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Saturday, September 24, 2022

Focus on the Serve & Volley

 

JACKIE BOHANNON
Guest Columnist
tennis@lbknews.com

If your opponent starts serving and volleying, focus on the ball and not on the movement of your opponents.  Have a preplanned game plan of how you are going to return based on the serve you receive.  If your opponent has a strong serve, an appropriate return to neutralize the serve and volley is a lob over the server’s partner’s head.  Down the middle and low is always a good return.  Try to make sure if you can’t lob or pass your opponent that you hit your shots nice and low at their feet. Positionally, stay one-up one-back as the receiving team unless you are not having success.  If you are getting attacked off your return then I highly suggest having the receiver and the receiver’s partner at the baseline. Having both players at the baseline, gives the serving team a different look which alone can cause good results.  Playing both back takes pressure off the receiver so they aren’t pressured to hit a perfect return.  If the receiver’s partner is at the baseline they have a

Long-time tennis pro and America’s Top Coach Jackie Bohannon will answer any question on tennis. Please email question you have on strategy, technique, mental game, fitness, equipment, etc., to: tennis@lbknews.com

better chance and more time to defend themselves if needed.  The receiver’s partner can always resume their position at the net if their partner hits a good offensive lob, or if the serving team stops serving and volleying.

Serving and volleying is a great strategy if you have good mobility, a strong serve, and solid volleys.  If you or your partner have a difficult time moving backward it is probably not for you.  I do not suggest ever serving and volleying on a second serve.  Serving and volleying can be used as a change of positioning/strategy if you are losing.  Sometimes, just making your opponent have a different look can sway momentum.  Perhaps your opponents don’t have a good lob, or seeing you rush the net puts pressure on them? Sometimes serving and volleying can cause missed return of serves because it makes the receiving team nervous.  These are potential benefits or serving and volleying.  Also, if you have a big serve and or your opponent has a weak return, serving and volleying makes sense.  If you play someone that has an effective drop shot serving and volleying helps take that shot away as well.  Generally, throwing in some serve and volleying is a good strategy because you want to take your opponent off guard.  No matter how good you are at serving and volleying do not do it every time, because you do not want to be predictable.  Serving and volleying is a great skill set to develop, and when used at appropriate times can be highly effective.

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