View Full Version : How to change my game?
03-17-2004, 07:50 AM
I'm strictly a baseliner and only come to the net to shake hands at the end of the match (even in doubles).
I would like to add a volleying deminsion to my game...either by serving and volleying or by coming in more on balls that land short.
Does anyone have some advice as to the best way to try and incorporate this into my game?
Maybe some tips that have helped you become a better volleyer?
03-17-2004, 08:12 AM
I was like that when I first started playing tournaments many years ago. What has greatly improved my volleying was playing a lot more doubles and using the wall to get my volleys consistent by hitting volleys back and forth from the wall.
03-17-2004, 08:23 AM
Jay's advise is good. Even though you mostly play singles mix in some doubles. Be sure to come in to the net after your serves and returns to volley. 1 up 1 back doubles will do you no good in your quest.
Using the wall is a great way to work on your form. I have used the wall on the back of my house and in my garage to work on volleys and half-volleys. Practice the volley at different distances from the wall. You can practice as close as 3 ft. to as far back as you want. Make sure you are using the proper form and grips. Lastly take a playing lesson from a Pro with working on your transition and net play in mind.
03-17-2004, 09:18 AM
I agree, doubles will help you put the ball away with volleys. I have also used the wall, and it helped me get quicker hands. This is very simple, but watch the ball hit your strings. I always botch volleys when I find myself looking forward instead of at the point of contact.
It's also important to have the right racquet. If you have a head heavy racquet, which I believe baseliners prefer, you won't be able to manoeuver it at the net. I switched recently to the Head LM Radical, in part because it feels so good at net.
Benjamin, forgive me, I couldn't resist. I really admire the way you hold your own and take the jibbing on the racquets board. I think your students are lucky to have you.
I would strongly recommend a few hours with a pro before trying to learn the volley on your own. The foot work is also completely different from groundstrokes, and getting it right from the beginning will save you a lot of aggravation trying to match the right swing with the wrong footwork.
03-17-2004, 10:47 AM
Thanks for all the advice gentlemen. I'll start trying to come to the net more in doubles....although it is seriously against my religion :lol: . At least that way I don't have quiet as much of the court to cover and I can really focus on my footwork as you mention.
It seems as though when I get ready to volley, I always remember hearing this pro tell someone that you should have a very stiff wrist. It seems when I try to create that stiff wrist, I really tense up and the racquet head is even more unstable.
Do you know of any reason for this or if indeed you are supposed to have a very firm wrist?
I don't know if they're lucky to have me or not.....I kind of didn't restrain myself after a little extra ribbings from Phil on another part of this board. After being call a sandbagger and a sucker by him I had to let off a little steam.
Thanks again for all your help. I'll try and work on my foot movement, watching the ball, and getting to the net more in doubles.
03-17-2004, 10:52 AM
No worries Ben. There are just some people that are a little abrasive on the boards. Just brush them off like dirt on the shoulder. Anyways, I don't exactly know about stiff wrist, but definitely read on another post that you shouldn't lay it back if you use a continental grip for volleys. As for practicing, andfor is right about using the walls. The combinations are endless for practicing volleys; one I like to do is start at the service line and work my way in.
03-17-2004, 10:56 AM
Squeezing a bit when hitting the volley is not a bad thing. You shouldn't do the whole motion with tense muscles though.
03-17-2004, 12:23 PM
just some very basic things to keep in mind that have always helped me, even though i never really stayed only at the baseline...
1) before worrying about footwork, when you are coming in for whatever reason ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS try to keep the racquet head above your wrist. this means really getting into knee bends when you get some low balls. i used to have some pretty scuffed up knees learning to stay down for the low ones.
2) you were right (sort of) about the firm wrist. it is more of a firm wrist and steadying squeeze of the racquet handle a split second before you are about to hit.
3) it is MUCH easier to keep racquet out in front of you at all time when coming in for a volley. reason being you really dont need to "swing" per say with a volley. it is much easier to move your body into the ball and as you do so let the racquet begin to "cup" the ball. also, remember to keep the head of the racquet ahead of your wrist as well as it will greatly increase the feel of stability of the shot with your weight moving into it as well.
as far as footwork goes a ton of small quick steps to set up are the best way, and is exactly the same thing you should do at the baseline as well. the final foot work would be to begin to turn your body to whichever side you are hitting on (forehand/backhand) and step across further in that direction into the ball. lastly, continue to move in on the ball after you make contact meaning take another few small steps.
and the final step is get into the net as much as possible, this will help you get accustomed to it. rally with some people and just constantly come in every chance. it will help develope your confidence for a match.
The technical aspect obviously requires proper practice for you to hone your skills. Here are some things that have helped me on the mental side.
1. Attack the ball rather than react to it. When you commit to coming in for the volley, assume the ball is going to be hit within your reach. Don't waste a millisecond to process the decision of "If it's close enough, then I will hit it. If it's not within reach, then I will not hit it." If the opponent hits a near-perfect pass where only an instant reaction on your part will save the point, taking the time to make the decision of whether or not it's within reach can be the difference to whether you actually could have gotten it or not. This leads me to my next tip.
2. Don't be afraid of making a spectacular lunge for a volley... and end up swatting empty air. When you come up to net, sometimes you will get passed. Take it as a fact and get over it. There's no shame in getting passed. Don't worry about "If I had stayed back, I could have returned that last shot." Coming up to net is a gamble which increases the odds that the point will end on the next shot. Once again, perfectly segueing to my next tip.
3. Choose when to come in to volley wisely (in match time at least). Since coming in escalates the odds, you want to make sure you do it when they're in your favor. If you really have no feel or sense for approaching, just approach all of the time when you're practicing with a buddy. You'll get a feel for which of your opponents shots you can hit better approach shots off of, as well as what parts of the court you hit better approach shots from.
4. Approach shots are very important. No matter how good of a volleyer you are, if you come in to the net after hitting the opponent an easy sitter, you can expect to: a) get passed; b) get lobbed; c) get a fuzzy ball slammed down your throat. If you notice yourself consistenly having to go to rediculous lengths just to hit your volleys, you might want to consider if your approach shots are what you need to fix first. If you come in behind a good approach shot, you should be the one feeling in control of the point. Of course, even if you do hit a great approach shot and expect little more than a weak chipped floater back your way, don't get complacent and sloppy. Recall tip 1 and attack the ball and don't let up until you've taken the point.
5. Don't be afraid of getting hit by the ball. Assuming the opponent hits the ball from the baseline or further back, even if he nails it, unless it hits you in the face, it shouldn't be a big deal (unless you're 80 and you play guys 50 years younger than you :twisted: ). By the way, the odds of the ball hitting your crotch are too small to even consider. Aside from making you seem like a wuss, the problem with worring about getting hit is that if you're brain is trying to simultaneuosly process how to both hit a good volley as well as protect your body from what you mistakenly interpret to be an utlimate and untimely death, your brain's naturally going to give more focus to the "survival" response. Rather than thinking "I will asses the opponent's return and use the information to determine if it poses a threat to my livelyhood. If not, will hit a good volley," think "I will asses the opponent's return and use the information to return a good volley." It's kinda like tip 1.
There's my 2 cents.... and some change.
03-17-2004, 03:27 PM
INCREDIBLE ADVICE GUYS!!!
I had to print this post out so I can read and re-read it. The information you have given is fantastic. I'll try to start implementing some of these ideas and tips the next time I'm out on the court.
I may actually start looking forward to coming to the net. It will be a pleasure to see the shocked look on the faces of my playing buddies. They've played with me for about 7 years and know that I never come to the net.
Now this is what these boards are all about....getting A+ advice from a bunch of guys that truly love the game and enjoy helping others do the same.
I appreciate all the advice.
Hit 'em well.
03-17-2004, 08:38 PM
The shot before the volley is the most important shot. If you serve and volley, make sure you have a good serve regarding placement. Know the most likely replies to each serve you hit (out wide, down the T, etc.) and get in position to increase your odds by making the next shot even harder for the opponent. Dont look to end the point after your serve. Look to end the point after your first volley.
Your serve is used to produce a weak reply or a neutral reply. Your first volley is designed to get the opponent off balance or on the run for your putaway.
Obviously, if it is real weak then put it away after your serve.
Know the add court and duece court possible replies to your serve in different areas of the box that you serve to and which are the returners high percentage choices. Be in position for those and let them have the low percentage choice.
Like Momo said, if you get passed, pick up the ball and deal again. pressure can be a killer as the match progresses.
practise more. most 4.0 and below players when they pick up the balls around the net they show the opp their butt, walk back to the baseline and start practising their most comfortable shot.
The exact opposite should be done. after picking up the ball, practise volleys at the net, after all the balls are hit to the back fence, walk there and do the baseline thing again.
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