Why your volleys suck. This is EXACTLY like that "Forehand Consistency" thread I made, which you should read unless your forehand kicks total _____. Which it probably doesn't, and you attribute all your errors with it to that badass guy on the other side. Or you call him a pusher, and wonder how he screwed up your entire game which is, of course, absolutely perfect in practice. You have no idea how many juniors (annnnnd most others) wonder why the hell their volleys don't work, and stick to whacking the hell out of the ball at the baseline. It's ALL ABOUT YOUR APPROACH. And your position. And in many cases, your lack of ability to simply "punch" through the ball in a compact motion. If you think punching is a bad term, think of it as partially straightening your elbow. APPROACH: The main reason your volleys don't look cool. God, are you expecting to succeed at the net when you give a normal, crosscourt shot to the opponent? "Gosh darn it, they pass me every time!" It's not that hard to pass someone when they give you an open court, don't force you into anything, and give you lots of time to set up. You want to approach when your opponent has a difficult time hitting the ball. Like when they can hardly get to it, or have to hit off their back foot. Make your volley as easy as possible, then fricking put it away. It's damn HARD to volley back balls they're blasting at you or are sort of low. That should NEVER, ever happen, unless you screwed up your approach. You're approaching at the wrong time. Limit angles, and force a weak return you can put AWAY. So, if you want it even simpler: -Aim down the line. Almost always. -Only approach on xcourt shots...if you absolutely know it's going to be hard as hell to return. -GET A WEAK BALL BACK. You're winning, you blast it down the line, it's a floater...PUT IT AWAY TO THE OPEN COURT. Easy. Now you're already almost there, and you won't try approaching on your crappy balls anymore. READY POSITION: Well, it's going to be awfully hard to volley if your racquet is goddamn HANGING AT YOUR SIDE. Or held in front of your stomach like you're holding a fricking baby. Your racquet isn't as cute as a baby, anyway. It's a sort of disgusting baby, if it was. Which means you HOLD this strange, racquet shaped baby AWAY FROM YOU. Hold it away in front. I particularly like this disgusting baby analogy. Hold it way out in front of you, ready to move it to either side. Then I guess you have to sort of pretend you're giving the baby to the ball, LOL, for the sake of the analogy. It's certainly more "humane" to do than imagine you're letting the baby absorb the blow for you. I've tested this awkward analogy on teenage players and older ones, they sure haven't forgotten it. That's EXACTLY what you want to do when teaching. This moves me directly into... THE MOTION: The disgusting baby I discussed in the "ready position" section still fits here. Read that if you have no clue about what the hell I'm talking about. You want to give the baby to the ball, of course you do. The motion is sort of like catching the ball...with a baby. Try catching something. Your arm moves outward a bit to get it, right? It doesn't move back against your body, that's just uncomfortable. Neither do you swing the baby or punch forward as far as you can, you're not throwing the baby at the ball. So you're sort of moving through the ball with the racquet (or baby, if it helps you to think of it that way). SUMMARY: You're pushing through the ball slightly with a compact motion. Not swinging at it, or holding the racquet still. Also, there is the huge topic of using your LEGS when volleying. How often has your coach or someone else told you to step into the ball with the opposite foot (volley on the right, left foot, volley on the left, right foot) when you're making contact? Let's face it, when your catching something, or letting the baby absorb the ball's momentum, you DON'T just stand there. That's awkward balance when you reach forward a bit to catch the ball. Go back to catching something again. When it's in front of you, you step into it naturally. SAME THING with volleying. Most of the pace on the ball in volleys comes from stepping in. Pushing through the ball slightly takes care of the depth and makes sure you don't make the ball pop up. So, you're stepping in and doing everything else, but your volleys STILL suck? It could be that you step in too early. You step in WITH the volley, just like when you catch. You don't step in, wait, and just block the ball. EDIT:: And...WHAT GRIP DO YOU WANT TO GIVE THE BABY/ ABSORB THE BALL WITH THE BABY WITH? CONTINENTAL! It's good for low balls, normal balls, even high balls because you're volleying, not swinging, and overheads. Plus with it you get the natural underspin (extra depth) and you don't switch grips for forehand and backhand volleys. You take a different grip, and those low balls will be netted most of the time. Plus different grips make the transition from FH to BH volleys harder. It's over. That covers almost everything with volleys. If you actually do everything in here, you probably don't suck at the net. If you DO still suck, you're probably not actually doing it, or your reaction time and brain are too slow to do anything, period. Which I doubt. And...don't tell me that baby analogy was brutal and uncalled for, I know it. But when helping people, especially preteens to teenagers, as most of the people reading this probably are, I don't think there's a better way to visualize it and get the point across. And get them to laugh at the same time. If you still think I'm a horrible person, at least the analogy helped improve yourself. Whoo whoo. I'm not sadistic, I swear.