Why I'm so bad at the Swinging Volley

I think it's because I'm not accounting for the fact that, taken before the bounce, the ball has a lot more velocity on it. If I do make an error, it's typically into the net. I need to get more shape on the ball trajectory to give myself more margin, I think.

I have gotten better lately on the FH but I have yet to pull it off with a BH during a match.
 

fundrazer

Legend
I was terrible at them for the longest time, but managed to start making them more frequently. Still don't have the best control, but I'll make them about 8 out of 10 times now. It's like you said, need more shape on the ball. Use more of a windshield wiper type stroke and you should be okay.

Backhand is a bit more difficult. Maybe be better off trying to get a nice cut on a slice volley than a topspin swinger.
 

socallefty

Professional
For me, the key is to hit it like it is a topspin ground stroke with a full followthrough rather than thinking of it as a block-volley with a backswing. When I just block it from midcourt, I either hit it too flat and miss into the net or I have to aim for a big target in the middle or the court and get passed or lobbed afterwards. When I hit it with a low-up swing, slightly closed racquet-face and full followthrough, I control it like a topspin groundstroke and can hit it into smaller targets in the corners or even short angles into space - I can hit it with more pace too due to the extra control from the spin.

I don’t ever attempt it with my 1HBH and it is always a FH swinging volley even if I have to be quick and run around my BH to do it.
 

OnTheLine

Hall of Fame
This is something I should likely stop attempting in match situations. As good as many of the WTA pros make it look ... not in my arsenal.

My 2HBH swing volley is decent but in the same situation I would be better taking the same ball in the air as a 1HBH slice volley approach, in balance and crisp.

FH ... yeah that is a disaster .... better to do anything else with it.

Overall I tend to take as many balls out of the air as possible because it puts so much pressure on the opponent .... but the swing volley is not currently the answer.
 

Moveforwardalways

Hall of Fame
It requires specific practice just like any other shot. As you mention, much easier on the forehand side. But it’s a great tool to have, especially if you get a weak floater serve return in doubles and you are on the way in. Ripping a gigantic swinging volley from the service line right at the opposing net person will send a message.
 

Rattler

Hall of Fame
For me, to hit them well I let the ball come closer...not as far out in front like regular volley.
I can really get some stick on them that way. I don’t know if that will work for you...It maybe just me though.
 

18x20 ftw

New User
One of my favorite shots. Pusher destroying and necessitates a fist pump afterwards (kinda discouraging to attempt a lame high moonball again). Plus, it doesn't even need to be that accurate. If you're taking a near full swipe near the service line something soft is probably coming back if at all and can be angled off with a regular volley.
 

18x20 ftw

New User
This shot is a must for rising juniors with all the cheap, ugly moonballs/lobs that are elicited after any semblance of a good groundstroke off the court.

You need to have someone just toss up balls to you (10-20 balls in a row) which you take out of the air. Also, this is one of the good instances of a ball machine (not a usual fan of ball machine but can be advantageous in certain instances), to get the feel and trajectory of the stroke.
 

zipplock

Hall of Fame
I think it's because I'm not accounting for the fact that, taken before the bounce, the ball has a lot more velocity on it. If I do make an error, it's typically into the net. I need to get more shape on the ball trajectory to give myself more margin, I think.

I have gotten better lately on the FH but I have yet to pull it off with a BH during a match.
For me, it's because I'm swinging. It's been so bad I took a volley lesson this morning, trying to get back to simple.
 

travlerajm

G.O.A.T.
I find I’m very good at taking a forehand floater with a strong punch volley. I can hit these plenty hard and with good accuracy. But that’s because my forehand slice is generally very good. I don’t really practice topspin swinging volleys because it doesn’t seem needed.

On the backhand side, I’m pretty good at using a drive swinging 2hb volley (as my 2hb is very good), and I should probably do this more often because I make too many errors on my 1hb stab volley.
 

Rattler

Hall of Fame
I find I’m very good at taking a forehand floater with a strong punch volley. I can hit these plenty hard and with good accuracy. But that’s because my forehand slice is generally very good. I don’t really practice topspin swinging volleys because it doesn’t seem needed.

On the backhand side, I’m pretty good at using a drive swinging 2hb volley (as my 2hb is very good), and I should probably do this more often because I make too many errors on my 1hb stab volley.
Is it really a topspin volley or just a flat shot?
 

travlerajm

G.O.A.T.
Is it really a topspin volley or just a flat shot?
I distinguish between hitting slightly underspin and slightly topspin. For me, the slightly underspin drive volley is a more natural stroke to hit with power and accuracy. Like throwing a Mike Tyson punch.
 

ptuanminh

Hall of Fame
Topspin....a lot of topspin, go for placement not power. Recognize the shot early helps a lot. once a weak ball leaves opponent racquet, take a step in and go for it. dont be shy.
 

Dartagnan64

G.O.A.T.
These are the shots that make opponents go Wow! I've hit 2 in my life in big matches and everyone raised their eyebrows with the "where did that come from?" look.

To me it's a no man's land shot on a sitter. I won't hit it off a well struck groundstroke or a high lob. But a moon ball/sitter where I can't get to it at it's apex for an overhead and don't want to retreat, I'll step into the court take it a little higher than waist height on either wing. Just have to commit and keep your eye on the ball.
 

RiverRat

New User
To me it's a no man's land shot on a sitter.
I agree. Anyone who is swinging at volleys, probably can't volley well. Only Mac could effectively hit a topspin volley, accelerating the ball off the shoe tops. There is no need to hit a swinging volley at net because the advantage is with angle, placement, and taking away the opponents reaction time. Power isn't necessary. Taking a mid-court ball of out of the air is a different story. Here, the speed of your shot and the act of taking it out of the air reduces your opponents time to recover and is, perhaps, worth the risk of the shot.
 
Anyone who is swinging at volleys, probably can't volley well.
The term "swinging volley" does not refer to a regular volley where the player swings too much. In your example, I agree: people tend to overcomplicate volleys and one way is excessive racquet takeback and swing.

What I was referring to is hitting an aggressive GS by not letting the ball bounce.
 

Papa Mango

Semi-Pro
Coz you suck :p
There was a period of 3-4 months last year where I was hitting it so well. Don't think I missed more than a couple out of a few dozen. Then like all good things it went away :cry:.
All FH though, never thought of even trying it on the BH.
IIRC Thiem hit one in the USO final on the backhand side. That was prob the only high point of the match for me.
 

RiverRat

New User
Like almost everyone on the WTA tour? I don’t think we are talking about the same thing.
I would say the majority of players on the WTA tour do not volley well. I would say a large number of men on the ATP tour don't volley well. Swing volleys are a product of backcourters in the modern era trying to fill-in an enormous gap in their games with something similar to a groundstroke. Most of the players do not come to net with any regularity and that is, ipso facto, because they don't feel comfortable at net and don't volley well. I honestly don't think all that many of them would even argue with me.
 

tonylg

Hall of Fame
I would say the majority of players on the WTA tour do not volley well. I would say a large number of men on the ATP tour don't volley well. Swing volleys are a product of backcourters in the modern era trying to fill-in an enormous gap in their games with something similar to a groundstroke. Most of the players do not come to net with any regularity and that is, ipso facto, because they don't feel comfortable at net and don't volley well. I honestly don't think all that many of them would even argue with me.
Add something to that .. they don't want to be called to actually hit a proper volley. And Edberg, Rafter, etc would punch the ball deep into a corner and close into the net to beat you with the next volley. Once inside the baseline, baseline bots just need to end the point.
 

am1899

Hall of Fame
I think in some cases (myself included) we try to do too much with the swing volley - in particular, try to hit it too hard. You’re already taking away significant time away from your opponent, so it’s usually not necessary to rip it. I tell my college players to think of it more as a setup shot, or even an approach shot - as opposed to a kill shot. If you end up hitting a winner, great. But going into a swing volley with the expectation that you should hit a winner is a recipe for disaster, IMHO.
 

RiverRat

New User
think of it more as a setup shot, or even an approach shot - as opposed to a kill shot. If you end up hitting a winner, great.
Good advice. There are only a rare few players who can crush this shot with consistency. In my day, we just took it out of the air, blocked it into the open court, and came in behind it. Things as they are today, one probably needs to do a little more with it, but I still think the best play is to follow it in.
 

r2473

G.O.A.T.
I think it's because I'm not accounting for the fact that, taken before the bounce, the ball has a lot more velocity on it. If I do make an error, it's typically into the net. I need to get more shape on the ball trajectory to give myself more margin, I think.

I have gotten better lately on the FH but I have yet to pull it off with a BH during a match.
On the forehand side, treat them like "shoulder level dip drives". I'm not sure if Brett has anything out there for free, but he teaches it on this video:


 

Cindysphinx

G.O.A.T.
I think I volley well, but there is a place for a swing volley in ladies tennis. I think people miss because they try to crush it, you’re already well inside the court, so all you need is placement.

I can hit it, but the main threat in ladies doubles is the lob, so I do much better with a slice approach that is hard to lob than a swing volley that people can push over my head.
 

Dartagnan64

G.O.A.T.
I think in some cases (myself included) we try to do too much with the swing volley - in particular, try to hit it too hard. You’re already taking away significant time away from your opponent, so it’s usually not necessary to rip it. I tell my college players to think of it more as a setup shot, or even an approach shot - as opposed to a kill shot. If you end up hitting a winner, great. But going into a swing volley with the expectation that you should hit a winner is a recipe for disaster, IMHO.
I just try to connect. But usually my connection is so good, it’s a winner anyway. I always hit it down the middle in doubles and people never react to it in time.
To me it’s basically like hitting a slow pitch soft ball especially off the 2HBH wing.
 

nyta2

Rookie
I think it's because I'm not accounting for the fact that, taken before the bounce, the ball has a lot more velocity on it. If I do make an error, it's typically into the net. I need to get more shape on the ball trajectory to give myself more margin, I think.

I have gotten better lately on the FH but I have yet to pull it off with a BH during a match.
how are you missing?
i treat it like a groundstroke, but aim higher & flatter (tendency is to go into net)
missing this shot is also what prompted me to always attempt to hit swinging volleys (fh and 2hbh) from the baseline given the opportunity (ie. when partner accidently misses long in a coop rally) - which is also why i chuckle to myself when folks choose to do the matador to show me the ball is long (during a cooperative rally, beyond the warmup)

why not self feed this, easy to do, and get the feel pretty quickly after a dozen tries or so... try at service line, then try at baseline.
 
how are you missing?
i treat it like a groundstroke, but aim higher & flatter (tendency is to go into net)
missing this shot is also what prompted me to always attempt to hit swinging volleys (fh and 2hbh) from the baseline given the opportunity (ie. when partner accidently misses long in a coop rally) - which is also why i chuckle to myself when folks choose to do the matador to show me the ball is long (during a cooperative rally, beyond the warmup)

why not self feed this, easy to do, and get the feel pretty quickly after a dozen tries or so... try at service line, then try at baseline.
Usually I miss into the net, especially the BH when on the BL and I'm just hitting it for fun. I need to make a concerted effort to lift the ball.

I seem to do OK with the FH.

I actually have done self-feeds with the BH; I just don't feel comfortable yet trying to pull it off in a match. It's also not the shot that comes naturally [I volley instead].
 

WhiteOut

Semi-Pro
I think it's because I'm not accounting for the fact that, taken before the bounce, the ball has a lot more velocity on it. If I do make an error, it's typically into the net. I need to get more shape on the ball trajectory to give myself more margin, I think.

I have gotten better lately on the FH but I have yet to pull it off with a BH during a match.
I started trying this shot last year after watching serena. of all the pros, she's the one i see using it the most. about a year before that, i made a commitment to get into net quicker and more frequently (when playing singles). what naturally started happening is i would get floaters that i was meeting mid-court, but they would almost surprise me since i was still moving in...i'd get jammed, bunt something back, or have to let it pass me, run back, and re-set with a defensive lob. watching serena helped me to start anticipating and looking for the shot -- and i dont have to blast it, just a steady/easy stroke that no one expects... and of course, the more i started trying it, the success % goes up, and overall more comfortable with the shot. in the 3.5/4.0 circles i play in, i rarely see anyone using this shot. now i almost always get a handful of easy winners per match with it...(and a few oohs/aahs, which is nice).

tried it with 1HBH a few times, but the success% is so low for me there. im more apt to just play traditional volley/groundie on that side.
 
I started trying this shot last year after watching serena. of all the pros, she's the one i see using it the most. about a year before that, i made a commitment to get into net quicker and more frequently (when playing singles). what naturally started happening is i would get floaters that i was meeting mid-court, but they would almost surprise me since i was still moving in...i'd get jammed, bunt something back, or have to let it pass me, run back, and re-set with a defensive lob. watching serena helped me to start anticipating and looking for the shot -- and i dont have to blast it, just a steady/easy stroke that no one expects... and of course, the more i started trying it, the success % goes up, and overall more comfortable with the shot. in the 3.5/4.0 circles i play in, i rarely see anyone using this shot. now i almost always get a handful of easy winners per match with it...(and a few oohs/aahs, which is nice).

tried it with 1HBH a few times, but the success% is so low for me there. im more apt to just play traditional volley/groundie on that side.
Even at 4.5 it's rare. And almost no one attacks the net as Plan A anyway so the opportunity does not come up much.
 

travlerajm

G.O.A.T.
On the swinging volley, I’ve always been very good at these on my 2hb. But I use it less these days, because I’m always trying to improve my 1hb stab volley, which still has issues. This thread reminds me that I should consider using the 2hb swinging volley more often as an option.

On the forehand, I’ve historically sucked at the swinging volley, but always been very good at the fh punch volley. However, since I made a change to my forehand technique last spring where I switched to a contact with a fixed wrist, I’ve found that swinging forehand volleys from the baseline (when my opponent launches a ball well long) are now very easy for me. I think the reason they are so easy for me is that I use a high sswingweight in the 360s - the extra inertia really helps to counter the heavy weight of the ball (dropping from a high height without having been slowed by the bounce). I also find that hitting these in warmup has a helpful intimidation effect, as it makes it seem like my forehand is better than it is.
 

nyta2

Rookie
Even at 4.5 it's rare. And almost no one attacks the net as Plan A anyway so the opportunity does not come up much.
even when i'm deciding to s&v or c&c, i almost never get swinging volley opportunites...
main times i get many opportunities, is when playing moonballers (or generally anyone that typically hits safe highish floaty balls that are not quite a lob), because i'm often waiting to do a delayed move to net just before they hit the ball (if i hit a "normal" approach shot, they typically will just hit a high lob, which is fine, but against good lobbers i find swinging volleys to be easier to hit)
 
even when i'm deciding to s&v or c&c, i almost never get swinging volley opportunites...
main times i get many opportunities, is when playing moonballers (or generally anyone that typically hits safe highish floaty balls that are not quite a lob), because i'm often waiting to do a delayed move to net just before they hit the ball (if i hit a "normal" approach shot, they typically will just hit a high lob, which is fine, but against good lobbers i find swinging volleys to be easier to hit)
My experience is the same. Opponents at my level just don't choose to hit passers that I can swing volley.

The only exception is if I hit a good approach/serve that's out of their range and they just manage to get a racquet on it. But more often that not, they will lob.
 

Cashman

Hall of Fame
And almost no one attacks the net as Plan A anyway so the opportunity does not come up much.
This seems strange to me. In my experience, highish levels of rec tennis is where S&V is most common. Lower levels, people don’t have the necessary skills. Top echelon, the passing strokes get too tough.
 
This seems strange to me. In my experience, highish levels of rec tennis is where S&V is most common. Lower levels, people don’t have the necessary skills. Top echelon, the passing strokes get too tough.
We're talking singles, right? I don't know anyone, from 3.5 up through 5.0, who S&Vs as a primary strategy [except me, of course].
 

Cashman

Hall of Fame
I guess most of the tennis around here is on carpet, so that probably makes a difference.

I always struggle a bit more on hardcourt due to the higher, slower bounce. It helps my kick serve, but my volleys have to be that much sharper.
 
I guess most of the tennis around here is on carpet, so that probably makes a difference.

I always struggle a bit more on hardcourt due to the higher, slower bounce. It helps my kick serve, but my volleys have to be that much sharper.
I've never played on anything but hardcourt.
 

travlerajm

G.O.A.T.
We're talking singles, right? I don't know anyone, from 3.5 up through 5.0, who S&Vs as a primary strategy [except me, of course].
I served and volleyed both first and second serve for years - until my serve couldn’t reliably overwhelm anyone anymore. Had to reinvent my style after that.
 
I served and volleyed both first and second serve for years - until my serve couldn’t reliably overwhelm anyone anymore. Had to reinvent my style after that.
We differ then: my serve has *never* reliably overpowered anyone. S&V/C&C works for me because my net game is better than their passing game...up to a certain level, of course. And I'm discovering where that level is.

At 4.0, I probably could have underhand served and still been successful. At higher 4.5, my serve had better be on or I'm going to get chewed up. But I can still win at mid-4.5 and below.
 

Cashman

Hall of Fame
The contrast when I was playing juniors was always the Edberg/Rafter style of S&V versus the Becker/Ivanisevic S&V. The former relied on a solid serves and winning the point with netplay - the latter was the reverse.
 

WhiteOut

Semi-Pro
friday nite 8.5 mixed dubs: 2 of 3 winners on swinging volleys. the third got bunted back for an easy put-away
saturday 4.0 singles: 4 of 5 winners with the swinging volley. i missed #5 and put it in the net.

now i have to figure out how to hit a low forehand slice when my opponent chops one to that side. i can handle the bh low slice (and slice it back), but when i try w the forehand it flies to the next zip code...
 
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