The Snowball Effect




Photos courtesy of Marianne Bevis

Although the tactic isn't used as much as it was in the past, the serve and volley can be a nice tool to have in your toolbox. Like a snowball increasing in size and speed when going down a hill, the more mass it gains, the easier it is to pick up speed and momentum. The same can be said when serving and volleying; if you can hit a good serve, it makes your volley much easier. If you can hit and place a good volley, it makes your overhead much easier. Below are the three main components to serving and volleying and how each shot builds on itself and makes the next one easier than the first.

The Serve

The serve is the key to the effectiveness of the serve and volley. It would be great to serve with speed every time but placement or hitting to the opponent's weaker side can be equally effective. Taking some speed off of the serve can also throw your opponent off by disrupting their timing or causing them to over hit. Less speed on the serve gives you more time to close in on the net, eventually taking time away from your opponent. An effective serve will make your next shot, the volley, much easier.

The Volley
  1. Okay, you just hit your serve and you progress to the net. Here is your checklist for hitting your next shot, the volley. Make sure to follow your serve in a direct path towards your opponent. Be efficient with your movement. Be quick but don't rush.
  2. When it's time to hit your volley, make sure you remain calm, steady and maintain your balance. Look at the picture above, the player is lunging for the ball yet he maintains decent balance. Imagine yourself balancing a water bottle on your head.
  3. Don't fall into the trap of over hitting your volleys. Think placement over power. Choose big targets and follow your volley in closer to the net.
The Overhead
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By this stage you have reached maximum momentum. You are inside the service line and hopefully you have your opponent on a full out sprint. Here comes the lob. The overhead can often times be a players nemesis, especially if they miss 2 or 3 in a row. Not to worry. I personally think it's one of the easiest shots. By being up close to the net, you are able to hit down on the ball. You're also able to hit better angles. Relax on this shot, once again think placement over power. Remember, you have all of the momentum. You are in control.

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