June, 2014 |

Archive for June, 2014

Swinging Volley

Swinging Volley

So you have a big forehand and two hand backhand at the baseline-why not use them at the service line with a swinging volley.

If your big ground strokes are causing consistent but not so powerful returns you may want to consider moving in and take many in the air with the swinging volley. If you just stay back and keep pounding the odds of an unforced error is always lurking, so too is the possibility of a long match. If you can shorten the points with a more aggressive style you will maintain the momentum and hopefully shorten the match.

What determines when a swinging volley can be hit or a conventional volley is needed? Great question! The two factors of the oncoming shot that will tell you are pace and height. You never want to try a swinging volley if the ball is below the height of the net, and it is also much more difficult if there is a decent amount of pace on the ball. In either of those scenarios please hit the conventional volley, using the Continental grip.

Is there any form difference for the swinging volley than my ground strokes? Another great question! Yes, if you have a loop backswing. You want to shorten the swing, take the racquet back shoulder high on both sides and then basically the stroke is the same with a complete over the shoulder follow through. The point of contact will also be slightly higher than your normal ground stroke.

I do not recommend a swinging volley if you have a one hand backhand for your normal ground stroke. While the shot can be made it’s more difficult.

When playing, be ready to move in if your strokes have the opponent pinned behind the baseline. Anticipate a weak return and start to move in. Always know that a stronger shot may come back requiring a switch to the conventional volley and the possibility of a lob.

Shorten the points-shorten the match!

Good Luck-Have Fun!!

Court Positioning

Court Positioning

Let’s talk about the three basic positions you should play from on the court.

When playing matches, in either single or doubles there are only three areas of the court you should find yourself, the baseline, the service line or at the net. To save some typing they will be referred to as B, S and N. The lone exception may be when returning serve from a weak serving opponent, then you will stand inside the service line to hit the return but immediately move forward or back.

The area between B and S is called “no man’s land”, and for good reasons, too many balls will be bouncing at your feet when caught in that area, plus, wide shots are much harder to run down because you have no angle to move forward from to retrieve the ball. More footwork is needed because you will be constantly backing up to hit the ball off the bounce, and opponent’s shots can land behind you and still be in. I think you get the point, stay out of “no man’s land”. In singles you want to play either on or a step behind B, this will have you in position to be making contact on your ground strokes, more often, in the comfort zone, the ball between your hips and knees. If you come in the court to hit a shot that’s fine, just get back out, don’t’ remain in there. With doubles play at the baseline, if you back up too far you only give the opponent a wide angle away from you. Don’t forget, the alley gives the opponent three extra feet of space.

When will you find yourself playing from S? Good question! Serve and volley players, in both singles and doubles, will hit their first volley at, or just inside of S and then move forward to N. When attacking short balls players will generally be hitting approach shots from S and, again move forward to N. In doubles, the partner of the return player will start at S and then after the partner’s return passes the server’s partner, who began the point at N, will move forward to N if the server stays back. If the server is moving in to volley immediately, then the return partner remains at S.

Do you ever back up when you’ve either started at, or moved into N? In singles the answer is generally no, unless the opponent has hit a lob over your head, then turn and run back to B to retrieve it. If the opponent has made an error and not followed into N you can hit any shot back, but if he or she has moved in and is at N, lob the ball, you’re probably not in an offensive position to try a passing shot. If you are at N in doubles the different strategies and situations will cause backward movement occasionally. The lob is obvious, another is when your partner is playing back and both opponents have reached N you should back up to S. If the opponent is backing up behind B to hit the ball, anticipate a lob and back up to a step in front of S. The opposite is true and the opponent is moving inside of B anticipate a ground stroke drive and hold your ground at N or move into N from S because the opponent will most likely drive the ball.

Try to play from these three positions.

Good Luck-Have Fun!!