How to Hit a Backhand Volley in Tennis (The Right Way)

Improving your net game in tennis can add another dimension to your game that sets you apart from many other modern players. Today’s technology has gone a long way to improving the longevity of points, matches and playing careers! Whilst this is great for lowering the barrier to entry for playing tennis in general, helping more players worldwide enjoy the game, it has created a bit of a one dimensional sport. Grinding from the baseline has become the norm in both the men’s and women’s game, from juniors right the way up to professional levels.

This makes improving your net game all the more important. Not only does having crisp, solid and technically sound volleys give you more confidence when approaching the net, but it actually sets you apart from the crowd! Where the forehand volley is often used to attack high, floating balls at the net, the backhand is more of a defensive volley. It is equally important as giving up ground at the net can be very demoralising!

So, if you are interested in improving your backhand volley today, you’ve come to the right place!

Why is it Important to Learn How to Hit a Backhand Volley?

You can use the backhand volley to your advantage thanks to the variety that comes with this shot. If the forehand volley can be thought of as a hammer, the backhand volley represents a chisel.

The backhand is naturally the weaker wing for the majority of players, so learning how to win points with skill and precision rather than power is essential.

Since most players hit their backhand slice with one hand, the backhand volley should actually feel like quite a natural shot.

However, it is not uncommon for recreational players to take too big of a swing at their backhand volley, resulting in too much power and spin. This often creates a floaty shot that is easy for an opponent to pick off.

Using the backhand volley as a setup shot for a forehand volley or overhead smash is a great tactical play that can improve your consistency and confidence at the net.

If you are ready to take your backhand volley to the next level, and would like some free, in depth content, check out the following:

How to Hit a Backhand Volley in Tennis

Here is your simple step by step guide to improving your backhand volley today!

Step 1: Look at Dave’s Art of Volleying Course

There is a mantra when hitting any type of volley in tennis that states, ‘less is more’. This is certainly the case when it comes to backswing and wrist movement on most volleys.

However, in terms of mastering the technique, footwork patterns, positioning and ball feel required to hit crisp backhand volleys consistently, it is far from simple.

There is actually quite a lot that goes into hitting a great backhand volley.

That’s why, whilst it’s great to get out on the court and practice, doing so without the proper instructions may actually reinforce bad habits rather than good ones.

That’s where we come in. Here at we have combined all of our years of playing experience to give you the best one stop shot for mastering volleys out there.

Our high performance coach Dave has a wealth of both professional playing and coaching experience which stands him in great stead to teach you the Art of Volleying.

Inside the course you’ll learn grips, contact points, footwork patterns, preparation and so much more!

So, if you’re ready to take your volleys up a notch, take a look at our Art of Volleying Course today!

Step 2: Keep Your Wrist Firm

The next point to consider when you are looking to master your backhand volley is keeping your wrist firm.

This is also true of the backhand slice, as it helps to keep the racket stable at contact. It’s important to do this as the backhand slice is generally a defensive shot that requires placement and precision over power.

Whilst this is still the case when it comes to the backhand volley, it is even more important to keep your wrist firm and punch through the ball rather than flick at it.

Remember, there is half the distance between you and the back of the court when you’re at the net, so the ball is coming twice as fast!

Therefore, taking a minimal backswing and blocking the ball into the open court rather than taking a swing, will help you control the ball more effectively.

Step 3: Tactics and Footwork

Once you have wrapped your head around the technique of the backhand volley, the next step is to focus on tactics and footwork.

Keep in mind that the backhand volley will usually have less power available than the forehand, so placement and outsmarting your opponent.

Running with this theme, think about angles and stop volleys to mix things up.

The forehand volley should be used more for attacking slower, higher balls and putting them away with power.

Whereas, the backhand volley is a great tool to knife the ball around the service line and keep it low.

You can also open up the racket face slightly and soften your hands to play a drop shot into the service box.

This will bring your opponent forward and force them to hit up, giving you an easy put away volley to finish the point.

From a footwork perspective, it is important to step in with your leg that opposes your hitting arm to give you both more stability and power.

Stay light on your feet and cover the angels by closing the net down quickly!

Step 4: Get Low!

The final step that so many recreational players struggle to remember is to stay low! Bending your knees and contacting the ball at eye level will help with your hand eye coordination and stability.

Both of these will help you strike the ball cleanly more often, which is exactly what you want on the backhand volley.

Bending your knees also helps maintain sound technique on even the lowest of volleys, making them much easier to deal with.

Once You’ve Mastered the Backhand Volley It’s Time to Improve the Smash

After you have taken care of the precision backhand volley, the next step to improving your net game is to work on your overhead smash.

This will help you finish points off more effectively and ensure that you make the most of your advantageous court position.


Overall, the backhand volley is a key element of net play that should be focussed on by players of all levels. It is the more defensive of the two volleying wings, since it is generally harder to generate power on this side.

The shot requires more finesse and placement rather than power, so calls for a more tactical approach.

We have laid out a few simple steps to help improve your backhand volley, but if you really want to accelerate your learning curve, check out our Art of Volleying Course today!

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