Volley technique repairs can be so much fun, as most people over complicate this stroke, and yet in reality the key to an excellent volley is simplicity. Two main things that will help your volley that are often over looked, sound so basic, but working on these will be guaranteed to help your volley.
Firstly, always have an excellent ready position.
Is your volley ready position always excellent? So often people are not quite in the correct position, or they are watching the ball with out snapping back to position quickly.
- Have your arms out in front of you, with space for a basketball between your elbows. Yes that's right! That far out in front of you! Everything about the volley becomes easier the more we become comfortable making space between our racket and our body.
-Have your wrists and forearms firm, think of a 90 degree angle between your racket handle and your forearm. Yes, this will burn those forearm muscles at first but trust us, this is essential, and should be maintained at all times while volleying. Keep your eyes on the rehab posts, one coming soon on forearm strength.
-Face the ball. I am sure you have heard this many times, and an entire article could be written on this, but do not be constrained by the shape of the court, do not necessarily face the net, but imagine like little arrows are coming out of your shoulders, and that both of them are pointed (hopefully with your feet too) towards the ball you are getting ready to receive.
-Be on the balls of your feet and always do a split step when your opponent hits the ball. More details on the split step here. This is an essential and often forgotten part of the ready position.
Secondly, keep your racket in front of you at all times!
Your volleys will get more and more comfortable the less you take your racket back, which is why it's best to try to eliminate any motion away from the ball that is coming towards you. The energy in your volley should for the most part be coming from your legs. For some reason this can be a little bit difficult to over come, but this "aha' moment is so much fun to help players achieve, as suddenly what can feel like rather and awkward and scary shot to execute, becomes comfortable, fun, and so much easier to control.
- As you set the racket in front of you to prepare for the volley, keep it in front of you as you turn and move towards the ball. This does not mean you should remain rigid. In fact it requires fluidity with your shoulders, so that the racket remains between you and the ball as much as possible, with the least amount of extraneous motion.
If this is a too hard to do while volleying on the court, do a volley to volley drill with your friend where you put yourself in the corner of the court, with the fencing behind you. It seems that people learn faster when their take their beloved racket back and it goes crashing into a fence! Don’t worry, if this description isn’t quite clear enough, videos will follow soon!
Moral of this article! Have a killer ready position every time, and keep the racket as far in front of you as possible!