Half volley: is it a stroke or..

Discussion in 'Tennis Tips/Instruction' started by 5263, Jan 5, 2013.

  1. 5263

    5263 G.O.A.T.

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    Isn't the "half volley", a stroke technique? Or is it situation based?
    Thats how I learned it and this technique was normally used for balls when the
    player needed to make the shot quickly after the bounce and sometimes on the
    rise further from the deck.

    This writer below seems to think the half volley is situation and that the name
    is not very descriptive of the shot.
    Subtle issue, but curious what some of you thought.

    http://www.humankinetics.com/excerpts/excerpts/the-911-shot-of-tennis-the-half-volley

    I disagree with most of this article, and especially since I think the name is very
    properly descriptive of this "stoke".
    Imo the Half volley is mostly a volley that has been lengthened just a bit to
    provide some power and control, much like you would do on a volley when the
    ball comes slowly to be volleyed and you want to add power to the volley
    since the ball was coming so slow.
     
    Last edited: Jan 6, 2013
    #1
  2. psv255

    psv255 Professional

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    I've always considered (and consistently heard of) a half-volley to be a pickup directly off the bounce, with a shortened swing than one would normally employ on a groundstroke.

    I have never heard of it used with respect to a specific volley technique/stroke.
    Plus, wouldn't what you describe as a "lengthened" volley be too similar to a regular volley, save the firmness of the shot?

    EDIT: Some first videos that come up when searching for "half volley"

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=WAXezQCZmzI#t=116s
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cZ3nrVfNTOU
     
    Last edited: Jan 5, 2013
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  3. Say Chi Sin Lo

    Say Chi Sin Lo Legend

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    I look at it as an improvisation of the intended stroke.
     
    #3
  4. bhupaes

    bhupaes Professional

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    Half volleys in the baseline to no man's land area would require a full stroke, albeit with a shortened back swing. At least, that's how I hit it. A half volley near the net would be more like a touch shot, involving gentler pickup and placement, right? Not my forte...
     
    #4
  5. 5263

    5263 G.O.A.T.

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    Yes, but isn't that exactly my point and almost exactly what I said?
    Isn't it correct?
    thanks
     
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  6. 5263

    5263 G.O.A.T.

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    Right; and it seems many folks do, but

    see how you are combining 2 things.
    1. situation
    2. technique

    I'm thinking it is really just the technique, because you can use any type stroke
    to hit it right off the bounce, like a full swing; but that does not make that full
    swing a half volley does it, if the half volley was not used as the technique to
    play the ball.
    The situation is a short hop and short hop is not a technique.
    Seems many are automaticly linking the short hop situation with the technique of
    half volley. Mostly they are, but not always.
    subtle
     
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  7. tennis_balla

    tennis_balla Hall of Fame

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  8. 5263

    5263 G.O.A.T.

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    Not sure which side of this you are contributing to, but I see the vid as
    support for what I've been saying. Several of those Delpo baseline strokes were
    short hopped right off the deck with relatively full ground strokes, but imo,
    should not be called half volleys.
    Thanks for the excellent link.

    Fed made a nice half volley stroke though!
     
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  9. psv255

    psv255 Professional

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    Valid point, but wouldn't an overhead also be combining situation and technique (i.e. only when the ball is a certain height or in a certain position)?

    Nonetheless, the definition you bring forth just seems so starkly different from anything I've heard; at first it seemed like you were simply stating the def'n of a putaway volley! I guess semantics are irrelevant as long as we all understand each other...
     
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  10. 5263

    5263 G.O.A.T.

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    I guess there isn't a right or wrong here, but thought it interesting and wondered
    what others thought.
    thanks

    As to the overhead, I think it also is more of a technique and I often use it on
    certain type of shoulder high balls and even go to a knee in some odd cases,
    where I've gotten a weird bounce.
    I do think it can be of some importance to separate a situation from a stroke,
    to keep things straight for discussion and even in shot selection.
     
    #10
  11. Avles

    Avles Hall of Fame

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    Well here's what Merriam Webster has to say: http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/half-volley

    Your definition of "half volley" is reasonable, but if most people who hear the term immediately think "short hop" it's going to require some additional explanation when used your way. So it might be better to stick to common usage.

    Maybe worth noting that the two terms are used the same way in soccer-- volley means kicking the ball before ground contact, half-volley means kicking it on the short hop. In both cases they fundamentally refer to situations, not techniques (though the situations may call for particular techniques).

    I guess soccer got its terminology from tennis?
     
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  12. tennis_balla

    tennis_balla Hall of Fame

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    Fed's last shot was a half volley, that's what everyone calls it. Even commentators.
     
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  13. Mick3391

    Mick3391 Professional

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    Lets take your vocabulary and mincing words against my natural talent and HARD WORK AND FUN and see who comes out on top, are you joking? "Well a half drop blah side spin", are you joking?

    If you have to think about it that hard you can't play, and if you think you can come play me, even in horrible shape I've DESTROYED 5.5 players, would have Justin Bower, just PLAY ALL, DON'T LISTEN TO THIS NONSENSE.
     
    #13
  14. USS Tang

    USS Tang Rookie

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    For me, the half-volley is a very easy shot to make. It should come naturally to those who fielded short-hops in the infield in Little League, Pony League, etc. at a young age. The keys to a successful half-volley are:
    (1) Get the racket back as early as possible;
    (2) Keep the racket parallel to the court surface during the entire swing;
    (3) Hit the ball flat;
    (4) If the ball is coming fast, you may want to start your swing even before it has crossed the net;
    (5) Do not block the ball; continue with a full follow-through but one that remains parallel to the plane of the court surface;
    (6) Drive the ball deep; do not dink it; and
    (7) Remember timing is everything; the mechanics of the stroke are simple.
     
    #14
  15. Relinquis

    Relinquis Hall of Fame

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    why are you guys are trying to reinvent, or rename, the half-volley? surely tennis better served by teaching why it's important and how to do it.
     
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  16. 5263

    5263 G.O.A.T.

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    I don't know what our disconnect is here. Didn't I clearly agree that Fed's shot
    off that short hop was clearly half volley technique?
    I don't think anyone disagrees with that.

    The question I posed is more about Delpo's full strokes off the short hops at the BL.
    Those are not half volley technique and I wouldn't call them that; would you?
    But they do fit the definition we find when we google it with many sources.

    I'm also just raising the question, "Is it worth while to recognize and separate the
    difference between the half volley technique and the short hop situation"?
     
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  17. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

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    Just had a lesson on this. Spent some time on half-volleys from the mid-court -- which is a situation in which a lot of half-volleys have to be hit.

    Since I am already inside the court, I should be in my volley grip. When the ball would need to be half-volleyed, the pro had me make only one adjustment. I used my wrist to close the racket face (maintaining my Continental volley grip). Then, with no backswing, I could kind of guide the ball with a follow-through.

    I have to say, this really worked nicely. No need to change my grip. No balls that popped way up because of the Continental grip. It was easy to change the wrist a touch. I had excellent directional control.

    Now I just have to practice it and own it.
     
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  18. 5263

    5263 G.O.A.T.

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    This is the kind of stuff you often confuse, lol. Why do you relate this to your
    supposed tennis talent? Maybe you can "Destroy" at 5.5 while you're out of shape,
    but in what sport? :)

    We are talking about a coaching and communication point here; not a talent or
    who would win point. Using the correct word or words can be key working with
    students. So,
    I'm also just raising the question, "Is it worth while to recognize and separate the
    difference between the half volley technique and the short hop situation"?

    Have a link to vid of your amazing 5.5+ talent?
    I did love to ck it out, thanks.
     
    Last edited: Jan 6, 2013
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  19. 5263

    5263 G.O.A.T.

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    Simply, No.

    I'm just raising the question, "Is it worth while to recognize and separate the difference
    between the half volley technique and the short hop situation in tennis terminology"?
     
    #19
  20. 5263

    5263 G.O.A.T.

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    Excellent on topic post, but guess you and I had the advantage of our earlier
    discussion :)

    I don't think my OP was worded well enough for the speed readers coming thru.
    Anyway, I agree that I found several references that agree with your point.
    That is the main reason I started this thread. Personally I think it is worth
    separating the technique from the situation
    in this case, although there are
    other places like the volley where the name of the technique is also mostly
    about the situation of taking the ball out of the air.
    But even in the case of a normal volley, there are exceptions that require explaining,
    like an overhead smash, which can be taken out of the air as well;
    which can get confusing since you can have an overhead volley out of the
    air as well that is not a smash. :???:
     
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  21. tennis_balla

    tennis_balla Hall of Fame

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    I've never heard of the term short hop situation. Do you mean taking ball on the rise from baseline? Bit confused here sorry.
     
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  22. 5263

    5263 G.O.A.T.

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    The term is "short hop" which is a situation.

    short hop is taking the ball quickly after the bounce, therefore keeping the
    hop or bounce very short.

    make more sense?
     
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  23. 5263

    5263 G.O.A.T.

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    "short hop" is maybe always on the rise, but

    "on the rise" is not always a short hop and usually isn't.
     
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  24. tennis_balla

    tennis_balla Hall of Fame

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    I've always heard it referred to as "taking the ball on the rise". Interesting.
     
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  25. 5263

    5263 G.O.A.T.

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    And imo, this makes it worthwhile to discuss these terms. Did you play any
    baseball?
     
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  26. tennis_balla

    tennis_balla Hall of Fame

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    Nope, never played baseball besides in elementary school, phys ed.
     
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  27. 5263

    5263 G.O.A.T.

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    Nothing wrong with that.
    Short hop is just more descriptive and a subset taking it on the rise.
     
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  28. Ash_Smith

    Ash_Smith Hall of Fame

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    over here the "half volley" is a shot hit immediately after the bounce - always has been-always will! Like this...

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jo9ZLQMode0

    Whether it is hit with groundstroke technique of volley technique (like Radek) in situational. Andre used to hit plenty of half-volleys from the baseline off his backhand and Radwanska does it loads today.

    cheers
     
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  29. Ash_Smith

    Ash_Smith Hall of Fame

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    combined with post above...
     
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  30. 5263

    5263 G.O.A.T.

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    So you guys would call those full cuts by Delpo at the baseline which were
    clearly short hopped....half volleys?

    and always will? : )
     
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  31. Ash_Smith

    Ash_Smith Hall of Fame

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    ^^^dunno, havent seen them!? But if they're like those Agassi used to hit - then yes! We don't have the term "short-hop" over here (at least not that I have heard in 15 years of development and performance coaching), and nor did I hear it used in Spain. What are it's origins (if you are aware)???
     
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  32. 5263

    5263 G.O.A.T.

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    Likely baseball over here, but I can't say.

    You guys probably call them on the rise at the BL, even though they were taken very low.
    I can't imagine calling a full cut swing a half volley.
     
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  33. tennis_balla

    tennis_balla Hall of Fame

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    Who knows with those Brits, can't even drive on the right side of the road. Don't trust them!
     
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  34. Ash_Smith

    Ash_Smith Hall of Fame

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    Ahhh, baseball - like Rounders, but not as good :D

    "Half-volley" is hit immediately after the bounce, "on-the-rise" is generally a contact after the bounce but before the apex - still usually around waist height though.

    Cheers
     
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  35. 5263

    5263 G.O.A.T.

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    so no particular stroke then...just hit it anyway you want?

    Sort of odd since the term reflects it could be a half like a stroke technique
    called the volley.

    So do you teach a variety of ways to handle such a ball with different strokes?
     
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  36. treblings

    treblings Hall of Fame

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    so i can tell my students that when they are at the net they will likely face a no hop situation and can deal with it using a volley, smash, or ground stroke technique?
    worth thinking about
     
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  37. Ash_Smith

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    .......................
     
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  38. 5263

    5263 G.O.A.T.

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    Thats good, and why I started this thread. Just curious how people see this.
    Just seemed to me that since the term contained volley and the stroke technique
    I learned best for this, sort of was much like a volley...
    Thanks for your perspective here
     
    #38
  39. J011yroger

    J011yroger G.O.A.T.

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    In days past when players spent time between the baseline, and the net the half volley was a legitimate stroke which was drilled, taught and practiced because it was often used in matches.

    The way tennis is taught now the only reason a player would have to hit a half volley is because something went wrong, which is why it is seen as more as an improvised thing now.

    I see it with kids all the time these days.

    Jolly: "Did anyone every teach you how to hit a half volley?"

    Kid: *Blank stare*

    Where players of old would hit a half volley and come in, younger players just stay back and hit a groundstroke.

    J
     
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  40. Avles

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    Just to take this thread further into pedantry, it turns out that the first recorded use of "half-volley" (in 1843) was in reference to cricket (a ball bouncing just reaching before the batsman or fieldsman) So it's possible that both tennis and soccer adopted the term from cricket.

    On the other hand the term "volley" goes back to Real Tennis (first recorded use 1596). But it originally referred to the flight of the incoming ball, not the stroke used to hit it (Shots were hit "at the volley" meaning "on the fly.") It appears that the use of "volley" to describe the shot itself comes from the 19th century.

    Short hop probably is a baseball term, that's where I've heard it. It was the best equivalent I could think of for the half-volley situation.
     
    #40
  41. rkelley

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    I didn't have a big problem with the article. I agree that it's not a stroke I want to be hitting a lot. OTHO if you're coming forward it's a stroke you're going to hit some times. You can't be afraid to hit it. Personally if I'm hitting a lot of half volleys then I take that to mean something's wrong. I'm coming in on the wrong shots, not doing enough with my serve, something.

    Technique-wise it's a mix. I hit the shot with a continental grip on either side and always one handed, so it's more like a volley. But the stroke mechanics is more like a very shorten ground stroke.
     
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  42. rkelley

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    Mick, you seem like a nice guy. You obviously care about your son. I'd encourage you to reread your post.
     
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  43. 5263

    5263 G.O.A.T.

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    Thanks Avles, interesting info.
     
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  44. TennisCJC

    TennisCJC Legend

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    I thought the article had a few insights like players not wanting to hit half volleys but I did not find it really helpful. It described a half volley and stated they are pretty much a pain in the asse, but no real instruction.

    If I am at the baseline, I play half-volleys off the short hop - bend the knees to get the hands down to the ball. Small backswing, a bit of top on the FH and a bit of slice on the BH, with a full follow-thru.

    If I am in volley position or moving to volley position, I play it with nearly no backswing and a bit of follow thru. Amost always slice BH, FH will be either a touch of slice or a rather flat pick-up with maybe a touch of top.
     
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  45. luvforty

    luvforty Banned

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    5263 -

    half-volley is the most important shot in tennis..... prove me wrong.
     
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  46. 5263

    5263 G.O.A.T.

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    Looks like in the end, the players, coaches, and references seem to mostly
    side with the half volley being any ball that is short hopped right off the deck,
    pretty much regardless of how the stroke looks.
    Doesn't make a lot of sense to me, but it is what it is.
    Thanks for the replies and references :)
     
    #46
  47. J011yroger

    J011yroger G.O.A.T.

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    Just because almost everyone says or thinks something, doesn't make it right.

    J
     
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  48. tennis_balla

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    Prove that statement right...
     
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  49. treblings

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    i can play the half volley with different techniques depending mostly on where on the court i play it. for me it´s mainly an improvised shot.
    near the net i will probably have prepared for a volley, so i will likely use a conti grip and change the angle of the racquethead to play the ball.
    at or near the baseline i will probably have prepared for a groundstroke with the appropriate grip, so i will play more or less a groundstroke.
    now of course you can call what i know as half volley a short hop.
    and then find alternate names for the technique you use.

    i just don´t see the advantage for my players, but i´m open to good arguments
     
    #49
  50. 5263

    5263 G.O.A.T.

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    He's just popping off again. That is about the 4th shot he has stated as the
    most important, maybe 5th.
    It's just important to him that people think the Fh is not the most important
    shot it seems.
     
    #50

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