How to hit half-volley at the service line?

Discussion in 'Tennis Tips/Instruction' started by crystal_clear, Jul 28, 2009.

  1. crystal_clear

    crystal_clear Professional

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    I seem to have a big swing and miss the ball landing around service line all the time. Are there any drills I can practice half-volley with small swing?

    I found many recreational players play either at baseline or at the net. They are not comfortable hit balls at the service line. I need to learn how to handle balls at the service line if I want to serve and volley or play more attacking game by moving up.

    Appreciate any imput.
     
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  2. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Short underspin volley stroke with a long followthru. Always aim for the back baseline, since you're already on the defensive...do not dink it over, as it will go short into the net.
    Turn fully sideways if the ball is to either side of you. Incoming ball into your body, really hit it firm and deeper than you think, as you almost always tend to mishit it slightly.
    I like to aim maybe 1' higher than the net, but deep into the opponent's court....you WILL mishit it some, and the ball usually lands shorter than you want.
     
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  3. crystal_clear

    crystal_clear Professional

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    Thanks LeeD~ What does "dink" mean?
     
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  4. crystal_clear

    crystal_clear Professional

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    I kind of know why I can't hit forehand half-volley as my swing is too big. Does anyone know drills to practise forehand with small swing or with no swing at all?
     
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  5. aptennis91

    aptennis91 Rookie

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    a good half-volley/short swing forehand practice is on the wall.
    Get close to the wall (not sure about actual distance) and if you hit it hard with a long swing, the ball will fly back at you and you would not be able to hit it. As a result, you are forced to half-volley and shorten your swing.
     
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  6. crystal_clear

    crystal_clear Professional

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    I couldn't hit forehand balls on the wall as my swing is too big. :confused:
     
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  7. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Before you can half volley, you have to be able to volley.
    Use the volley stroke for half volleys, but add forward body movement, more legs, and slightly longer followthru.
    But same volley stroke.
     
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  8. crystal_clear

    crystal_clear Professional

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    That means I need to switch to continental grip to hit half volleys? I use SW grip for half volleys and miss the ball often.:confused:
     
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  9. ubermeyer

    ubermeyer Hall of Fame

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    Don't really swing... Just kind of tap it but push forward through it gently a little bit. The follow through is long. Backspin is generally favored for this shot, although you can also hit topspin on it. The half volley is a fun shot to do when you learn it. You have to remember that you are hitting to a much shorter court due to your being inside the service line, so if you do a normal swing it will land way out.

    Of course, use the volley (continental) grip.
     
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  10. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

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    I was told to:

    1. Avoid the half volley when you are coming to net. Decide to take it out of the air, then get there, get down and do it. A lot of balls get bounced that don't need to bounce, and you will hit a better shot if you don't let it bounce.

    2. The minute you decide to come in, shift to Continental grip and *****keep your racket in front.**** Under no circumstances are you allowed to move it backward or take a backswing. This may sound extreme, but telling myself this is the only way I can avoid taking a great, big, huge, counterproductive backswing.

    3. Watch the ball into the racket. Watch the ball into the racket. If you think it might be a good idea to look up, better instead would be to watch the ball into the racket.

    When I do those things, I do fine with half volleys, even though I rarely practice them. When I don't do those things, I miss every half volley.
     
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  11. crystal_clear

    crystal_clear Professional

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    Thanks ubermeyer and Cindy for the great tips. Let me digest first...
     
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  12. Kick_It

    Kick_It Semi-Pro

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    In a word, "bunt".

    For me the challenge is getting into proper position, set up, and balanced before hitting a half-volley.

    To me, it is a tiny swing - aka "bunt". My body's forward momentum usually helps add pace/depth to my shot.

    One of the best ways to practice this is to play a set or a match exclusively with a serve and volley strategy.

    Good Luck! K_I
     
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  13. Steady Eddy

    Steady Eddy Hall of Fame

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    Don't forget to bend your knees and get down close to the ball. Many people have a tendency lock their knees and just reach out there with the racquet and hope for the best. Usually doesn't come out too well. But if you bend your knees and get your face down there close to the ball, the results are usually pretty good.
     
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  14. sh@de

    sh@de Hall of Fame

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    Knee bend and WATCH THE BALL. These two things together will make life much easier. And don't take a huge cut out of the ball. You'll mess up your timing.
     
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  15. crystal_clear

    crystal_clear Professional

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    Great tips~ :) I will try that.
     
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  16. crystal_clear

    crystal_clear Professional

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    WATCH THE BALL -- seems easy but easily forgot. :(
     
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  17. masterxfob

    masterxfob Semi-Pro

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    for starters, if you find yourself facing a lot of those shots, you're probably not hitting the best approach shot. work on the placement of your approach and use better judgment on when to come up to the net.

    as for the half volley, it's like everyone else said. bend your knees and get down to the level of the ball, use a cont grip and punch the ball like you would a volley. i like to hit it very short and angle it away from my opponent. it's just as effective as a drop shot and even if the opponent gets to it, you'll most likely get a very weak reply.
     
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  18. fruitytennis1

    fruitytennis1 Professional

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    Dont even swing just chop(not swinging chop the ball and use the other person pace to get the ball back over. Perfect drop shots for me.
     
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  19. WildVolley

    WildVolley Legend

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    Switch to the continental grip and get the racket in front of the ball. It is mostly about positioning the racket and just getting the ball back over.

    An advantage of the continental grip is that you can actually take some forehand half-volleys behind your body with the grip and stay in the point.
     
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  20. Nellie

    Nellie Hall of Fame

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    well, when I am moving in, I hit a half volley that is more of a volley - I bend my knees to get low and block the ball with a continental grip and a racquet face that is perpendicular to the ground. The problem a lot of people have with this shot is that they try to hit up/swing. The ball has a lot of momentum and will be moving up sharply, so it will be continue to go up from hitting your racquet face (and the contact will impart natural topspin). To visualize the shot, imagine you are throwing a ball at a wall, but bouncing the ball right before the wall. the ball will hit off the wall and continue to go up.

    However - your shot selection (swinging with a sw grip) is not wrong. In fact, it is what you see from most of the pros now. Essentially, you are really taking the ball extremely on the rise. You will see pros doing this often at the baseline because the opponent has hit a really good deep shot. I would do it more, but I have problem with the timing. To hit this type of shot, use a very short back swing, low and close to where the ball will bounce, but swing up and through the ball with a normal follow-through. If you use too much back swing/ take too big of a stroke, you will have no chance to hit the shot because the timing is hard. If you are close - such as near the service line, you could use a reverse type forehand to finish over your forehand shoulder - thus you are not hitting the ball as much as brushing up to give max. topspin.
     
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  21. In D Zone

    In D Zone Hall of Fame

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    Couple of options on how to attack the ball bouncing close at the service line
    1. hit a penetrating approach shot (bring the racquet up in front as you move into the ball, allowing you to quickly adjust to height the ball and making a short compact swing since racquet is already in ready position).

    2. volley the ball while its still airborne. This require more foot speed and focus, no big swing. Using forward movment to generate the power. Very effective as you are robbing time and aggressively attacking the shot.

    3. half volley - ah yes! easy as it may sound but you got to time your racquet right. I have use this tactic a number of time, I was successful most to the time but it does not win you the points you wanted. Its best if you opponent is camping way back at the baseline and you want to just hit a soft half volley.

    4. Swinging volley - if the ball is coming in right close to shoulder height, I'll take a ball in the air with a hard forehand or a BH slice

    I would definitely suggest you work learning these options to give more variety especially if you are planning to S&V. Best to learn these by drills rather than learning it on the fly / game time.



    Good luck!
     
    #21
  22. Blake0

    Blake0 Hall of Fame

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    Go up to a backboard, around 3-4 feet behind it, feed the ball so that when it bounces near you and you're forced to hit a half volley. Then just keep hitting half volleys back and forth and try to get 15-20 in a row, the more the better.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KYgxZ7cuN-I&mode=user&search=
    heres another good drill.
     
    #22
  23. crystal_clear

    crystal_clear Professional

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    I experimented the continental grip today for half-volley and the ball just popped up. My coach told me to switch to eastern forehand and I had a better result. The key is to really bend knees close to the ball and hit through the ball with no back swing. I am happy with today's progress though more practice need to be done.
     
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  24. crystal_clear

    crystal_clear Professional

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    I tried the drill myself and it works with my forehand. :) I can't do the backhand half volley as I am 2HBH.
     
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  25. GuyClinch

    GuyClinch Hall of Fame

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    Hmm I never switch grips. I don't think say James Blakes changes his forehand grip when hits on the rise - nor did Agassi. I don't think thats a good habit to get into.

    I feel that's too much judgement - you have to decide if the ball will be something that lands right on the baseline line and your too close - and thus you have to switch grips for it.
     
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  26. coloskier

    coloskier Legend

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    The "Drop Half-Volley" can be a devastating shot and is a lot easier to hit than you think, especially on a shot that is hit with heavy topspin. You are basically letting the ball hit the racket, with almost no forward momentum at all on the racket. Keep the racket 90 deg from the court, and it will impart natural underspin, causing the ball to die when it crosses the net. Practice a few and you will find you can easily direct which way you want to go with it (short forehand or short backhand). But one of the most important things to remember after you do this shot is to continue to approach the net in the exact direction you just "dropped it", because the opponent will almost always have to hit up on it, leaving an easy volley putaway.
     
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  27. Element54

    Element54 Semi-Pro

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    I always use a forehand slice, since I'm in my ready position with a Cont-grip, and it just occurred naturally to me.
     
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