Guide: Mastering the Tennis Volley

In tennis, a volley refers to a shot made close to the net, usually before the ball bounces. It’s a crucial skill for players, especially in situations where time is limited or when advancing towards the net strategically.

Understanding the Tennis Volley

Timing and Executing the Serve and Volley Strategy

For those employing the serve and volley technique, here are three essential tips:

  1. Serve towards the outer edge of the court to force your opponent to chase the ball, allowing you to advance to the net.
  2. Place your serve near the T of the service box to make your opponent run for the ball, creating an opportunity to move towards the net.
  3. Direct your serve at your opponent’s body to force a difficult return, setting up a strong volley game.

Starting Point Strategy

Transitioning from the baseline to the net is crucial for executing a successful volley, especially when your opponent hits an approach shot near the service box. Failing to approach the net risks being too late to return the ball or hitting a weak return from the mid-court, known as “no-man’s land.”

Exploring Different Tennis Volley Techniques

1. Punch Volley

A punch volley is executed without a full swing, utilizing a quick striking motion. It’s ideal for situations where time is limited at the net.

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2. Blocking Volley

The block volley is used when facing a fast-approaching ball. It involves using the racquet as a wall without a swing, returning the ball at the same pace.

3. Touch Volley

The touch volley, similar to a drop shot, involves a gentle touch on the ball near the net, disrupting the opponent’s balance.

4. Low Volley

Utilized for returning shots low to the ground, the low volley requires a neutral stance and strong knee bend to execute effectively.

5. Drive Volley

Considered the most aggressive shot, the drive volley requires a full swing before the ball bounces, producing both topspin and power.

6. Low Volley Counter

Employed as an approach shot, the low volley counter involves a shot below the knee, leveraging weight and momentum.

7. Overhead

The overhead smash blends aspects of a serve and volley, requiring power and coordination of feet and torso movement to track and hit the ball effectively.

Mastering these volley techniques will greatly enhance your tennis game, providing versatility and effectiveness in various playing situations. Practice diligently to incorporate these skills seamlessly into your gameplay.

Additional Tips for Mastering the Tennis Volley

Footwork and Positioning

Proper footwork is essential for executing successful volleys. When transitioning from the baseline to the net, focus on quick and precise movements to get into position for the incoming shot. Keep your body balanced and your weight centered to facilitate quick reactions.

Racquet Preparation

Maintain a ready position with your racquet held out in front of you, slightly above the level of the net. This positioning allows for quick adjustments and ensures you’re ready to react to shots from your opponent.

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Eyes on the Ball

Keep your eyes fixed on the ball at all times, especially as it approaches the net. Tracking the ball closely will help you anticipate its trajectory and make split-second decisions about how to position yourself for the volley.


Perform a split-step just before your opponent makes contact with the ball. This small hop allows you to react quickly to the direction of the shot and adjust your positioning accordingly.

Soft Hands

Developing soft hands is crucial for executing delicate touch volleys and absorbing the pace of incoming shots. Practice hitting volleys with a relaxed grip and focusing on gently cushioning the ball as it makes contact with your racquet.

Practice Drills

Incorporate specific volley-focused drills into your practice routine to improve your technique and reflexes. Partner drills, such as volley exchanges at the net or practicing volleys off a wall, can help you hone your skills in a controlled environment.

Matchplay Experience

Lastly, nothing beats real matchplay experience for refining your volleying skills. Play as many points and matches as possible to gain confidence and familiarity with different volleying situations, allowing you to adapt and react effectively during competitive play.

By incorporating these additional tips into your training regimen and matchplay experience, you’ll continue to refine and elevate your tennis volleying abilities, becoming a formidable presence at the net and enhancing your overall game.