When should you learn the half volley?

Discussion in 'Tennis Tips/Instruction' started by pondus, Oct 10, 2011.

  1. pondus

    pondus Rookie

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    Is it fair to say that :

    1) The half volley is an advanced shot?
    2) There are few opportunities for the average 3.5 player who is on the court 2 hours per week to practice this.
    3) You can play tennis successfully at the 3.5 level without ever using this shot.
    4) It is a risky shot if you are not very confident in seeing exactly where the ball will land.

    There is limited time for practicing, trying to sort out where to best use my time since I can't work on the 40 - 50 skills that someone with all the time in the world and good practice partners can work on.


    Thanks for your feedback.
     
    Last edited: Oct 10, 2011
    #1
  2. TheIrrefutableOne

    TheIrrefutableOne New User

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    1) nope

    2) true

    3) maybe

    4) :confused: it is a defensive shot that you are forced into


    40 -50 skills :confused: i can only think of about 15
     
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  3. Bergboy123

    Bergboy123 Semi-Pro

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    #3
  4. SStrikerR

    SStrikerR Hall of Fame

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    It's not that hard at all, you basically use it to guide the ball to a place that gives you the next possible position for your next shot. Some people have the timing and touch for it, some don't. At the 3.5 level, you probably won't need it. If you do get forced into it though, don't hit it out. Just guide it back (deep if possible) to your opponent's weaker wing. If you get better at it, you do have a lot more options though. For example, I actually like hitting half-volleys, because I'm pretty accurate with them. It helps.
     
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  5. Fuji

    Fuji Legend

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    Learn the half volley on the way to the net! ;)

    Honestly, it's not much to work on if you are starting to take the net more. There isn't much to it! I mostly just focus on trying to "flick" it over the net into a corner. It doesn't take much!

    The more you practice going to the net, the more used to the shot you get.

    Come to think of it, I've never actually just spent time "practicing" my half volleys....

    -Fuji
     
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  6. spacediver

    spacediver Hall of Fame

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    I practice the half volley almost every time I play. I just try it out once in a while during my games, and that's how I gradually develop a feel for it.
     
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  7. olliess

    olliess Semi-Pro

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    Start your practice sessions with a little mini tennis for warmup. It will help your half-volleys tremendously.
     
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  8. pondus

    pondus Rookie

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    The advanced part is not the stroke, but catching the ball right at the bounce. So I should say the "prediction" skills are advanced and requires confidence.
     
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  9. pondus

    pondus Rookie

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    Re. 4) Thanks this is useful to understand. So for example, you are coming in for a volley, and you can't make the shot, so you just put down your racquet and hope for the best?

    Re. 40-50 skills, let's count 10: According to the USPTA, 7 different forehands, and 3 different serves. Should I count the rest or do we think the people who put together their training materials (former coaches of Sampras etc) are just a bunch of idiots?
     
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  10. Maui19

    Maui19 Hall of Fame

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    IMO, practicing the half volley will help your whole game. When I use a ball machine, I spend about 15-20 minutes hitting half volleys (both wings). It sharpens my timing and greatly improves my ability to take the ball early. If you have a hitting partner, you just need to stand inside the baseline a couple steps and you will have plenty of half volley opportunities.
     
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  11. larry10s

    larry10s Hall of Fame

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    mini tennis is a good way to practice the half volley
    force yourself to hit the ball right after the bounce 5 minutes done regularly will pay dividends in the long run

    another way to practise it is to practice serve and volley
    hopefully your returner will get some low returns to you that you will have to half volley
    or do a doubles drill either bounce feed or serve
    the returner hits cross court and comes in
    again second shot should be a volley or half volley


    all these trasitioning drills/skills will eventually get you stronger at 3.5 and necessary at 4.0
     
    #11
  12. papa

    papa Hall of Fame

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    Well, I don't think the shot, under most circumstances, is that difficult to learn or practice. One of the biggest problems here is that you just can't wait until the ball bounces to get the racquet moving forward. Learn to get the racquet in motion prior to the bounce and you'll find the shot much easier.
     
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  13. BMC9670

    BMC9670 Hall of Fame

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    It's a valuable shot. At 3.5, you're probably going to get a lot of short balls where it would come in handy. Develop it in combination with a swinging volley, which IMO is a harder shot, but even more valuable against 3.5 floaters.
     
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  14. Nellie

    Nellie Hall of Fame

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    Really - it depends. If you play a lot of doubles/ serve and volley, you may end up hitting a half volley off of every serve return so you can move forward and take the net.

    Agree with the comments above - at 3.5 you may end up hitting a lot of half volleys because your foot work is bad, leading you to take a lot of shots that are not in your comfort zone. So you can either spend a little time on the half volleys (try, for example playing a set where you have to stay in the court, and your practice partner can hit to your feet) or work on you foot work.
     
    Last edited: Oct 11, 2011
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  15. jmverdugo

    jmverdugo Hall of Fame

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    Usually half volley is a shot used after an approach, to approach or to serve & volley. So if you are planning on going to the net often (and be successful!) you WILL learn it, it is not like there is a choice.
     
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  16. TennisCJC

    TennisCJC Legend

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    Work net drills into your 2 hours. Stand at or just behind service line. Have partner feed you the ball. Hit an approach volley if you take it in the air, or an approach 1/2 volley if it bounces first. Approach means you are trying to hit a deep shot that allows you to move in. Then move in to 1/2 way between service line and net following the direction of your shot - approach to L, then shift in and to L. Opponent attempts to return your approach volley. Next volley you try to end the point with a punch or angle volley. You can also add an overhead next if you and your partner can get past the approach and finish volleys.

    This is a basic drill that covers all the basic net skills. The baseline player should not try to end points but rather keep the feeds within your reach initially. As you improve, the baseline player can attempt to end points off your approach volley. If you hit a good approach volley, it will be difficult for them to pass you.

    You spend 5-10 minutes at net and then let partner take net for 5-10 minutes. If you are consistent in doing this drill and add the overhead (3rd shot); you should have at least a minimum level of competence at the net including 1/2 volleys.
     
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  17. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Learn a half volley only if you plan to come to net, play the net, or be able to retrieve short balls and hit a forcing reply. Otherwise, avoid the half volley at all times ...:)
    In reality, easy shot to learn, like a shorthop pickup in baseball.
    Only thing you have to remember is this...... Stroke thru the half volley with more pace and forward motion than you would ever think, until you actually hit it dead center every time. Then, you can hit drop half volleys and short angles, and nobody needs to tell you how to hit it or whether you should learn to hit it.
     
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  18. LuckyR

    LuckyR Legend

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    It is true that a beginning baseliner can play a whole match without hitting a single HV.

    Once you develop an all court game or a net game be it single or doubles, then it is a must. As an slightly unrelated sidelight, honing your HV will help you handle returns of serves with a lot of pace (because of the precise timing required).
     
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  19. TheIrrefutableOne

    TheIrrefutableOne New User

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    if you want to count 7 different forehands as skills then there are 50++++ skills, there are probably less than 15 types of shots (FH, BH, Serve, volley, overhead, drop shot, etc
     
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  20. fuzz nation

    fuzz nation Legend

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    What's the deal here? Do you want to know how to hit the shot or are you hoping someone here will convince you that it's a waste of your time?

    If you want to be able to transition to the net effectively, you need to work on it. In my opinion, it's not a terribly complex shot - you don't even need to swing at the ball to hit a decent half-volley.

    What's bugging you, amigo?
     
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  21. pondus

    pondus Rookie

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    Fuzz....you make a good point, something is bugging me that is making this perhaps a lot more complicated than it needs to be. I am probably typical of many 3.5 players who feel that seeing the ball well enough to predict where is going to bounce so you can block the ball back is nearly impossible. I would say that my angst about learning new skills, whether it be 10 or 50, all comes down to an insecurity about reading the incoming shot. Any advice?
     
    #21
  22. WildVolley

    WildVolley Legend

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    This is the correct answer for a beginner. You should be hitting a few half-volleys during mini-tennis, especially when your partner hits deep, don't just automatically let the ball go past you, get behind the ball and block, flick or guide it back over.

    Even as a beginner, you should be working on all sorts of different shots. When you practice, you run into diminishing returns after a while. You should break up your practice time so you are doing many different shots and drills.

    If you serve and volley, you'll get half-volley practice when you come to the net, because you'll find that sometimes you aren't far enough forward to hit a regular volley.

    My favorite half-volleys are those hit behind the body with the continental grip.
     
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  23. user92626

    user92626 Legend

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    hey pondus, you're not alone.

    I think your problem in a way might be like mine. Do you like to transition to the net and volley?

    It took me forever and I still can't volley. After much thinking I realize that's because I don't really like playing close to the net and volleying. It's impossible to learn anything when you're not passionate about it. In fact it'd make it feel like a chore and induce anxiety.
     
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  24. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    I think it's something you need to get out of 3.5, and do play doubles at any level.
    Just practice your volleys from the service line! That gives you one half volley every say....5 volleys, if you're practicing with a decent baseliner.
    Pick up the ball at shin height, so no weird bounce has time to happen. Always try to shove the racket forwards, rather than retreating to hit the ball.
    As said, stroke thru the ball with more effort than you would think.
     
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  25. chrisberchris

    chrisberchris Rookie

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    I only pull it out if I too far into the court or if I get a shot at my feet and I don't have time to move to much. I've actually developed a cool hv from the bl because of it. You should get a hitting partner to warm up with you at the service box and just practice hv for 15-20 minutes. It will help you a lot
     
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