The game of tennis has moved more and more towards using speed and power to win the point. This has made it more difficult to be successful at the net. Simplifying your volley technique has become extremely important. I have always emphasized very little racquet movement on the volley. Your focus should be on determining whether the volley is a forehand or a backhand, turning your shoulders, watching the ball through the point of contact, and using your feet whenever possible. The step you take should be forward (unless you are trying to get out of the way of the ball) and requires a split-step just before your opponent hits the ball. If the split step happens as they hit the ball or after, you will not have a chance to make your step to help you hit the volley. When the volley is easier and you have more time, try to coordinate your foot hitting the ground on your step, with the ball hitting the racquet. This will get the racquet moving forward without moving your arm a whole lot. Your weight going forward and the opponent’s pace on the shot will be more than sufficient to allow you to get the ball going back to a good spot. A successful volley is more about where you hit the volley as opposed to how fast the ball is going. You will win more points by using direction and angle than you will by trying to hit your volley through your opponent. Keep reminding yourself that your success at the net is tied to keeping your technique simple and using placement rather than speed on your volleys.
Steve Annacone, USPTA Elite Professional, is a Tennis Coach with Traveling Tennis Pros in Tucson, Arizona, the Director of Annacone Tennis, MyHamptonsPro and First Serve Tucson. Steve is also a Volunteer Assistant Coach for the University of Arizona Women’s team. For questions about private tennis lessons, group clinics, or tennis coaching, please go to our Tennis Lessons Tucson, Arizona page or contact us.