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View Full Version : Volleying the high ball ... why such a difficult shot?


Davis937
12-28-2009, 12:47 AM
... ended up playing five sets of doubles today (three regular sets and two pro sets) ... it was really a good day, and I played well ... I noticed today (although I've noticed before) that I have a very difficult time trying to volley a high ball above my shoulder or my head ... it looks like a sitter ... very sweet ... very reachable ... but, invariably I hit it late and the resultant volley is long ... sometimes, very long which means I was quite late with my hit ... for me, at least, it's a very difficult shot ... any advice? Thanks in advance for your suggestions ...

Noveson
12-28-2009, 01:04 AM
Most likely you're either taking a big swing because it looks like an easy ball, or taking back your wrist to smack it, which often results in ill timed shots. Try to get the feeling of your take back not passing the plane of your body.

paulfreda
12-28-2009, 03:03 AM
Your waiting position may be too low.
It is much easier to drop the racquet to get a low ball than it is to raise it to get a high ball.
Waiting with the frame at least to the nose/eye level might make it easier to get to the ball with good timing.

Also, I have a rule that if I am lowering the racquet to volley, I open the face, and
if I am raising the frame to volley, I turn my forearm to close it a bit.
This brings low balls up and high ball down.

Hope that helps

larry10s
12-28-2009, 06:41 AM
... ended up playing five sets of doubles today (three regular sets and two pro sets) ... it was really a good day, and I played well ... I noticed today (although I've noticed before) that I have a very difficult time trying to volley a high ball above my shoulder or my head ... it looks like a sitter ... very sweet ... very reachable ... but, invariably I hit it late and the resultant volley is long ... sometimes, very long which means I was quite late with my hit ... for me, at least, it's a very difficult shot ... any advice? Thanks in advance for your suggestions ...

my pro likes to call this shot the sucker ball especially if its a floater. its not high enough for a overhead and looks like a sitting duck. as mentioned above the biggest mistake with this is taking too big a backswing so the ball goes long or into the net

raiden031
12-28-2009, 06:48 AM
I noticed its easy for your technique to break down on a high volley, especially on the backhand side. Its weird because low volleys are supposed to be harder, but I rarely botch a low volley because my technique breaks down. Its more that I miss a low volley because the incoming ball is just too difficult, whereas I always botch high volleys that I should be putting away.

86golf
12-28-2009, 07:34 AM
where are you standing when you hit these? One step forward from the svc line?

In many cases, the reason we hit these late is that split sec doubt in ones mind that the ball may go out. By the time you realize it is "your" ball and you volley it, you've waited too late. Be sure your partner is helping by verbally warning you on balls that are going out. The net players that are good at this tend to be very aggresive and hit balls that may go long in their court. They've already made the decision to volley anything they can reach. This is assuming you aren't standing too close to net already.

W Cats
12-28-2009, 08:51 AM
Before getting into to much detail about technique, if you are consistently hitting them long, if the ball traveling just before contact is on an upward trajectory, don't forget to take in the account the angle of reflection.

SirSweetSpot
12-28-2009, 08:55 AM
You're actually in the minority, most players hit the high volley too short, because they see more of the opponents' court, thus having a tendency to hit down or chop down at the ball.

It's best to hit the high volley long, then start to dial it in.

Noveson is spot-on though, you're viewing it as a ridiculously easy sitter so your takeback is probably too long, thus your follow-through as well.

Ripper014
12-28-2009, 09:51 AM
Prep early... and keep your shot short and sweet.. as others have said try not to overhit. But prepare early... with a short stroke.

Cindysphinx
12-28-2009, 12:03 PM
In many cases, the reason we hit these late is that split sec doubt in ones mind that the ball may go out. By the time you realize it is "your" ball and you volley it, you've waited too late. Be sure your partner is helping by verbally warning you on balls that are going out. The net players that are good at this tend to be very aggresive and hit balls that may go long in their court. They've already made the decision to volley anything they can reach. This is assuming you aren't standing too close to net already.

Yep, that's it for me. I am much less likely to miss these balls if I am being active and aggressive (like, if we are behind and I am feeling desperate). I am more likely to miss them in mixed -- I'm trying to play conservatively and let more balls through to my partner, and the ball is often moving faster. Late, late, late.

I think the problems come from being late rather than early. Late has the contact point farther back, so the racket face is more open. True?

Davis937
12-28-2009, 07:54 PM
... thanks for the comments and suggestions ... yes, I think my volley take back is a little too large on those high balls ... I definitely need to work on better preparation ... I liked the tip about closing my racquet face a bit on the high volley ... yes, I prefer those low volleys which I handle pretty well ... I'm not afraid to bend down low and get my knees dirty ... I actually like those low volleys ... it's just those #### high volleys ... well, no one said the game would be easy!

Steady Eddy
12-28-2009, 08:19 PM
I don't think it is a difficult shot. What I hate is the low volley, one that barely goes over the net, and is below the net when you're volleying it. The high volley you can hit down on. Maybe you're trying to do too much with it. Just hit it firmly and deep, (you don't need to totally kill it), and that will be all you need.

zerox277
12-28-2009, 08:42 PM
well if it's a 'floater' wait for it to drop and bomb a forehand. or just drop it crosscourt and be ready for a volley if they return it.

Spinz
12-29-2009, 02:28 PM
Surprised no one has said this outright yet although Cindy implied it. Movement is the key to this shot. You have to be super aggressive with your feet. Most people are not taught to have aggressive footwork at the net but a shot like this demands it. Have your coach or friend feed you some high balls - really concentrate on having a high racquet ready position - focus on seeing the ball come off your opponents racquet and then MOVE to that ball and take a couple of steps through it. This shot can be really easy if you move your feet, and you see (very important) and react to the ball.

It helps if you can find a teaching pro who is actually a serve and volley or net rusher who played for money because they know all of the volley zones. If they didn't learn it, they didn't win. That coach will also know that you cant overdo it with the feet on this shot.

Spinz
12-29-2009, 02:40 PM
by the way i have always struggled with this shot which is why I know so much about how to fix it. And even knowing that, I have to practice it or I lose it very fast.

LeeD
12-30-2009, 09:40 AM
I see the high volley differently, maybe because I'm an old, barely moving player nowadaze.
On those shots, your body is extended, you have more leverage, you don't need to move your feet at all. Just tighten up the whole kinetic chain, and the tiny swing with long leverage, using torso thru shoulders, can hit a winner if placed deeper than the service line, and away from the backcourter.
I think footwork and forward movement is overrated, as it only works on slow balls, and we're not worried about slow balls.
It's the "in or out" medium paced high balls we're worrying about, and those, you don't have time to move forwards, probably because you were really expecting a much lower return?
And making the judgement between hitting it or letting it go out comes into play, freezing your mind a millisecond.

Tennisman912
12-30-2009, 11:12 AM
In a few words, it is poor technique which hurts most. The two most important things are not over hitting it as suggested, and also very importantly, not adding some wrist snap trying to hit it harder. Keep the wrist back and firm like normal volley. Most over swing thinking they need to add a lot of power but the stroke is not much longer than a normal volley. You slice mostly through and a bit down through the shot. How much you swing down varies based on how high the ball is and your intended target. All these shots have a bit of slice or underspin on them. It is a timing shot and most don’t keep the wrist out of the shot (and thus the inconsistency creeps in and why they hit one good and miss 4 and more importantly, don’t have the control of the shot they want). Most lower level players try to add some wrist to “help,” which actually does more harm than good.

One other tip that feeds into using no wrist is don’t swing across your body (if you do, you invariably add wrist). Hit through the ball on your FH side and don’t allow the short follow through to come across the body. That will really help you not use your wrist and with a little practice from a buddy, you will be hitting them solidly and accurately in no time.

Good tennis

TM

naylor
12-30-2009, 12:09 PM
... it is poor technique which hurts most... Keep the wrist back and firm like normal volley... the stroke is not much longer than a normal volley... It is a timing shot... keep the wrist out of the shot... Most lower level players try to add some wrist to “help,” which actually does more harm than good... Hit through the ball...

Second that. It's not a strong shot of mine, so if I can I let the ball drop down to a more comfortable height, but I managed to nail two (one FH, one BH) high ones in my last match and I was quite pleased!!!

The key is to execute a normal volley punch with a firm wrist when the rackethead is so high. Because your arm is extended, as you punch the rackethead trajectory is slightly downwards, so that will bring the ball down - and therefore you don't need to hinge down your wrist to achieve that (if you use your wrist, you're likely to catch the ball high in the stringbed, or even frame it). And on a high forehand you tend to be quite square to the net so you have to concentrate on punching forward and through the ball (rather than across, as Tennisman also advised you should not do).

It's a placement shot, deep to the baseline between the opposition players. Punch it, don't force. Don't expect a winner, but if you play it correctly it often turns into one.

Davis937
12-30-2009, 02:12 PM
... thanks for the additional tips! When I started this thread I neglected to mention that this "high" ball is not a floater ... medium to high pace ... the shoulder height ball will definitely land in the court ... somemtimes, the higher head height ball is "iffy" (not sure if it will land in or out of the court ... but it's close) ... so that causes some hesitation ... and ... results in a late shot with my ball landing outside the baseline ... a big factor, and someone intimated this in their post, is that it is not a shot that we practice routinely... consequently, when faced with this shot ... we have no "feel" and we're not sure what our stroke "cues" should be (... more a matter of hit-or-miss ... and we all know how those shots turn out)!

tennismaster21
12-30-2009, 05:54 PM
well, i would say, either when the opponent hit the high ball, the other player, or in this case, you, would have a habit of trying to smash the ball, but what i would do, is take a few steps back away from the ball, and get your racket ready, just like you are about to hit a topspin, start by having your racket at about your shin level, and once the ball comes down and it is about around your waist level, swing your racket, and make a topspin volley, that is how i would return it, although, the whole time ive been playing tennis, ive never done that, because no one has ever hit a high lob to me. so yeah. hope this helps, and you can return that shot. and one more thing, make sure to get your timing right, when the ball comes down from its peak of the lob, so you can get ready to hit it back.

fruitytennis1
12-30-2009, 07:54 PM
This is the volley you want to hit a soft angle shot on. At least thats what im getting out of its disscription.