You can quickly and easily improve your volley by making sure you're doing just a few simple things. In this episode of Tennis Quick Tips, you'll learn the five steps you can take right now to get a better volley. You can listen to this episode by clicking on the media player above or by listening in with your favorite podcast app. You can also subscribe in iTunes by clicking on this link: tennisfixation.com/itunes.
A lot of people make the volley a much harder shot than it should be. By applying a few very simple, easy to understand steps, you can ensure that the vast majority of your volleys are hit solidly and are on target.
1. Use the Continental grip.
The best grip for volleying is the Continental grip. Why? Because it's a neutral grip that allows you to easily shift between forehand and backhand volleys and allows you to add slice to your volleys when needed. To get this grip, check out the diagram below. Just put the first knuckle of your pointer finger on Bevel 2 of your racquet if you're a righty, Bevel 8 for lefties. Line up the “V” between your thumb and pointer finger on top of the racquet, over Bevel 1. This grip may feel awkward at first but stick with it because this using the Continental grip will definitely help you get better volleys. Check out the diagram below to see exactly what the Continental grip looks like:
2. Stand in the ready position.
Prepare to hit a solid volley by using the ready position. By adopting this loose and athletic position, you can easily shift into position to hit any ball that comes your way. You can hit a forehand or a backhand. You can move forward on short balls or move back to track down deeper balls. To find out exactly what the ready position is and to see a great diagram of this position, complete with notes, check out Episode 31 of this podcast which you can find at tennisfixation.com/quicktips31.
3. Split step.
The split step is the small hop you take before hitting the ball. It's the move that gets you out of the ready position and moving. By taking this little hop, you prepare your body to move in the direction of the ball, either towards your forehand or your backhand.
4. “Block” the ball.
The simplest, most effective way to hit a volley is to block the ball back. No swinging. Pretty much no thinking. You just put your racquet out, grip it firmly, and allow the ball to bounce off the strings. Swinging at the ball often results in a mis-hit shot and can also put you in danger of hitting the net with your racquet if you're close to it. And if you touch the net, you automatically lose the point.
5. Use soft hands.
When volleying, you need “soft hands.” This means that your technique, especially as far as your hands are concerned, is firm but relaxed, enabling you to hit strong, deep shots, but also soft, drop shots and sharp angles. You can't hit all of these shots if you're trying to whack the ball back. You can, however, hit all of these shots by keeping a firm, but relaxed or “soft,” grip on your racquet.
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