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The key to hitting great volleys is all in the hands. The hands hold the racquet in a position to make the volley work.

The best grip for volleys is the Continental grip. This grip allows for the forehand and backhand volleys and overheads to be hit with the same grip. Not having to change the grip is critical for quick reflex volleys. This grip also allows for a slightly open tilt of the racquet face to assist with backspin.

The proper technique is to always try to hit your volleys with the racquet head above the wrist. In this position the wrist should be in front of the racquet head or slightly laid back. This will provide you with the form you need to hit underspin volleys by pulling your hand forward to make contact. As you make contact be sure to keep the hand and racquet going through the contact point.

How much you keep the string bed tilted at impact determines how much backspin you’ll get. More backspin will slow the ball down and let it drop into the court. I like to refer this amount of backspin as “touch”. Touch volleys are important on low balls to get the ball over the net and still be able to let it drop into the court. Touch volleys are used for drop volleys since they travel up more and the backspin makes the ball seem like it bounces away from your opponent.

Less backspin is needed on incoming balls that are high so you can hit them with more speed and power. You don’t need touch when the contact will be much higher than the net height. Use angles and depth on these high volleys.

The backhand volley uses more of the non-racquet hand for control and holding the racquet head up. It’s best to hang onto the racquet by the throat with the non-racquet hand. Then pull the racquet away from that hand to make contact.

Footwork comes as a result of the slight rotation of the shoulders and the weight transfer on the volley. It’s best to start with the hands and let the feet do their work later as your technique improves.

Doug Hofer, USPTA

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