A lot of players believe to be an effective serve and volley-er that they need to possess a big serve and lots of foot speed to get to the net. This is far from the truth. In fact, it is quite the opposite. One of the biggest mistakes players make is hitting a hard flat fast serve and running straight to the net. Don’t do it!
Let’s Think About the Serve Options
Which type of serve is going to get you closer to the net in optimal volley position? The answer is a nice spin serve that is well placed. Taking some pace off of your serve will provide you more time to get closer to the net for your first volley.
Serving down the “T” will take the return angles away from your opponent, therefore, forcing them to hit the ball in more of a straight line to you. This will make your first volley easier to handle.
Serving right at your opponent can also be very effective as it will jam your opponent up and force them to hit the ball over the net defensively.
Another serve to consider is serving the ball to your opponents weaker side, either their forehand or backhand. Even if you are serving out wide, it can be effective if the return is coming back weak. It may be worth it to serve out wide. You will have to determine this as the match is played to know what is working and what is not.
The last thing you want to do is serve the ball and run straight up to the net. You will actually hurt your chances of hitting a great volley. Think about it as gradually working your way up to the net. Most players are going to hit their first volley around no-mans land or just before you reach the service line. The key to success is to run up a little bit at a time, split step, make your volley and then move up some more. This is what us pros call closing the net. You want to get to your optimal volley position after your first and potentially your second volley. Typically in doubles, the team that gets to the net first has a great chance to win the point.
What is the best volley position to be at? The answer is about three feet inside the service line. You do not want to have your nose on the net as this will give you less time to react to the ball and leave you open to be lobbed. So you want to get close to the net but not too close.
I hope this helps all my serve and volley-ers out there. Keep on playing!