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January 2016 Article

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The Three Types of Volleys

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John Mills, USPTA

When teaching the volley, there are many ways to teach it. On the other hand, you cannot handle each volley situation with the same technique.

  1. The Defensive Volley: You are coming to the net and your opponent hits the ball low, could be fast or slow. I call this a "Bump" or "Stop" Volley. Set the racket out in front of you, allowing the ball to come into your racket, more like a baseball glove-catch. This is not an "Add Power Volley." It's a "Take the pace off the Ball Volley." Don't think that by doing this type of volley you cannot win the point. Many times you will get to use the pace given to you by your opponent's shot.

  2. The Offensive Volley: This usually occurs when you come to the net behind a very aggressive approach shot. This forces a weak shot from your opponent. On this volley, hold your traditional continental grip. Take enough backswing to generate some pace. Think of this volley as an "Add Pace to the Ball Volley."

  3. I call this the "Wang Chang" Volley: It is fun. You see the pros do it occasionally. You come to the med-court or closer and the ball coming to you is soft and floating. It is usually above your shoulder. Hold the same grip you hold on your groundstroke, not a continental grip. Take the racket back and take a full backswing and a full follow through. It is very similar to the bounce kill shot.
I would estimate that you would use the defensive volley 60% of the time, the offensive volley 30% and the Wang Chong 10%. Don't show up without the "Defensive Volley."
Good luck on the Court!

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This column is copyrighted by John Mills, all rights reserved.

John Mills currently teaches tennis at the University of Houston, Clear Lake campus. John Mills' experience includes four years as head pro at the Windemere Racquet & Swim Club, where he was responsible for organization of all tennis activities at the club. John also played college tennis at the University of Houston and has spent 20 years teaching tennis at the Memorial Park Tennis Center, the Pasadena Racquet Club, and as the head pro at the Bay Area Racquet Club.


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