by Nicolette Mok
Necessitating quick reflexes and a high level of skill and agility, a tennis volley is a move that involves the shot being made before the ball bounces on the ground. Gain an advantage in your next tennis match by learning how to execute a proper volley!
While volleys are frequently used in a doubles match, singles players have been known to use it too. These volley shots are often made near the net, and help you to minimise your opponent’s reaction time, as the ball does not touch the ground. The move also adds more power to your shot due to the absence of the bounce effect.
Team Singapore tennis player Stefanie Tan demonstrating a backhand volley. Photo: SportSG
To execute a volley, hold your racquet using a “shake-hand” grip. The preparatory move and hitting technique are not dissimilar to a typical forehand and backhand swing – turn your shoulders and move in to your shot from either an open or closed stance.
Before hitting the ball, Team Singapore tennis player Stefanie Tan recommends that you do a split step: a little hop with your feet apart. As you make your shot, ensure that you “minimise your swing” and “imagine that you’re stopping the ball at contact”, as she advises. There is no need for a full follow-through with this move.
The forehand volley. Photo: SportSG
In order to improve your reaction time and perfect your volley, it is important that you work on some drills before practising the shot in full. Begin with your footwork, as the split step helps improve the explosiveness of your movement on the court. Working with a companion, practise the entire volley move from split step, to swing, to shot. However, focus only on your split step rather than hitting the ball.
Once you’ve gotten better at your split step, concentrate on your swing and shot. You might want to start by doing it without any balls first, simply working on your strokes. When you’ve familiarised yourself with the combination of split step and swing, get your companion to feed you balls and you can start hitting your volleys!
Team Singapore tennis player Stefanie Tan teaching myActiveSG.com host presenter John Yeong how to hit a tennis volley. Photo: SportSG