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  1. #1

    Question on volleying

    I am in the process of revising my volleys, with a view to playing more at the net than I currently do. I have looked at Oscar Wegner's tips on volleys, and they work great, but I still have a problem with manipulating my footwork so that I keep moving forward through the volley. I tend to stop at the volley. Is there a simple tip or cue that will help keep the feet moving through the volley? Also, I notice that great volleyers like Edberg and Sampras take the volley on the foot nearest to the ball (the outside foot), and step into it with the other (inside) foot. I sometimes end up taking the volley on the "wrong" foot - does this matter as long as one keeps moving through the shot? Thanks in advance.

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by tennisplayer View Post
    I am in the process of revising my volleys, with a view to playing more at the net than I currently do. I have looked at Oscar Wegner's tips on volleys, and they work great, but I still have a problem with manipulating my footwork so that I keep moving forward through the volley. I tend to stop at the volley. Is there a simple tip or cue that will help keep the feet moving through the volley? Also, I notice that great volleyers like Edberg and Sampras take the volley on the foot nearest to the ball (the outside foot), and step into it with the other (inside) foot. I sometimes end up taking the volley on the "wrong" foot - does this matter as long as one keeps moving through the shot? Thanks in advance.
    I'm sure there is, but I don't know. Maybe if you simply try to have a more aggressive state of mind, you will naturally continue forward.

  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by Lawn Tennis View Post
    I'm sure there is, but I don't know. Maybe if you simply try to have a more aggressive state of mind, you will naturally continue forward.
    It's not that I'm looking for an easy way... I am going to practice this tomorrow until I go blue in the face. But I feel my chances of success will be greater if I have the right visualization, like the finish on ground strokes.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by tennisplayer View Post
    It's not that I'm looking for an easy way... I am going to practice this tomorrow until I go blue in the face. But I feel my chances of success will be greater if I have the right visualization, like the finish on ground strokes.
    Put down your racquet. Have somebody drop the ball short. Charge the ball, catch it, and throw it back to him like an outfielder in baseball. Naturally your body will continue forward in order to propel the ball. Hey, just thrown' stuff out there

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by tennisplayer View Post
    I am in the process of revising my volleys, with a view to playing more at the net than I currently do. I have looked at Oscar Wegner's tips on volleys, and they work great, but I still have a problem with manipulating my footwork so that I keep moving forward through the volley. I tend to stop at the volley. Is there a simple tip or cue that will help keep the feet moving through the volley? Also, I notice that great volleyers like Edberg and Sampras take the volley on the foot nearest to the ball (the outside foot), and step into it with the other (inside) foot. I sometimes end up taking the volley on the "wrong" foot - does this matter as long as one keeps moving through the shot? Thanks in advance.
    After hitting the first volley, do I good split step and chop the feet. The split step should be good and wide and basically be a "jump" forward where you land on a wide base and begin "chopping" your feet forward where you can hit your next volley. Act as though you are sitting in a chair when you do it so that you can keep your behind down and your shoulders over your waist. Most people will lean over at the waist and end up sending the volley into the net. Remember to keep your shoulders over your waist, your knees bent, and your racquet up. It will all come together with some practice.

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by Lawn Tennis View Post
    Put down your racquet. Have somebody drop the ball short. Charge the ball, catch it, and throw it back to him like an outfielder in baseball. Naturally your body will continue forward in order to propel the ball. Hey, just thrown' stuff out there
    :-) Thx!

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by tennisking1 View Post
    After hitting the first volley, do I good split step and chop the feet. The split step should be good and wide and basically be a "jump" forward where you land on a wide base and begin "chopping" your feet forward where you can hit your next volley. Act as though you are sitting in a chair when you do it so that you can keep your behind down and your shoulders over your waist. Most people will lean over at the waist and end up sending the volley into the net. Remember to keep your shoulders over your waist, your knees bent, and your racquet up. It will all come together with some practice.
    This is what I was looking for... gives me a great starting point for practice. Thanks, TK!

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by tennisplayer View Post
    This is what I was looking for... gives me a great starting point for practice. Thanks, TK!
    Anytime! Most people don't realize this, but the split step is very much like hopscotch moves. Your two steps just before you split your feet apart should be low and strong and then you split your feet apart just before your opponent strikes the ball. You must, I repeat, must split step and land on your wider than shoulder width base just before your opponent makes contact and you should be making the adjustment step chopping motions (the moving forward part) while you have your feet wide apart. Once you know where the ball is going, you will push off with the same side foot that the ball is on. Patrick Rafter is also an excellent one to watch. Also, you tube some doubles action so that you can watch how a player reacts when he is already at the net and has to jump backward and then split step forward again so that he can keep his good base and stance. This only happens when a player is right on top of the net and can't move forward anymore and has to get himself some clearance so he can drive forward into the next volley. It will all make sense when you watch it.

  9. #9
    Just spent a pleasant hour watching youtube volley videos, including Rafter - what a great athlete he was in his heyday! Thanks again, TK. I have it down in my mind, I have to try and put it into practice now.

  10. #10
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    While the ability to close in on specific volleys is an important part of advanced volley skills, (as well as finishing off a point in singles or doubles), I find too many players put a premium on this concept and fail miserably at executing the volley well. This can be caused by a variety of reasons, the primary being that most players tend to swing bigger, (unconsciously) when they are trying to be more aggressive with their feet.

    However, another huge problem for so many players is the lose of balance when trying to be more aggressive with their feet. 70-80% of volleys hit will NOT be hit as winners in most matches. (And, the great number of winner volleys will be by players already close enough to the net that footwork patterns to bring a person closer to the net are not necessary.) Most difficult volleys are those 1st volleys in doubles, in which the player is a) trying to keep the volley away from the net man, and b) trying to hit an effective volley to get behind it to have a more offensive volley.

    If you look at 100 volley situations by the pros, only a handful will demonstrate this concept of closing in with some element of aggressive patterns. Most are balanced, holding patterns after contact, or are more moving to their sides to cover a volley as opposed to simply always moving forward as many professional teachers commonly assume or try to teach.

    From a personal experience position, as a top college player in the late 70's, I played where I would seldom "rush" in after my serve or a return, instead, move very deliberate and balanced, making volleys from this position, maybe a step or two deeper in my court, yet, because I was very balanced, I could hit a much better volley consistently.

    I'm not saying that the ability to close in on volleys is not an important skill...it is! But, too often, we see players put a premium on this pattern, and as a result, seldom hit clean volleys, nor do they hit consistent volleys.

    Be aware of these aspects and you will be well on your way to hitting much more effective volleys, ESPECIALLY under pressure!
    Dave Smith
    Senior Editor, TennisOne.com
    Dunlop Master Professional
    USPTA P-1
    Former Board Member USPTA Intermountain
    Owner, St. George Tennis Academy
    Author, TENNIS MASTERY, COACHING MASTERY
    Co-Author, HIDDEN MICKEY (A Walt Disney Mystery)
    www.tennismastery.net
    www.tennisone.com
    www.coaching-mastery.com
    www.hiddenmickeybook.com
    www.synergy-books.com

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by 10s1 View Post
    While the ability to close in on specific volleys is an important part of advanced volley skills, (as well as finishing off a point in singles or doubles), I find too many players put a premium on this concept and fail miserably at executing the volley well. This can be caused by a variety of reasons, the primary being that most players tend to swing bigger, (unconsciously) when they are trying to be more aggressive with their feet.

    However, another huge problem for so many players is the lose of balance when trying to be more aggressive with their feet. 70-80% of volleys hit will NOT be hit as winners in most matches. (And, the great number of winner volleys will be by players already close enough to the net that footwork patterns to bring a person closer to the net are not necessary.) Most difficult volleys are those 1st volleys in doubles, in which the player is a) trying to keep the volley away from the net man, and b) trying to hit an effective volley to get behind it to have a more offensive volley.

    If you look at 100 volley situations by the pros, only a handful will demonstrate this concept of closing in with some element of aggressive patterns. Most are balanced, holding patterns after contact, or are more moving to their sides to cover a volley as opposed to simply always moving forward as many professional teachers commonly assume or try to teach.

    From a personal experience position, as a top college player in the late 70's, I played where I would seldom "rush" in after my serve or a return, instead, move very deliberate and balanced, making volleys from this position, maybe a step or two deeper in my court, yet, because I was very balanced, I could hit a much better volley consistently.

    I'm not saying that the ability to close in on volleys is not an important skill...it is! But, too often, we see players put a premium on this pattern, and as a result, seldom hit clean volleys, nor do they hit consistent volleys.

    Be aware of these aspects and you will be well on your way to hitting much more effective volleys, ESPECIALLY under pressure!
    Good stuff Mr. Smith. I think you have excellent views. The balance is tremendously important and you are very right about people don't hit solid volleys, but still expect to reach the net like Edberg. Edberg used his hips and legs for power and hit a very consistent volley that was rarely a first volley winner. In fact, most of these guys that we see going for first volley winners tend to be hiding a deficiency in actual volleying skills. That includes the pros. I worked with a player not long ago who was playing satellites and he literally had no volley. I couldn't believe it. When I played on tour, I was a baseliner, but I knew how to volley as well. It seems to be an art of the past, but it would do so well nowadays as noone attacks the net consistently. God knows that Ivan Lendl would probably win 4 Wimbledons in a row these days as he wouldn't have to face the big serve and volleyers. Of course, Federer can volley, but really doesn't. It's strange. Back in the day, you rarely saw someone on the baseline at Wimbledon unless he had just returned serve, but even then, they didn't stay there long.

  12. #12
    Excellent information - thanks, 10s1 and TK.

    I practiced some this morning, and went into a pickup doubles game, which was fairly low level with some older players. It suited me perfectly for volley practice, and I was able to try out a lot of the tips - and it worked great. The wide stance, the slight jump forward with a split step after the volley, the "chair" position, and continuous chopping of feet made me extremely alert and mobile. I guess in a faster game with better players, one should not always move too far forward (unless the opponent is on the run or off balance), but do everything else and be alert for forward and sideways movement as well, if I understand correctly. I will have another chance Tuesday with a former college player (if it doesn't rain), and I might get my clock cleaned... but fun it will be!

  13. #13
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    I find, at my miserable 4-4.5 level, that split step is very important, but moving in very UNimportant after you establish first volley position just inside the service line. No useless, but not very important.
    Since I"m volleying from just inside the service line, little time for the opponent to react if I can place it either to open court or deep within 2' of the baseline.
    So most important, more important than moving in, is hitting solid with a long followthru towards the target (this brings forward movement into play enough).
    Almost everyone I play against can topspin lob, and body shot with no qualms or remorse. Getting within 5' of the net is just not necessary, except for slow incoming shots.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by LeeD View Post
    I find, at my miserable 4-4.5 level, that split step is very important, but moving in very UNimportant after you establish first volley position just inside the service line. No useless, but not very important.
    Since I"m volleying from just inside the service line, little time for the opponent to react if I can place it either to open court or deep within 2' of the baseline.
    So most important, more important than moving in, is hitting solid with a long followthru towards the target (this brings forward movement into play enough).
    Almost everyone I play against can topspin lob, and body shot with no qualms or remorse. Getting within 5' of the net is just not necessary, except for slow incoming shots.
    I agree. Once you are within 5' of the net, you either need to plan on doing something with the ball or go ahead and get ready to run for the lob because it will be coming. A big key is to set the racquet head on the ball immediately and use your legs for the rest. Don't get cutesy with the wrist or try to take it back for extra power. Keep it simple and consistent.

  15. #15
    I lost my match against this great guy, but I was respectable. More importantly, my volley is coming along nicely, even though I dumped a few under pressure. My warm up volleys were among the best I've hit.

    Looking forward to tomorrow's game!

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