John McEnroe Tennis Academy
  | By Carl Barnett




The backhand volley is the nemesis of many a player in both singles and doubles tennis. Compact and minimal movement can improve most players’ volley when your basics are correct. Even the smallest players volley powerfully.










From your ready position, lift your racquet with the left hand to the ball at a 45-degree angle with the grip changing to continental (see Fig. 1). Your left hand stays in front of you so you won’t be caught by the ball with the racquet behind you. This minimalist approach leaves you more time for the all-important step through the ball.








As you turn your right shoulder 90 degrees toward the ball, your weight is now on your left foot. As this happens the racquet is now almost perpendicular. You are ready to swing (see Fig. 2).








You now find most of your weight on your left foot from the shoulder turn. Most people volley only one foot when they fail to step. A natural stride will turn a one-foot volley into a four-foot volley, thus dramatically boosting your power. Step and volley through the ball with the racquet passing flush through the back of the ball then under and out (see Fig. 3).









This happens from the rotation of the arm out of the shoulder, not the hand or the wrist. The motion is not down (see Fig. 4).






Taking the racquet behind you is of little value, especially when you are late to the ball. The step-through the ball with the left quad pushing you forward is the key to a powerful volley. That, and your improved timing, will leave you looking like a pro.

Carl Barnett

<p>Carl Barnett started the Early Hit Training Programs at Glen Head Racquet Club six years ago. He may be reached by phone at (516) 455-1225 or e-mail <a href="</a>.</p>