I get asked all the time which grip is the best one to use
at the net. While not all teaching professionals may agree,
I do not believe there is one universal volley grip. Many
times I see players that believe that the continental grip
is the only one to use when hitting volleys. While the
continental grip can be of great benefit to higher rated
players, I think it can also be detrimental to some novice
and intermediate players.
Recently I had a 3.5 player come to me with volley problems.
She complained of a lack of power and depth on her volleys
as well as a constant turning of the racquet in her hand.
I immediately noticed by the position of her hand and arm
that she was using a continental grip. I didn't think this
individual was strong enough to use the continental grip
and that it was putting her racquet and arm in an awkward
position. With just a slight change toward an Eastern
forehand, her volley made a complete turnaround. She had
more hand behind her grip and felt as though she was hitting
as she would with the palm of her hand. This small change
made her enjoy going to the net again and gave her immediate
Now many of you might be thinking you lose too much time
changing grips. You have to ask yourself why are you
losing these points at the net and missing volleys. Is it
because you don't have the time to get a good forehand/
backhand grip or is it due to a lack of power, depth, and
control, which could be gained with a more comfortable
grip? I'm talking about a slight change, not moving to a
Western forehand grip on the volley.
Obviously a 5.0 player would see advantages to having more
touch with a continental grip and be able to control hard
hit shots during quick exchanges at the net. A novice
player will usually not have such quick exchanges and will
need more consistency on basic volley technique.
I like most beginners and intermediates to work on using
their normal forehand/backhand grip when at the net.
Most players will usually know when a volley grip change
is necessary. If you are thinking a change is needed,
work with your teaching professional to make a gradual
change you can work into your game. Use what is
comfortable and what you believe you can execute
successfully. I've seen too many players trying to use
"textbook" volleys only to have their net game fold.
When it comes to volley grips, one size does not fit all.