What is your play style in singles?

My singles playing style is predominantly

  • Aggressive Baseliner (power players, bashers)

    Votes: 35 21.5%
  • Consistent Baseliner (includes counterpunchers, pushers)

    Votes: 44 27.0%
  • Junkballer (slicers and those who depend primarily on low-pace variety)

    Votes: 11 6.7%
  • All-court player (changes styles as needed and comfortable at net or baseline)

    Votes: 57 35.0%
  • Net player (S/V and chip/charge)

    Votes: 16 9.8%

  • Total voters
    163
  • Poll closed .

socallefty

G.O.A.T.
Art for the sake of the art.
Or, like I said, two tennis sports: One played on points and one for fun.
You are trying to convince a self-confessed 3.0 to volley more. Meanwhile you are arguing that swinging volleys are low-% at your level of 3.5/4.0. As you go higher up in level at 4.5+, swinging volleys become high-% shots for aggressive players who have developed the technique for it.

I agree with the 3.0 that volleying and overheads are not high-% at that level and I agree with you that swinging volleys are low-% at 3.5/4.0. But as you go up in level, you’ll find all-court players who don’t miss swinging volleys much and will take moonballs and slow loopers in the air whenever possible near the service line.

So, there are no truisms in tennis on what is high-% that works across all levels. Know what you can execute successfully and adjust your tactics accordingly. As you continue to improve, the shot repertoire available to you will be larger.
 

Fintft

G.O.A.T.
You are trying to convince a self-confessed 3.0 to volley more. Meanwhile you are arguing that swinging volleys are low-% at your level of 3.5/4.0. As you go higher up in level at 4.5+, swinging volleys become high-% shots for aggressive players who have developed the technique for it.

I agree with the 3.0 that volleying and overheads are not high-% at that level and I agree with you that swinging volleys are low-% at 3.5/4.0. But as you go up in level, you’ll find all-court players who don’t miss swinging volleys much and will take moonballs and slow loopers in the air whenever possible near the service line.

So, there are no truisms in tennis on what is high-% that works across all levels. Know what you can execute successfully and adjust your tactics accordingly. As you continue to improve, the shot repertoire available to you will be larger.
I agree, but as to my I advice for the new poster, I qualified it: "you should come to the net and finish the point especially if the opponent is a good mover and has consistency."

So it depends not ony on your level, but on the match-up as well.

As for swinging volleys, they are riskier than volleys at all levels, aren't they?
Nobody above 4.0 parks intentionally in the NML, correct?
 

socallefty

G.O.A.T.
I agree, but as to my I advice for the new poster, I qualified it: "you should come to the net and finish the point especially if the opponent is a good mover and has consistency."

So it depends not ony on your level, but on the match-up as well.

As for swinging volleys, they are riskier than volleys at all levels, aren't they?
Nobody above 4.0 parks intentionally in the NML, correct?
No, you have to play the %s at each level based on what you can execute and not just based on the matchup with an opponent. If my volley and overhead suck at 3.0 so that I lose 80% of points at the net, but my baseline game allows me to lose only 50% of points, then it is better to run back which is what you see at lower levels. With people who are new to tennis, volleys and OHs are the weakest part of their game (along with serves) by far especially if they did not get coached.

Also, swinging volleys might be riskier than other volleys, but higher the level, the risk increment becomes very low. Even as a high 4.5, I don’t think I miss swinging volleys at a much higher rate than regular volleys and 5.0+ will be even better. It is because the higher you go, you do a lot of practice on all kinds of specialty shots also and not just basic FHs/BHs. I work on my transition and mid court game a lot in practice drills every week especially because I’m an all-court player in singles and play a lot of doubles also. You can’t be an offensive player at 4.5+ in the poly era anymore if you are not comfortable with swinging volleys and you need to practice it often. At 3.5/4.0, players just don’t practice swinging volleys and overheads enough even if they are the few that practice in between their matches - that is why the risk is much higher on those shots.

If you watch ATP pros these days, it is rare to see them miss swinging volleys unless it is a very stressful part of the match. The same is true if you watch Open UTR tournaments or college tennis. Heck, you don’t even see those kinds of players miss tweeners because they all seem to practice even that incredibly rare specialty shot. Many women pros even seem to prefer swinging volleys to overheads on high balls as they seem to have more confidence on swinging volleys than overheads.

Before poly, swinging volleys were considered much more risky even at higher levels and coaches frowned on their students using it. The spin you can put on the ball with poly combined with high racquet head speed has made swinging volleys less risky if you know the proper technique to hit them - the technique is more like a medium-spin groundstroke than a volley. Now coaches actively work with top juniors to teach that shot early.
 
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No, you have to play the %s at each level based on what you can execute and not just based on the matchup with an opponent. If my volley and overhead suck at 3.0 so that I lose 80% of points at the net, but my baseline game allows me to lose only 50% of points, then it is better to run back which is what you see at lower levels. With people who are new to tennis, volleys and OHs are the weakest part of their game (along with serves) by far especially if they did not get coached.

Also, swinging volleys might be riskier than other volleys, but higher the level, the risk increment becomes very low. Even as a high 4.5, I don’t think I miss swinging volleys at a much higher rate than regular volleys and 5.0+ will be even better. It is because the higher you go, you do a lot of practice on all kinds of specialty shots also and not just basic FHs/BHs. I work on my transition and mid court game a lot in practice drills every week especially because I’m an all-court player in singles and play a lot of doubles also. You can’t be an offensive player at 4.5+ in the poly era anymore if you are not comfortable with swinging volleys and you need to practice it often. At 3.5/4.0, players just don’t practice swinging volleys and overheads enough even if they are the few that practice in between their matches - that is why the risk is much higher on those shots.

If you watch ATP pros these days, it is rare to see them miss swinging volleys unless it is a very stressful part of the match. The same is true if you watch Open UTR tournaments or college tennis. Heck, you don’t even see those kinds of players miss tweeners because they all seem to practice even that incredibly rare specialty shot. Many women pros even seem to prefer swinging volleys to overheads on high balls as they seem to have more confidence on swinging volleys than overheads.

Before poly, swinging volleys were considered much more risky even at higher levels and coaches frowned on their students using it. The spin you can put on the ball with poly combined with high racquet head speed has made swinging volleys less risky if you know the proper technique to hit them - the technique is more like a medium-spin groundstroke than a volley. Now coaches actively work with top juniors to teach that shot early.
This must be some special advantage I got learning tennis not in a formal instructional environment. It's a very intuitive shot, meeting the ball out of the air with an abbreviated stroke.
 

cks

Hall of Fame
Volleys are still on my "to practice" list.
Do you play doubles?

I started off playing doubles first, instead of singles. My volleys are not great (some tend to "float" too much), and I working with a coach to improve them. But playing doubles has made me comfortable in coming up to the net, whether playing singles or doubles.
 

cks

Hall of Fame
For the latter, what if you get a deep ball? NML is the worst place to be.
If @Xen is playing USTA 3.0 mens league on one of the singles lines, then playing in no mans land (NML) is probably the correct place to be. When I first started playing Mens 3.0 singles, I found that my opponent would typically hit balls that landed in the service box. If you wait behind the baseline, you will always be moving more to get into position for short ground strokes. So I would typically stand a few feet inside the baseline.

If my opponent did hit a deep shot, it wasn't too difficult to take a few steps back while getting into position to hit my ground stroke.
 

cks

Hall of Fame
The spin you can put on the ball with poly combined with high racquet head speed has made swinging volleys less risky if you know the proper technique to hit them - the technique is more like a medium-spin groundstroke than a volley. Now coaches actively work with top juniors to teach that shot early.
I was practicing swinging volleys yesterday. I still have trouble moving into position (from the baseline) and getting the timing just right. They are a fun shot to hit.
 

S&V-not_dead_yet

Talk Tennis Guru
As for swinging volleys, they are riskier than volleys at all levels, aren't they?

It's incomplete to end the question there. They are riskier but you have to figure out what the extra reward is: if there's no extra reward, than extra risk is not worth it. if there's twice as much reward for the extra risk, then it is completely worth it.

So if SVs cause me to make 3 more UEs during a match but allow me to hit 6 more winners in situations where a volley might not have produced the winner, maybe the extra risk is worth it.

Similar to whether I should serve more aggressively: it's incomplete to think that, since serving more aggressively leads to more DFs, that I shouldn't do it. I have to also look at how many more points I win by serving aggressively.
 

S&V-not_dead_yet

Talk Tennis Guru
This must be some special advantage I got learning tennis not in a formal instructional environment. It's a very intuitive shot, meeting the ball out of the air with an abbreviated stroke.

Your SV is an abbreviated stroke? Mine is a full GS; the only difference is the swing path and I try to avoid hitting too flat.
 

Fintft

G.O.A.T.
It's incomplete to end the question there. They are riskier but you have to figure out what the extra reward is: if there's no extra reward, than extra risk is not worth it. if there's twice as much reward for the extra risk, then it is completely worth it.

So if SVs cause me to make 3 more UEs during a match but allow me to hit 6 more winners in situations where a volley might not have produced the winner, maybe the extra risk is worth it.

Similar to whether I should serve more aggressively: it's incomplete to think that, since serving more aggressively leads to more DFs, that I shouldn't do it. I have to also look at how many more points I win by serving aggressively.
I know, but again you don't park intentionally in the NML to take swing volleys.
 

Fintft

G.O.A.T.
If @Xen is playing USTA 3.0 mens league on one of the singles lines, then playing in no mans land (NML) is probably the correct place to be. When I first started playing Mens 3.0 singles, I found that my opponent would typically hit balls that landed in the service box. If you wait behind the baseline, you will always be moving more to get into position for short ground strokes. So I would typically stand a few feet inside the baseline.

If my opponent did hit a deep shot, it wasn't too difficult to take a few steps back while getting into position to hit my ground stroke.
True.
 

Xen

Rookie
Yeah, people at my level don't hit very deep. I just came back from beating a (self-rated) 3.5 guy in 3 sets. He didn't have a topspin groundstroke, so nothing ever penetrated. Our longer rallies were slice rallies. Deep balls float and there's plenty of time to get to them and set up. I did try to take a few aggressive volleys and swing volleys this match and it wasn't too bad. Maybe an unforced error from me every 3-4 attempts. Still doesn't feel like I can capitalize on it, since I was scared to angle them too hard.

Do you play doubles?

I started off playing doubles first, instead of singles. My volleys are not great (some tend to "float" too much), and I working with a coach to improve them. But playing doubles has made me comfortable in coming up to the net, whether playing singles or doubles.

I also play alot of doubles. I'm also in a doubles league. (Out of season atm, but starting again in Feb.) I feel like I've gotten worse at volleys over time, when I try to do the "correct" forms rather than what I used to do, which would be just stand close and pancake downward.

Also, a few months back, I changed from using a beginner oversized racquet with lively poly strings (IIRC Wilson "Blade Feel 105" 254g strung with Prince Tour) to my current "main" racquet which is very heavy with dead strings (Yonex Vcore Pro 97 330g strung with Solinco Hyper-G). Pretty extreme change, but it's helped the strokes I care about most: serve, return of serve, and baseline groundstrokes.
 

socallefty

G.O.A.T.
my current "main" racquet which is very heavy with dead strings (Yonex Vcore Pro 97 330g strung with Solinco Hyper-G).
I hope that you don’t mean it literally when you say you are playing with dead strings. If the playing time on the HyperG is more than 15-20 hours (maybe add 5-10 more hours more for your level), you literally are playing with poly that is dead and will eventually cause injury before it breaks. Cut out that poly at first sign of tightness/soreness or at a preset limit of 15-20 hours - that is how poly is meant to be used.

Personally I think at your level, you can play with soft multi or gut strung in the high fifties and play much longer while still getting good control and good feel/comfort.
 

Xen

Rookie
I hope that you don’t mean it literally when you say you are playing with dead strings. If the playing time on the HyperG is more than 15-20 hours (maybe add 5-10 more hours more for your level), you literally are playing with poly that is dead and will eventually cause injury before it breaks. Cut out that poly at first sign of tightness/soreness or at a preset limit of 15-20 hours - that is how poly is meant to be used.

Personally I think at your level, you can play with soft multi or gut strung in the high fifties and play much longer while still getting good control and good feel/comfort.

Haha yeah. I meant "dead" as in low-power, but my current strings are also overused-dead. I have new strings ready, but I bought a stringing machine a week back and I still haven't gotten around to learning how to string. After a long hard day of slappin' around yellow balls, the last thing I wanna do is gear maintenance
 

S&V-not_dead_yet

Talk Tennis Guru
I feel like I've gotten worse at volleys over time, when I try to do the "correct" forms rather than what I used to do, which would be just stand close and pancake downward.

"Stand close and pancake downward" has a lot of advantages: it's simple and effective.

The problem is when the incoming ball doesn't lend itself to hitting downward: at your feet, out side, directly at you, and, of course, a lob.

If you want to work on improvement, doing it the "correct" way will benefit you greatly in the medium-/long-term. And your value as a doubles partner will rise.
 
Your SV is an abbreviated stroke? Mine is a full GS; the only difference is the swing path and I try to avoid hitting too flat.
Idk I would say it's on a continuum depending on where I am but I tend to take at least something off it. Especially on a lob there is a decent amount of pace from the fall that can be redirected so it feels most important to control face angle. It's like a nice smooth knocking on of the ball low and flat over the net in whichever direction I know my opponent won't react to it correctly (which is sometimes of course deep right at their feet). I am accustomed to using racquets that give me a fair amount of free power if I would really like it so that is possibly why I developed the stroke in this way when I was younger. I consider it a swinging volley still because I set up and unload like a swing rather than what I understand a conventional volley to be.
 

speedysteve

Legend
I attack with the forehand as much as possible. Top spin cross, dtl.
Should probably hit hard/deep and central a bit more..
BH is more rally / bide my time, can go down the line or short cross court for winners at times.
Like to play wrong footing / back behind shots to keep them guessing.
I will also drop-shot of both sides when I feel it's right, and FH lob occasionally if opportune.

Love a target when opponent comes forward, esp on serve. Can find passes both sides as long as the serve allows.

Would like to develop coming to net more on right balls. Stealing in when it's right..

Do not like doubles at all really.
In fact I made a conscious decision to only play singles and have only played singles since beginning October 2022.
I've played 19 matches and had 3 practise hits/drills since then.
Not bad considering the Xmas break and frozen courts took away a week.

I aim to play twice a week.
As many differing opponents as possible.
 

S&V-not_dead_yet

Talk Tennis Guru
Idk I would say it's on a continuum depending on where I am but I tend to take at least something off it. Especially on a lob there is a decent amount of pace from the fall that can be redirected so it feels most important to control face angle. It's like a nice smooth knocking on of the ball low and flat over the net in whichever direction I know my opponent won't react to it correctly (which is sometimes of course deep right at their feet). I am accustomed to using racquets that give me a fair amount of free power if I would really like it so that is possibly why I developed the stroke in this way when I was younger. I consider it a swinging volley still because I set up and unload like a swing rather than what I understand a conventional volley to be.

I think we're using the terminology differently: to me, "take something off" doesn't necessarily mean "don't take a full swing". It could mean use more vertical vs horizontal force. I think my swing path on a SV is the same as for a regular GS.

When you wrote "abbreviated stroke", I thought you mean you shortened your swing.
 
I think we're using the terminology differently: to me, "take something off" doesn't necessarily mean "don't take a full swing". It could mean use more vertical vs horizontal force. I think my swing path on a SV is the same as for a regular GS.

When you wrote "abbreviated stroke", I thought you mean you shortened your swing.
That is what I meant yes. I just used "take something off" to suggest a smaller swing. I did not consider the other meaning but I don't think you are unreasonable for using it that way so I will keep it in mind going forward. Does the rest of what I say make sense?
 

S&V-not_dead_yet

Talk Tennis Guru
That is what I meant yes. I just used "take something off" to suggest a smaller swing. I did not consider the other meaning but I don't think you are unreasonable for using it that way so I will keep it in mind going forward. Does the rest of what I say make sense?

Perfectly, now that you explained your meaning.
 

geddahon

New User
How would you label your playing style when you play singles? Has your style changed over the years?

I was mainly an aggressive baseliner for most of my life depending on my serve to set up +1 shots. I started playing doubles about a decade ago and subsequently became comfortable at the net as I started coming to the net quickly in doubles. Since then, my singles game has evolved to be more of an all-court style as I’ll approach the net off short balls whenever I can.
Can I say I don’t know yet ? I only have mastered the serve and return at my level and now have people that can sometimes return it. I can add more spin. I’m still working on everything as far as rally. I want to be like a samurai so I can win at 97 yo. Just barely move and throw all sorts of things at you. Lol
 

Xen

Rookie
Ya know, maybe I really am just a junk baller. I can't handle high pace balls flying at me very well, so I slice many of those back. This is fine in singles at my level, but I'm just giving easy poaches in doubles.
 
Ya know, maybe I really am just a junk baller. I can't handle high pace balls flying at me very well, so I slice many of those back. This is fine in singles at my level, but I'm just giving easy poaches in doubles.
Consider flat redirect as an option in addition to slicing.
 
How would you characterize "Boss of Atlanta"?


He plays baseline defense a lot, but in this match, I think he did S&V on every first serve.
Just watched this match, and regularly watch TTroll so I’ve seen him play quite a few times, and I have no idea how I would categorize his game….
Is solid 4.5 a game style? Maybe that is by definition all court, matching his game style to his opponent… Most 4.5s I know and have watched play have a pretty “normal” game style and technique, but man the weird ones at 4.5 might be even more unique than the self taught 3.0/3.5 group
 

PDJ

G.O.A.T.
I would say I'm a consistent baseliner that wins most points on a short ball and the ability to pass on both sides. I play to a reasonable level (county).
I'd say I've got more aggressive post knee operation and appreciate that my anticipation skills are now helpful, whereas pre knee op I didn't think about them much.
I was taught not to show emotion on court, so this is also helpful.
I don't give up.
 

PDJ

G.O.A.T.
How would you characterize "Boss of Atlanta"?


He plays baseline defense a lot, but in this match, I think he did S&V on every first serve.
His strokes are effective and he uses the court well against someone technically better.
 

Idaho MEP

Rookie
Just watched this match, and regularly watch TTroll so I’ve seen him play quite a few times, and I have no idea how I would categorize his game….
Is solid 4.5 a game style? Maybe that is by definition all court, matching his game style to his opponent… Most 4.5s I know and have watched play have a pretty “normal” game style and technique, but man the weird ones at 4.5 might be even more unique than the self taught 3.0/3.5 group
Argument for...
  • "Consistent Baseliner" -- that's how he plays *most* points
  • "Net Player" -- S&V quite a bit, and in this match, on every first serve
  • "All-Court Player" -- because there's both of the above, gotta combine them
In my opinion, we have to say "All-Court Player". Doesn't mean he's great at everything on the tennis court. But there's a very significant element of both net play and baseline play to his game.
 

Max G.

Legend
How would you characterize "Boss of Atlanta"?


He plays baseline defense a lot, but in this match, I think he did S&V on every first serve.

Can't really tell based on this match - he won 6-0 6-2. My opinion is that it only really makes sense to judge "style" based on a close match. If you're winning 6-0 6-2, good chance you could have picked any "style" you feel like that match. If I had to judge by this match I'd say all-court player, he obviously had a mix of net points and baseline points and could do either.
 

jhick

Hall of Fame
All I can say is if I'm playing a pusher, junkballer, or even counterpuncher I make a point to come into the net as often as I can as my objective is to finish points quickly. Against an aggressive baseliner or offensive player, my opportunities are more limited so I know I won't have as many chances to close in. So a lot of it depends on my opponents play style. Also there are some guys that just like having a target at the net to hit to and make it really tough to play my typical A-game which is stepping into the court, exploiting angles, and closing in. Against those players, I have to be very selective about coming in. As well as good drop shot lob combos which can at times wear me out quickly by making me constantly go up and back. However, those players typically are few and far between.
 

socallefty

G.O.A.T.
All I can say is if I'm playing a pusher, junkballer, or even counterpuncher I make a point to come into the net as often as I can as my objective is to finish points quickly. Against an aggressive baseliner or offensive player, my opportunities are more limited so I know I won't have as many chances to close in. So a lot of it depends on my opponents play style. Also there are some guys that just like having a target at the net to hit to and make it really tough to play my typical A-game which is stepping into the court, exploiting angles, and closing in. Against those players, I have to be very selective about coming in. As well as good drop shot lob combos which can at times wear me out quickly by making me constantly go up and back. However, those players typically are few and far between.
I created a whole thread about this a while ago.

Thread 'Do certain playing styles have an advantage at same level in USTA singles?'
http://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/inde...vantage-at-same-level-in-usta-singles.675360/
 

Jono123

Semi-Pro
I like to consider myself an all court player as I can volley quite well in dubs. But when I play singles I'm very happy on the baseline unless I get a ball that allows me to push forward.
 

Jst21121

Rookie
I found my niche at the 3.5-4 level as a junk baller. I love it.

Moon ball, slice, flat shot, heavy topspin, bring them into the net, sometimes go for a winner pass them, sometimes I literally throw in a dink return (they will hit a hard topspin shot and I will just put my racket out and dink it back creating a nothing ball). Keep them guessing 24/7.

Works on 90% in my play area, and it mentally breaks them by the second set. The best feeling in the world is when I do a changeover and they are visibily angry at themself and or throwing a fit. Love it. I don't get many handshakes after the match...

But if I do verse someone that can handle all that junk and put it away, I stop messing around and go for baseline game with a few slices/drop shots.

But I do admit- I love being a junk baller. And being a junk baller is not the same as a pusher. A pusher only hits 1 type of shot, high percentage/moonball/low topspin to no pace. I can hit pretty much everything and do put away stuff with a solid forehand.


This is my favorite player Hsieh. I love her type of tennis and model it like mine.
 

socallefty

G.O.A.T.
I don't get many handshakes after the match...
You are proud of this? I think that players won’t shake hands only it they think an opponent has been cheating with bad line calls/wrong scores/phantom lets or did a lot of gamesmanship. There are enough rec players who are junkballers where opponents are not going to refuse shaking hands.
 

Jono123

Semi-Pro
I found my niche at the 3.5-4 level as a junk baller. I love it.

Moon ball, slice, flat shot, heavy topspin, bring them into the net, sometimes go for a winner pass them, sometimes I literally throw in a dink return (they will hit a hard topspin shot and I will just put my racket out and dink it back creating a nothing ball). Keep them guessing 24/7.

Works on 90% in my play area, and it mentally breaks them by the second set. The best feeling in the world is when I do a changeover and they are visibily angry at themself and or throwing a fit. Love it. I don't get many handshakes after the match...

But if I do verse someone that can handle all that junk and put it away, I stop messing around and go for baseline game with a few slices/drop shots.

But I do admit- I love being a junk baller. And being a junk baller is not the same as a pusher. A pusher only hits 1 type of shot, high percentage/moonball/low topspin to no pace. I can hit pretty much everything and do put away stuff with a solid forehand.your weapons


This is my favorite player Hsieh. I love her type of tennis and model it like mine.
Sounds like you have a versatile and adaptable game style. As you develop so will your choice of weapons.
 
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