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Hardscrabble Scramble
October 1997 Article

Hardscrabble Scramble Archive

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A Quick Volley Tip

Mike Whittington Photo
Mike Whittington

A common mistake singles players make is to always hit all their first volleys into the open court. This sounds like the correct thing to do but strategically there are other options. Lets say you hit a serve and follow it to the net. Lets also assume your opponent is lucky enough to get a low return down the line. If your target is cross court you have to get down and hit up to the side of the court your opponent and yourself are not. The problem is that while you are down hitting the volley, your opponent is hurrying over to cover the open court. That means he will probably get to that volley you hit faster than you can cover the opposite side of the court. So in this situation, hitting into the open court has actually set your opponent up for a winner.

If you take that type of volley down the line or to the middle of the court, you will already have the next shot covered. Of course going down the line requires greater net clearance so you have to remember to bend your knees and open your racquet face a little more.

Now if your opponent had floated you a nice high volley you that you can hit aggressively, you can probably hit a forceful offensive shot cross court. Hopefully your shot will be a winner or at least good enough to keep your opponent from having a good passing shot attempt. Placing volleys down the line can also catch your opponent off guard by hitting behind them.

So the next time you are playing your Patrick Rafter game, remember to try hitting only your put away volleys cross court. Its a nice little game plan to try and see if it helps your serve and volley game. You might find you have more in common with the Aussie than you thought!

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Hardscrabble Scramble Archive

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This column is copyrighted by Mike Whittington, all rights reserved.

At the time at which he wrote this column, Mike Whittington was a USPTA pro in Fort Smith, Arkansas, where he served as director of tennis at the Hardscrabble Country Club.


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