If you want to become a better tennis player, you need to master different types of shots and strokes. One of the most important skills you need to learn is how to volley in tennis. A volley is a shot that you hit before the ball bounces on the ground, usually near the net. Volleys can help you win points quickly, put pressure on your opponent, and add variety to your game. In this article, Pro Tennis News will explain everything you need to know about volleys in tennis, including what they are, why they are useful, how to hit them, what are the different types of volleys, how to practice them, what are some common mistakes to avoid, and who are some famous players who are good at them. By the end of this article, you will be ready to take your net game to the next level.
What is a Volley in Tennis?
A volley in tennis is a shot that you hit before the ball bounces on the ground. It is usually struck near the net, but it can also be done from farther back on the court. The term comes from the French word volée, which means flight. Volleys tend to be aggressive and are used to run the opponent ragged or disrupt the timing of a rally. In singles, volleys are usually intended to either kill the rally or put the opponent under pressure with the volley technique and kill it in the following shot.
Why are Volleys Useful in Tennis?
Volleys are useful in tennis for several reasons:
- They reduce the amount of time for your opponent to react and prepare for your shot.
- They eliminate any possibility of a bad bounce from an uneven surface such as on some grass and clay courts.
- They give you a wider choice of angles to hit into your opponent’s court.
- They allow you to take advantage of your opponent’s weak or short shots by moving forward and finishing the point.
- They add variety and unpredictability to your game by mixing up your shots and patterns.
Volleys are especially effective when combined with other shots such as serves, returns, groundstrokes, or approach shots. For example, you can use a serve and volley strategy where you hit a powerful serve and then follow it up with a volley at the net. Or you can use an approach shot where you hit a deep or angled groundstroke that forces your opponent to hit a weak or high ball that you can then volley for a winner.
How to Hit a Volley in Tennis?
To hit a volley in tennis, you need to follow these basic steps:
- Position yourself near the net or at least at the service line. The closer you are to the net, the easier it will be to hit a volley.
- Use a continental grip for both forehand and backhand volleys. This grip allows you to switch between different types of volleys without changing your grip.
- Keep your racket head above your wrist and your elbow slightly bent. This will help you maintain control and stability over your racket.
- Watch the ball carefully and anticipate where it will come. Move your feet quickly and adjust your body position accordingly.
- Hit the ball before it bounces on your side of the court. Use a short backswing and a punching motion with your racket. Aim for a spot near your opponent’s baseline or sideline, or close to the net if you want to hit a drop volley.
- Follow through with your racket in the direction of your target. Keep your wrist firm and your racket face slightly open to add some underspin to the ball.
- Recover and get ready for the next shot. If you hit a good volley, you can move closer to the net and prepare for a put-away volley. If you hit a weak or high volley, you can retreat and get back into position.
Some tennis tips to improve your volley technique are:
- Keep your eyes on the ball until you hit it. Don’t look at your target or your opponent before you make contact with the ball.
- Keep your racket head up and don’t let it drop below the net level. This will prevent you from hitting the net or hitting the ball too high.
- Keep your body balanced and stable. Don’t lean too far forward or backward when hitting a volley. Use your legs and core muscles to generate power and stability.
- Keep your racket face slightly open to add some underspin to the ball. This will help you control the direction and depth of your volley.
- Keep your volleys simple and consistent. Don’t try to hit too hard or too fancy. Just aim for a spot that is difficult for your opponent to reach.
What are The Different Types of Volleys in Tennis?
There are six main types of volleys in tennis, each with its own advantages and disadvantages depending on the situation and the opponent’s position. They are:
- Punch volley: The punch volley in tennis is the standard volley for net play. For a punch volley, you punch your racket forward and slightly down, adding underspin to the ball. Punch volleys require no backswing and are best for medium-paced balls that have enough height over the net.
- Drop volley: A drop volley is a low volley that requires a light touch. You try to softly place the ball on the other side of the net, as close to it as possible, to increase the distance your opponent must cover to reach it. When executed successfully, the ball bounces twice before your opponent can return it. A drop volley is like a drop shot, but performed at the net.
- Block volley: A block volley requires even less movement than a punch volley. You simply hold your racket up to block the ball—no punch or swing necessary. Block volleys are useful for fast or powerful balls that come at you with little time to react.
- Lob volley: Sometimes two players approach the net simultaneously, and it becomes difficult to execute a passing shot. Rather than get into an intense rally of volleys, you can perform a lob volley, which involves opening up the racket face and giving the ball a high arc over your opponent’s head (far enough to pass them, but not too far that it lands past the baseline). Lob volleys are effective for surprising or outsmarting your opponent at the net.
- Swinging volley: A swinging volley breaks the rules of the standard volley technique. A swinging volley is when you use a full groundstroke swing to smack the incoming ball out of the air. Swinging volleys are aggressive and powerful shots that give your opponent less time to react. You typically perform a swinging volley when caught in no man’s land (the space between the service line and baseline).
- Drive volley: A drive volley is similar to a swinging volley, but with less swing and more punch. A drive volley is hit with full backswing and follow through, but with more control and accuracy than a swinging volley. A drive volley is effectively a groundstroke equivalent of a volley and can be used as a way to approach the net or finish the point.
How to Practice Volleys in Tennis?
To practice volleys in tennis, you can do some drills and exercises that will help you improve your technique, timing, accuracy, and consistency. Here are some examples of drills and exercises that you can try:
- Wall drill: Find a wall or a backboard that you can hit against. Stand about 10 feet away from it and hit forehand and backhand volleys against it. Try to keep a rally going as long as possible without letting the ball bounce or hitting it too hard or too soft. Focus on your form, contact point, and follow through.
- Partner drill: Find a partner who can feed you balls from across the net. Start at the service line and have your partner toss or hit balls to you at different heights, speeds, and angles. Hit volleys back to them using different types of volleys depending on the situation. Move closer to the net as you get more comfortable and confident.
- Basket drill: Place a basket or a bucket near one of the corners of your opponent’s court. Stand at the net and have someone feed you balls from behind you or from across the net. Try to hit volleys into the basket or bucket using different types of volleys depending on the situation. Aim for accuracy and consistency.
- Game drill: Play a game with a game with a partner where you can only hit volleys. You can either play a regular game with normal scoring, or a variation where you get one point for every volley you hit and lose one point for every volley you miss or let bounce. This will help you practice your volleys under pressure and in different scenarios.
Related: What Does Walkover Mean in Tennis? Types and Examples
Common Mistakes to Avoid
When hitting volleys in tennis, there are some common mistakes that you should avoid. These include:
- Taking too big of a backswing or swing. This will make you lose control and timing of your volley. Keep your backswing and swing short and compact.
- Dropping your racket head below the net level. This will make you hit the net or hit the ball too high. Keep your racket head above your wrist and above the net level.
- Looking away from the ball before you hit it. This will make you miss the ball or hit it poorly. Keep your eyes on the ball until you make contact with it.
- Leaning too far forward or backward when hitting a volley. This will make you lose balance and stability. Keep your body balanced and stable by using your legs and core muscles.
- Hitting the ball too hard or too soft. This will make you miss your target or give your opponent an easy return. Hit the ball with enough pace and depth to make it difficult for your opponent to reach it, but not so much that you lose accuracy and consistency.
Top Famous Tennis Players Who are Good at Volleys in Tennis?
There are many famous tennis players who are good at volleys in tennis, but some of the best examples are:
Roger Federer: The Swiss legend is widely regarded as one of the greatest players of all time, and his volleys are among his many weapons. Federer has a smooth and elegant volley technique that allows him to hit different types of volleys with ease and precision. He can also mix up his volleys with drop shots, lobs, slices, and drives to keep his opponents guessing.
Martina Navratilova: The Czech-American legend is considered one of the greatest female players of all time, and her volleys were a key part of her game. Navratilova was a dominant serve and volley player who used her powerful serve and aggressive net play to win 18 Grand Slam singles titles and 31 Grand Slam doubles titles. She had a quick and crisp volley technique that enabled her to hit winners from any position at the net.
John McEnroe: The American legend is known for his fiery personality and his exceptional volleys. McEnroe was a master of touch and finesse at the net, using his superb racket skills and anticipation to hit volleys that left his opponents stunned. He had a unique volley technique that involved holding his racket loosely and flicking his wrist at the last moment to create angles and spin.
Serena Williams: The American legend is one of the most dominant players in the history of women’s tennis, and her volleys are part of her arsenal. Williams has a powerful and explosive volley technique that allows her to hit winners from anywhere on the court. She can also use her volleys to set up her groundstrokes or finish off points with authority.
Volleys are an essential skill in tennis that can help you win points quickly, put pressure on your opponent, and add variety to your game. To hit a volley in tennis, you need to position yourself near the net, use a continental grip, keep your racket head up, watch the ball carefully, hit the ball before it bounces, follow through with your racket, and recover for the next shot. There are different types of volleys in tennis, such as punch volley, drop volley, block volley, lob volley, swinging volley, and drive volley. Each type of volley has its own advantages and disadvantages depending on the situation and the opponent’s position. To practice volleys in tennis, you can do some drills and exercises that will help you improve your technique, timing, accuracy, and consistency. You should also avoid some common mistakes when hitting volleys in tennis, such as taking too big of a backswing or swing, dropping your racket head below the net level, looking away from the ball before you hit it, leaning too far forward or backward when hitting a volley, or hitting the ball too hard or too soft.
Pro Tennis News hope this article has helped you learn more about volleys in tennis and how to improve your net game. If you want to become a better tennis player, you should practice your volleys regularly and try to use them in your matches. Volleys can give you an edge over your opponent and make your game more fun and exciting. So, what are you waiting for? Grab your racket and start volleying!