Posted by Robert Elloitt
Volleying correctly is a very important facet of the game. Most people add too much movement to their ´volley´. Remember, ´less is more´. The simpler you keep it, the stronger and better your volleys will be.
Body Stance (the ´ready position´)
Similar to most sports, you want to have your ´center of gravity´ on the balls of your feet.
- Bend your knees (with your feet approximately shoulders width apart)
- Lean slightly forward (so your body weight and balance shifts to the ´balls´ of your feet)
- Paddle out front of you (with your elbows slightly bent)
- Shoulders square with the net (your chest should be facing the net)
- Paddle face/head should be above your wrist (this ensures the ball trajectory is upward)
This body position will keep you nimble and quick.
The ´Focal Point´
It is very important to know where to make contact with the ball. The ´focal´ point is where your body is the strongest, ball contact will be more consistent and your volley will be the most solid.
The ´focal point´ (or point where you make contact with the ball) is in front of your body and slightly to the side (the ideal volley contact point is not directly in front of you).
(how to get to the ball so you can volley correctly)
You must move your feet (you never want to hit a volley while lunging). Remember, the ball will very rarely (if ever) be hit to you where you don´t have to move.
To maintain, proper body positioning (square to the net) step with your foot that´s on the same side of your body as the side you are hitting the ball.
NOTE: if you turn your shoulders so you are perpendicular with the net (or your back is facing the net) it will be very easy for your opponent to hit the next ball behind you.
- As noted above, always remember ´less is more´. Also, a ´volley´ is a ´punch´, not a swing.
- Your paddle should always start and finish in front of your body (never take a back swing, which means bringing your paddle back so it is in line or behind your body)
- Paddle face toward the target (point the face of the paddle toward your target)
- Paddle head should be above your wrist (if the ball is low, bend your knees more to ensure paddle face remains above wrist)
- Punch forward 1-3 inches always ensuring your paddle face continues to point toward your intended target (there is ´NO´ swinging in the volley, simply ´punch´ forward)
- Note: If you swing, your timing has to be perfect to hit the ball in. If you are late or early, your paddle face is pointing to the side of the court, and that´s where the ball will go. By simply pointing your paddle face toward the target and punching forward, if you are late or early, your paddle face is still pointing toward the target.
- Freeze for 1 second at the end of your volley (this ensures your paddle face remains/ends pointing toward the target.
As you punch forward, keep your ´center of gravity´ on the balls of your feet (you should never be standing straight up or leaning backward).
- Remember to always hit the ball at the ´focal points´. If you make contact outside of your ´focal point´ (ie: lunging), simply block the ball back by stiffening your wrist (to absorb the energy) and hold your paddle firm (freezing your paddle movement) to simply block the ball back (do not swing / punch). ´Less is more´.
- Improving your ´Ready Position´ (to have a stronger stance).
Get in your ´ready´ position. To test the strength of your stance, have a friend face you and push slightly on your shoulder. You should be able to stay on the balls of your feet.
- Practicing the ´Focal Point´.
When practicing volleying. Start with paddle in the ´focal point´. Keep it there while you are practicing volleys (do not take it back to the ready position). This will create ´muscle´ memorization.
- Body movement
Practice moving without hitting the ball. Get in ready position. Practice stepping sideways ensuring your shoulders stay mostly square with the net. If one shoulder is in front of the other or your back is facing the net, you know you have turned too much.
- The ´Volley´
At home, practice volleying (to create muscle memorization and to dramatically improve your game). In front of a mirror. Place paddle in ´focal point´. Ensure paddle is facing imaginary ball/target. Punch forward 1-3 inches. Freeze at the end of the punch for 1 second (this ensures the paddle face is facing your imaginary target). Repeat till you master this.