Serving and volleying for doubles or singles can be very effective either as an on-going tactic, or as a great way to mix up your opponent on what they have to do with their return of serve. I many cases, I see players at the club level floating returns back in the court. Why? Because they can. Don’t let your opponents get away with floaters. Come into the net and take those wimpy returns out of the air. This will force your adversary to be more risky with her returns, resulting in more errors that will make holding serve easier!
“But, Coach, how do you serve-and-volley? Isn’t that for old dudes from the 70’s who are now in their 70’s?” said one teenager during my last clinic in Culver City.
There are 2 keys to serve-and-volley tennis. First, accept that you will make mistakes and will get passed. Second, do not wait to see if you hit a good serve. By the time you figure out you’ve hit a good serve, it’s too late to get to the net and hit an effective volley. Hit your serve and RUN, RUN, RUN as fast as your legs will carry you until your opponent hits the ball, then split-step wherever you are standing when they hit, then move to the ball with bent leg and laser focus. After your first volley, follow the alphabet: A-B-C…Always Be Closing! Close the net, and close out the point. If you miss your shot or get passed, don’t despair, hit another serve and repeat. Eventually, you will get comfortable with this high-risk brand of tennis, and even if you are lackluster, you will give your opponent something to think about on his return.