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Hardscrabble Scramble
May 1998 Article

Hardscrabble Scramble Archive

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Know Your Volleys

Mike Whittington Photo
Mike Whittington

A great quality that all good doubles players have is the ability to know when to be aggressive and when to play it safe while playing the net. A good doubles player will look to put a high floater into the open court or at his/her opponents feet. The same player will also know there are times (when the ball gets low) that it is best to just play a smart deep shot back to the baseline player, if there is one.

Many intermediate level players are one dimensional with their net game. Everything is an aggressive, power volley (even when faced with a low shoestring shot) or they are defensive with most volleys. Remember that a good doubles player does not go to the net to hit volleys-he/she goes to the net to put the ball away. Smart players realize this might take a shot or two to set up.

I would have to say that most players practice hitting an aggressive put away volley or a tough, low, just-get-it back volley, but these two shots need to be practiced together. A great drill is to have your coach alternate shots to you with a high floater followed by a very low shot. Make yourself drive the volley into a designated area and try to make the ball's second bounce be outside the court. On a low volley, bend your knees and open your racquet face so that you get your volley to a designated area deep in the court. Once you practice this enough, you'll start to instinctively hit the shots in matches.

Try this drill in practice and remember to move to the ball, don't let the ball come to you. You might just turn that average volley into your favorite shot.

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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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