Why Don't Women Serve and Volley?

#51
Long term or short term, it's easier for me to make sense of teaching the whole game - including attacking the net - so that a kid is more capable from more areas of the court. Put two kids with about the same baseline strength and consistency in a match against each other and the one who can also attack with some competence will definitely have an edge over the other one who doesn't.

I just don't think I see the situation for the kids in the same light as you do. Sure, a decent baseliner will beat an opponent without good volleys and overheads, but that player has no business going to the net if he/she can't function up there. I just don't assume that all kids can't function at the net. I've seen several who do just fine. They were taught early on. Kids don't know what they need to learn to be decent players, but many coaches do and too often I think those coaches neglect the skills for attacking the net. That's just my take.
But there's only so much practice time you can get in. Do you allocate the vast majority of that time to a strategy that generally works at that level, or do you forego some of that in favor of practicing something that's likely harder to master?

It can be hard to justify developing a net game when the kid could be working on improving from the back of the court, which in most cases is the winningest strategy they know.
 
#52
Some studies suggest a strong bias to loss aversion, by as much as 6:1, so the number of positive experiences from S&V would have to outweigh the negative ones by a large margin... more than, say, 70% of points won.
Agreed: people dislike getting passed a lot more than they like winning a net point.
 
#53
The problem is, as hard as it is for top adult pros to win at the net* these days, it's even harder for kids. They are shorter and have less reach, putting them at a big disadvantage. Without good volleys and overheads, it's very easy for the baseliner to win the point against the net rusher. All of a sudden, your kid is losing to worse players that he surely would have beaten from the baseline.
It depends on how well the BLer handles the pressure of someone attacking the net: if it causes their UE rate to skyrocket, it could well be a good strategy. This is independent of whether the net attacker is a kid [although the point about the lobs is well-taken].
 
#54
I started playing USTA junior tennis at age 16. I quickly evolved into a serve-and-volleyer within that first year of competition. The main reason was that I was so far behind the other ranked junior players in forehand technique that I had no hope of winning against most players if I stayed at the baseline. But serve-and-volley was an outlier style that the other kids rarely played against, and this gave me a shot to knock off the top players every once in a while, while making it possible to beat up on the second-tier kids who started playing late like I did. It was an underdog adaptation.
 
#55
I started playing USTA junior tennis at age 16. I quickly evolved into a serve-and-volleyer within that first year of competition. The main reason was that I was so far behind the other ranked junior players in forehand technique that I had no hope of winning against most players if I stayed at the baseline. But serve-and-volley was an outlier style that the other kids rarely played against, and this gave me a shot to knock off the top players every once in a while, while making it possible to beat up on the second-tier kids who started playing late like I did. It was an underdog adaptation.
Yes! And I find that this still works today against both adults and juniors: I may not win but I do better attacking the net than I would if I had stayed on the BL.
 
#56
I started playing USTA junior tennis at age 16. I quickly evolved into a serve-and-volleyer within that first year of competition. The main reason was that I was so far behind the other ranked junior players in forehand technique that I had no hope of winning against most players if I stayed at the baseline. But serve-and-volley was an outlier style that the other kids rarely played against, and this gave me a shot to knock off the top players every once in a while, while making it possible to beat up on the second-tier kids who started playing late like I did. It was an underdog adaptation.
I played a little tennis as a little kid but didn’t really take it more seriously until age 15. I also quickly started serve and volleying more bc it helped me win more.

I had less experience in tennis but I found out that I was quicker and faster than almost every other kid my age and I was best able to take advantage of it by coming to the net. Plus for some reason I was less afraid of opponents blasting groundstrokes right at me, which some kids were afraid of.
 
#58
it also helps to have a one handed backhand which most WTA players do not
Perhaps... And why they don’t is another mystery. I coach a 11 yo boy - he has been hitting ohbh for at least 3 years now, a 9 year old girl is hitting one handers... no competition (yet) but they’re clean topspin OHBHs. A 7 yo gal is learning it too. :)
 
#59
it also helps to have a one handed backhand which most WTA players do not
You mean for volleys, right?

Yes, you get better range with a 1H. But Hingis was one of the best doubles players and she had a 2HBH volley.

Barty will S&V occasionally; she has a 2HBH for TS but hits a nice 1HBH slice and has a 1HBH volley.
 
#60
I started playing USTA junior tennis at age 16. I quickly evolved into a serve-and-volleyer within that first year of competition. The main reason was that I was so far behind the other ranked junior players in forehand technique that I had no hope of winning against most players if I stayed at the baseline. But serve-and-volley was an outlier style that the other kids rarely played against, and this gave me a shot to knock off the top players every once in a while, while making it possible to beat up on the second-tier kids who started playing late like I did. It was an underdog adaptation.
Cool story... and not hard to believe. Also a little inspiring.
 
#61
Cool story... and not hard to believe. Also a little inspiring.
That's actually only the start of the story. I also developed an outlier serve style on both first and second serve - think Battistone without the extra step and without the hand switch - I made contact a foot off the ground and 3 feet inside the court to give me more of an Isner-like downward angle into the box and a quicker approach into the net. 2 years after my first usta tournament and starting my sophomore year in JV, I won the district championship in high school doubles and placed 3rd in State (I'm surprised I don't see more pros use this serve technique). Sadly, my overwhelming volleyball-style kick serve didn't age well, so now in my 40s I no longer possess the serve swagger of my youth - my calves revolt when I try to practice the old jump serve.
 
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#62
I started playing USTA junior tennis at age 16. I quickly evolved into a serve-and-volleyer within that first year of competition. The main reason was that I was so far behind the other ranked junior players in forehand technique that I had no hope of winning against most players if I stayed at the baseline. But serve-and-volley was an outlier style that the other kids rarely played against, and this gave me a shot to knock off the top players every once in a while, while making it possible to beat up on the second-tier kids who started playing late like I did. It was an underdog adaptation.
I started serve and volley as a young adult because our public courts were so bad, you never wanted the ball to bounce. But then all my playing partners became really good lobbers and courts became better cared for, so I moved on to baseline pusher.
 
#63
I started serve and volley as a young adult because our public courts were so bad, you never wanted the ball to bounce. But then all my playing partners became really good lobbers and courts became better cared for, so I moved on to baseline pusher.
I had to eventually move back to baseline too when my body decided to forget how to serve. I get jealous of tall players with good serves sometimes, because height doesn't deteriorate with age.
 
#64
"I want them to play on every square inch of the court. I want them to have a good slice. I want them to be able to S&V. Look: tennis won mostly from the BL; I know that. But I still really believe that when you hit a GS, the purpose of that GS is to elicit a short ball from your opponent. And when you get a short ball, now is the time to take it on the rise, take time away from your opponent, and preferably come into net." - Peter Smith, head coach, USC
 

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#65
You mean for volleys, right?

Yes, you get better range with a 1H. But Hingis was one of the best doubles players and she had a 2HBH volley.

Barty will S&V occasionally; she has a 2HBH for TS but hits a nice 1HBH slice and has a 1HBH volley.
I actually meant a one handed backhand groundstroke as it seems most of the great s/v'ers had them
 
#66
I actually meant a one handed backhand groundstroke as it seems most of the great s/v'ers had them
I wonder about the relation of those shots sometimes. Pure serve and volley play and routine net-rushing were still popular when I was watching the pros as a kid (I'm 53) and the two-handed backhand seemed to become much more popular when Bjorn Borg and Jimmy Connors changed the landscape along with a few others in their day. But I think that several trends were happening at the same time.

When folks gripe about the relentless ATP tournament schedule and it's lack of down time for the players, it's often noted that the surfaces have also shifted. Softer clay and grass courts dominated the calendar a few decades ago, but that ratio has flipped and more of the schedule is now played on punishing hard courts. That probably made baseline banging a much more popular option in a hurry and I think that maybe that was happening while folks - especially kids - were also finding how easy it was to embrace the two-handed backhand.

So fast forward: A local girl who recently graduated from the high school ranks and is now playing in college made quiet a splash as a scrawny little freshman a few years ago. Very solid strokes including a two-handed backhand, wonderfully hyperactive feet, but she also had the skills to very effectively attack the net. She also hit a one-handed backhand slice and her volley technique was excellent - her backhand volleys included that straight elbow and sound geometry. And this girl was a wee thing - maybe 5'5" or so as a freshman. She won the league title three years in a row and she beat several other girls along the way who were stronger than she was at the baseline. So she was an interesting case and it was a lot of fun to watch her through her high school career as I coached another team in her division.

I don't think that we'll see a ton of pure serve and volley play in the near future, but I've seen kids like this girl who simply learned the full set of fundamentals out of the gate and they generally shine. Kids can learn two-handed backhands, one-handed slices, and solid one-handed volleys just fine, but I don't think that many of them are lucky enough to find a coach who gives them that balance early on.
 
#67
"I want them to play on every square inch of the court. I want them to have a good slice. I want them to be able to S&V. Look: tennis won mostly from the BL; I know that. But I still really believe that when you hit a GS, the purpose of that GS is to elicit a short ball from your opponent. And when you get a short ball, now is the time to take it on the rise, take time away from your opponent, and preferably come into net." - Peter Smith, head coach, USC
I should buy a stone tablet and chisel this quote onto it. Good stuff!!
 
#68
I actually meant a one handed backhand groundstroke as it seems most of the great s/v'ers had them
I think it's an indirect relationship: almost everybody who hits BH slice does so with a 1HBH, regardless of how they drive the ball [Connors is the exception; many women also prefer slicing with 2 hands].

Those with a 1HBH tend to have a better slice than those with a 2HBH because they are always hitting with one hand on the BH side whereas those with a 2HBH only do so when slicing.

This slice motion is very important and similar to a BH volley.
 
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