Any good volleyers?

Discussion in 'Tennis Tips/Instruction' started by GuyClinch, Apr 6, 2014.

  1. GuyClinch

    GuyClinch Hall of Fame

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    My forehand volley has been really floating lately and it doesn't have enough zip in general. Any good volleyers have some tips on this.. I find my backhand volley is way more solid then my forehand. It just feels like the continental grip leads to a racquet face that's so open on the forehand side.
     
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  2. NLBwell

    NLBwell Legend

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    Check your wrist position when you hit.
     
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  3. forthegame

    forthegame Hall of Fame

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    I'm a very poor volleyer! Can't punch either the FH or BH. I have a great wingspan and people expect me to be good at the net but naa, I'm allergic and value my eyeballs. Mean bunch, these tennis players, can't take any chances.
     
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  4. aimr75

    aimr75 Hall of Fame

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    I had a free coaching voucher through the club I go to and the coach (former D1 female player) gave the following advice on volleys:

    - Keep the whole thing more compact, keep the elbows tighter to the body
    - Keep the racquet as much as possible above the hand. If the ball gets lower, bend lower, don't drop the racquet if you can help it
    - step in to the shot where possible unless jammed

    These tips helped a lot for me
     
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  5. WildVolley

    WildVolley Legend

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    Don't know that I'm a good volleyer these days, but I'll chime in. Floating the volley means either you are keeping the face too open, or you are trying to slice the volley too much.

    Try to get a little shoulder turn, but not crank the shoulders back like on a forehand ground stroke. The swing should be through the ball. To control it, try to have some downward motion and don't open the face too much. Think of bringing the racket forward and in as though you are going down a fairly flat escalator. But really it is mostly about just getting the racket in front of the ball and going through it.

    You can get a feel for putting punch-power on the volley by working it against a wall. Solid contact and hitting through the ball is going to put plenty of pace. Because you are so close to the net, you're going to get winners or force weak replies if you don't get under it and pop it up.
     
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  6. Zolar

    Zolar New User

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    You should maybe look at not worrying so much about using a "true" continental grip. I think a lot of pros cheat over about halfway between an eastern forehand and a continental. The higher the ball, the more towards an eastern forehand. I tried it and it helped.
     
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  7. boramiNYC

    boramiNYC Hall of Fame

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    your body should be turned more toward the sideways while your head is watching the incoming ball. This will close the racquet face more. Once you figure out the correct shoulder angle where your arm and hand are in good control and can hit solidly, you can have more freedom with the hips and legs to add weight to the ball.
     
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  8. GuyClinch

    GuyClinch Hall of Fame

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    Interesting. But what happens when a ball is hit to your backhand - you have to switch again right?
     
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  9. GuyClinch

    GuyClinch Hall of Fame

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    So less sideways makes your racquet open up more? Which shoulder and what angle? I don't follow that part.
     
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  10. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Post 6 and use a longer backswing and swing for backhand volleys.
     
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  11. Supertegwyn

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    I heard some Pat Rafter technique where he tries to get his eye to the ball when he is vollying, I found that helped me. Dunno if it will for you but that's just an idea.
     
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  12. Ash_Smith

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    Video, or all of the above is pointless :)
     
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  13. ProgressoR

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    When my Fh volley pops up due to open face, I find the most common reason is late contact, not making contact far out infront enough.
     
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  14. TennisCJC

    TennisCJC Legend

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    1. wrist lays back a bit with conti grip - doesn't have to be extreme conti and can be between EFH and conti - experiment.
    2. racket and hand never go back behind hitting shoulder
    3. keep racket head up above hand on high and medium balls. Bend at knees for medium and low balls by taking a wider stance between your feet. It is ok for racket head to go below hand on low volleys but the angle between the racket head and forearm stays roughly the same. Low volley contact point is closer to your core than hi volley contact point
    4. move forward to intercept ball and make about an 8-12" motion forward with your hand but the motion initiates from the shoulder. The hand will move 8-12" only. Say the word STOP as you volley.
    5. racket slightly open at contact - less open on hi balls and more open on low balls
    6. the 8-12" motion has a slight outside to inside across the ball feel. Think of making contact on the outside of the ball and having the motion go toward the inside of the ball
    7. on very low balls, the face opens more and also keep the outside contact to inside follow thru thing going - get an across feel to the contact with open face on low balls
    8. on stretch volleys - do less, just extend and get the strings in front of the ball with a firm contact - no punch, just stretch and catch with block with no or very little motion - you are playing goalie on stretch volleys and just trying to save the ball from going past you.
     
    Last edited: Apr 7, 2014
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  15. Zolar

    Zolar New User

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    I have really drilled down with some high level players regarding the details, and they all agree that there is some slight movement of the lower part of the palm of the hand. So that the pad just below the index finger will remain in the same place, but there might be a slight rotation with the bottom part of the hand.

    That being said, unless your reflexes are lightning quick, it is definitely possible to get caught without the perfect grip. I think some players, though, cheat their grip a little in anticipation of where a volley SHOULD go, not just where it COULD go. For example, if my opponents' best shot (according to positioning or whatever) is a passing shot to my right, I might cheat over towards an eastern forehand just a little. Seems I can hit the volley a little better from this grip. I'm just playing the percentages. Maybe my first volley from this spot will be really strong and surprise him and he'll go to my backhand next time, but I know he just might be trying that. Becomes a cat and mouse game.

    I don't know if I can ever learn the one magical grip that is equally strong on each wing.

    In
     
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  16. Devil_dog

    Devil_dog Semi-Pro

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    Very good suggestions! Especially the part about keeping the racquet head above the hand.
     
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  17. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Sure, a forehand volley and a backhand volley involve a very slight shift in the angle between forearm and racket, not like a actual grip change.
    And yes, most top volleyers do use a form between conti and eFOREhand for all their volleys.
    Something like, for a forehand volley, the angle between forearm and racket might be around 45 degrees, while a backhand volleys get's closer to a 60 degrees, or more perpendicular angle.
    And of course, the backhand volley get's MORE shoulder turn, longer stroke, to boot.
     
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  18. jz000

    jz000 New User

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    How close should you be at the net initially after a hard hit from the baseline?
    How close should you end up?
    Should you always try for a slice?
     
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  19. Long Face

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    I heard a theory of volleying with your racquet slightly higher to the ball, so the string bed hits the upper part of the back of the ball, and it does not float.

    This technique requires that you hold the racquet higher in the ready position, and hit down on the ball in front of you. When you see pros warm up before a match, they hit a few easy and relaxed volleys, which look like the one I described.
     
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  20. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    My GOD!
    Both the above posters sound like total beginners!
    Previous poster, ALL volleys are hit with some downward racket movement, and an underspin imparted to the ball.
    Above previous poster, there are NO set rules in tennis. Everything DEPENDS where you are, how fast you are, how afraid of lobs you are, and how well you can volley balanced with the strengths and weaknesses of your opponent and his tendencies when force to face a net player.
     
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  21. Long Face

    Long Face Rookie

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    You're right. I often make the mistake of hitting the ball a little too low, so the ball sails towards the baseline and sometimes goes long. I have been trying to hit a little more up-down in my volleys.

    I used to hate volleying my balls into the net, thus the counter effect. And preparation is another factor, I guess.
     
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  22. jz000

    jz000 New User

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    Yup, just trying to learn the basics.
    Thanks for answering the question about the slice, though. Because I've seen pros use topspin at times, but told myself maybe I shouldn't get conditioned into it in the beginning.
     
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  23. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    The pros you saw are not volleying. They are using a topspin volley, which is really a full swinging GROUNDSTROKE hit before the ball bounces, taken in the air.
    You have to separate a real volley from a 1/2 volley from a full swinging volley.
    Just like you need to separate technique for a flat serve, a slice serve, a topspin serve, a top/slice serve, and a twist serve.
     
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  24. jz000

    jz000 New User

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    Thanks for the clarifications.

    I didn't mean this for the topspin volley:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_k0khMT9j7U

    But I now know that this is called a topspin volley :p

    I was originally referring to a normal volley hit with a little topspin.
     
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  25. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    The vid shows putaway practice, not volley practice.
    A normal volley can putaway the ball just as effectively, although a huge grip change and swing technique change is required, something not taught to most juniors nowadays.
    A volley with slight topspin is called a "BEGINNER trying to hit a volley".
    DON'T hit a volley with slight topspin....unless you want to blow important points using a technique that is known not to work under pressure.
     
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  26. 5263

    5263 G.O.A.T.

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    Good sign Imo that Bh volley is better. Hopefully it shows better technique habit of working across at contact. This helps with net clearance, which in turn helps with controlling pace. Fh takes more work to learn to "work across it" at contact.
     
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  27. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Prevailing thought back in the late '70's, when I was learning to volley, was to make your forehand volley automatic, then you adjust for EVERY backhand volley with a longer turn, longer takeback, and more forward downward swing.
     
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  28. SpinToWin

    SpinToWin G.O.A.T.

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    I must admit LeeD, I'm as shocked as you about the lack of understanding and knowledge of the correct volley technique…
     
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  29. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Can we attribute the lack of volleying skills to player's like Connors, Agassi, Lendl, Borg, Chang, who consistently stayed at the baseline and moved their opponent's back and forth along their baseline, then possess superior passing shot skills and a proponent to hit low dipping shots at approaching player's?
    Junior coming up in the ranks not named Sampras just adopted the baseline game, didn't care to learn playing the whole court, and practice baseline bashing on their way from junior to pro's.
     
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  30. Maximagq

    Maximagq Banned

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    Think of a volley like cutting an apple. A good way to practice is to volley against a wall and it helps to develop wrist strength.
     
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  31. Topspin Shot

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    Like Cara. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_cThQIhFSZk
     
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  32. Maximagq

    Maximagq Banned

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    That's exactly what I was thinking of.
     
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  33. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Yes, good practice to practice your volleys holding throat of your racket and hitting flat.
    It IS good to be TO reflex volley shoulder high shots, and practice IS needed.
    That is one example of specific volley practice, specifically a reflex volley when the opponent unexpectedly volleys into your body.
    But, 90% of your volleys are hit farther outside the box, and most of you use a 1hbh slice underspin volley.
     
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  34. coaching32yrs

    coaching32yrs Semi-Pro

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    Aimr75 had good suggestions. Also, there are different types of volleys depending on the pace of the incoming ball. The less pace, the more you have to do and the bigger your swing. On a fast ball a block will suffice with a bit of forward movement. Many players don't do enough with the slow hit ball and try to do too much with the fast ball.
     
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  35. comeback

    comeback Professional

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    Nobody has mentioned that there is sometimes a grip change to the continental on volleys. For righthanders there is a slight 1/8 inch turn to the right on the forehand volley. Use your left hand to help turn it.
    For the backhand volley, it's a strict continental but if you were hitting a forehand volley then you have to get back there (to continental).
    My personal volleying technique is pushing the forehand volley like closing a desk file draw. My backhand volley is more like a quicker 5 inch slice.
    As someone else mentioned, the faster the incoming ball the more you block volley. The slower the incoming ball the longer your volley stroke becomes.
     
    Last edited: May 1, 2014
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  36. diggler

    diggler Professional

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    We all seem to have different ideas!

    I c.ock my wrist open on the forehand. I try to keep the full face pointed at the ball through the entire stroke. That way there is more chance of solid contact.

    I don't try to slice volleys. I prefer my forehand volley.

    I think Todd Woodbridge is a good example. Won heaps of doubles tournaments with good technique instead of power.

    By the way, why does this website not allow the word c.ock?
     
    Last edited: May 2, 2014
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  37. 5263

    5263 G.O.A.T.

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    You may have a great volley and better than mine, but your comments would tend to make me think otherwise, especially in regard to technique.

    Imo the volley should generally be a more compact section of the slice that occurs around the contact, so it should have some slice on it and the Bh would generally be a bit easier to accomplish with good technique.
     
    Last edited: May 2, 2014
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  38. Nellie

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    Usually, when I see people struggling with volleys, they are trying to swing down and through at the ball too much to "cut" under the ball, almost like a drop volley. This is especially tough from the forehand side because you tend to contact too far back, opening the racquet face and floating the volley.

    The volley motion is mostly from torso with a small wrist motion (is similar to opening a door knob).

    I like to practice keeping my elbow tucked to my side (try holding a ball/towel between your elbow and side and see if you can volley without dropping the ball/towel) to minimize swinging from the shoulder during the volley.
     
    #38
  39. GoudX

    GoudX Professional

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    I tried this and your instructions must not have been clear enough as now I have apple all over my racquet and the wall. Plus my doubles partner isn't too happy about the knife sticking out of his thigh from my last lunge volley attempt.
     
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  40. mightyrick

    mightyrick Hall of Fame

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    I have collected tips from various people. I really haven't innovated anything. Here's a few things that I always try keep in mind when volleying.

    • Always use a backhand volley if someone takes a body shot at you
    • Firm wrist. No passiveness.
    • Focus on L hitting-arm shape
    • Continental grip only
    • Weight slightly forward and make contact out in front. Do NOT let the ball "come to you". You must have an attitude of going forward and getting the ball.
    • Bent knees always.
    • Your chin should be kept down and your head should close to the racquet head at contact.
     
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  41. jz000

    jz000 New User

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    I did a lot of serve and volleys yesterday during a couple of practice sets. I would serve out wide deuce side (I'm a righty), and my partner would slice high to my backhand every return. I can only put away a few of those balls. Other times I hit right to him and get lobbed.

    Is there a good technique for high backhand volleys? I try changing grip depending on how high the ball is, and stepping forward, but will shank the ball. Do I just have to keep my head still and on the ball? Also the lights get in the way too when we played at night.
     
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  42. boramiNYC

    boramiNYC Hall of Fame

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    For high bh volleys you have to turn to the side even more for good contact and control. An extreme example is pros hit the bh overheads with their back almost completely turned toward the opponent. But make sure you position yourself correctly depending on the height of contact. The higher the ball you'll have to place yourself more underneath the ball since your arm moves in a arc as it adjusts for high contact.
     
    #42
  43. 5263

    5263 G.O.A.T.

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    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qju-1MOj9cg#t=13
    I like form much like this...
    Notice how these volleys are very much like shorter slices?
    See how on the Fh volley his elbow is pulled into the torso and the hand always leads/drags the racket...no throwing/pushing the racket head....
     
    #43
  44. diggler

    diggler Professional

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    There seem to be lots of tips about where to put your arm, bending knees etc. Isn't the important thing the racket face?
     
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  45. PMChambers

    PMChambers Professional

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    I think the hardest part of a volley is practicing the volley. Finding someone to feed you a decent ball is very hard unless you're getting coached. Most people I hit with see you at net and either practice not hitting the ball to you or drilling winners (mainly losers) at/near you.

    If you have access to a ball machine get it out and practice 100 forehand and backhand volleys. Tweak the speed, height and spin every 20 balls and then practice FH - BH sequence. Most people don't get enough volley practice to develop touch and make it "natural", unlike baseline play where you get to hit 100's of FH & BH.

    If after 2 sessions you still struggle see a coach for volley class or video it and review. Most mistakes on the volley is due to over playing the ball like a ground shot. Practice and video then post for comment.
     
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  46. OTMPut

    OTMPut Hall of Fame

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    Johnny Mac won't fit many of the above "form" tips.

    There are only two fundamentals: contact point out in front and open racquet face.

    Everything else is more style and at best aids the above two.

    Hit a lot of balls. Start with slicing off both wings on first bounce while playing mini tennis. Hit a thousand balls like that. Then hit another thousand taking the ball on full. Practice consciously, noting when you get a "nice feel". Then you will develop the feel for the two fundamentals.

    Sounds trite. Yes but most self help tips are.
     
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  47. PhrygianDominant

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    This.

    If I go to net most of my opponents won't cooperatively rally in the warm up. It's like they have a point to make or something. Granted I am the best net player of my usual partners, so I don't know what that point is, but I digress.

    Most of the low level guys at my club either won't, can't, or don't know to rally cooperatively with one guy at net. They don't place the ball at a consistent height over the net, stand too close or on the baseline so they are rushed by even mid depth volleys, and they drill it as hard as they can.

    If you get a chance to play up with better players or have time with a coach get your volleys in, because that is scarce.
     
    #47
  48. SystemicAnomaly

    SystemicAnomaly G.O.A.T.

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    Jeff Salzenstein talks about this aspect of Rafter's volleys in one of his vids. Actually, he stressed keeping the head close to the (racket) head for most volleys. Jeff S also talks about choking up slightly on the grip at the net. Many players who like to hold the grip with the pinkie finger at the bottom edge bottom of the grip for groundstrokes. These players should move the hand up a bit for netplay according to Jeff.

    [​IMG]

    Pat Rafter, one of the last of the great S&V players, also did not use a standard continental grip for many of his volleys. Instead, he used a semi-continental grip for his volleys on both the FH side and the BH side (see image above).

    OTOH, many elite volleyers will employ a standard conti grip (or very close to it) for the BH but make a minor grip change to a semi-continental (or even more Eastern) for many of their FH volleys. Many players find the semi-conti grip stronger and less awkward for the FH volley.

    http://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/showthread.php?p=6341508#post6341508
    http://www.usta.com/Improve-Your-Game/Instrcution/Strokes-and-Techniques/Volleys/

    http://www.fuzzyyellowballs.com/video-tennis-lessons/net-play/volleys/grip/
    http://tennis.about.com/od/volleyoverheadothershots/a/volley-grip-choices.htm
     
    Last edited: Jul 22, 2015
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  49. spun_out

    spun_out Rookie

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    IIRC, the OP is a high level player so I am assuming that the basics are there. If so, then I am inclined to give the opposite advice to many of the above that tout fundamentals. My volleys got significantly better when I started to focus on my right hand and imagine putting action on the ball with it.
     
    #49
  50. fuzz nation

    fuzz nation Legend

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    I agree with boramiNYC - post #42 - in terms of closing up (turning further to the backhand side) for those high backhand volleys. That's a relatively weak position, so look to develop placement with that shot over power.

    There is an alternative to consider though. When the ball is high on the backhand side, but not so high that you need to turn and chase it down, there's a rather simple two-handed shot that can put the ball away with much more zip than a one-handed shot.

    The reach for the high two-handed drive is just a little shorter than the one-handed option and I've found that it's also rather easy to hit with accuracy once we get familiar with it. The best way to describe the move is to think of taking a rather closed stance and then throw the racquet over your shoulder through the ball (over the right shoulder for a righty). I do this with a typical two-handed backhand grip, but I should add that my natural backhand is a one-hander.

    The trick to controlling this shot is finding the contact point. Once I recognize the slow floater over my backhand side, I usually only need to take a quick step or two backward to position myself behind the ball. Then I throw the racquet over my shoulder - sometimes I'll tap myself on the back with my follow through when I do this. I've even had fun using this shot when I've run down a deep lob that bounces up high in the backhand corner. I just set up under the ball after it bounces and use the same move.

    If you experiment with this shot and it frustrates you, don't let it drive you nuts. I've talked to a few players over recent years who have also used this shot though, and in every case, they pretty much figured it out on their own. It can be a great alternative to that weaker one-hander when the ball gets up high on that backhand side, but it takes a little noodling to figure it out.
     
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