Nervous and no confidence at the net, result: missing everything!

Discussion in 'Tennis Tips/Instruction' started by djones, May 23, 2006.

  1. djones

    djones Hall of Fame

    May 19, 2004
    I used to play serve & volley a little bit.
    It worked out quite alright, but I did it mostly for fun, also during moments in a match where my usual game just wouldn't work.

    Back in those days I played with a Head Ti and I Radical oversize.

    But when I started playing tennis again, a little over 2 years ago, I really didn't feel confident at the net anymore.
    I didn't play any matches tho, but even in practice/fun matches (that's all I do btw), I was affraid to go to the net.

    Now I don't even approach the net when I warming up, that embarresed I am, when I hit all those balls long and into the net.

    I have since then changed from the oversized racquets to the Head Prestige Classic, which works just fine for me, but at the net (which I don't think has got anything to do with the racquet) I just can't play even one decent volley.

    A couple of weeks ago, I think I went to the net about 8 times during 3 sets, I think I played one volley in between the lines, but lost all 8 points:)

    What's the best thing for me to do, to gain a little more confidence?
    Right now I feel completely helpless out there, I don't even feel as if I'm pressuring my opponent.

    Btw, I'm also affraid to smash:)
  2. wyutani

    wyutani Hall of Fame

    Apr 8, 2006
    hong kong
    quit playing net rusher...try ur luck on baselininig...
  3. Tennismastery

    Tennismastery Professional

    Jun 23, 2005
    You make no mention of what grip you use for your volley (or overhead). In my experience, those who use eastern grips can lose the confidence at the net for several reasons. The need to switch grips from one side to the other can become a hinderence. While Mr. Vic Braden has repeatedly said there is time to do this, it simply is not true as players play more competitive opponents. You may be suffering the same kind of loss of confidence I have seen such players end up with because of this. At the 3.0 or 3.5 levels, the balls tend to be hit slower and higher for players at the net. At higher levels, the balls are hit lower, with more pace, and usually with much more spin. These factors, in addition to the fact that at higher levels of play, more players usually come to the net (especially in doubles), you often can end up with four players at the net (in doubles) with a volley exchange that is made up of quick volleys. Players who use the eastern grips tend to get in trouble in these types of points because not only can't they change grips in this fast exchange, they can't decide which one to use in the split second of time.

    Also, one of the problems we see with eastern grips on the volley is the tendency to hit too flat. That is, because the grip sets up the racquet face fairly flat to the incoming ball (and the grip tends to promote a 'push' instead of a stroke), players jab forward at the ball with the racquet being held at a 90 degree angle to the forearm. This flat jab causes many players to lose touch and feel and, since they don't generally add much slice to the volley, they basically try to hit the ball softer to keep from hitting these flat balls too far. This sets up the 'dinking' mentality...hitting the ball hard enough to clear the net, but soft enough to let gravity bring the ball down into the court.

    Hitting slice with the continental grip, (which sets the racquet plane more parallel to the forearm instead of at a right angle), allows a player to add more firmness and drive on the volley, (especially lower volleys) and still end up with a ball that doesn't necessairly land out. (Of course, if you aim too high, you can always hit any shot out!) The velocity of the shot is converted to spin and thus, a firm shot can still have gravity working in your favor. Also, using underspin, you will gain a feel for the shot and it greatly improves your ability to add significant angle to your volleys.

    All of these points are offered with the understanding that, yes, there are some people who hit volleys well with eastern grips. And, yes, there are some pros who use the eastern forehand grip for some higher volleys and even Patrick Rafter used a slight eastern forehand grip for most of his forehand volleys. (However, he used the grip in such a way that the racquet and forearm worked similar to that which we see the continental grip used by skilled players.)

    And finally, the overhead should be hit with a continental grip. Using the eastern forehand grip on the overhead causes players to swing with the hitting hand leading the way to the point that the racquet head never catches up until long after the ball has been struck. The eastern grip causes the player to lay the head back through contact which causes many players to hit long...and subsequently, try to correct this by turing towards the net earlier, (facing the net) and pull down with the hitting arm. This is not a progressive technique for players to develop a solid overhead.

    For those who currently use eastern grips, I caution that making the change to the continental is very difficult, feels very uncomfortable, and takes time to master. (And, it takes time to keep from reverting back to your old, familiar eastern grips!) Which is why we don't ever teach the eastern grips for the volley. In my 30+ years of teaching, I have never seen a player reach their true volley potential using the eastern grips (And, I have seen hundreds of players who use the eastern grips fail at progressing past the low levels of volley play because of those grips.)

    Hope this long post offers some help.
  4. andreh

    andreh Professional

    Feb 19, 2004
    Seems like you're just out of practice. That can sometimes become a vicious circle. Hire a pro for a few lesson and have him work on your volley. Or just have a friend bring a bucket of balls and have him/her hit volleys to you until you get it right.

    Very simple, but I think, sound advice!

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