How to Win More Matches as a Serve Volleyer in Tennis

Are you looking to add a bit more finesse to your tennis game? Learning how to win more matches as a serve volleyer in tennis is a great way to bring variety to the court.

We’re going to walk you through every step so you can improve your serve and volley game, so you can make the most of finishing points off at the net.

So, let’s take a look at how to improve your ability to serve and volley so you can win more matches on the court!

Why is it Important to Learn How to Serve and Volley?

Serve and volley tennis was once a mainstay of professional tennis. Throughout the 60s, 70s, and 80s, serve and volley dominated the tennis landscape due to quick courts, small rackets, and more precision-orientated game styles. 

Since the turn of the century, serve and volley tennis has started to die out due to the improvements in tennis equipment and technology, slower tennis courts and balls, and more athletic players. 

This meant the rise of the aggressive baseliner, who dominated the court with heavy groundstrokes and impressive fitness. 

However, being able to serve and volley like the good old days in the modern game definitely sets you apart and can confuse your opponent. Dealing with a serve and volleyer can be incredibly difficult if a player is not used to playing against them, so being able to win points at the net is a huge advantage in today’s game. 

A serve volleyer, as the name suggests, tends to come into the net straight after their serve and try to win the point with a volley as soon as they can. This is a very good tactic on fast courts as the serve will carry more pace on it, forcing the returner into a rushed reply. The serve volleyer can then take advantage of a high, floaty return and put away a volley into the space with relative ease, finishing the point on their own terms. 

However, since serve and volley is a bit of a dying art, there aren’t many players at the professional or recreational level to use as an example to improve this aspect of your game. But no matter, that’s where we can help!

How to Improve Your Serve and Volley Play 

As you might expect, learning the art of serve and volley doesn’t come overnight. But with the right guidance, it is possible to take your game to the next level and add this great tactical play into your game very soon! 


Step 1: Look at’s Art of Volleying Course

The first thing you can do that will make a big difference to your ability to serve and volley is to check out our Art of Volleying online course. It is all well and good thinking about how to implement the serve and volley tactic into your game, but learning from professional coaches that have put together a dedicated course will take your game to new heights. 

We have worked with ex-ATP professional turned master performance coach Dave Ireland to bring you one of the most comprehensive volleying courses on the internet! We’ll cover positioning, technique, footwork, movement patterns, and much more! 

So, if you want to add serve and volleying to your tennis arsenal, check out our Art of Volleying course today!

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Step 2: Slow Your Serve Down

The next step towards winning more matches as a serve volleyer is to actually slow your serve down. Now, this may sound counterintuitive as the aim of a serve and volleyer is to hit a good serve that will soften up the opponent and give them a more straightforward volley to hit. 

However, hitting a fast serve can actually take some of your own time away as a serve volleyer, making it harder to execute this strategy. Therefore, I would recommend using angles and spin rather than pace to throw your opponent off balance, especially when using the serve and volley for the first time. 

This will give you more time to get into the net and take advantage of good positioning, rather than being rushed which could discourage you from using this tactic more often.

Step 3: Use Angles

The next step is to focus on angles and placement rather than power, both on the serve and the volley. Remember, that you are running into the net and therefore have half as much time to react as you do at the back of the court. Effectively the ball is coming twice as quickly at you! 

Therefore, using a wide serve to open up the court takes the pressure off hitting the perfect volley, as you’ll have plenty of time to control the fast oncoming ball and place it neatly into the open court. What’s more, using angles and placement rather than out-and-out power is a great way to improve your consistency up at the net, which will give you more confidence in your net game.

Step 4: Follow the Direction of Your Approach

Another tip to master serve and volley and win more tennis matches is to improve your positioning at the net when you get there. Not only should you use angles and spin on the serve, but you should also cut down the angles that your opponent has to play with by following the direction of your serve. 

What I mean by this is, if you serve out wide on the deuce court, then move to the left slightly to cover the line. This is a smart thing to do when you consider your opponent will have more court to hit into down the line from outside of the court than if they were returning a tee serve. 

You can make returning your serve even more difficult for your opponent, simply by positioning yourself more effectively on the court and following the direction of your serve.

Step 5: Keep Your Volleys Simple

A final tip that can help you become a better serve and volleyer and improve your chances of winning matches is to keep your volleys simple. This sounds like a very basic piece of advice, but the temptation can be to play a delicate drop shot or whack a powerful winner as soon as you get to the net. 

However, this will just lead to more errors and discourage you from moving forward toward the net throughout the match. Instead, focus on playing a simple, straightforward volley fairly deep in the court as your first volley, and use this as a setup for a more elaborate volley once you are closer to the net. This will help you take a more measured approach to serve volleying and improve your game as a result.

Once You’ve Mastered Serve and Volleying, It’s Time to Improve Your Footwork!

Improving the ability to serve and volley is a great way to become a more well-rounded tennis player. In today’s game of constantly focusing on big groundstrokes, athleticism, and statistics, it can be a breath of fresh air to focus on volleys and winning points quickly at the net. 

However, the next step towards becoming a better serve volleyer and a better tennis player, in general, is to improve your footwork. This will help you get into position more quickly, giving you more time on the court and helping you win points more efficiently. So, if you want to improve your footwork on the tennis court, check out our “On Your Toes” Footwork Guide today!

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Simple Guide to Serve and Volleying

Overall, learning how to serve and volley can really set you apart from the crowd in the modern game of tennis. There are so many players that focus just on baseline rallies that it can really take an opponent by surprise if you can take their time away with a strong serve and volley. 

Winning more matches as a serve volleyer comes down to using the right tactics (like playing your first volley like an approach shot), improving your court positioning, and using your serve to set up an easy volley. We hope this free guide helps you to improve your serve volley game today!

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