Unfortunately, the tennis volley is rarely being used nowadays in the professional game. The game has gotten so fast and players can pass so well that it becomes very difficult to play successfully at the net.
The top players always adjust to the given conditions. Over the past couple of years the rackets and strings have improved and players have become better athletes in general.
I think this allows them to hit incredibly fast passing shots and makes net play so difficult at the highest levels of the game!
I still believe there is a place for good volleying in the pro game though and many pros could definitely benefit from improving their volleying skills!
Especially on the women?s side I see plenty of situations where players could move in and easily finish points but instead they let the ball bounce and often have to start the rally all over again.
Check out the Bryan brothers practicing their volleys in this video. What do you notice about their volleys ?
The Bryan brothers are known for their excellent net play in general. Were you able to notice a few things about their volley technique ?
Similar to all other tennis strokes the good players do very much the same things based on physical laws and biomechanics when volleying!
Here are some commonalities of good net players:
- Stable Racket Head
- Short Compact Swing
- Active Feet
- Quick Reactions
In recreational Tennis playing the net well
is definitely very effective!
Here the speed of the game is not as fast and players are not very good at hitting passing shots from difficult situations. Therefore, somebody that can play and cover the net well is very tough to deal with at the recreational level!
Technically speaking volleys are the easiest shots in Tennis!
Serve and groundstrokes are much more complicated motions and usually take longer to master. For some reason though volleys are not being taught well and players tend to neglect volleys in their practice sessions.
Tennis Volley Drills
Drill #1: Volley With Left Arm Behind Back
In this drill you practice your volleys hitting either only forehand or backhand volleys at a time with your left arm (or right arm if you are a leftie) behind your back. What this does is put your focus on your racket head and your hitting arm. Now you can work on stabilizing your hitting arm through contact which is essential for a great volley!
Drill #2: Volley V-Drill
In this drill you start at the service line and either have someone rally with you from the baseline or someone feed you balls. You hit forehand and backhand volleys alternating. The focus is to use your feet and move forward through the volley every time. Afterwards you move back to the centre of the service line. Again the focus is to try and move through the volleys with your feet rather than simply volleying with your arm!
Drill #3: Two Players At Net Rallying
Next time you practice with someone, spend some time at the net where both of you are volleying down the middle. This drill will help you keep a stable racket head and develop the necessary strength in your forearm for good volleys if you do it long enough! Depending on your level try volleying back and forth with your partner with a certain amount of volleys in mind without missing. Adjust your goals according to your level. You could start with 10 and work your way up to much higher numbers for example!
I hope these drills will help you on your way to better volleys!
I will post a lot more great volley drills in the future so make sure to check back every now and then!
Any great tennis stroke is based on good mechanics. In my upcoming technique video series I will show step by step how anybody can develop great volleys!