Volley & role of the wrist during contact

Discussion in 'Tennis Tips/Instruction' started by Roberto_spin, Sep 22, 2013.

  1. Roberto_spin

    Roberto_spin Rookie

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    So I'm working on my volleys and doubles lately. A lot improvements to be made: always a continental grip, footwork and weight transferring, more hitting with the shulder-hinge/U-shape/bent elbow, less with the forearm...
    I have read a lot on Internet like this and this to explain some of the terminology and improvements I want to make. Maybe I should read less but it's part of the learning! :)

    But while practicing against hard hitters, I notice some annoying feel in my wrist.. no pain, but maybe the beginning of something and I don't want to spoil my tennis fun with an injury.
    Most of the improvements has to be made with the forehand volley (conti-grip still a bit akward) , but I guess it also applies to my backhand volley..

    My main concern is the correct use of the wrist during a volley:
    1) at the end of the preparation, I have a cocked wrist, that's okay, the rackethead is above my hand and this feels good
    2) I try to use a laidback wrist, as I interpreted it: this is letting the rackethead hang a bit to behind (see FYB instruction).
    Most of the time I used a cocked wrist or a firm wrist... but it was too tensed... and I didn't have enough pop/zip on the ball.
    With the laidback wrist you can give the ball a bit more pop, I guess because during hitting it just gives the extra speed.

    What I try to accomplish is to have a consistent, loose and relaxed volley BUT with some extra POP (powervolley).

    Can anyone help me explain the role of the wrist before and at contact with a volley... maybe I just misinterpret the whole thing... or isn't it a good idea to use a laid back wrist and stay with a firm/locked wrist...

    By the way:
    I am aware that most of the volley improvements are made with the U-shape and the role of the legs... But right now I'm worried about my wrist...:cry:
    I'm a 3,5 player who is rapidly improving:shock:
     
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  2. Shroud

    Shroud Hall of Fame

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    Sorry but can you explain the distinctions you are drawing? I think "laidback" and "cocked" are the same thing, so this is very confusing.
     
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  3. boramiNYC

    boramiNYC Hall of Fame

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    I would mainly use the wrist for the racquet head angle and direction control. and keep it firm once the racquet head is set and try to use the weight transfer as the main source of power. the solidity of the upperbody and arm structure at contact is what's most important in volleys IMO and compromising that would be the last thing you want to do. but definitely no death grip.
     
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  4. Roberto_spin

    Roberto_spin Rookie

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    Those are terms I read and I'm not quite sure if I interpret it right. But from my understanding:

    laid back wrist: a 45 degrees See here, step 1,2,3

    cocked wrist: as I understand this is the racket head in 45 degree angle to the hand so you get a U-shape... I have not a proper video found..

    But this may be a problem for me... reading things on Internet versus seeing/feeling things in real life...

    Anyone?
     
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  5. MayDay

    MayDay Semi-Pro

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    You sound like you're trying to do too much with the volley. Are you trying to do a swing volley?

    Regardless, I would stay with "firm" wrist angle once you are set (the wrist angle could be at any angle - the range of motion could be similar to how you would rev a motorcycle, but it's set to that one angle once you are prep'ed to make contact with ball), but loose arm in prep and then like throwing a punch, there is that millisecond of snap/tenseness as your hands and arm naturally do when racket meets the ball, and then loosen naturally right after ball leaves your racket. Wrist stays "firm" at whatever cocked/layback angle you are set at through out.

    If you're trying to volley, I think this guy makes a lot of sense:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7zsWoOOWUbc
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ixtikTVrpEY
     
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  6. SystemicAnomaly

    SystemicAnomaly G.O.A.T.

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    ^ Good input from MD and bNYC.

    I agree that the attempt to make a distinction between cocking of the wrist and laid-back wrist is not at all clear. It could be that laid-back could refer to a wrist articulation that is primarily wrist extension. Cocking the wrist could be a combination of radial deviation and wrist extension.

    [​IMG]
     
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  7. TennisCJC

    TennisCJC Legend

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    Ok to lay the wrist back a little bit on FH volley. "lay back" is wrist slight wrist extension in AS' pictures above.

    On BH volley, wrist is neutral - not forward or back.

    OK for racket head to be above wrist on waist high or higher contact points.

    For low volleys, it is OK for the racket head to drop below the wrist.

    Wrist is passive on volleys - no cupping action or deviations in wrist at contact are needed. Hand/wrist just get the strings in position to hit and direct the ball.

    Tip1: on low volleys, use a more open racket face. Also, think pull across outside to inside but range of hand motion is small - less than 12 inches.

    Tip2: visualize hitting the outside of the ball and finishing on the inside of the ball. Remember, the entire range of movement on the hand can be less than 1 foot. COMPACT

    Tip3: get hand/wrist ready for contact out in front of your hitting shoulder. Then simply move forward to ball. Never take the racket back behind your hitting shoulder.
     
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  8. andreh

    andreh Professional

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    I think OP is overcomplicating things. Volleys are technically very simple. I just use a firm wrist. No flexion, extension, no deviations etc. Just a firm block. Directional control is achieved with the arm, not the wrist.

    Sometimes when you watch pros volley it looks like they're "cupping" the wrist on the forehand volley but it's really is just the recoil from the ball impact that makes it look like that.
     
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  9. Roberto_spin

    Roberto_spin Rookie

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    I guess i'm overcomlicating things... But my wrist hurts a bit after hitting a hard volley at the net... That's a thing that is there and it started when I was working on improving my volley... I will stay with my firm wrist, altough I know I grip the handle too tight... Have tried the wunderfull tips of tennisfeel.net... Still not the golden bullit :-?
     
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  10. Roberto_spin

    Roberto_spin Rookie

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    Wow thnx I will try it!
     
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  11. boramiNYC

    boramiNYC Hall of Fame

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    I suggest firm wrist at neutral instead of overthinking on laying back and cocking. key is don't try too hard to volley out in front. practice patiently waiting until the ball reaches your firm racquet.
     
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  12. andreh

    andreh Professional

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    Watch Edberg instead of modern pros if you want to learn from pro volleys. Edberg is textbook. Also, your wrist might be hurting because you're trying crazy things instead of just firmly blocking the volleys.
     
    Last edited: Sep 23, 2013
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  13. TimeSpiral

    TimeSpiral Professional

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    My suggestion:
    • Continue reading, but keep in mind that you can get hung up on the technical clutter.
    • When practicing and playing, keep the goals super simple (in other words: don't imagine any technical terms relative to your wrist!).
    • This one helps me: On the FHV, imagine you're wearing a baseball glove and "catch" the ball with the racquet while directing it. It's a pretty similar position.
    • This one helps me to: if you're seeing the ball well, just smash the crap out of it with a FH or BH. I've found that sometimes we default to a technically correct volley, when instead, the ball is in a position where you can just whollop it. My theory: if you can crush a volley, crush a volley :twisted:
    TL;DR -- I don't really know **** about ****, but I have a decent net game, so I must be doing something right. Maybe some of my whacky tips can help.
     
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  14. Topspin Shot

    Topspin Shot Legend

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    Continental grip. Firm wrist, slightly laid back. Short, compact swing, no more than a foot. Vertical racket face on volleys above the net, slightly open racket face on volleys below the net. Power comes from legs and core. Just some generic tips since you don't have a video of you hitting volleys.
     
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  15. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    RELAXED firm, laid back. Key is RELAXED. Don't force it to it's maximum flexion, just lay it back relaxed but firm, not tight.
     
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  16. RetroSpin

    RetroSpin Hall of Fame

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    Again, I would point out that terms like "laid back" , "cocked" etc are subjective and not descriptive.

    On a FH volley, the wrist should be radially deviated ( ie racquet head up), supinated (ie laid open) and extended ( ie laid back). The elbow should be tucked in fairly tight by the hip. Hit it with a short slicing motion, ie do not "punch" it. Keep the wrist extended, ie no flipping or scooping. High to low. Low balls require a more open face and more of a right to left action.
     
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  17. Ballinbob

    Ballinbob Hall of Fame

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    I guess this is an appropriate place to post this question since we are talking about volleys.

    How much follow through do you want on a backhand volley? I find I'm much more prone to swinging on my backhand volley vs. my forehand. I think I am exaggerating my follow through or not following through correctly
     
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  18. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Depends what kind of bacbhand volley.
    One hit from near the net, a pure blocking flat putaway, should be short swing like demonstrated by the BryanBros in their commercials, just a short punch, ball hit very flat, mostly rackethead movement, the shoulder and elbow barely moving, or moving less than a foot.
    But deep volleys from service line position take a much longer swing, more underspin/slice, and the FEEL of depth is created thru the long swing. A punch from there lacks depth control, while the longer sweeping underspin gives you a better feel for the depth you need to hit your backhand volleys deep without going too long.
    Almost every good volleyer uses a longer underspin stroke on his backhand volley than his forehand volley. Even the 2hbh volleyers use a slightly longer stroke on the backhand side.
    Good practice for controlled deep volleys is to hit your 1hbh slice for depth and penetration, using almost the same long stroke.
     
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  19. Ballinbob

    Ballinbob Hall of Fame

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    These are the volleys I am talking about. For instance, I'll hit a good kick serve down the T on the deuce side and follow it up to the net. I get the desired weak return but when I go to hit the volley I can never get enough stick on it to put it away. I usually try to punch it with a very short backswing and while I get the volley in play, my opponent has enough time to pass me.

    I have been experimenting with a longer follow through on the backhand volley, and while I can get more stick on my volley, it's harder to hit consistently because the timing of the longer stroke is killing me. Perhaps its because of a lack of practice, but putting away a BH volley that has no pace is much harder than with a FH volley for me

    You really want to emphasize the shoulder turn on a floating BH volley, right? I imagine this along with a longer follow through should be enough to stick them into the corner?

    I was watching the #1 seeded open player here at the Colorado State Open last week (6.0+ player at least) and everytime he got a floating volley he just stuck it in a corner for a winner everytime, it was awesome to watch. He has inspired me to rework my net game haha
     
    Last edited: Sep 23, 2013
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  20. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Yeah, those volleys from behind the service line can be very different than the punch winners you hit when you're stationed center of your own service box.
    That's why the slice backhand, when practiced from the baseline, is a stepping stone to the volleys from short NML, to get depth, to control it through backswing and face angle, with sideways body, moving forwards in a controlled manner with both feet planted, knees bent, torso low and sideways.
    It's almost like art, the way I described it, but true net play IS artform.
     
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  21. boramiNYC

    boramiNYC Hall of Fame

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    on bh volley you need to swing more than fh volley. but most of the swing happens before the contact not followthru. at contact the hitting structure will be firm and usually there will be more underspin in bh v than fh v. too much underspin in fh v can weaken the fh v. just make sure your feet are doing the cross over step in the bh v. for fh v cross over is only needed when reaching out to the side.
     
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  22. Roberto_spin

    Roberto_spin Rookie

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    So yesterday I hit and had my old "firm wrist". It was ok, but still my volleys don't have that umph, or zip or pop that I would like.
    A firmer wrist gives me a less annoying feel in my wrist.
    The control was certainly better, but mainly because I made other improvements: hitting with weight moving forward en my shoulderhinge.

    I'm pretty sure that my grip is too tigh and tensed... And this contributes to weaker volleys. I have read somewhere about a "supple wrist" but can't find it back. Maybe I have to do more excercises with a dumbbell or something?

    Still need to loosen up my wrist with the volley, just like I did with my forehand and 2HBH...
     
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  23. Ballinbob

    Ballinbob Hall of Fame

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    I'm kind of in the same boat as you except I'm having trouble on the bh volley. I'm struggling to get the good pop/stick on the ball. I do find that not gripping it tight helps with the pop though, that's for sure

    In terms of your wrist hurting, try to imagine you are catching the ball on your racket as someone else suggested. Someone gave me that same advice and as a result I was hitting more of volleys in the sweet spot. When you start hitting your volleys in the sweet spot the power comes more effortlessly and your wrist is spared (at least in my experience)

    Dumbbell exercises can't hurt either
     
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  24. andreh

    andreh Professional

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    Just a note on some post above with regards to pop on volleys: Pop on volleys can be reduced because of the poly strings people play with today. They're not really good for blocking shots like volleys. I always played with full gut and I have never had any problem with pop.
     
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  25. Ballinbob

    Ballinbob Hall of Fame

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    That's a really good point... I play with poly strings and yeah you're right, they're harsh strings and probably don't have even close to the feel of natural gut.

    Might experiment with different string set ups now, as this never really crossed my mind.
     
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  26. RetroSpin

    RetroSpin Hall of Fame

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    LeeD's suggestions are spot on.

    Even the pros do not put this volley, ie BH from service line, away consistently. They are looking to hit it deep with slice so it stays low and put away the reply.

    High BH volleys are tough and require a lot of strength to put away. Pros tend to hit these witha slice motion, as LeeD suggested. Rec players often try to hit them with a flip of the racquet head, which requires enormous forearm strength.
     
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