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Opponent Volleys the Serve

A high lob serve is effective as the ball

A high lob serve is effective as the ball "drops" on the receiver

Published: 08 Aug 2004 - 18:47 by rippa rit

Updated: 30 Jul 2008 - 17:50

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Is your opponent attacking your serve with a strong volley? It's usually because you are not getting the ball high enough or wide enough. You also may be too predictable. Remember that, when serving,  you have total control of what happens on the serve. Keep the opponent on the defensive.

Less skilful players are usually not so aggressive on the return of serve, especially with the volley (unless they are tennis players, maybe).  As your game improves, so must your serve improve, and if it does not consistently get high enough, and tight enough, the opponent will attack the serve.  To prevent the opponent attacking the service, check:-

    •  The height of the service - a high target on the front wall. (soft and high landing into the back corners).
    • The serve should not touch the back wall on the full
    •  The serve touches the side wall (preferably at the back of the service box).
    • If your serve is becoming too predictable, try to change the speed, height, angle/direction of the serve, eg a hard serve out of their hitting zone.

If the serve is bouncing back into the court, it is being hit too hard.

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From Adz - 30 Jul 2008 - 17:50

I guess the main things to try when your opponent is causing you problems on the return of serve is:

a) Tighter serves (as Rita said above)

b) Higher serves to change their volley height (also mentioned above)

c) Moving quicker into a central court position to "cut-off" some of their options and put them under pressure to make a strong return


Focusing more on B and C

B) Not everyone likes volleying at every height. Some like volleying overhead. Others like volleying at waist height, others shoulder height, others like bending down slightly to volley-drop around thigh-height. The trick is to find the most uncomfortable place for your opponent to volley. Make them uncomfortable with their return and then apply C


C) By moving quickly into a commanding court position you are subconciously telling your opponent that you are prepared for their return and it better be a strong one or their going to get punished. Notice I use the word STRONG and not GOOD. If you're in that commanding a position then a good return just isn't going to be good enough. It will need to be a STRONG return to stop you from getting the jump on them with your next shot. Now anyone can play a good return, either crosscourt or a rail shot, but not everyone can play a really tight rail shot or a really stretching crosscourt. This is why your position is so important. The more you put them under pressure and make them uncomfortable the less likely they are to cause you problems.


This leads me nicely onto THREE-SHOT-SQUASH


It's a concept I was told once by a friend of mine who reached the last 8 in the world masters, so I guess he knows what he's talking about! Basically you serve (shot 1), they return (shot 2) and you kill the ball (shot 3).

It sounds so easy and it probably is if you are a strong enough player against a weak enough opponent. Obvioulsly this type of game doesn't work against high quality opponents, but it will work against good club standard players.


But what if you can't kill the ball in 3?

Use the 3rd shot to put them even further under pressure. Make them stretch to their limits will a strong attacking shot, then if the return is loose, KILL IT!


The same thing works on every odd shot, but you have to be firstly very good at killing the ball off (note that this doesn't mean hitting a rolling nick but it does help!), and secondly you need to be able to chose the right shot selection to make them stretch in the first place!


I'm sure this will cause some discussion so it might be worth moving to another thread, but the principles are sound and I've seen two county level players go at it after I'd shown one of them this technique. He beat the opponent 27-3 (the first time he'd ever beaten him!!). How did he do it? Once you get into the flow of playing this style you're opponent cannot get into the rallies or into the game. They cannot get a rhythme and struggle to even hit the most basic of shots as they begin to lose concentration.


Tough to do but very effective against CERTAIN opponents!





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From rippa rit - 30 Jul 2008 - 08:19

If your opponent is punishing what you are "dishing out" to them, stop it immediately, and try another strategy.  If you cannot just think of something on the spur of the moment, just change the side you are serving from and something as simple as that could make a difference.  Keep varying things and that will surely make a difference. 

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