Originally Posted by pushitgood
What sort of drills/routine did you do with your machine? My volleys are weak and I would like to bring them up too. I have a Silent Partner ball machine.
I also use a Silent Partner machine, the low-end model. My problem was especially the backhand volley.
-First, set the machine to throw the same ball everytime. Hit volleys (FH and BH) in a ''static'' way, just to develop your timing and general technique. Move your feet to make sure your body moves forward when you hit, and make sure you hit clean and deep. (This is the most important part when you start. In my case it took an hour or two -- 500 to 700 balls -- and I got my timing right, my contact point right, and was able to develop the ''feel'' of hitting volleys, i.e. a short punch (6-8 inches).
-Use the oscillator to throw balls left and right. Make sure you come back in the middle of the court (close to the «T» of the service lines) after each shot. And make sure you use sound footwork when going for each ball. Work on your placement (deep, angled, crosscourt, parallel), and technique (keep the racquet head close to your head -- freeze -- when you hit, etc.)
-You can also set the machine to throw fast and to your body, you will then work on spacing and (again) your footwork to move quickly to get out of the way and still hit a clean volley.
-Do the same drills to develop the feel for drop volleys (what I'm currently working on). Also work on your half-volleys. Serve and volley...
There's really no limit to what you can do. And you will quickly realize that one hour is not enough! Ball machines are truly a great asset if you use it right, and if you're lucky enough to have a court at your disposal. I f you don't have a coach, I suggest you look up the web to understand the basic technique of the volley before you start hitting balls. (fuzzyyellowball, Jeff salzenstein, or numerous short clips available on YouTube.) Repeating mistakes or using bad form could be worse than not hitting at all for your development.