Part Two of this monthly feature.
We are dealing with the mundane but very important aspects of doubles in these first few articles.
Doubles – article 2.
To play good doubles and to be supportive to your partner, you need to be able to volley well. To achieve this requires plenty of practice.
is not helpful if you can only get your racket to the ball, without controlling the ball to where you want it to go. I will look at where you should place the ball
in the volley
later on, in this article, we are looking at the volley action only.
is necessary to get plenty of practice at the volley and by practising receiving the ball from various parts of the court and at varying speeds and spins.
of the points I notice a lot at club level is the player not being ready all of the time, I liken a volleyer to a prize fighter, they are on their toes the whole
the time and do not once drop their guard, should they do so, they will without doubt receive a nasty punch from their opponent. Exactly the same, a tennis player should be ready all of the time, whilst the ball is in play and should be expecting a volley at any moment.
racket should be out in front of you with the tip of the racquet at roughly eye height, you should be able to just see over the top, and the racquet should be recovered to this point after every single hit, if your racquet is the wrong side when a ball comes to you, you are
too late. In many instances the volley is a reaction shot and
all that needs to be done is to jab the racket quickly to where the ball is.
should be away from the body.
possible, the first move should be a unit turn and this will automatically place the racquet in the correct position to parry
the ball, there must be no swing, again if you do swing, you will
miss the ball, as the racket will arrive too late. As you contact the ball you should then make a punching motion.
head should not drop, there should be a distinct L shape between racquet and arm i.e. the hand and arm should be at right
angles. If the ball is low, then get down, bend those knees and try to keep the racket head level with your head.
hand should be relaxed, if you can see the whites of your knuckles, you are gripping the racquet too tight, however, a good tip is to squeeze the grip as you make contact.
and a partner should go out on the court regularly and just practice volleys. The sequence should be, one of you feeding and the other volleying the ball back to your partner. It is necessary to be able to do this before moving on to putting the ball away.
If you cannot
place the ball where you want it to go, you will need to keep practicing.
partner should feed the ball from the base line, moving to different parts of the baseline and hitting the ball at different
speeds. Then move up to the service line and repeat and last of all do reaction volleys, where you are both volleying, gradually
the pace. You should also do this at varying distances from each other until you can both rally from the service line. Don’t worry if this keeps breaking down as the further you get away from each other, the tougher it gets.
should always practice doing a split step on whatever shot you are working on, other than a serve. I call this a split spring as I believe the idea of a split step gives the wrong impression and often a player will do a split step but finish too heavily on the ground and will have lost the momentum. The idea is to do a quick hesitation step and to be able to immediately
move to the ball.
you are starting from a stationary position, or running into the court, you should always do a split spring and this should be done, as your opponent takes their racquet back in preparation to hit the ball. If you do this any later, IT IS TOO LATE.
a practice, get your partner on the base line to hit a ball. You start to run to the net, your partner feeds a difficult ball
to either side of you – first do not split spring and you
will find it extremely difficult getting to the ball. Then do the same thing and split at the correct time, you will be surprised.
the volley, you should not take the racket back behind your body, ideally, you should just be able to see the face strings
of the racquest. Go to the back of the
and stand with your back pressed against the back netting. Have your partner stand in front of you to throw a few balls to either side. You will find that you cannot
racquet back any further than the net; that is the correct placement.
in tennis about ‘Good Hands’, some people have this naturally, others need to work at it. As you practice your
volleys you gradually need to feel that you are in
of where you want to put the ball. Try doing delicate shots just over the net, and forcing shots to the back of the court. You will also gradually get
used to hitting slightly under the ball to keep the ball on a
and movement will be dealt with separately.
You will win many more points at the net when playing
we will look at the return of serve.