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Mastering the Tennis Volley: Tips for Adult Players

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Alright players, let’s master the tennis volley. Here you’ll learn tips for adult players at the beginner – intermediate playing levels. If you’re playing doubles, and many adults are, the volley is a big part of your tennis game. It’s not just about looking good at the net though you certainly can look great, it’s about winning points quickly and easily. Let your opponent sweat it out around your next move and and potential put away.

There’s real power at net when you’re fearless and confident. And our goal is to get you closer to that point each time you transition from the baseline to the net.

On that note, let’s break it down your volleys.

The Continental Grip

The continental volley grip

First things first, the tennis grip. You’ll want to use the continental grip for your volleys. Imagine shaking hands with your racket. Or holding your racket on edge as if you’re about to hammer something into the ground. This is the best way to find the continental grip naturally.

This grip allows you to hit both forehand & backhand volleys without changing your grip, giving you versatility and control. To find this grip, hold the racket so that the base knuckle of your index finger and the heel of your hand are on bevel 2 (if the racket handle were a clock face, bevel 2 would be at 1 o’clock).

Practice holding the racket this way until it feels second nature. A strong grip is your foundation for a solid volley, no question!

Wrist Position

Now, let’s talk about your wrist position which will be upright an in an L shape position. Exactly as you see in the video below. Your wrist should be firm, stable on contact and upright, acting as a solid support for your racket. Think of your wrist as the backbone of your volley.

A common mistake is letting the wrist flop in any direction but upright and leads to inconsistency and lack of control. Keep it firm but not rigid, like a handshake. This stability helps direct the ball accurately and points the strings so that the ball clears the net tape and therefore the net.

Your contact point on the volleys is out in front of you – never behind you. This is an aggressive shot. It’s meant to something you go after and cut off out in front of you and take it earlier than later.

Practice maintaining this wrist position during drills to build muscle memory.

The Ready Position

Before that ball even comes your way, get into a ready position. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, knees slightly bent, and racket up in front of you. Think of yourself as a coiled spring, ready to bounce in any direction. This position keeps you balanced and poised for action.

Your racket should be held at chest height with a light grip when you’re not hitting the ball. You’ll squeeze firmly on the handle only on contact and after the ball has left your strings – relax your hand until you’re ready to make contact again. Be prepared for quick adjustments up at net.

Practicing the ready position between volleys will make it second nature, keeping you prepared for the next shot.

Slight Body Turn

As the ball approaches, make a slight turn with your shoulders toward the incoming ball. This isn’t a full-body swing like with groundstrokes. Just a small pivot to help guide your racket. This turn helps align your shot and racket strings to your target without overcommitting.

By rotating your shoulders and hips slightly, you engage your core muscles, which adds stability and control to your volley. The key is to make this movement smooth and subtle, ensuring you stay balanced.

The Cross Over Step

To help with that slight turn, use a crossover step. If the ball is coming to your right, step your left foot across your body. This move helps in turning your shoulders and gets you in the right position to make contact.

It’s all about that smooth transition. This step also helps you cover more ground quickly, ensuring you reach wide shots efficiently. Practicing the crossover step will improve your footwork, balance and positioning, essential for effective volleys.

You can also keep your feet open at net if the ball is coming in close to you where a cross over step makes no sense. In that case where you hit open stance volleys, no problem but you’ll still need that slight shoulder turn on both forehand & backhand volleys.

Aiming into the Open Court

When it comes to where you should aim, think smart.

Aim into the open court and away from your opponents. Make them chase the ball to create a weak return if there’s a return at all. This basic strategy keeps them on the run and gives you control of the point.

Focus on placing the ball away from their reach, using angles and depth to your advantage. Practice aiming for different spots on the court during drills to develop accuracy & precision. Remember, placement over power is key to winning points at the net.

Minimal Swing

Remember, volleys are not about swinging for the fences. Keep your swing minimal. It’s more of a punch or block than anything close to a swing.

The less you swing, the more control you have. Let the racket do the work. Your goal is to redirect the ball using your opponent’s power, not generate your own. This approach reduces errors and increases consistency.

Practice short, compact strokes during drills to reinforce this technique.

Recovery After Each Shot

After you hit the volley, don’t just stand there admiring your shot. Get back into position, ready for the next one.

Recovery is key. The quicker you get back to your ready position, the more prepared you are for whatever comes next. This readiness keeps you alert and agile, making sure you can respond to fast-paced exchanges. Remember, you have much less reaction time at net than you do at the baseline.

Practice recovering after each volley during drills to build this habit.

By focusing on these tips on your volley, you’ll see real improvements in your doubles game. It’s all about control, placement and quick reactions.

So get out there, practice these tips, and watch your game rise to a better level fast.

With love from Mallorca~

Rhonda

Rhonda

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