Do you ever get to the net in a doubles match and go
completely blank as to where to put the volley? Or do you
have that put away volley at the net only to find it sizzlin'
back at you? There are a couple of basic rules that you'll
see most top players follow.
When you are in a good position at the net, have good balance,
and get a high floating volley, you should drive the volley
into an open area for a winner or at the feet of the net
player. When all conditions are correct and you get such an
opportunity, you don't want to hit the ball to a player at the
baseline if possible. A baseline player will usually have
time to prepare for your volley and lob over you. An
aggressive volley hit at the net player's feet will usually
prevent them from hitting a good shot back if they get it
back at all. A few good volleys put at the net person's feet
will also make that person a little cautious about moving
forward on some volleys.
Now the opposite also holds true to help you from
being attacked at the net. When you are taking a volley that
has dropped below the level of the net, you must pop the ball
up to some extent for net clearance. A good rule of thumb is
to hit that ball back to the baseline player. A popped up
volley to the net player could lead to disaster. If you have
the ability to hit a drop volley and there is an open court,
then that might be an option as well.
You might hear some instructors refer to this as "short
to short and deep to deep." In a nutshell, it means that on an
easy volley close to the net you should hit to the closer person
and on the deeper volleys hit to the deeper person. Knowing what
to do with your volleys without really having to think about it
can be a real asset. Once you can determine quickly if a ball
is to be hit aggressively or more conservatively, your whole net
game can turn around.