Tip of the Week Archive

The backhand volley should be one handed and utilize a continental grip.
Holding the racquet by the throat with the non-dominate hand creates a
controlled backswing. Taking the racquet head back with the left hand (for right
handers) and the racquet head pulled back near the left ear. The elbow will be
almost as high as the wrist and the racquet face will be pointed up to the sky.
The key here is to have the elbow up, away from the body. From this horizontal  
position one can pull the handle down and forward to straighten the strings at
impact and create backspin. The shoulders will turn slightly towards the ball
and the right foot will step forward because of the shoulder leaning into the
shot. The body weight should leaning in towards the net which makes the step
For faster, reflex volleys the racquet head will not be taken back as far. The
hand will still be in front of the racquet head leading with the knuckles on the
hit. The shoulders do not turn as much for a faster incoming ball.
This same arm position on the volley is the key to underspin. The backhand
volley underspin allows us to hit low balls with more spin to control the depth of
the volley.
We also use this backhand volley motion on slice or underspin backhand hit
from the baseline. The only difference here is the body is more involved with
rotation and the backswing is larger.
To practice hitting a backspin volley, try to hit with a partner over the net but
within the service boxes. Let the ball bounce then using a small backswing,
slide the racquet strings under the ball. Keep practicing until you can control
the depth and amount of spin on these shots.

Doug Hofer, USPTA      June 28, 2004