How to Hit a Forehand Volley in Tennis (and Win More Points at the Net)
The modern game of tennis has become a bit of a war of attrition. Many junior players are brought up on slugging groundstrokes from the back of the court and are simply looking to outlast their opponent. Whilst modern racket, string and footwear technology rewards this type of play, the art of volleying still lives strong!
Being able to attack the net and put volleys away with authority not only improves your confidence up at the net itself, but also encourages you to play more aggressively in all areas of the court. The forehand volley in particular is generally used to take time away from your opponent, as it is easier to swing harder and add pace to the ball from this wing.
So, let’s take a closer look at why improving your forehand volley is important for your game and how doing so can help you win more tennis matches!
Why is it Important to Learn How to Hit a Forehand Volley?
Improving your volleys in general is not just as simple as getting into the net more often. There are specific techniques and footwork patterns that need to be developed correctly in order to get the most out of your forehand volley.
Where the backhand volley, much like the backhand groundstroke, is often referred to as the shield, the forehand volley represents the sword.
This metaphor refers to the fact that the backhand side for most players is the naturally weaker wing, so it is used in a more defensive capacity compared to the forehand.
The forehand volley tends to have a longer, more powerful swing. This is because there is more space to take a larger pop at the ball and you are naturally stronger on the dominant side of the body.
This in turn reinforces the importance of developing a solid forehand volley technique, as flapping at the ball can lead to missing key point winning opportunities.
When there is a high, floaty ball to attack, the forehand volley is the weapon you have to finish the point with authority.
For more free and useful resources that will help you improve your tennis volleys, see:
How to Hit a Forehand Volley in Tennis
The first thing to do when you are looking to improve your forehand volley is to seek out first class advice. It’s all very well stepping out onto court and trying to improve things yourself.
But, unless you’re already a very advanced, experienced player that needs no introduction to forehand volley technique, you could well be doing yourself a disservice.
The forehand volley is a shot that requires a firm wrist, proper technique and a good feel for the ball to ensure you can put just the right amount of spin into the shot for the right amount of control.
Too much and you’ll produce a shot that floats slowly towards your opponent. Too little, and you may lose control of the ball!
Step 1: Look at Dave’s Art of Volleying Course
As I have mentioned, trying to improve your forehand volley on your own can actually do more harm than good.
This is particularly true if you are a recreational player that is struggling to play the shot effectively and don’t know what’s going wrong.
That’s where our Art of Volleying Course comes in. We have put countless hours of time, effort and experience into our online courses to make sure you get the best dedicated tennis instruction possible.
Our top flight coach Dave will take you through the best ways to cover the net, multiple footwork patterns, positioning, grips, how to feel the ball better and more!
Dave is a former British No. 1 Junior player and has a wealth of experience both in the coaching and professional playing arenas.
His experience on the ATP World Tour has shaped his coaching and he is ready to pass on his knowledge to you!
The fact that Dave grew up in the serve and volley era also makes him the perfect coach to teach you the fundamentals of hitting a forehand volley more effectively.
We want to fast track your tennis development here at thetennisbros.com. If you want to supercharge your game and take your forehand volley to the next level, simply check out our Art of Volleying Course today!
Step 2: Understand Court Positioning
The next step you need to master in order to get the most out of your forehand volley is how you cover space at the net.
This may be a bit of a new concept to less experienced players, but the ability to understand distance, court coverage and footwork effectively will really enhance your forehand volley.
If you are approaching the net and are likely to hit a low volley around the service line, you’ll need to bend your knees and get your racket nice and close to the ground.
Keeping your arm fairly straight and your wrist locked in that strong ‘L’ position will help you control the volley and push it deep.
This is a key skill to develop, as recognising where you are in the court, what shot you need to hit and how to adjust your body position to accommodate this is essential.
Another way to improve your court awareness, especially when up at the net is to check out our Doubles Tactics Course.
Dave will take you through how ATP professionals cut off angles, use time and space to their advantage and how to communicate better with your doubles partner.
These skills are very useful to understand regardless of whether you’re primarily playing singles or doubles!
Step 3: Firm up Your Wrists
The next thing you can do to improve your forehand volley is to firm up your wrist on contact.
Since the forehand volley is often used to be more aggressive when charging into the net, it can be incredibly tempting to take a big swing at the ball.
This often results in the volley flying long and you will therefore waste an advantageous court position.
This is often caused by snapping your wrist whilst trying to add more pace to the ball, which more often than not isn’t really necessary.
Since you have effectively cut the size of the court in half by being at the net in the first place, you have half the amount of court to cover and the ball is effectively coming at you twice as fast!
With this in mind, even hitting an aggressive forehand volley only requires a small amount of flex in the wrist to punch it through the court and past your opponent.
Remember, we are redirecting the ball not trying to strike it with loads of power and spin like from the baseline.
Therefore, keeping your wrist nice and solid as you contact the ball will really enhance your control and take away some of that uncontrollable power!
Step 4: Use the ‘Handcuff’ Technique
Another step you can take to improve your forehand to volley and win more points at the net is to use the ‘handcuff’ technique.
This method of keeping both your hands in close proximity when hitting the forehand volley will improve your control, swing path and weight transfer as you move through the shot.
This is something that the great Roger Federer does exceptionally well and is one of the reasons why he can attack his forehand volley with so much confidence.
To use the handcuff technique, you effectively need to imagine your wrists are bound together by a pair of handcuffs whilst you are hitting your forehand volley.
Swing with both wrists pretty close together and ensure they stay at a similar height throughout the volley. This will get your bodyweight and momentum moving through the shot and the volley contact should feel a lot more solid!
Step 5: Get Low!
The final tip for improving your forehand volley in tennis is to get low! Bending your knees and hitting your volleys as close to your eye line as possible will go a long way to improving your hand eye coordination.
Bending your knees and transferring your weight through your forehand volley will also help you add more power without compromising on control.
Once You’ve Mastered the Forehand Volley It’s Time to Improve the Backhand Volley
The forehand volley is a key shot when you are coming into the net for being aggressive and wanting to finish the point.
However, in order to be a complete net player, you need to be solid on both wings. Having a sound backhand volley will also help you defend your position at the net as well as take balls on with authority.
Overall, learning how to hit a forehand volley in tennis and win more points at the net can make a big difference to your overall confidence on the court.
Being able to put volleys away consistently with solid technique is a great skill for both singles and doubles players to have, and can make you more willing to come into the net more often.
So, if you are looking to take your net game to the next level and improve your forehand volley, check out our Art of Volleying Course today!
Sep 2, 2022 • Forehand
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