Tennis Volleys

A good tennis volley can put great pressure on your opponent.

  • The Volley is executed before the tennis ball bounces on the court.
  • Although Volleys can be hit from anywhere on the court, they are usually hit moving forwards to the net.
  • Similar to the Slice in setup and execution: both require a high to low movement to generate underspin, making the ball bounce as low to the ground as possible. The main difference is that the Volleys’ backswing and follow through are shorter than the Slice’s.
  • The lower the bounce, the more difficult it is for the opponent to execute an aggressive shot, resulting in an easy put away Volley.
  • Use your opponent’s power to control your own shot: the harder your opponent hits the ball, the less backswing and follow through is needed for the Volley.

Grip: Continental Grip

 

How To: Forehand Volley


Forehand Volley Guide: Front View

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  1. The Medium Height Volley is executed above the net, up to the shoulders; The front shoulder rotation is critical in creating the “Lock” position; Short backswing with the racquet face pointing towards the ball.
  2. The back foot (the right foot) moves forward, crossing over the front foot (left foot) so that the power is generated from the forward body movement instead of from just the arm. Till this day students are taught to step in and punch with their arm! This is incorrect, resulting in a stiff Volley that bounces short on the court. This also allows the opponent to move forward and attack the net player. The modern way to volley is to move forward with your body, imagining your racquet as a sponge, absorbing the power of your opponent’s shot to execute a deep penetrating shot.
  3. Shoulder slightly uncoils (“Roll”).
  4. The racquet makes contact with the ball before the front foot lands on the ground.
  5. Short follow-through! Once the player makes contact with the ball, the racquet stops shortly after. The racquet face finishes by facing towards the target.

 

Forehand Volley Guide: Side View

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How to: Low Forehand Volley

Low Forehand Volley Guide

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The movement is the same as above except, knees are more bent, the backswing, contact and follow through are lower. Also since the ball is executed below the net, the racquet angle is more open and the ball is hit underneath to lift over the net. Notice the arm and the racquet in Picture 3, which makes an “L” shape, locking the wrist so that the racquet is stable through the shot.

How to: High Forehand Volley

High Forehand Volley Guide

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The backswing is further back to generate more momentum with the arm through the shot (Picture 4). Because the contact point is high above the shoulder, the shot can be hit with a downward angle to execute quite an aggressive shot. Also, notice the aggressive forward body movement which adds power to the shot.

How to: Backhand Volley

Backhand Volley Guide: Front View

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  1. Shoulder turn (“Lock” position) with the weight on the back foot but leaning forward; Racquet face open with the right wrist cocked back and left hand holding the throat of the racquet.
  2. Stepping forward to hit the ball.
  3. Just before contact, the left hand lets go of the racquet moving in the opposite direction from the right hand; The Volley is hit just before the front foot lands on the ground.
  4. Front foot lands and the back foot is off the ground; The arms are straight creating a line for balance.

Backhand Volley Guide: Side View

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6.  The back leg moves behind the front leg to create balance while moving forward.

8.  Racquet is in front while moving forward to prepare for the next shot.

How to: Low Backhand Volley

Low Backhand Volley Guide

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  • The body movement is the same as the Low Forehand Volley: Knees are bent, the backswing, contact and follow-through are low. 
  • Since the ball is hit below the net, the racquet angle is more open and the ball is hit underneath to lift over the net. 
  • Note: the arm and the racquet in Picture 3, which makes an “L” shape locking the wrist so that the racquet is stable through the shot. 

How to: High Backhand Volley

High Backhand Volley Guide

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  • The backswing like the High Forehand Volley, is further back to generate more momentum with the arm through the shot (Picture 3).
  • Because the contact point is high above the shoulder, the shot can be hit with a downward angle to execute quite an aggressive shot. 
  • Note: the aggressive forward body movement which adds power to the shot.

How to: Half Volley

  • The Half Volley is almost identical to the Low Volley, in terms of racquet position and body movement. 
  • The only difference is that the Half Volleys are hit just after the bounce and with less or no under spin
  • Very little racquet movement is recommended since hitting the ball just after the bounce can be difficult to time. 
  • Keeping the racquet open and facing the ball with a short block is critical to execute a half volley well. 
  • Movement towards the ball helps generate power since the swing is very short.

Forehand Half Volley Guide

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  • Note: the “Lock” position of the shoulder turn and at the pelvic joint in picture 3. The uncoiling (“Roll”) begins in picture 4-5.

 

Backhand Half Volley Guide

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  • Note the “Lock” position of the shoulder turn and at the pelvic joint in picture 3. The uncoiling (“Roll”) begins in picture 4-5.

Although “Serve and Volley” players, who attack at the net immediately after the serve, are few and far between these days, volleys can be very important in finishing off a point and putting great pressure on your opponent. Due to racquet technology and physical fitness, players are hitting groundstrokes so powerfully and moving so quickly that it is very difficult for “Serve and Volley” players to get to the net quickly, unless their Serve or Approach Shot is impeccable.

The last effective “Serve and Volley” players were Patrick Rafter and Stefan Edberg, who were among the most graceful yet powerful movers at the net.

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