Basics of the Serve and Volley

Serve and Volley pic
Serve and Volley
Image: optimumtennis.com

The owner and chief dentist at Laser & Cosmetic Dentistry in Aliso Viejo, California, Dr. Monica Boniadi earned her DDS from the University of California, Los Angeles, graduating with honors in 1996. When she is not attending to her professional responsibilities, Dr. Monica Boniadi enjoys several recreational activities, including tennis.

Tennis can be enjoyed by a variety of players, regardless of their skill level. A playing strategy seen less frequently in professional matches and more often on neighborhood courts in casual and amateur league play is the serve and volley. This is an aggressive style that requires a high degree of mobility, flexibility, and alertness.

Instead of hanging back at the baseline to play the opponent’s return of service, the server runs forward toward the net immediately upon serving. When the opponent returns the ball, the server plays it in the air, before it bounces. This aggressive style of play frequently results in a winning shot, but even when it does not, it generally disrupts the opponent’s timing.

Serve and volley is not for everyone. One problem, especially when playing singles, is the possibility of the opponent successfully hitting a passing shot or a lob near the baseline. An agile server can often deal with either by being alert and having quick hands and feet. Players with mobility issues, though, may watch many returns pass beyond their reach or over their heads.

Another approach, which can help reduce passing shots, is to serve the ball wide so that, instead of bouncing in the service box and then going over the opponent’s baseline, the ball passes over the sideline, forcing the receiver out of position to return the ball.