Road to 5.0 - Volleys (video) + Serve and Topspin backhand

FiReFTW

Hall of Fame
#1
Id like to present my volleys and where im currently at.

Ive only started to work on volleys very recently, like 3 practice sessions so far, extremely little, and only forehand volleys more or less (95%) as you can see from vid, they feel a bit more comfortable already while backhand feels odd still.

@S&V-not_dead_yet and other great volley experts, share some thoughts, what am I doing well what am I not doing well?

Any insight is welcomed, as they are still in a baby stage and any tips I can incorporate might help me make improvements faster already

@NuBas @rogerroger917 @Doc Hollidae @Curious @MisterP @ChaelAZ @StringSnapper @Chadillac @Fintft @StANDAA


I also started slowly serving after my shoulder was quite hurt for weeks now, and I decided to make a few practice serves for @TimeToPlaySets since he said in the other topic that he doesn't know how my serve is, well here it is.
I always felt comfortable and trusted my serve as a nice weapon and I feel like I can aim it quite well.

I also made some footage of my topspin backhand, since in the other threads people were curious about it... sadly this is the only place I could put this camera in this tennis hall, so the angle is quite messed up and you can't see most of my backhands... only the ball, but you can see a few, and the ball and how its traveling, so I guess for now its ok..

I can already see @mad dog1 telling me what a id*ot I am for not hitting topspin backhands since they are not THAT BAD, certainly better than my poor floaty slices :D

But its still not consistent enough for me to trust it, will take a bit more time..

SERVE


TOPSPIN BACKHAND


VOLLEYS (viewer discretion advised, its horrible, don't watch!!! :eek::D )



UPDATE - NEW VOLLEY VID and some FH/BH


 
Last edited:

FiReFTW

Hall of Fame
#7
It looks like im steping in too soon on volleys, then stopping my weight going forward and just using mostly arm after that. Is that a fair assesement?
 
#10
To me it looks like you are using too much wrist and elbow movement on the volley. Just hinge at the shoulder, no other joint should be moving. I think it's fine to hit with a bent elbow but it should stay in the same position before and after impact. Same with the wrist. The idea is to set the racket behind the ball, hinge at the shoulder, set the racket after you hit. Very little backswing, very little follow through.
 

FiReFTW

Hall of Fame
#11
To me it looks like you are using too much wrist and elbow movement on the volley. Just hinge at the shoulder, no other joint should be moving. I think it's fine to hit with a bent elbow but it should stay in the same position before and after impact. Same with the wrist. The idea is to set the racket behind the ball, hinge at the shoulder, set the racket after you hit. Very little backswing, very little follow through.
Thats a good point, I think I may very well be doing some of that.
 
#12
It looks like im steping in too soon on volleys, then stopping my weight going forward and just using mostly arm after that. Is that a fair assesement?
Actually, yes this is. Looks like you have some self awareness and diagnostic skills, which will help a lot. And it's about getting there in tennis, not so much the end goal.
 

NuBas

Hall of Fame
#13
Serve
Its a good motion and I would work on falling forward into court more and keeping the tossing arm extended longer. You will get used to using legs more as they get stronger.

Backhand
Could barely see any in video. Its not quite ready for competition yet, consistency needs to improve. Weight should ideally be forward and good cue is to lean into shot, like leaning against a wall.
Your wrist flip needs to be eliminated, it means your swing shape isn't quite consistent or you are still trying to manipulate something. The swing shape should be a large C and you do not need to close your racquet face too soon. Right now your swing path is too linear, needs more low to high. I never used this advice before but maybe you should try to swing down on your backhand, it will help you to get lower under the ball. If anything your wrist needs to be firmer, less moving parts on the OHBH equals consistency. You can add embellishments once you have a comfortable swing down.

Volleys
I think you will get hang of it with time. They say you need to use your legs more on volleys and use your body to move into ball.

Keep going man, sometimes it will just click when least unexpected.
 

FiReFTW

Hall of Fame
#14
Serve
Its a good motion and I would work on falling forward into court more and keeping the tossing arm extended longer. You will get used to using legs more as they get stronger.

Backhand
Could barely see any in video. Its not quite ready for competition yet, consistency needs to improve. Weight should ideally be forward and good cue is to lean into shot, like leaning against a wall.
Your wrist flip needs to be eliminated, it means your swing shape isn't quite consistent or you are still trying to manipulate something. The swing shape should be a large C and you do not need to close your racquet face too soon. Right now your swing path is too linear, needs more low to high. I never used this advice before but maybe you should try to swing down on your backhand, it will help you to get lower under the ball. If anything your wrist needs to be firmer, less moving parts on the OHBH equals consistency. You can add embellishments once you have a comfortable swing down.

Volleys
I think you will get hang of it with time. They say you need to use your legs more on volleys and use your body to move into ball.

Keep going man, sometimes it will just click when least unexpected.
Yeah good points on serve, tossing arm extended longer is exactly what im working on atm.
And true, when I do toss more into the court I get much more easy power, I did toss my ball more into the court before, but today a bit less so, good reminder, next time I go il keep it in mind.
I wasn't using legs fully here, didn't bend much because they weren't full power serves, still don't want to overdo it because of shoulder :p


Interesting advice on the backhand, I will try to be more firmer with my grip and see how it works out, but when I loosen it up like this the racquet really goes around (the flip that your talking about) and I get really nice topspin, so its hard to overhit, but still, il try to firm it up next time and see how it works.
 

NuBas

Hall of Fame
#15
Interesting advice on the backhand, I will try to be more firmer with my grip and see how it works out, but when I loosen it up like this the racquet really goes around (the flip that your talking about) and I get really nice topspin, so its hard to overhit, but still, il try to firm it up next time and see how it works.
When I mean firmer, not so much not being relaxed but I would rather see you keeping a fixed L shape. I did not mean tightening your wrist, keep it supple but in a position where your racquet and straight arm produces an L shape at contact and follow through, try not to break that shape too much. Your swing is nice now but won't work as well when rushed or on the move, so you need something with less moving parts. Just my personal opinion.
 
#19
I've always recognized volleys as the time to be super aggressive. You look passive in the video. Footwork should be more lively and, as Jolly said, try to see the ball through the strings meaning your contact point should be out front like all of your shots.

You look like you'll pick it up fast anyways. Volleys are a great tool to have in your arsenal for singles.
 

FiReFTW

Hall of Fame
#20
You look like you'll pick it up fast anyways. Volleys are a great tool to have in your arsenal for singles.
I agree, thats why im completely dedicated now for the next few weeks to get some solid volleys going, I know im not gonna be edberg in 1-2 months, but hopefully il at least get some good solid volleys by then, so I can finish points with them after good forehands that stretch my opponents, as opposed to hitting those volleys into the net or long o_O
 
#21
I agree, thats why im completely dedicated now for the next few weeks to get some solid volleys going, I know im not gonna be edberg in 1-2 months, but hopefully il at least get some good solid volleys by then, so I can finish points with them after good forehands that stretch my opponents, as opposed to hitting those volleys into the net or long o_O
Play a lot of doubles if you can in tandem with drilling them. It's a lot different executing a volley when you first have to anticipate it or set it up.

Same thing in singles. A good approach shot is key for a nice volley setup.
 
#23
I've always recognized volleys as the time to be super aggressive.
There is a time and a place for aggression. Slower, strike zone volleys when I'm close to the net? Certainly. Low or fast or heavy TS or into my body or almost of reach or when I'm far from the net? Certainly not. That's a time for blocking it back deep and living to fight another day [shot].
 
#24
There is a time and a place for aggression. Slower, strike zone volleys when I'm close to the net? Certainly. Low or fast or heavy TS or into my body or almost of reach or when I'm far from the net? Certainly not. That's a time for blocking it back deep and living to fight another day [shot].
True that. I was thinking finishing from the net but you're right on the more difficult shots like the half volley or the low, heavy topspin shot you have to "dig" to get back.
 
#25
Anyway, still no deep analysis and critiques of my newbish rubish volleys, @S&V-not_dead_yet where are you :D
Sorry: I got called to do an emergency volleyectomy at the club. Patient's fine.

Instead of starting with a live ball, volley-to-volley rally, which is probably the most difficult of drills, how about starting at the other end of the spectrum and progress through:

- Partner stands 10' from the net on the other side and tosses slowly while you're just a foot from the net. Work on the unit turn as opposed to an arm-only turn. Don't take the racquet back past your center of gravity. Do not swing; just let the ball contact your racquet. Experiment with different grip tensions and racquet face angles.

- Back up to halfway between the net and SL. Your partner will hit slow balls to you. Use the same unit turn but now apply some force. Let the racquet continue forward rather than having it come to an abrupt stop. The face that made contact should end up pointing towards the ceiling. The racquet face should be slightly open, giving the ball a bit of backspin. Do not try to put excessive backspin on the ball by chopping downward; that will complicate the stroke.

- Partner moves back to the BL and continues slow feeds. The incoming ball has more momentum so you don't necessarily have to swing any harder. Aim deep [halfway between SL & BL]. Try some drop volleys also by opening your racquet face and loosening your grip [as opposed to chopping down].

- Live rally with partner on the BL.

- Live rally with both at net.

Getting good at the "easy" stuff will help you later with the more difficult stuff.

I like your footwork as many will stand there like a statue. It does seem like your racquet comes to an abrupt halt after contact rather than continuing forwards. How is your grip pressure? Can you adjust it to hit touch shots?

Not everything can be a punch [ie half-volleys off of your shoelaces, balls coming straight at you, pure reflex volleys, etc].
 
#26
Try guiding your volleys. Give the ball a nice long push and practice holding a balanced finish. Keep the racket face directed to the target before, during and a little after contact. At the moment it looks like you will be inconsistent as your racket face changes to meet the ball rather than go through it steadily. I'd work on that with plenty of time between feeds and then go back to quicker rally balls.

I think your arm is bent at contact on you ohbh but it's hard to see. Also, maybe it is related to having a bent arm, but it also looks like your wrist is really loose for every backhand, it reminds me of how the racket is dropped and the wrist is used on on the 2hbh and the forehand. Have you tried keeping it steadier? I have better results that way.
 

Curious

Hall of Fame
#27
My volleys are only developing as well but a few points that helped me hit better and more consistent volleys would be: ( not during a match but practice!) This must be the bad side of posting match videos, you can't lie any more.:D
Anyway;
1. Maintaining the 90 degree angle between forearm and the racket.
2. Maintaining the firm, neutral position of the wrist.
3. Moving the arm from the shoulder forward, minimising all elbow and wrist motion.
4. Making sure to stay sideways during the impact AKA good shoulder turn.
 

5point5

Professional
#28
Likewise what? At least if you are going to attempt comebacks, they should make sense.
My post was at least on topic, maybe try and inspire the lad.

You're just a flaming troll trying to incite a reaction. Nothing worse than you.

Sent from my XT1575 using Tapatalk
 
#29
Is this post supposed to be helpful? One thing we definitely don't have a shortage of on this board is people telling other people they suck.
OP has stated he likes proving people wrong so... yes, 5Point5's post was helpful in a motivational sense.

The nice thing about volleys - as opposed to most other tennis strokes - is that there is a widespread general consensus on proper technique that hasn't changed a lot since the 70s. Yeah, some folks take the big swinging volley occasionally these days but basic volleying technique... there's not a lot of disagreement. So, video is actually helpful here and it probably doesn't matter if you're watching a video from the 70s, 80s or whenever - you're gonna get pretty much the same advice (with modest variations). All the best volleyers (well, except for McEnroe) had pretty similar technique (Rafter, Edberg, Sampras, Federer...)... not so with other strokes.
 
#31
To me it looks like you are using too much wrist and elbow movement on the volley. Just hinge at the shoulder, no other joint should be moving. I think it's fine to hit with a bent elbow but it should stay in the same position before and after impact. Same with the wrist. The idea is to set the racket behind the ball, hinge at the shoulder, set the racket after you hit. Very little backswing, very little follow through.
Pretty much covered everything I was going to say.

As someone whose volleys used to be hot garbage and became much better in the last year or so, the one thing that worked for me (for punch volleys) worth mentioning IMHO is (a) to have a short takeback as expected, but also (b) recognise that the swingpath of the volley requires a bit more prediction on my part of where the ball will go as it approaches me than what I'm accustomed to from the baseline. Once that part became second nature, the reflex volleys improved massively.
 

Curious

Hall of Fame
#32
Id like to present my volleys and where im currently at.

Ive only started to work on volleys very recently, like 3 practice sessions so far, extremely little, and only forehand volleys more or less (95%) as you can see from vid, they feel a bit more comfortable already while backhand feels odd still.

@S&V-not_dead_yet and other great volley experts, share some thoughts, what am I doing well what am I not doing well?

Any insight is welcomed, as they are still in a baby stage and any tips I can incorporate might help me make improvements faster already

@NuBas @rogerroger917 @Doc Hollidae @Curious @MisterP @ChaelAZ @StringSnapper @Chadillac @Fintft @StANDAA


I also started slowly serving after my shoulder was quite hurt for weeks now, and I decided to make a few practice serves for @TimeToPlaySets since he said in the other topic that he doesn't know how my serve is, well here it is.
I always felt comfortable and trusted my serve as a nice weapon and I feel like I can aim it quite well.

I also made some footage of my topspin backhand, since in the other threads people were curious about it... sadly this is the only place I could put this camera in this tennis hall, so the angle is quite messed up and you can't see most of my backhands... only the ball, but you can see a few, and the ball and how its traveling, so I guess for now its ok..

I can already see @mad dog1 telling me what a id*ot I am for not hitting topspin backhands since they are not THAT BAD, certainly better than my poor floaty slices :D

But its still not consistent enough for me to trust it, will take a bit more time..

SERVE


TOPSPIN BACKHAND


VOLLEYS (viewer discretion advised, its horrible, don't watch!!! :eek::D )

Fire, I notice on your serve your racket path going up to trophy pose is very nice and compact happening very close to your body and more in front rather a huge backward movement first like Fed's which I find is quite difficult and complicated. It looks like Brent Abels in that regard. I was trying to recommend this to @StringSnapper by the way but couldnt explain it well.
 

FiReFTW

Hall of Fame
#33
Tnx guys i have a pretty good idea now how to go on about changing/improving.
Most is whati already suspected and coach mentioned.

Will post updared improved volley vid in next days, expect massive improvements!
 

FiReFTW

Hall of Fame
#34
Fire, I notice on your serve your racket path going up to trophy pose is very nice and compact happening very close to your body and more in front rather a huge backward movement first like Fed's which I find is quite difficult and complicated. It looks like Brent Abels in that regard. I was trying to recommend this to @StringSnapper by the way but couldnt explain it well.
Yes i tried to incorporate the fundamentals from pros.
But things like these that alot do different i tend to experiment and try different things to see what feels best.
Feds takeback always felt extremely akward, this one feels most comfortable to me.
 

FiReFTW

Hall of Fame
#35
Based on fps analyze serve calculator the 2nd serve is the fastest about 95-100mph, not that bad considering it has alot of spin and im not rly serving fully and using legs and tossing more front.

Upper limit is probably around 105-110 if i really went all out..

Which is not that bad but i should be able to do 120 i think, @Curious said i have a very flexible shouldet :D
 

Curious

Hall of Fame
#36
Based on fps analyze serve calculator the 2nd serve is the fastest about 95-100mph, not that bad considering it has alot of spin and im not rly serving fully and using legs and tossing more front.

Upper limit is probably around 105-110 if i really went all out..

Which is not that bad but i should be able to do 120 i think, @Curious said i have a very flexible shouldet :D
Yeah, I believe all fundamentals are in place, all your serves are smooth and slow like easy practice serves which they are! It's up to you to get more explosive and increase the pace but I would urge you to be careful there, never do that without a good warm up. And any time you feel sharpish sort of pain in and around joints, tone it down early on.
 
#41
Volleys. Others have raised some good points with regards to technique (more of a compact, punchy motion) but you’re also too far from the net, and you need to keep your racquet higher while you’re waiting for the ball.

Look how far you have to move the racquet from ready position to hitting some of those volleys, you’d stand no chance against a proper pace shot coming at you.
 

FiReFTW

Hall of Fame
#42
Did you try to copy Federer’s game in any way? The serve motion looks similar
Hes a good model since his strokes are elegant and effortless (sonething i very much like, even tho most ppl will say it doesnt matter, but it matters to me).

That being said its similar but still different, mine is prettier :D:D
 

FiReFTW

Hall of Fame
#43
Look how far you have to move the racquet from ready position to hitting some of those volleys, you’d stand no chance against a proper pace shot coming at you.
Good point!

Today or tomorrow when I go practice here are my checkpoints:

1.Have racquet higher in rdy position
2.Keep racquet infront of the plain of the body at all times
3.Step into the volley to use bodyweight instead of stepping before and then the body being completely still as you swing
4.Try to keep arm more extended with fh volley to prevent extra elbow extension action to add pace
5.Try to firm up grip slightly and maintain that L shape


If I manage all that the new volleys should look much better, guess we will see
 

FiReFTW

Hall of Fame
#45
In my limited and poor ecperience so far elegance and effortlessness go out the window as soon as the match starts!
Of course that is true, in a match there are many different unpredictable shots, shots ur late at, shots ur stretched at, weird bounces whatnot.

No player maintains his technique trully in a match apart from maybe slow sitter balls where he has time to properly setup.

In a match there is alot of improvisation.

Ive even seen fed bunt the ball back from the baseline, no spin just bunt it high arc, as the ball was extremely fast and stretched him a bit, so yeah, you are partialy correct Mr.Curious
 
#49
In my limited and poor ecperience so far elegance and effortlessness go out the window as soon as the match starts!
This is very true if the players footwork is poor and sloppy and/or their fitness. Anticipation plays a role as well. You’ll see plenty of people hitting forehand crosscourt with decent looking strokes, but once a match starts and balls end up being more random the technique breaks down immediately.
 

Curious

Hall of Fame
#50
This is very true if the players footwork is poor and sloppy and/or their fitness. Anticipation plays a role as well. You’ll see plenty of people hitting forehand crosscourt with decent looking strokes, but once a match starts and balls end up being more random the technique breaks down immediately.
Great point. If the footwork and fitness are good and you get to the ball at the right time and in a balanced position there is not much reason for the technique to break down apart from tension. I was mostly putting it down to the latter during match play but I realise now that footwork/movement is the main culprit.
 
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