LOW VOLLEY ANGLES
Geometry was never a subject I enjoyed much in school. Now, as I study the
game of tennis and transfer that knowledge to others, geometry has a taken on a
much greater importance.
When volleying balls at the net it is important to know your geometric angles.
Last week we learned that the angle of entrance equaled the angle of exit. When
trying to hit a volley or half volley at the net you must be able to recognize the ball
trajectory (or angle of entrance).
If the incoming ball is dropping sharply below the net height you will need to tilt
open your racquet face more. The angle of exit needs to be almost equal to the
angle of entrance. So the more sharply angled the ball is coming the more tilt is
needed. If the ball was only slightly dipping, then less open the angle of racquet
face would be needed.
The swing director of a dropping incoming ball should be the opposite and
should be a downward underspin swing.
When the ball is up high, above the net height very little of open angle of the
racquet face is needed. The incoming angle is not as great on high balls and the
ball contact will probably take place above the net.
Short hops or half volleys are balls that bounce before they are struck. The
angle of entrance on a short hop is an upward angle. If we held our racquet
vertical at impact, the ball would pop up into the air very high. To counter this we
need to remember that the â€œangle in = angle outâ€�. We must close the
racquet face slight towards the ground so that the exit angle makes the ball barely
clear the net.
This type of short hop near the net almost requires an upward swing of the
racquet as in topspin. A downward or underspin swing of the racquet along with a
closed racquet face requires excellent timing and touch.
This direction of swing is important on both short hops and volleys because it
requires less precise geometric calculations to accomplish the task. The direction
of swing does affect the ball trajectory but not the angle of exit from the strings.
Doug Hofer, USPTA www.hofertennis.com January 2, 2008