volleying a heavily sliced ball

Discussion in 'Tennis Tips/Instruction' started by laingrm, Oct 19, 2009.

  1. laingrm

    laingrm New User

    Joined:
    Aug 30, 2009
    Messages:
    9
    I have difficulty volleying balls that are coming at me with a lot of backspin. They seem to just dribble off my racket. I've noticed this as well when I hit a good slice backhand at someone at net and my opponent sometimes has problems. In general I think I volley pretty well and use a continental grip and have decent technique. What adjustments do I need to make to volley a sliced ball effectively? I think it may have to do with angle of the racket face but am not sure...Thanks
     
    #1
  2. jmverdugo

    jmverdugo Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Nov 22, 2006
    Messages:
    2,971
    Location:
    Houston, TX
    I usually drive the ball a bit more, just to avoid stuck it in the net, which is very easy when volleying a slice shot.
     
    #2
  3. mikeler

    mikeler G.O.A.T.

    Joined:
    Sep 26, 2008
    Messages:
    19,545
    Location:
    Central Florida
    Try not to let the spin control you. Instead you control the spin by being very forceful with the volley. If you attempt a drop volley or try to put spin of your own on this volley it will be very difficult. Think of punching the volley and keep your eyes on the ball as long as you can.
     
    #3
  4. naylor

    naylor Semi-Pro

    Joined:
    Jul 26, 2004
    Messages:
    686
    Location:
    New Zealand
    Yup, the ball spin makes it both hang up in the air (rather than dip) and also slow down fractionally, both just enough for your normal volley to be fractionally too early, and therefore for the contact to be closer to the frame on the side rather than the sweetspot.

    To compensate for that, you have to punch through the ball more - so, hit it with less downward cut motion, and instead rely on the face of the racket to put the backspin on the volley, and more forward "through the ball" motion, which keeps the rackethead at the same height as the incoming ball.

    The concept is broadly similar to when you're trading deep, low sliced backhands from the baseline. The swingpath of the rackethead around the contact point follows the intended line of the ball for longer, i.e. you swing through the ball more.
     
    #4
  5. Nellie

    Nellie Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Oct 4, 2004
    Messages:
    3,773
    #5
  6. xFullCourtTenniSx

    xFullCourtTenniSx Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2009
    Messages:
    1,960
    Aim for depth no matter what. Just don't sit the ball up!
     
    #6
  7. rk_sports

    rk_sports Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Mar 19, 2006
    Messages:
    1,601
    Location:
    soCal
    I have the same issue with my Forehand volley for sliced shots when I try to make a drop volley.
    For a normal incoming shot, just blocking volley will work most of the time, but doesn't necessarily work for making a drop volley (this would result in what the OP explained)
    I know if I drive through or punch the volley, I can make the shot.

    So, my question to volley experts would be how to make a drop volley for a incoming slice?
     
    #7
  8. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2008
    Messages:
    35,696
    Setup is key.
    Get frickin sidways, both forehand and backhands, to lengthen strike zone on your volleys. Move forwards with long stroke forwards, for more lengthened strike zone, and hit thru the volley with underspin, not chop, not block stroke.
    You can learn to volley hard slices after a while, but opponent's who hit both hard slice AND hard topspin might still catch you unawares.
     
    #8
  9. naylor

    naylor Semi-Pro

    Joined:
    Jul 26, 2004
    Messages:
    686
    Location:
    New Zealand
    I assume you are at the net, and what's coming your way is a ball with heavy slice, and pretty much just skimming over the net. You can punch it to a good depth (which you know how to do), but you're looking for the alternative of just dropping it short (and possibly also angled) over the net.

    If so, then the shot you're trying to play is more of a stop volley than a drop volley. To do so, you have to take a lot of pace off the incoming ball, by holding the racketface to the ball at contact point but then cushioning the impact (so the racketface moves a little bit backwards, rather than punching forward), i.e., you start at contact point, and then there's some "give". Therefore, the key is that at contact point the ball meets the sweetspot (rather than closer to the frame), and that you start the cushioning at contact - hence, a lot of watching the ball into the strings, and good timing.

    As for the normal "punch" on a ball carrying slice, you have to realise that the ball will both "float" a bit more than expected and also will be fractionally "checking/slower" than expected because of the underspin (as compared with a ball coming with topspin). So the start of your cushioning will be both fractionally higher (contact point) and also fractionally later.
     
    #9
  10. ttbrowne

    ttbrowne Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    May 29, 2008
    Messages:
    1,618
    You've got to open your racket face up. Lean it back a little. Don't try to volley a backspin the regular way, It's spinning with such force it drops into the net.
    Think Open on backspin.
     
    #10
  11. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2008
    Messages:
    35,696
    Instead of thinking "open", I like to think... move forwards while sideways !
    Sliced ball gives you a little time to turn sideways AND move forwards. Moving forwards while sideways gives you a solid volley, usually a good thing.
    Just opening the face of your racket might give you a "pop up" volley, not a good thing unless your opponent is stuck in concrete.
     
    #11
  12. ttbrowne

    ttbrowne Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    May 29, 2008
    Messages:
    1,618
    Moving forward will not help unless your racket face is open.
     
    #12
  13. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2008
    Messages:
    35,696
    Not really!
    See, moving forwards and using a real volley stroke, as opposed to sticking out your racket with an open face, DOES overcome the hard underspin, because you are applying more force to your volley stroke than just blocking it back.
    But yes, you do need some open racketface, so maybe you're correct also.
    But don't stick out your racket with the face open to the sky.
     
    #13
  14. ryangoring

    ryangoring Professional

    Joined:
    Jun 20, 2007
    Messages:
    1,080
    Location:
    Daytona Beach via Barbados
    My thoughts exactly. Step out in front to meet the ball and punch it away.
     
    #14
  15. film1

    film1 Semi-Pro

    Joined:
    Mar 24, 2008
    Messages:
    752
    A heavy slice can make you miss if you don't use a firm grip.
    It helps to get close to the net and punch the ball.
    (old school volley)
     
    #15
  16. paulfreda

    paulfreda Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Oct 3, 2004
    Messages:
    1,612
    Location:
    Bangkok, Thailand
    The REASON a heavily sliced ball is hard to volley is that the when the underspin hits your strings it will cause the ball to rotate or roll downward and thus rebound down in to the net.
    So the remedies mentioned above are required;
    hit thru the ball and/or open your racquet face more than normal.

    Also note that heavy topspin ..... which a good player will hit to you to get the ball
    to dip low ..... will tend to roll up and thus pop up and go long.
    So you must be prepared for that with compensating actions such
    as having a more square face and not volleying/hitting it too hard.
     
    Last edited: Oct 20, 2009
    #16
  17. Falloutjr

    Falloutjr Banned

    Joined:
    Sep 18, 2009
    Messages:
    1,248
    Location:
    Akron, OH
    Also, you have to account for midair movement. Some slices can be spun so that they break multiple feet in the air, So keep that in mind when you make a move for the ball because it can move just a little bit before you make contact and completely alter where the ball makes contact at on your racquet and, by extension, where it lands.
     
    #17
  18. rk_sports

    rk_sports Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Mar 19, 2006
    Messages:
    1,601
    Location:
    soCal
    Thanks naylor! How will the technique be different for a topspin dipper?
     
    #18
  19. moroni

    moroni Rookie

    Joined:
    Sep 8, 2009
    Messages:
    145
    easy.. sliced balls have lots of spin on them you just have to add enough spin to cancel the spin that is already on the ball and give extra spin to direct the ball to wherever you want .. so to put it as simple as possible just add more spin and drive that when you volley on a topspin shot
     
    #19
  20. Camilio Pascual

    Camilio Pascual Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2004
    Messages:
    1,822
    Well, if that is the reason, and I don't for one second think it is, then a topspinning ball would be MORE difficult to volley than an underspinning one. Think about it, the angular momentum of the underspinning ball is UP relative to the strings, whereby the topspinning ball's angular momentum is DOWN compared to the strings.
    The trajectory of an underspinning ball is going to tend to be flatter than a topspinning ball.
    I believe that an underspinning ball with the same forward and angular momentum as an overspinning ball is EASIER to volley for most people.
    And, in the real world, most topspinning balls are coming over much faster than underspinning balls.
     
    #20
  21. chess9

    chess9 Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Dec 11, 2005
    Messages:
    4,274
    Location:
    1.d4
    The problem with this is the physics. The angle of incidence and the angle of reflection are not identical on a higly spinning ball that hits a set of grippy tennis strings. You must either hit through it hard enough to overcome the angular velocity of the ball or cant your racquet sufficiently to compensate. This is why tennis is more art than science. :)

    -Robert
     
    #21
  22. naylor

    naylor Semi-Pro

    Joined:
    Jul 26, 2004
    Messages:
    686
    Location:
    New Zealand
    When the ball has underspin, the contact point is fractionally higher (the ball floats slightly more) and fractionally later (the ball is checking more) than on a flat ball. When the ball has overspin, it's the opposite - once the ball gets over the net the overspin will bring it down faster and lower than on a flat ball.

    Here, the key is to prepare fractionally earlier, and to set yourself lower - get down by bending at the knees, so you can still punch through the ball. As the ball is dipping (or probably has already dipped below the level of the net), you need to hit it so that the ball first rises over the net, but then drops inside the court. This means you still need to put some underspin on the volley by cutting under the ball, i.e. you still have to punch these low volleys. And the only way you can do this is to have your body low enough so you can still punch/cut through the ball.

    If you simply drop the rackethead below the ball, you can only lift or scoop the ball over the net, you can't put underspin.

    Clearly, the more it dips, the more difficult the shot becomes. Therefore, as soon as you see a dipper coming your way, it pays to close on the net to try to take the ball earlier and higher if you can, rather than wait for the ball to get to you. So, good balance, with weight on the balls of the feet (rather than back on the heels), and ready to move forward to attack the ball, are also pretty useful against the dipper pass.
     
    #22
  23. 5263

    5263 G.O.A.T.

    Joined:
    Mar 31, 2008
    Messages:
    10,396
    Nothing really special required, except the be nice and firm with your volley.
     
    #23
  24. 35ft6

    35ft6 Legend

    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2005
    Messages:
    6,557
    Stomp your feet and really punch it more than you normally would.
     
    #24
  25. paulfreda

    paulfreda Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Oct 3, 2004
    Messages:
    1,612
    Location:
    Bangkok, Thailand
    Netting volleys of sliced balls

    Perhaps I was careless in my wording ...... "the REASON..." which implies there is only one reason for difficulty. I was stating a fact of physics. If one is aware of fundamentals, it is easier to find a technique that works.

    One of the facts that apply here is that the underspin will cause the ball to roll down the strings for a bit and the result is balls are usually missed in the net. Another fact is that a sliced ball will tend to float .... in fact a good player can actually make it rise a bit ... and this is a source of error too.

    I was not addressing the question of which is easier to volley, top or slice.
     
    #25

Share This Page