Switching to S&V --> New racquet time?

Roforot

Professional
I've started playing regularly again and taken some lessons to get rid of some wasted movements and finding I really enjoy playing the net. I know it's probably not the best for the pros but for an amateur like me, it's a lot of fun. I enjoyed it in doubles, so now I'm doing it in singles every first/second serve except for when I'm catching my breath.

Anyway, I used to play primarily baseline at 4.0 and w/ SW FH/2-handed BH using a Babolat APD 2013. I was very happy w/ the racquet for the amount of spin and power from the baseline. Only knock was that flat serves seemed harder to tame, but spin/kick serves which I'm primarily using now are excellent.

Although it's made for baseline players, I've found I enjoy good touch w/ the racquet and it's stable also so I have no problems with shots drilled at me. If there is one thing I struggle with, it's dealing w/ high floating/paceless shots. These should be basic bread&butter for serve and volleyers... it's likely error in technique, but I mention it as the only potential negative or thing that could be improved.

The other thing I'm told from my teaching pro is that I get enough bounce on my serve, but could use more penetration on the serve. Playing 4.0s, I don't have an issue and get a lot of cheap points, but a 4.5 player's able to handle those serves well.

I've tried an old Wilson PS 85 and didn't like it for the kick serves.
I've also used a PDR (my previous frame to the APD) and it was just a bit too much to the other side of the serves (more pace but the kick was less)... may be something to adjust w/ technique?
I've already borrowed Yonex Xi 98 and it felt like a lighter version of the APD so not different enough to switch.

I'm considering PC 95+ as I see it has great review.
Yonex Vcore 88
Volkl PB 10 mid
Prince Precision Respone 97

or stay w/ the APD?
 

RalphJ

Banned
I like the New Blade 18x20 for 4.0 Serve and Volley, tail weighted about .5oz. If your shoulder can handle it, the Prestige MP is good for S&V against hard hitters or 4.5s.
 

robbo1970

Hall of Fame
First of all, welcome to the world of SV, it's a great place to reside.

I'll be honest, I'm not sure a racquet is going to solve this issue. From what you have said, the APD works well in most areas already, so to change racquets is likely to impact on those parts of your game that are working ok. You could improve certain shots but lose out in other areas, if you know what I mean.

I think it's practice more than anything. If you can get someone to just keep hitting those shots to you, you should be able to work out how to return them effectively, which may not necessarily be in a way you had before. Just lately I've been practising at playing forehands with underspin, to try and wrong foot my opponent instead of him him power to hit straight back at me. It's all about trying new things and new techniques.

It's sounds like you don't have a lot in your game that needs fixing.
 

RalphJ

Banned
Yep, true dat ^^ I've seen awesome S&V guys using the APD, and whatever racquets they feel comfy with. Good points Robo. I'm working on getting my bearings right after I serve, but before the stutter step. Man, that's a tough place for me right now.
 

robbo1970

Hall of Fame
Yeah it can be tricky. Especially when your opponents return is unpredictable. Many times I have followed the line of serve really well, only to get a miss-hit return land right on my toes.

What I've tried to do is take some weight off my serve and go for placement more, that way I can get my feet moving off the mark that bit quicker. It all takes practice though and those moments when it works well make up for the times that the approach to the net is miss-timed or a miss covering the lines.
 

Soundbyte

Professional
Definitely give the PC95+ a try. Excellent serving racket, good feel. Most underrated stick from the major brands.
 

bobtodd

Rookie
Just started using the Wilson PS 97 and it stand's out on serve/volley. It has a solid feel, and the volley's were accurate. Highly recommend.
 

Roforot

Professional
Thanks for the replies... I guess I suspected I'd be better sticking w/ the APD! Robbo I see you're in the UK; here in the states, in my tennis ladder, leagues, and tournaments, I've never come across anyone serve & volleying in singles! I've seen 4.5 players do it as a handicap once in a while, and I have a friend who's in his 60s who does it but he's a 3.5.

(Our rating system is 3.5-4.0 would be intermediate level players, 4.5 would be good HS player or ex college player who's lost a step or two)

RalphJ, I'll see where I am in a few months and consider a demo of the Blade. One good or bad thing is I find fewer excuses w/ S&V; my opponent hits a winner, it's too good. If I flub a duck of a volley I know it's my deal.
 

the green god

Professional
I think at the 4-4.5 level, serve and volley is still a very viable option as long as you have a decent serve and good volleys. In a best of three match playing a hundred or so points, it is still a tall order for to pass someone 70+ times.

As far as racquets, 12 oz+, 6pts hl+, and not too stiff(62 or below). String mid tension with syn gut and forget about equipment.

When practicing, volley, volley, and more volleying. You can't serve and volley if you are hitting groundstrokes for 45 min and then throw in some volleys with some serves for 15min. Concentrate on hitting first volley from 1 to 2 feet behind service line and then move in, then work on hitting sharper angles to end the point. If you are consistently hitting a third or fourth volley, you are going to lose.
 
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LeeD

Bionic Poster
As several wise men said above, it's nothing to do with your racket except upstairs inside your head.
Even if you're the most adamant S/V player, you still need to return serve every other game. Not all points are played with you approaching net position.
You mentioned problems hitting flat serves and floaty slow high volleys. That is cured by practice and correct technique.
Flat serves, you can swing slower, as the racket provides more power than most other rackets. Slower swing equals better accuracy, without losing pace.
High floaty returns require you to move your feet to a closed stance, while the torso is moving forwards, you taking a longer putaway swing than a normal volley stroke.
 

robbo1970

Hall of Fame
Robbo I see you're in the UK; here in the states, in my tennis ladder, leagues, and tournaments, I've never come across anyone serve & volleying in singles!
We catch on a little slower to modern gimmicks like baseline rallies in the UK amateur game lol.
 

robbo1970

Hall of Fame
As several wise men said above, it's nothing to do with your racket except upstairs inside your head.
Even if you're the most adamant S/V player, you still need to return serve every other game. Not all points are played with you approaching net position.
You mentioned problems hitting flat serves and floaty slow high volleys. That is cured by practice and correct technique.
Flat serves, you can swing slower, as the racket provides more power than most other rackets. Slower swing equals better accuracy, without losing pace.
High floaty returns require you to move your feet to a closed stance, while the torso is moving forwards, you taking a longer putaway swing than a normal volley stroke.
Exactly that ^^

SV strategy is very different and takes some practice, but it's great when it all clicks together. A hard shot at your opponent doesn't have the desired effect if the ball springs back at you just as fast. Consider more placement and putting your opponent in awkward positions.

Yeah, maybe a slightly lower ball toss and leaning into the serve will flatten them out.

It's great that you're on board with SV though......it's the future lol.
 

penguin

Professional
why not get an "old" racquet? there are lots of super-cheap psc6.1 95's around, and if you want to serve and volley they are not out of date- still used by atp doubles players and a great all around racquet. get one for $20 or less and sell it on if you don't like it. as you are S+V you won't need to put poly in it, so the stiffness won't be harsher than the APD.

I think that rec level players seem to have trouble volleying hard-hit balls with the APD (obviously pro's are different) at the least, you might want to consider adding some lead and leather.
 
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WINZOWAR

Rookie
Look at two past great s&v players, Pat Rafter and Stefan Edberg. They predominantly used kick serves. It gives you more time to get close to the net. Even Sampras I would consider more of a power server than pure serve and volleyer. So you have the right serve, mix up speed and location. High volleys need practice because you are trying to hit winners off them. When practicing volleys, I hit to the player I'm practicing with rather than going for winners. In matches that can make hitting winners difficult. So practice going for winners with the high volleys, keep your eye on the ball as there is a tendency to look away too soon. I prefer a heavier racket, but if the APD feels stable enough for you, I think you should stick with it for now and just work on the s&v.
 

fuzz nation

G.O.A.T.
Although it's made for baseline players, I've found I enjoy good touch w/ the racquet and it's stable also so I have no problems with shots drilled at me. If there is one thing I struggle with, it's dealing w/ high floating/paceless shots. These should be basic bread&butter for serve and volleyers... it's likely error in technique, but I mention it as the only potential negative or thing that could be improved.

The other thing I'm told from my teaching pro is that I get enough bounce on my serve, but could use more penetration on the serve. Playing 4.0s, I don't have an issue and get a lot of cheap points, but a 4.5 player's able to handle those serves well.
Agree that it sounds like a technique gremlin that needs sorting out when you're going after slow floaters. Since you already get decent feel and touch with your APD, you'll probably do fine with these shots once you're more squared away with making the right move to hit it. I've actually had my share of trouble with those real off-speed balls when playing with a frame that's especially heavy. I like the stability of a heavy racquet, but only for playing in a setting with generally more pace.

If you need a little more juice for your flatter shots, you could experiment with a little lead tape on your APD. Only a few grams total at perhaps 3/9 o'clock on the hoop could offer slightly more of that plow-through that can help to drive a flatter shot. No surprise that your heavier PDR had plenty of gas when you wanted it, but no need to tune your APD too much in that direction. Remember that if it doesn't help, it's easy enough to remove the tape.

To play effective S&V, it's great to have some extra pace on standby for some of your serves, but it's often the case that a spin serve will better pave the way to the net for you. If that slower spin serve can force some off-balance, weaker returns with its unpredictable bounce, that's good for a couple of reasons.

You'll get further forward behind a slower serve before the return is on the way back to your side. Not the case when you crack a flat bullet - a smart returner can often punch that ball to a tough spot with a compact stroke. I use a hard serve only here and there when playing a lot of S&V just to keep an opponent from setting up too close to the service box. Spin serves usually land at a higher percentage than harder flat serves, too.

It makes sense to scratch the itch and try a racquet here and there. Playing decent S&V requires a little "voodoo" that's tough to quantify from one player to the next. Maybe you've already got a great fit, but you'll better appreciate that if you sample a different frame here and there. The PC 95+ is certainly worth a try, but you'll know what's right or wrong for you after some rep's on the courts.
 

RalphJ

Banned
S&V, and putting the ball away at the net after a nice deep shot, is definitely the answer for 4.0 tennis.
 

RalphJ

Banned
Yep, I think Michael Llodra uses a Wilson Juice 100, while Sam Groth uses the APD. I think its more about mechanics on the court than the racquet itself.
 
homestly work on your gnew game and switch sticks onlu after you are 6-9 months into it, then you will know what you need.

Good frames forexcellent S&V's:

Wilson 6.1 16x18
Dunlop 200's
Prestige MP
Pacific xfeel95
Volkl 10's
 

Seth

Legend
Many other folks have said the same, but stick with your APD.

I play 4.0 singles and doubles a lot. The best S&Vers use a wide array of sticks. If you're already comfortable with the APD, keep it.
 

jersey34tennis

Professional
try the prince response. it's a nice compromise of spin and feel and more stable than the apd but not a huge step up in weight.
 

mhkeuns

Hall of Fame
I recommend demoing the Response 97 from Prince. It's a pretty good baseline stick, but it can definitely punch some effective volleys. It's also pretty good at touch shots, too. Can't beat the price.
 
Look at two past great s&v players, Pat Rafter and Stefan Edberg. They predominantly used kick serves. It gives you more time to get close to the net. Even Sampras I would consider more of a power server than pure serve and volleyer. So you have the right serve, mix up speed and location. High volleys need practice because you are trying to hit winners off them. When practicing volleys, I hit to the player I'm practicing with rather than going for winners. In matches that can make hitting winners difficult. So practice going for winners with the high volleys, keep your eye on the ball as there is a tendency to look away too soon. I prefer a heavier racket, but if the APD feels stable enough for you, I think you should stick with it for now and just work on the s&v.
Edberg was also very good at hitting his spots... it is incredibly instructive to watch his footwork and serve placement. You can see how he constructed the points.

I'd work on playing S&V for at least 6 months before switching sticks.... precisely because hitting those spots are so importanton theserve. Dont reinvent your whole game all at once.
 
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TripleB

Hall of Fame
try the prince response. it's a nice compromise of spin and feel and more stable than the apd but not a huge step up in weight.
I recommend demoing the Response 97 from Prince. It's a pretty good baseline stick, but it can definitely punch some effective volleys. It's also pretty good at touch shots, too. Can't beat the price.
I agree with these two...Prince Response, rock solid on volleys, huge feeling sweet spot, doesn't play as stiff as specs, crazy spin potential (especially with 18g Tour Bite in it) especially on the slice (probably the best slicing racquet I've ever played with) and unbeatable price.

TripleB
 
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