Hit a Tennis Volley

Edited by Jerry Rivers, Anonymous, Rafah Perlado, Lynn and 4 others

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For a complete game of tennis, a player should know how to hit a tennis volley. Many beginning players think of the volley as what is actually a rally. The difference is that in tennis, volley simply means hitting the ball before it bounces. A rally is when two players just hit the tennis ball back and forth repeatedly. A volley is often first hit from near the service line, and then from near the net for a second volley to win the point. It is intended as an offensive shot. There is a proper technique in hitting the volley to make it an effective, bio-mechanically sound stroke. In this tutorial you will learn how to hit a tennis volley from your forehand and backhand sides. Read on to master this great offensive stroke from the procedure below.

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The tennis volley is an important stroke to have in your repertoire of shot making. It is used as an offensive shot, and is easy learn if you follow this tutorial. Once you learn the stroke, all you need to do is practice it to master it. It is executed usually just anywhere in the area from the net to the service line. It is not advisable to hit the volley in the area between the service line and the baseline, so it is imperative to either wait until you get a "short" ball to follow to the net area, or hit a slice approach shot to follow to that area. You will find it an exciting and gratifying way to change up the game in your tennis matches. In this tutorial you will first be presented with the complete forehand and backhand volley, and then will be given the progression in steps to learn the stroke. So follow these simple steps below, beginning with the standard ready position, and add the tennis volley to your shot-making arsenal.

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Here is the complete volley from either the forehand or backhand volley:

  1. 1
    Stand in the ready position that is standard for many sports.
    Jerry-tennis ready.jpg
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  2. 2
    Have feet shoulder width apart, with legs bent.
    You should be standing inside the service line with your body facing the net.
    Jr-continental grip.jpg
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  3. 3
    You should grip the tennis racket with your dominant hand at the bottom of the handle.
    The grip will be like the one used in chopping with a hatchet or axe. That is, the "V" of your hand between your thumb and fingers should be on over the top bevel of your racket. This grip must be kept for both your forehand and backhand volleys because of the short distance the ball travels as it reaches you close to the net. You want to be ready to pivot and hit the ball well from both sides in an instant.
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  4. 4
    Have the racket butt in front of your waist, with about a foot of space between.
    The racket head must be up, just in front of your chest, and slightly leaning to your non-dominant side. This is because it takes more pivot to bring your arm back on that side. Have your non-dominant hand, or "op-hand" lightly gripping your racket on the "V" above the handle.
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  5. 5
    Track the tennis ball as it leaves your opponent's racket, so that you can pivot and hit the ball on the sweet spot of your racket strings.
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  6. 6
    Pivot and turn your shoulder slightly to the side where the ball is going.
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  7. 7
    Let go of the grip with your non-dominant hand as you pivot, but keep it about chest high as you do the slight shoulder turn in either direction.
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  8. 8
    Keep the racket at about a 45 degree angle up, as you step (if needed) and bend so that you can hit the ball just in front of your body.
    Ideally the racket head will be kept at head level, and with a slightly open racket face to impart some slice, or under-spin, on the ball.
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  9. 9
    The back-swing is very slight if there is time for one.
    If the ball is coming fast, there is no need for a back-swing, anyway. You just stick up the racket and contact the ball in front of your body.
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  10. 10
    Simply push the ball slightly as you track it to your racket strings and see it come off your strings.
    There will be plenty of velocity coming off your strings, despite little or no back-swing, because the ball will still be coming fast as it clears the net.
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  11. 11
    You want to volley the ball at the opponent's feet, or completely away from the opponent.
    You must hit the ball low, or the opponent can get to it easily and just put it away for a winner.
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  12. 12
    You will follow through with only a short stroke, keeping your head and racket head up.
    If the ball is coming to you slowly, you can take more of a back-swing and a complete follow through in which you finish the stroke with the racket in front of your head. If the ball is coming fast, you will have virtually no back-swing, and only a short follow through of a few inches.
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  13. 13
    If the ball is coming low, bend your legs so that you can hit it the ball at head height always.
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    Try to hit the ball before it arcs down on its path. The lower the ball, the more open your racket face must be, and the more difficult it is to hit forcefully. A low ball to "dig out" and volley makes you hit a defensive volley.
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Progression of learning the tennis volley:

  1. 1
    Stand in the ready position following the steps above without your racket.
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  2. 2
    Have someone hit or throw tennis balls to you near the net toward the forehand side.
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  3. 3
    You will bend your legs, not your body, and catch the ball at your head level with your dominant hand.
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  4. 4
    Track and catch the ball just to the side of your body, and a little in front of your body.
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  5. 5
    You should be looking at the ball as you catch it each time.
    After catching it and holding it for a moment, check to make sure that it was caught at the level of your head, at your side, and slightly in front of your body.
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  6. 6
    This is so that you will practice contacting the ball with your body weight behind it for control and power.
    It will approximate the stroke for a solid, biomechanically correct volley.
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  7. 7
    Now, choke up the racket handle halfway.
    Have the ball thrown to you on either side. For both backhand and forehand sides, you want the racket handle taken back a short distance, never beyond the shoulder.
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  8. 8
    You want to keep the racket face tilted slightly open as you hit the volley with a short back-swing, and push as you contact the ball.
    If there is time, ideally you can step forward and hit the ball.
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  9. 9
    At first, practice with the ball coming to you slowly.
    Make contact before the ball begins to drop.
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  10. 10
    If you must hit a volley low, you need to have the racket opened more and more as the ball drops lower and lower.
    This makes for a defensive volley that is difficult to control.
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  11. 11
    The key is to step to the ball as much as needed to contact it before it drops.
    You should also bend your legs to get down to the ball, not your body.
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  12. 12
    Practice hitting volleys from balls at various speeds.
    The slower the ball is coming, the more back-swing and follow through you need. Always track the ball, and see it coming off your racket strings with your head still.
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  13. 13
    Once you have mastered control and direction of the volley from the choked up position, bring the dominant hand down to the bottom of the racket for the volleys.
    Some players choose to keep that hand as much as an inch choked up to ensure a solid and controlled volley.
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  14. 14
    Continue practicing hitting volleys from both sides and at different speeds and trajectories.
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  15. 15
    If the ball comes high over your head, hit it with a simple overhead stroke which will be in another tutorial.
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  16. 16
    On the extremely fast balls, take no back-swing and no step forward.
    Simply stick up the racket face slightly in front of your body, at your side, and with the racket face laid back. You will not even need a follow through for the fast paced balls.
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  17. 17
    Practice taking volleys from just inside the service line, which will often be the first volley in matches.
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  18. 18
    Practice having someone hit a second ball so that you must come in close to the net and volley before it drops.
    At times you will need a first volley just inside the service line, and then the ball may come back to you for the second, "put away" volley.
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  19. 19
    Always expect a worthy opponent to hit any ball you hit over the net.
    Always, therefore, be in the ready position after any stroke, including the volley.
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These are the basic steps for the complete volley, and the progression steps in learning to hit the volley from "both wings". If you have nobody to feed balls to you, you can practice just as well by bouncing balls of a wall, and at close range. The correct tennis backhand can be learned at: Hit a Tennis Backhand, and you can learn a good tennis serve at: Have a good tennis serve. Learn a biomechanically solid basic forehand at: Hit a Tennis Forehand . Now, get out there and enjoy mastering the volley, along with these other strokes, as you learn to play a great sport that can be played all your life.

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Questions and Answers

My volley is always a block volley. I have to learn to do a slice volley to angle the ball away to be more effective in volleying?

How do I do angles in volleying? Learn to have a very flexible wrist by relaxing the wrist during volleying?

A slice volley is done by angling your racket 45 degrees upward as you hit the ball. You want to move the racket through your abdomen; swinging it above or below will result in a poor slice volley. Before you try to do this in a game, practice the slice volley by hitting your tennis ball to a wall until you get the technique down perfectly.

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Why is it important to have your legs bent in a volley at the net?

I need help for my GCSE PE, thanks

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How do I hit a smash shot to put my opponent off?

How do I hit the ball with power too get a point against my opponent

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Recent edits by: Dougie, Alma, Eng

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