also, my split step seemed to hurt me, when I started just running through without a stop I did better, even though I should have been off-balance.

In retrospect I wonder if the mistakes I made in the transition game seemed to be related to not turning to the side and for the low ones not bending enough, but the returns were too good.
I don't know what level you are, but I don't think you can generalize an answer for your question. There are so many variables, your kick serve depth, placement, are you mixing in slices, are the opponents simply great returners, is your kick good for your level? I love S&V, but there are people I play where I know if I try to S&V on a kick it's point suicide (even if I think it's a good one). Others I know I can get away with it mixed in, or on one wing versus another. Work on your serve, volleys, learn your opponents strengths/weaknesses, and try to pick up patterns.
 
#19
In doubles, I serve and volley off a kick serve. Things that work for me are to aim 90 percent of serves down the T, and then hit a couple wide to keep the opponent honest. Expect the opponent to return the serve, so be ready for the first volley. I split early to watch the return and move toward the ball, but that is not optimal. If the return is high, aim the volley down at the net man, and if the return is low (like a half volley) aim deep back to the service returner.
 
#20
My experience with kick serve is that players are obsessed with the height of kick. Kick serve needs to be fast, the kick adds deception and uncertainty but if it's too slow then it's just a sitter.
There's this comment about the toss being behind the head, this is wrong the toss needs to be in front but lesser degree. The variance will come from the attach angle and natural variance.
Also if you find they struggle to hit the BH kicker then keep going at it until they can win 2 pt in row. Unless they have nevers they won't groove it.
 
#21
My experience with kick serve is that players are obsessed with the height of kick. Kick serve needs to be fast, the kick adds deception and uncertainty but if it's too slow then it's just a sitter.
There's this comment about the toss being behind the head, this is wrong the toss needs to be in front but lesser degree. The variance will come from the attach angle and natural variance.
Also if you find they struggle to hit the BH kicker then keep going at it until they can win 2 pt in row. Unless they have nevers they won't groove it.
I dont know man. I wouldnt call a 6' high contact point a SITTER. Sure if you dont have action on the ball and its slow and doesnt kick much it can be an easier return, but the slow kicks probably have more spin. I think its best to change it up and hit a combo of slower and faster.
 
#22
I tried serving and volleying (in doubles) with my kick serves, and did not do well as the opposition was able to tee off it and I was stuck hitting either high backhand first volleys or low half volleys. The half volleys I hit into the net. I switched to flat later and it was more effective even though the returns were not slow, they were not able to control it and my partner (who doesnt poach ) intercepted several.

Is this normal or is my kick not good enough? My partners (I had two or three) did not poach or maybe the kick serve returns would have been intercepted also. it seems like the kick by nature is just slower and lets the returner place the return better. My kick serve is not horrible.

Also, my split step seemed to hurt me, when I started just running through without a stop I did better, even though I should have been off-balance.

In retrospect I wonder if the mistakes I made in the transition game seemed to be related to not turning to the side and for the low ones not bending enough, but the returns were too good.
You are split stepping when the returner makes contact with the ball? Even if you've only gotten a couple steps inside the court by then? Because if you're waiting to split step until you get to the service line, then you would be better off not split stepping at all.
 
#23
You are split stepping when the returner makes contact with the ball? Even if you've only gotten a couple steps inside the court by then? Because if you're waiting to split step until you get to the service line, then you would be better off not split stepping at all.
reported for being old school advice. EVERYONE knows the best players don't splitstep anymore. Its been agreed on man...
 
#24
If your SS is not effective, you are undoubtedly not timing it properly. Start the SS on your opponent's forward swing so that you're at the top of your hop as they make contact and are landing just after the ball comes off their strings.

If you land before they make contact, you're too early. If you initiate the SS after you hear their contact, you are way too late and are better off not executing the SS at all as @Topspin Shot suggests.
.
 
#26
If the kick serve has decent pace and really kicks to the right I dont see how it wouldnt be effective.

If you hit to the FH it kicks into their body and if u hit to the BH it kicks out of the court.

In both cases I cant imagine the opponent hitting a great passing shot if you S&V most of the time, unless they are a very good returner.

So in short depends how good the kick serve is.
 
#27
If the kick serve has decent pace and really kicks to the right I dont see how it wouldnt be effective.

If you hit to the FH it kicks into their body and if u hit to the BH it kicks out of the court.

In both cases I cant imagine the opponent hitting a great passing shot if you S&V most of the time, unless they are a very good returner.

So in short depends how good the kick serve is.
One way to defeat it is to take it early before it has a chance to kick much and slice it down at the attacker's feet. At least, that's how some people beat my S&V game. You need a fair amount of accuracy to pull this off because if you mis-time the shot or don't get your racquet face at just the right angle, the return will net or float.
 
#28
One way to defeat it is to take it early before it has a chance to kick much and slice it down at the attacker's feet. At least, that's how some people beat my S&V game. You need a fair amount of accuracy to pull this off because if you mis-time the shot or don't get your racquet face at just the right angle, the return will net or float.
Thats a great play if you can hit it right. I usually like to just bash it. Yeah he wasnt coming in but it may not have mattered:

 
#29
One way to defeat it is to take it early before it has a chance to kick much and slice it down at the attacker's feet. At least, that's how some people beat my S&V game. You need a fair amount of accuracy to pull this off because if you mis-time the shot or don't get your racquet face at just the right angle, the return will net or float.
Most S&V players will tell you the hardest shots for them to deal with are chip returns or dipping groundies. They love a hard hit flat drive - those shots are much easier to volley and put away.


Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
 
Top