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How to Volley Like a Champ

Posted on May 01, 2014 in Seaside Tennis , Tracy Townsend , May-June 2014

The volley is one of the key shots in the tennis we play today. Doubles matches have taken over league play, and having a good, sound volley is a must if you want to win. But just taking the ball out of the air is not as simple as you might think.

The volley is a demanding shot requiring quick reaction and technical precision. By moving forward on the court and taking the ball out of the air, you put pressure on your opponents and put yourself in an offensive position. At the net, you open up more angles and have more opportunities to hit clean winners.

The traditional volley is taught using a continental grip, holding the racket head up. You lead with the handle while keeping the racket face slightly open. The ball is hit with a very short “punch” stroke through the ball as you move your body forward through the hitting zone. It is the most simple and dependable way to hit a solid volley. The ball being volleyed is usually traveling very rapidly towards you, and a good, strong grip position is needed to absorb the impact.

The game of tennis is changing, and so is the way we hit volleys. The new method is a swinging volley. It is a swing very similar to your topspin groundstroke. It is harder to time, but it can provide more net clearance and certainly more power and spin than the “old” volley. Grip changes are also needed for a forehand versus a backhand volley. And time is a huge factor if the ball coming toward you is moving fast.

These days, you need variety in all aspects of your tennis game, including your volley. The problem with variety though is having time to make a decision, making the “right” decision, and then executing the shot. Good luck!

Get out and work on all versions of the volley and see how you can insert them into your tennis game. Come see us at Seaside Tennis to work out the kinks in this fun, but necessary shot. See you on the courts.

Tracy Townsend is a resort tennis expert, and his company 30A Tennis manages Seaside Tennis on behalf of the Seaside Community Development Corp. You can reach him at, or call (850) 231-2214. For news, events and court conditions, find Seaside Tennis on Facebook.

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