Recently a student came to me for help with his volley. He told me stories
of how his volley had failed him time and time again in crucial match
situations. After several minutes of watching his volley, it was obvious he
had a very nice volley with good technique. There was very little backswing,
the wrist was firm, and he made solid contact.
We started a few multiple shot drills and I had him hit a few approach shots
and move in to hit the volley. After just a few approaches, the problem
became clear. My student constantly struggled with depth and placement on
his approach shot. Therefore he was constantly giving his opponent easy
balls to pass him with at the net or shots that he really couldn't hit with
his strong volley.
My student was so wrapped up in the shot that ended the point that he
neglected the shots that lead up to the final put away. He had been beating
himself up mentally for the wrong reason.
Let me give you another example. You are playing doubles and you really nail
that big first serve and force your opponent into a powder puff return for
your partner. Do you think of the great volley your partner just hit or do
you realize how much your serve made it easy for him?
The next time you play a practice match, try to analyze exactly which shot
started you on an offensive or defensive path for the point. Start thinking
about how you can set up a point by several good shots to make your final
shot a breeze. Of course we all notice how the pros make it look so
effortless and put away ball after ball. But if you watch closely you'll
notice that many of their put aways are a direct result of a well set up
Think back on what won or lost the point for you and you might find a few
secrets to help lift your game up a notch.