The volley is a weapon for the aggressive player, taking control of the net and dictating the point. Here’s a breakdown of the key elements for a successful volley, along with tips to elevate your net game and leave your opponent scrambling.

The Volley Breakdown:

  1. Grip: The Continental grip is ideal for volleys, offering a balanced feel for both forehand and backhand strokes. Hold the racquet with your thumb and index finger on the bevel (diagonal edge) of the handle for optimal control.

  2. Stance and Positioning: Approach the net with a balanced and stable stance, knees slightly bent. Stay light on your toes for quick movements and reactions. Position yourself close to the net, ideally just inside the service line, to intercept your opponent’s shots at a height that gives you angles to hit into the court with.

  3. Preparation: Keep your racquet head up with the face slightly open, ready to meet the incoming ball. Watch the ball intently, focusing on its trajectory and speed.  You should be able to see the upcoming ball and your racquet at all times.

  4. The Volley Motion: Use a short, controlled swing. Instead of a full arm extension, focus on a quick wrist and forearm motion to redirect the ball.

  5. Contact Point: Aim to hit the ball at its highest point in front of your body for better control.  The side edge of your racquet should be facing you during contact.  If your strings are in front of you on contact, you are too in front and not to the side enough. 

  6. Follow-Through: Keep your swing short and controlled, directing the volley towards your opponent’s open space or weakness.  Your strings should be facing up as well.

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Tips for Volleying Like a Pro

  • Footwork is Key: Develop quick and agile footwork to move laterally and adjust your position for optimal volley opportunities.  More specifically, push off with your back foot to hit your volleys with pace and control.
  • Be Aggressive: Don’t be afraid to approach the net! The closer you are, the less time your opponent has to react.
  • Focus on Soft Hands: Use a gentle touch to control the volley rather than swinging with excessive power.
  • Develop Volley Variations: Master the basic volley, then explore variations like the angle volley to surprise your opponent or the drop volley for a net attack.
  • Practice Makes Perfect: Dedicate time to practicing volleys with a partner or against a ball machine to hone your technique and reaction time.