Coming to the net these days is definitely a challenge. Most players do not have the technique and/or experience at the net to be successful. Improvement in these areas will take quite a bit of time and practice.
However, there is a simple idea that can help your volleying and make it tougher on your opponent.
Although players can now hit passing shots that were unheard of before polyester strings and racquet technology improvements, it is still very important to follow the ball when you are at the net. Players should rarely stand in the middle of the court to volley unless the shot was hit right down the middle. Players should stand right in front of the ball (in singles) and several steps in the direction of the ball (in doubles) as the opponent is about to hit their shot. The net player should always try to force the opponent to hit the passing shot to the furthest part of the court away from where they are. This is much more difficult than hitting the ball straight ahead.
Try this in both singles and doubles and pay attention to how many more shots your opponent misses as well as the greater number of balls that you are able to get your racquet on at the net.
Steve Annacone, USPTA Elite Pro, is the Director of Annacone Tennis (http://www.annaconetennis.com). For details on lessons and camps at Sag Harbor Park Tennis and throughout the Hamptons this summer contact firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com