The first step is admitting I have a problem...

My backhand volley when I’m moving forward kind of sucks.

When I take warm-up volleys, I seem like I can stick my backhand volleys on a dime. But during the match, I seem to lose my ability to control this shot.

This problem seems to happen most often in singles. It seems to happen to me a lot when I’ve just hit an approach shot and have my opponent on the ropes. I move forward to intercept a weak reply for the 1hb putaway volley... and then I butcher the shot.

Most of my misses are wide and high, feeling like my contact is late. But some times I dump in the net. I think maybe it’s because the power on a 1hb volley comes mostly from a rotational motion, making timing/spacing errors problematic. In contrast, my forehand volley punch is a more linear motion, and I’m very good at these.

Also, my 1hb volley sometimes misses because it feels like my wrist is not firm enough. It’s hard to focus on this in the moment.

I learned the 1hb volley late in life, in my 20s, after learning to play the game as a serve-and-volleyer in high school using a 2hb volley.
My 2hb volley was more secure and less error-prone, but I made to switch mainly because the 1hb volley helped with having more reach in all directions and more potential putaway power.

Im seriously considering going back to my 2hb volley full-time. Or is there some secret I’m missing to making the 1hb volley (when charging forward) a more automatic and easy-to-time shot?
 
You have to slow down as you approach the ball or you will push the it long. Just a little, check your feet.

J
Sometimes I miss a little long. But sometimes I pop these up high and miss badly. Sometimes, but not always, I feel like I actually slowed down and coasted too much when I should have accelerated, wasting the chance to use my forward momentum for stability.
 
"... the power on a 1hb volley comes mostly from a rotational motion, making timing/spacing errors problematic. In contrast, my forehand volley punch is a more linear motion , and I’m very good at these." I assume you're talking here about your 1hb volley, not generic 1hb volleys.

From here it appears you may already have the answer to your problem.
 
Thinking about it... in doubles, I’m pretty good at hitting my backhand volley when I’m serve-and-volleying from ad side and ball is returned straight toward me. It’s those balls where I have to move forward and to my left that my wrist gets shakier.
 
Are you concentrating on hitting a winner as opposed to simply hitting a good shot? That might be one source of the problem.

Also, don't underestimate the value of hitting behind the opponent, which might prompt a weak reply.
 
Are you concentrating on hitting a winner as opposed to simply hitting a good shot? That might be one source of the problem.

Also, don't underestimate the value of hitting behind the opponent, which might prompt a weak reply.
The most common frustration is when I have pulled my opponent deep behind the baseline into his backhand corner after I have just hit a moonball approach, and he is attempting an inside out crosscourt forehand. All I have to do is place a backhand volley somewhere near the down-the-line sideline and it would be a winner. I’m not necessarily trying to hit it hard, as some of these are lower balls requiring touch. Some of these are high balls. I miss both types of balls too much. I am typically 15 feet behind net at contact.
 

Curious

Legend
The most common frustration is when I have pulled my opponent deep behind the baseline into his backhand corner after I have just hit a moonball approach, and he is attempting an inside out crosscourt forehand. All I have to do is place a backhand volley somewhere near the down-the-line sideline and it would be a winner. I’m not necessarily trying to hit it hard, as some of these are lower balls requiring touch. Some of these are high balls. I miss both types of balls too much. I am typically 15 feet behind net at contact.
Do they go wide, long or in the net?
 
Do they go wide, long or in the net?
I have the hardest time when the incoming ball has heavy topspin. I tend to pop these up long and often wide too as it seems like my wrist is often not firm enough.

I think I was better at these in high school when I still relied on my 2hb volley for these.
 
I’m thinking I’m going to test out the 2hb volley as a band-aid fix in my match tomorrow.

I’m playing the same pro for the third day in row tomorrow - I lost both days so far after blowing set points both days. The first day a blown set point was on one of these bh volleys.
 

LeeD

Bionic Poster
Really close your stance when driving the high backhand volley. Go CC.
DTL, go for placement over power.
 

r2473

G.O.A.T.
after I have just hit a moonball approach
That’s my go to approach shot too. So much easier and more effective than a hard struck approach. And I rarely make an error. You give your opponent very little pace to work with, make them take the ball above the shoulder and you have all day to move into net.

As for your volley problem, I have no idea. I always think “catch and push” for my volleys. “Catch” forces me to slow down and split step. It forces me to think about controlling the ball above all else. “Push” is the feel I want so I’m not swinging. Normally my volley is a “push / punch” stroke, but not a “swing / punch”. I’m pushing with my feet, not my arm,

It’s true that I will sometimes get beat because I didn’t put the ball away. But I won’t often miss a volley. And I’ll hit it where I want to. Below the 5.0 level, I find that to be effective. But when I was playing 5.0’s, it didn’t always work.
 

Curious

Legend
That’s my go to approach shot too. So much easier and more effective than a hard struck approach. And I rarely make an error. You give your opponent very little pace to work with, make them take the ball above the shoulder and you have all day to move into net.
Some skilfully hit a deep lob from there while you’re rushing to the net. It’s not a piece of cake.
 
Some skilfully hit a deep lob from there while you’re rushing to the net. It’s not a piece of cake.
Yes, but even when they go for the lob to the backhand side and hit it decently, it’s a good opportunity to pick it out of the air with a high backhand volley because they are hitting it from deep behind baseline, giving me time to position myself - I am ahead in the point, but missing the volley ruins it.
 

ByeByePoly

G.O.A.T.
Most likely it's legs on volleys you are moving to. Someone who has had a good volley for years doesn't forget how to volley. I think movement to the volley is all part of the muscle memory ... it only takes a little loss of the court coverage/speed to throw off timing. If your volley is still solid stationary ... it must be the movement.

It happened to me on overheads a couple of summers ago. My overhead is always solid no matter what other parts might be struggling ... so this hitting overheads into the net thing sucked and was new. The culprit ended up being a loss of leg strength. In this case, it wasn't just getting into position (backpedaling, etc), but also turns out you need a pretty solid base even on ones you don't have to move much for. Several months later with only adding body weight squats I had my overhead back.

I think a 2hbh volley in singles would seldom limit you given the way singles points usually play out. To me the problem would be I would not want a different volley for doubles and singles. I hit a cont 1hbh volley, and a cont fh volley ... so good to go on reflex volley nature of doubles. Never tried a 2hbh volley, doesn't seem ideal to me.

Enjoy your 50s tennis ... that is the best advice you are going to get in this thread. 8-B
 
Most likely it's legs on volleys you are moving to. Someone who has had a good volley for years doesn't forget how to volley. I think movement to the volley is all part of the muscle memory ... it only takes a little loss of the court coverage/speed to throw off timing. If your volley is still solid stationary ... it must be the movement.

It happened to me on overheads a couple of summers ago. My overhead is always solid no matter what other parts might be struggling ... so this hitting overheads into the net thing sucked and was new. The culprit ended up being a loss of leg strength. In this case, it wasn't just getting into position (backpedaling, etc), but also turns out you need a pretty solid base even on ones you don't have to move much for. Several months later with only adding body weight squats I had my overhead back.

I think a 2hbh volley in singles would seldom limit you given the way singles points usually play out. To me the problem would be I would not want a different volley for doubles and singles. I hit a cont 1hbh volley, and a cont fh volley ... so good to go on reflex volley nature of doubles. Never tried a 2hbh volley, doesn't seem ideal to me.

Enjoy your 50s tennis ... that is the best advice you are going to get in this thread. 8-B
My overhead ain’t what it used to be either.
 

Curious

Legend
Yes, but even when they go for the lob to the backhand side and hit it decently, it’s a good opportunity to pick it out of the air with a high backhand volley because they are hitting it from deep behind baseline, giving me time to position myself
Ya. Don’t close too close to the net. You get a feel for what your opponent can do pretty fast
Depends how good the lob is. The ones I come across land bloody close to the baseline, so none of what you say above works.
 

golden chicken

Professional
Are you dropping your left hand off the racket too soon? Is your take back too big?

These two small things make my backhand volley inconsistent.
 

NLBwell

Legend
My backhand volley when I’m moving forward kind of sucks.

When I take warm-up volleys, I seem like I can stick my backhand volleys on a dime. But during the match, I seem to lose my ability to control this shot.

This problem seems to happen most often in singles. It seems to happen to me a lot when I’ve just hit an approach shot and have my opponent on the ropes. I move forward to intercept a weak reply for the 1hb putaway volley... and then I butcher the shot.

Most of my misses are wide and high, feeling like my contact is late. But some times I dump in the net. I think maybe it’s because the power on a 1hb volley comes mostly from a rotational motion, making timing/spacing errors problematic. In contrast, my forehand volley punch is a more linear motion, and I’m very good at these.

Also, my 1hb volley sometimes misses because it feels like my wrist is not firm enough. It’s hard to focus on this in the moment.

I learned the 1hb volley late in life, in my 20s, after learning to play the game as a serve-and-volleyer in high school using a 2hb volley.
My 2hb volley was more secure and less error-prone, but I made to switch mainly because the 1hb volley helped with having more reach in all directions and more potential putaway power.

Im seriously considering going back to my 2hb volley full-time. Or is there some secret I’m missing to making the 1hb volley (when charging forward) a more automatic and easy-to-time shot?
It may not be your volley itself. I was always a pretty good volleyer while static. I figured out that a major reason why I had such problems volleying was that I tended to drop my racket down and back when moving forward. (It's a habit that it still hard to break.) This forced me to move the racket a lot to get it into position before even starting to hit the volley. Make sure to keep the racket up and in proper position in front of you while you are moving toward the volley. Try to minimize any movement when setting up for the volley and keep your body stable.
 
It may not be your volley itself. I was always a pretty good volleyer while static. I figured out that a major reason why I had such problems volleying was that I tended to drop my racket down and back when moving forward. (It's a habit that it still hard to break.) This forced me to move the racket a lot to get it into position before even starting to hit the volley. Make sure to keep the racket up and in proper position in front of you while you are moving toward the volley. Try to minimize any movement when setting up for the volley and keep your body stable.
I think you might be on to something. But when I simply keep the racquet out in front and try to get by with just my forward momentum, I don’t generate enough punch to be stable enough, and if the incoming ball has heavy topspin (or in the common case of high loopy ball is heavy due to dropping from height under gravity), it ends up popping up off my stringbed anyway.

I need a better way to generate punch more linearly.
 

RajS

Semi-Pro
@travlerajm : Have you tried playing with the mentality of just blocking the volley? By that I mean you basically forget about things like using your feet or body rotation to generate power. Just get your racket behind the ball, with the racket head above the wrist (assuming the volley is not too low). Your goal is to block it into open court (or wherever seems appropriate). Once you get used to this idea, it becomes easier to stiffen at contact, and present the racket head with the appropriate amount of open face, to generate some "stick" and back spin. This approach has helped me a lot. But I am too old and too slow to think seriously about serving and volleying consistently, except in doubles sometimes.
 

Keendog

Semi-Pro
I think you might be on to something. But when I simply keep the racquet out in front and try to get by with just my forward momentum, I don’t generate enough punch to be stable enough, and if the incoming ball has heavy topspin (or in the common case of high loopy ball is heavy due to dropping from height under gravity), it ends up popping up off my stringbed anyway.

I need a better way to generate punch more linearly.
Could it be that you think you are moving forward but the actual contact point is slightly behind you? As opposed to hitting the ball out front. You might need someone to look at you side on to see what is happening vs what you think is happening.
 
My backhand volley when I’m moving forward kind of sucks.

When I take warm-up volleys, I seem like I can stick my backhand volleys on a dime. But during the match, I seem to lose my ability to control this shot.

This problem seems to happen most often in singles. It seems to happen to me a lot when I’ve just hit an approach shot and have my opponent on the ropes. I move forward to intercept a weak reply for the 1hb putaway volley... and then I butcher the shot.

Most of my misses are wide and high, feeling like my contact is late. But some times I dump in the net. I think maybe it’s because the power on a 1hb volley comes mostly from a rotational motion, making timing/spacing errors problematic. In contrast, my forehand volley punch is a more linear motion, and I’m very good at these.

Also, my 1hb volley sometimes misses because it feels like my wrist is not firm enough. It’s hard to focus on this in the moment.

I learned the 1hb volley late in life, in my 20s, after learning to play the game as a serve-and-volleyer in high school using a 2hb volley.
My 2hb volley was more secure and less error-prone, but I made to switch mainly because the 1hb volley helped with having more reach in all directions and more potential putaway power.

Im seriously considering going back to my 2hb volley full-time. Or is there some secret I’m missing to making the 1hb volley (when charging forward) a more automatic and easy-to-time shot?
In warm up are you already at net or are you moving forward like the ones you’re shanking? I’m asking because when I get caught approaching and haven’t split yet the same thing will happen. It’s easier to get away with on the forehand side since the volley is more of a punch, but your backhand volley timing and power will get all messed up if you don’t get your hips and shoulders rotated enough so that you can can rotate and counterbalance with your body.
 

J011yroger

Talk Tennis Guru
Most of these next-gen former ATP teaching pros are crappy volleyers considering how good they are. Where are the old-school ATP guys when I need them?
They say run in with your shoulders completely turned, slow down as you approach the ball, keep your finish on the hitting side of your body, and focus on hitting it cleanly over power and aim for a big safe target.

J
 

ByeByePoly

G.O.A.T.
They say run in with your shoulders completely turned, slow down as you approach the ball, keep your finish on the hitting side of your body, and focus on hitting it cleanly over power and aim for a big safe target.

J
Keep your dating life out of this.
 

movdqa

Talk Tennis Guru
It sounds like you hit a DTL to the backhand, they pop it up and you get the easy volley. In these cases, you usually don't have to do that much with the volley - placement will usually get the job done as the momentum of the other player is going off the court.

Are you watching the ball?

Do you practice high and wide volleys? How about practicing the approach and then a high volley shot?

Have you tried exaggerated slice for more control and less pace?

I've always found the backhand volley to be easier and more natural than the forehand volley and part of the key is less racquet travel.
 
For today’s match I was more focused on this particular shot. The results were utterly tragic.

Again my bh volley was on point and crisp in warmup.

Today I played better than the last couple of days overall, but lost a very tightly contested set for the third day in a row. And my inability to execute on the bh volley when closing and moving to my left cost me the set. I bricked two of them, but both occurred in the only service games where I was broken.

In my first service game, I hit a strong penetrating down-the-line forehand approach. My opponent was stretched and went for the crosscourt slice bh pass. I charged forward and to my left to intercept it. I’m thinking ‘here it comes, don’t F it up.’ I focused on meeting it out in front. I made contact about 10 feet from net and waist high. All I had to do was punch it down the line into the open court for a winner. I think the ball reached my stringbed a split second earlier than I was anticipating, which may have compromised my timing. My volley hit the tape.

Then when serving to stay in the set, a similar situation with my opponent on defense in his backhand corner. He popped up a floater - I had to slow my forward momentum because I had to wait for the ball to drop low enough, meeting it high 15 feet from the net. This time somehow I got too timid and popped it up higher than I wanted (I wanted to angle it downward and short) but soft enough that it dropped inside the baseline. My weak volley erased my edge in the point and I lost it a shot or two later. Sour!
 

movdqa

Talk Tennis Guru
For today’s match I was more focused on this particular shot. The results were utterly tragic.

Again my bh volley was on point and crisp in warmup.

Today I played better than the last couple of days overall, but lost a very tightly contested set for the third day in a row. And my inability to execute on the bh volley when closing and moving to my left cost me the set. I bricked two of them, but both occurred in the only service games where I was broken.

In my first service game, I hit a strong penetrating down-the-line forehand approach. My opponent was stretched and went for the crosscourt slice bh pass. I charged forward and to my left to intercept it. I’m thinking ‘here it comes, don’t F it up.’ I focused on meeting it out in front. I made contact about 10 feet from net and waist high. All I had to do was punch it down the line into the open court for a winner. I think the ball reached my stringbed a split second earlier than I was anticipating, which may have compromised my timing. My volley hit the tape.

Then when serving to stay in the set, a similar situation with my opponent on defense in his backhand corner. He popped up a floater - I had to slow my forward momentum because I had to wait for the ball to drop low enough, meeting it high 15 feet from the net. This time somehow I got too timid and popped it up higher than I wanted (I wanted to angle it downward and short) but soft enough that it dropped inside the baseline. My weak volley erased my edge in the point and I lost it a shot or two later. Sour!
I have a hard time envisioning you missing shots like these. I guess I can understand going from two-hands to one-hand but these don't sound like they should be tough for you given your style of play.
 
I have a hard time envisioning you missing shots like these. I guess I can understand going from two-hands to one-hand but these don't sound like they should be tough for you given your style of play.
That’s why it’s so frustrating! I’m missing shots that shouldn’t be that hard.

On the plus side, my new focus on fixing this problem has revealed that I am really good at these shots when they occur on the forehand side. I’m solid as a rock when I surge forward and to my right to cover a crosscourt forehand pass with a fh volley.
 

movdqa

Talk Tennis Guru
That’s why it’s so frustrating! I’m missing shots that shouldn’t be that hard.

On the plus side, my new focus on fixing this problem has revealed that I am really good at these shots when they occur on the forehand side. I’m solid as a rock when I surge forward and to my right to cover a crosscourt forehand pass with a fh volley.
Any possibility of vision or balance issues?
 
Any possibility of vision or balance issues?
I dont think that’s it.

I think my 1hb volley form is flawed, and sometimes gets exposed when I’m on the move and trying to execute with accuracy from midcourt.

Normally, I volley best in general with stiff racquets, stiff stringbed, short dwell time.

But I noticed when I tried out a wood racquet that it helped my backhand volley because the response was so dead that I had to really punch the racquet forward a lot on every volley. It seemed to help guide my form and make the stroke more linear.

The wood racquet didn’t help my forehand volley which is already naturally a very linear stroke (and I thus assume more fundamentally sound).
 

movdqa

Talk Tennis Guru
I dont think that’s it.

I think my 1hb volley form is flawed, and sometimes gets exposed when I’m on the move and trying to execute with accuracy from midcourt.

Normally, I volley best in general with stiff racquets, stiff stringbed, short dwell time.

But I noticed when I tried out a wood racquet that it helped my backhand volley because the response was so dead that I had to really punch the racquet forward a lot on every volley. It seemed to help guide my form and make the stroke more linear.

The wood racquet didn’t help my forehand volley which is already naturally a very linear stroke (and I thus assume more fundamentally sound).
If it's a fundamental issue, then I guess you find a good coach or take video and hope the video catches it and post it.

It sounds like you're playing with pretty powerful racquets so it would seem like you don't have to do that much to generate a lot of pace on the ball. My racquets are really powerful and I usually have to be very careful on the ball with volley or it will go out - so a lot of the work is actually absorbing some of the pace off the incoming ball.

I still have trouble visualizing what you're experiencing. I know what you mean in going to really low-powered racquets and really having to punch it (unless you want to hit a lot of drop volleys). In general, I prefer the racquet to do a lot more of the work for me. Then, to some extent, you need the feel to control the volley.
 
Top