Volleying - are you meant to be still?

Discussion in 'Tennis Tips/Instruction' started by HughJars, Jan 6, 2014.

  1. HughJars

    HughJars Professional

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    I volley quite well in doubles when Im stationary at the net. And likewise in stationary drills. I love coming into the net on the approach in singles, and would love to develop an effective S&V game, however I often have the problem of feeling like Im being rushed, and miss a lot of easy volleys from what I think is either not having my head still, not watching the ball closely enough and playing the ball way too far behind me. Im pretty certain its because I rush in way to quickly to the net and play the ball on the move.

    Tend to find I get passed quite a lot too. I know the lack of effectiveness on some of my approach shots is to blame in a lot of cases, but not I get passed even on well placed approaches sometimes.

    What is the general concensus on playing volleys on the approach and on the serve? Are you meant to split step and go completely still with racket out in front at the moment the return shot is about to be played by your opponent, regardless of your own positioning in the court (i.e you might still be at the service line)

    or:

    are you, as I think Ive been doing, meant to be coming in quickly to close down all most likely angles, and play the volley whilst on the move?
     
    Last edited: Jan 6, 2014
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  2. Topspin Shot

    Topspin Shot Legend

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    Split step so that you're in the air when your opponent contacts the ball no matter how far you've made it in to net. So on a serve and volley, you will split well before you reach the service line. Once you land off the split, you should know where the ball is going, and then you have to move through the volley. Do not stop at contact but rather time your feet so that you land with the back foot, hit the ball, and then land with the front foot. So on a forehand volley, you want to make contact as your left foot is still steppping forward, before it comes down. Does this make sense?
     
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  3. HughJars

    HughJars Professional

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    Cool, the split step timing does, but making contact wih the front foot in the air coming down - are you sure? I thought this would affect stability.
     
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  4. Shroud

    Shroud Hall of Fame

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    watch edberg. in this vid. Almost always he is in the air or just about to land when hitting the volley. Watch at 5:05 and see him coming in to the net and see him hit the volley just before his foot comes down.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2ouvXBs1wCo&feature=player_embedded

    And think about it, you ever hit a serve or overhead where you were completely off the ground?
     
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  5. ProgressoR

    ProgressoR Hall of Fame

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    Not if your balance is good and your weight transfer/transfer is sound.

    I learnt this lesson really well practicing one hand backhand return of serve, when I often hit with the front foot off the ground, it doesnt mean you cant have a great contact and impact on the ball.
     
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  6. JohnMartin

    JohnMartin Banned

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    for the execution of the volley - watch the 'flow volley' from tomaz that i just posted.

    for positioning and timing of split step.... I think the biggest challenge is developing the '6th sense' of anticipation, picking up ques of where the pass is going etc.....

    I don't play S&V nowadays.... but my own experience is, if you practice net rushing a lot, either off a serve or an approach, you will develop the sense and just 'know' where to cover.... it's very difficult to cover the entire width of the net (and the lob) just using your reaction off the split step.

    playing mostly at baseline - the anticipation skill for volley will suffer from atrophy.
     
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  7. Chas Tennis

    Chas Tennis Hall of Fame

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    I like the Brett Hobden videos on the volley, especially the "losing the volley" description for the drop volley. I have since noticed that pros use this 'racket loses the collision' a lot and can see it very often using my Digital Video Recorder (DVR) stop action.

    For the question of stop or not stop to volley, I'll study that also with my DVR. I believe that the stretch shortening cycle plays an important part in most volleying and that implies some body acceleration toward the ball before impact to give a little muscle stretch. I believe that the SSC is the reason behind the 'volley with your feet, step toward the ball' advice. To be determined....

    From an earlier thread (Click ">" to go to the quoted reply) -

    What is a '90 degree bend between the hand and wrist'. I find these terms easy to use.
    racket (the handle direction)
    forearm
    upper arm

    the joints:
    wrist
    elbow
    shoulder

    Do you mean a 90° angle between the forearm and racket at the wrist?

    Search TW & internet: tennis volley racket slow motion Youtube

    Bob Bryan - volley.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_wx2LsaC66c

    (more TennisOxygen stroke videos: http://www.youtube.com/user/xstf/videos)

    Brett Hobden - Volleys, short version, 3 min.
    http://www.tennisresources.com/index.cfm?area=video_detail&vidid=2198&rv=1

    Brett Hobden - Volley Secrets, 19 min
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fJb954_II7c
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Another thread

     
    Last edited: Jan 7, 2014
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  8. coaching32yrs

    coaching32yrs Semi-Pro

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    I have been serve and volleying for decades and never once thought about whether my foot was in the air or on the ground. S & V takes a lot of practice and experience. IMHO step one is developing an excellent overhead. Cannot S&V without that.
     
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  9. dominikk1985

    dominikk1985 Legend

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    I think in these days many players hit volleys too soft and try to hit too many touch volleys often with extreme backspin. sometimes that is a good option but in many cases a hard (not super hard just a solid speed) volley deep into the court will get the job done.

    if you watch mac or edberg they will hardly try to spin it or do a fancy trick but just smack it hard into the open court.
     
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  10. Ash_Smith

    Ash_Smith Hall of Fame

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    Volley footwork 101:

    Low volley (say below net height) - final step lands before contact

    Mid volley (around shoulder height) - final step lands around the time of contact

    High volley (above head, but not a smash) - final step lands after contact
     
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  11. sunof tennis

    sunof tennis Professional

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    I think this is good advice. It is too bad that they slowed down the courts together with the modern technology that makes a solid first volley like you have derscribed become inffective as the ball sits up more and the pros' passing shots are so good now. About the only option a pro volleyer has is to hit a drop shot or an extreme angle.
     
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  12. Nellie

    Nellie Hall of Fame

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    I agree with the timing of the split. I don't like to focus too much on the opponent, so I developed a footwork pattern that works for me (serve, two steps, and hop). This is just a general habit, and I may vary it according to the serve/opponent. With a slow kick serve, I may be a little too early after two steps (serve still moving toward opponent) and take another step before the spilt, and with a flat serve, the return may be at my feet before I jump, so I may need to split right from the serve in no-man's land.

    With a little practice, you can significant accelerate your motion out of the serve (try practicing exploding out of the serve and forward a couple of steps a couple of time when you are practicing your serve).

    Regarding the footwork of the volley, I think a better mental reminder is to think about moving forward slightly during the volley because the specific footwork may vary according to the height/depth/angle of the return.
     
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  13. Ballinbob

    Ballinbob Hall of Fame

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    This is nice and simple... Just what I needed

    Thanks
     
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  14. Topspin Shot

    Topspin Shot Legend

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    Actually, in regards to the contact zone footwork, Ash is correct. I neglected to mention that the higher the volley, the more apt you should be to have the front foot come down at or even just before contact.
     
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  15. Chas Tennis

    Chas Tennis Hall of Fame

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    What is happening that makes these ideas meaningful?
     
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  16. Topspin Shot

    Topspin Shot Legend

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    Couple reasons. Ash may provide more insight, but I'll give it a go. First off, when you hit a low volley, you're farther from the net. So you want to be moving continuously through the shot. With a higher volley, you tend to be closer, so you want to check your momentum. Also, low volleys need to be hit up and over the net, so you need that continuous momentum. If you land on your front foot before you hit the ball, you'll stumble--try it. With higher volleys, you want to hit down, so you need to slow your momentum down. Otherwise, you'll push the ball long because you won't be able to hit down.
     
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  17. Mahboob Khan

    Mahboob Khan Hall of Fame

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    An effective approach shot .. the one which is deep will give you the time and space to approach the net.

    However, as you move behind your ball make sure that you watch the ball, watch the face of your opponent's racket at contact, and just an instant before he strikes the ball you should take a split step, or a bit slowing down, enabling you to turn direction; move toward the ball and step-hit-through it, and keep on closing in until you put it away.

    Avoid over-swinging i.e. no backswing but have good punch follow-through.
     
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  18. dominikk1985

    dominikk1985 Legend

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    good advice. many players think "I have to get at least to the service line for the first volley" and then keep running no matter where the ball is.

    of course it is better to hit the first volley in front of the serve line but it is better to hit a volley 2 feet behind the line that overrunning it.
     
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  19. fuzz nation

    fuzz nation Legend

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    No beef with anything offered here so far.

    If it's a bit much trying to have your front foot either in the air or on the ground... or on the way to something or other while trying to hit a volley at some height or another, I'll offer this. Think of transferring your weight forward through contact when hitting a volley. Even if your front foot is down on the court, you still want your weight moving forward onto that foot as you hit the ball to help with driving the shot.

    For a helpful split step when rushing the net, you might want to think of this as a sort of skip - carry forward momentum into the split step so that you can burst either diagonally forward to the left or the right, or else straight on toward the ball and the net.

    The general move through contact for good volleys is more of a side step than a forward move (with shoulders more square to the net). That's why a partial shoulder turn to either side (I like the idea of at least a 45 degree turn) is helpful for the best geometry with that side step through contact. Side step through the volley to drive your weight generally forward toward the net.
     
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