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7 Tips to Improve Your Tennis Volley (with Drills Video)

Updated: Sep 3

The Tennis volley is undoubtedly the clearest shot in the game. You just put your racquet head out and hit an excellent volley to win the point, right?


The volley is possibly one of the most challenging shots in the game. Not only do you have the court pressure of being so far up the court, but you also have less time and space, and your opponent is trying to either hit you or pass you. The pressure is on.

If only you had an experienced Tennis Coach and Coach Educator to help you with that first step, understand where to shift your body weight, lose your swinging volley and give you the best way to punish your opponent's shot and improve your volley tennis technique.

Don't worry. My Tennis Coaching has you covered with our 7 Tips on How to Improve Your Tennis Volley (with Drills Video), and we are starting right now!

Quick Links - 7 Tips To Improve Your Tennis Volley

Tennis Volley Tip 1 - Forget the Proper Volley

Tennis Coaches make players hit hundreds and hundreds of volleys. They feed the ball in, get the player to step across the body and make clean contact in front. The issue with these volley drills and perfect volley technique is it's rare you will ever get this volley in a match situation. You see, in a match, your opponent is doing everything they possibly can to get the ball past, over or at you in a way for them to win. It makes no logical sense why you would ever get a nice easy ball straight onto your racket head like your tennis coach is giving you.

It would be best to practise forehand volley that comes at you quick, slow, high, low, and so much more. The more you practice volleying a more comprehensive range of awkward volleys, the more adaptable you will be on the match court. Tennis coaches often make things easy for players and check out the most common mistakes coaches make in this excellent blog now.

Tennis Volley Tip 2 - Focus on the Contact Point

The first thing to do is make contact in front of your body, where the stepping-in comes in from tip 1. By getting the contact point in front of the body, you have the benefit of stability and balance in your body. The later you make contact, the easier it is for the weight of the ball to break your contact, i.e. make your racket face open up. The majority of players will swing on the volley and make contact late. Watch the professional tennis players, and they almost treat it like they are opening a door, racquet face in front of the body with no or little backswing. You don't have much time at the net; a full swing will only lead to lost points.

This drill is excellent. Stand close to the net, and hit both forehand and backhand volley, but you can't bring the racket back onto your side of the court.

If you need a new racket to help your net game, check out my blog here on the best rackets to volley with.

Tennis Volley Tip 3 - Have a Positive Net Game

Confidence is critical when playing at the net. Have a tremendous athletic ready position, knees bent, racket up, and eyes focused down the court. Check out my video on a world-class ready position below.

Keep your volley grip in the continental grip, your non-dominant hand on the throat of the racquet and the head of the racket above the net. This position could be the big difference between clean volleys and missed volleys. It would help if you aimed to split step before your opponent makes contact and have your body going forward to maintain momentum to the touch. Keep your lower body at an athletic height (bent knees) and your upper body stable throughout the shot.

Follow this positivity, and you will be an effective net player like Pete Sampras or Maria Sharapova.

Tennis Volley Tip 4 - Sharpen up your reaction time

You must be prepared to hit various type of volley, from a low volley, half volley, drop volley and high volleys. It would help if you sharpened up your reaction times by hitting volleys from various areas of the service boxes. Jamie Murray, a world number one and multiple grand slam champion, goes through a great range of volley warm-ups in his excellent video's below.

If you need some new Tennis shoes to improve your movement, check out my list of the Best Cheap Tennis Shoes.

Tennis Volley Tip 5 - Use a Continental grip

The right grip plays a huge part in hitting effective volleys. As you have little time and space, you must keep the exact grip; you won't have time to change how you hold the racquet. The great thing about the continental grip is you can hit good tennis volleys from various heights, angles and positions. The grip will allow you to get a closed racquet face onto the oncoming ball and direct or deflect the ball in different ways.

Tennis Volley Tip 6- The approach shot is vital

Most of the time, the volley is not the real reason you lose the point. Most club players and even good players approach the net on the wrong shot, or they hit and stop and lose a lot of forward momentum.

The best time to get into the net is on a short ball. A ball that lands in or around the service line would be perfect. This does not have to be an aggressive shot; it just needs to set up your volley. Players make the mistake of trying to hit a winner or being too cautious with the approach.

If you are a singles player, the right direction would be to hit down the line; this reduces the angle for your opponent to hit a passing shot. The first volley you hit should be into the open court in the opposite direction of your opponent at a sharp angle towards the service line. A forehand down the line to your opponent's backhand side is very effective.

Doubles tennis will offer lots of opportunities to get into the net, and an effective way is to come in behind your service or, again, a short ball. This time, you have more options with the short ball, back cross court or lob over the opposition net player. Advanced players will look to get both players into the net to help control the point. Check out our online webinar recording here if you want to know how to win more doubles matches.

Tennis Volley Tip 7- Common Mistake players make

The most common mistake players make simply they don't practice enough net play. Most players just grind it out at the baseline and neglect the net. You should see the net like a penalty box in football/soccer. You have great opportunities to score if you get into this position. Spend ten minutes every practice session playing at the net and build up your feel, touch and, more importantly your confidence.

I will be going LIVE Friday 21st, on My YouTube and Facebook pages and showing my best Volley drills that you can practice to take your net game to the next level.

Click the links to subscribe or watch on demand if you are reading this in the future (Do we have flying cars yet?)

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Written by Steve Whelan

Steve has developed thousands of tennis players and tennis coaches over the past twenty years as a coach and educator.

Steve has over 20 million social media views in 2022 alone.

Read About Steve's impressive career here

Contact Steve direct at or

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