Moving forward in singles has become more difficult. In addition, many players are not sure how to move in and what to do once they are in a volleying position.
The first step is to try to hit your approach shot deep and towards the side of the court you are already on-usually this is down the line. Next, move in and towards where you just hit the ball. As the player is about to swing at their shot, split step so you are stopped and balanced as they make contact with the ball. React to their shot by turning your shoulders and stepping towards the ball and the net with the foot that is furthest from the ball. Follow the ball after you volley, and split step as the opponent is replying to your shot (as they are about to swing).
Keep in mind that it is usually best to hit the volley to the open side of the court-hit it deep if it is a difficult volley or hit it short and angled if it is a little easier. Continue to follow your shot and try to force the opponent to pass you crosscourt.
If you come in to the net a lot, you will get passed quite a bit. Accept that your opponent will be able to do that, but realize if you do this well and you are persistent, the percentages are in your favor. You will win more points than you lose. Trusting this strategy is extremely important and one of the key reasons why most players have trouble moving to the net successfully. You have to believe!
Steve Annacone, USPTA Elite Pro, is the Director of Annacone Tennis (http://www.annaconetennis.com) and MyHamptonsPro based in Sag Harbor, NY (http://www. myhamptonspro.com) and Tennis Professional at The Lodge at Ventana in Tucson, AZ. For details on lessons, clinics, or coaching, contact Steve at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 865-300-7323