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What Is the Serve & Volley in Tennis?

Let tennis pros Joe Perez and Kirk Moritz explain the serve and volley in this Howcast video.


Man 1: What is the serve in volley? The serve begins the point in tennis, and the volley is a shot that is executed before your opponent's ball bounces on your side of the court.

The serve in volley is a tactic used by a lot of players that have very good serves. For instance, if I hit the ball at 125 miles an hour on my serve, my opponent is going to have probably a little bit of a problem returning it. This means that the ball is going to float over the net, softly.

What I do then, is serve and run to the net, and I execute a volley, hitting the ball out of the air before my opponent has a chance to recover to the middle of the court.

I can win the point very, very quickly. Serve hard, run to the net, and make a volley. What do you think Kirk?

Kirk: I like it. The one thing that we have to emphasize is that when you serve in volley, to number one not rush seeing the ball in your haste to go up there to get to the net.

Make sure you see the ball first, strike it, take off as you run in. You're going to run in until your opponent strikes the ball. As he's about to strike the ball, you split step. You have to react to his shot.

You're still going to be about 60 feet away from him, if you get to the service line and he's on the base line, you have time. You want to stop, what we call a split step. Wherever now your opponent hits the ball, you can react, react, or even react to a good laugh.

Man 1: Another important thing about the serve in volley is, to place your serve in a spot on the court where your opponent has difficulty returning it.

Again, the key is to hit a very strong serve, so that your opponent's return is soft and you're able to make that volley. If you're coming in on a weak serve, serve and volley isn't a good idea. So that's the basics of serve and volley.

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