Tennis Volley – The Forehand and Backhand Volley

The tennis volley is one of the most attractive strokes in tennis. Technique is an essential component for the forehand volley and the backhand volley.

The tennis volley is one of the most attractive strokes in tennis. Technique is an essential component for the forehand volley and the backhand volley.

tennis-volley-techniqueMost professional players execute the volley technique with accuracy and at the same time gracefully and effortless.

A successful tennis volley lies behind the ability of the players to execute an accurate forehand volley and backhand volley. This technique is a very effective weapon to win points in a tennis match if the players are able to execute it perfectly and accurately.

Many top world class tennis players such as Roger Federer and Pete Sampras have flawless tennis volley technique. With proper technique and timing, the tennis volley can be executed without any trouble. However, players must master the technique and develop the proper timing to execute the forehand and backhand volley.

Key components for an effective tennis volley

Initial step

The initial step that a player takes to start the tennis volley is of equal importance as the other executions or movements in volley. The split step is considered as the proper initial step in executing the forehand and backhand volley. The split step also allows the player to be always ready to return any passing shot by the opponent. Furthermore, the split step also gives the players a good balance for him to be able to accurately hit the volley for a particular shot of the opponent.


The ability to react quickly is important in tennis in general but it is much more needed when the player is executing the tennis volley. The player should be able to move his hand, feet and body into the proper posture to return the ball.

Mental alertness

The players should also be quick and alert mentally to react to the very fast ball movements in a volley. Unlike the other rally like cross-court, the ball in a tennis volley travels very fast at a very short distance. So, the player should be very alert mentally to react to the balls’ quick movements. A very good net player is able to finish the tennis volley and win a point with only 2-3 shots in the net.


Same as in other tennis techniques, footwork is also an essential component to execute the perfect tennis volley. Proper footwork should be executed as forehand and backhand volleys are executed. Series of small sprinting steps are needed for the tennis volley to be executed perfectly.

Body movement

The body movement plays a very important factor in volley technique. The tennis volley does not only involve wrist or arm movement, but the body as well. The player needs to move his body quickly in reaction to the ball direction. The player’s body should be able to move down quick if the ball is low and should be able to move up if the ball is high.

Forehand Volley

The forehand volley is as important as the other techniques in tennis game. It is an essential technique to master if a player wants to excel in the game of tennis. It is very simple to execute once the players is comfortable playing in the net. One very important technique in executing the forehand volley is to keep it simple but effective.

There are several key aspects for a player to be able to execute the forehand volley perfectly and accurately. The first key is the use of continental grip. Another key is the preparation of the players in terms of his body and hands positions.

The player should keep his hands between his chest and waist. The chest should be angled at around 45 degree to the net. At the same time, the hand with the racket (right hand for right handed player and left hand for left handed player) should be positioned in such a way that it is not behind the right shoulder (left shoulder for left handed player).

The steps can also be a very big factor to execute the forehand volley. When a player executes the forehand volley, he needs to step forwards using his left foot (right foot for left handed player) with his arms extended for the contact of the ball.

Backhand Volley

The continental grip is normally used in executing the backhand volley. This grip usually results to a better backhand volley compared to the other tennis racket grips. The body stance or posture also plays a very significant factor on how attain the proper backhand volley. In a ready position, the player should position himself in such a way that the weight of his body is on the balls of his feet.

At the same time, the racket should be held out in front of the body. The backhand volley is initiated by turning left from the waist. After the player’s initial move, the player should prepare the racket for the volley by moving it backward, but it should not go beyond the shoulder. In this case, the player puts the weight of the racket mainly in his left hand. While the player is positioning the racket, he has to step across and forwards with his right foot.

To be ready to hit a backhand volley approach, the players should see to it that his wrist is slightly laid back. The player’s elbow should be comfortably distanced in front (not too close or not too far) so that the players will be able to hit the ball accurately and on time. If the player’s elbow is to near or too far, he might be late in hitting the ball. A late return in a volley gives your opponent time to return the ball to his advantage.

Another aspect that a player should remember is to bend the knees when returning a low ball. The player should bend his knees instead of the back or body.

Another important consideration is the position of the racket head. The player should avoid taking too big of a backswing. If the player does this, it will affect his speed and accuracy.

Things to avoid in a tennis volley

  1. Avoid performing the volley if your preparatory hit (the hit before you start your volley) is not accurately executed.
  2. Avoid excessive forward swinging of your racket when you are performing the tennis volley because this will result to excessive forward motion.
  3. Avoid hitting the ball using a chopping motion, but rather hit the ball in a smooth manner. A high to low swing angle can be used in easy put away volleys. Whereas low-high volleys are more effective especially when the ball is played below waist level.
  4. Avoid the excessive bent-wrist stroke by maintaining a firm wrist when the ball touches the racket head.
  5. Avoid hitting the ball too close to your body.
  6. Avoid hitting the forehand and backhand volley from an unbalanced position.
  7. Avoid a very easy volley that enables your opponent to return the ball easily. Try to hit the ball in a corner or target the feet of your opponent. Targeting your opponent’s feet forces him to hit a high ball which will make it easy for you to return.
  8. Avoid using two hands when you hit a backhand volley. The backhand volley is most effective when you use only one hand for the backhand and forehand volleys.

How to achieve world class tennis volley

Players do not need to hit a complicated tennis volley in order to achieve a world class volley, because the volley is accomplished in a very simple way. You need to have finesse and soft touch. Players does not always need to be explosive and powerful on the tennis volley, but it requires perfect and accurate execution to hit the ball in the best point in the court that leaves his opponent off guard forcing him to lose the point.

One of the best shots in the tennis volley is to hit a deep ball rather than a short ball to force your opponent to execute a passing shot. Another important shot in the volley is a sharp angled shot. This puts the opponent off the court, giving the player hitting the volley a great advantage.

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March 12, 2015