How to Hit the Half Volley in Tennis (Simple Guide)

Are you looking to improve your half volley in tennis?

We’re going to walk you through every step so you can start hitting your half volleys better, and start winning more matches. Sometimes, when you are out of position it is important to know how to use your hands correctly to get you out of trouble.

So, let’s take a look at how to hit the perfect half volley in tennis!

Why is Learning How to Hit a Half Volley Important?

In an ideal world, every tennis player would love to be set up perfectly, with their legs loaded, the ball out in front and at waist height, ready to strike the ball as cleanly as possible. However, the objective of tennis is to keep your opponent moving, hit the ball away from them, and ultimately upset their contact point to make them miss!

With this being said, it is therefore very important to learn a skill like a half volley so that you can adapt to any situation you find yourself in on the court. 

First of all, let’s define what a half volley actually is. 

A half volley is when you hit a ball right after it bounces before it has had time to rise more than say a foot or so off the ground. A half volley is always hit as the ball is rising and is therefore usually quite tricky to time correctly since the ball is coming into your body with some pace. 

This is different from taking the ball on the rise or at the top of the bounce. A half volley is specifically hit the moment after the ball has bounced and is barely off the ground at all. 

There are a number of situations you may find yourself in when hitting a half volley may be required, including: 

  • When backpedalling after hitting your serve
  • When approaching the net
  • When hitting a passing shot
  • When you are off balance
  • When you have been wrong-footed

How to Hit the Perfect Half Volley

While the half volley is not the easiest shot in the book to time, it is a relatively straightforward one to master. There is a lot to be said for timing and anticipation in tennis, so if you can quickly recognize that you are going to have to hit a half volley, you can be as prepared as possible.

Step 1: Look at Our Art of Volleying Course

The first way that you can learn how to master the perfect half volley, is to check out our Art of Volleying course. This is the easiest way to learn from the comfort of your own home, with our master performance coach with ATP experience, Dave. 

He has unbelievable hands himself and can help you get the best out of your game even when you are out of position or off balance on the court! This is just one of our range of courses that can help you improve your game. Dave will help guide you and ensure that you are using the proper technique to produce your shots, as well as getting your body in the right positions to transfer your weight effectively.

Step 2: Get Low!

Once you have a better idea of the technique required to hit a half volley, the next step is to get low! Bending your knees and bringing your racket closer to the contact point of the ball will really help with your control and weight transfer. 

Using your legs to move your weight through the shot rather than just your hands will help you be more consistent and give you more margin for error. Being closer to the ball will also help you time the ball better since your eyes will be closer to the line of the ball.

Step 3: Shorten Your Backswing

Another tip that can improve your half volleys is to shorten your backswing before contact. When you recognize that you’ll be hitting the ball as a half volley, it is essential to remember that you won’t have much time to get your racket into position prior to contact. 

Therefore, having a shorter backswing is a great way to help you present your strings to the ball for a longer period of time. Doing this will really improve your timing and ensure you make clean contact with the ball.

Step 4: Guide the Ball Rather than Whack It

Once you have shortened up your backswing, it is then important to remember that you are guiding the ball on this shot. A half volley is an improvised shot that should only really be played when you have no other option. So, with this in mind, you should be guiding the ball into the open space on your opponent’s side of the court, rather than trying to add power to the shot. Doing this will make it easier to time the ball and improve your consistency.

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

The next step is to improve your volleys themselves. If you are in a better position to hit your volleys and have sound volley technique, not only will this improve your ability to hit the half volley, but it will also help you command the net! 

Our article on the best tennis footwork drills will also help improve how well you move around the court, which will also improve your positioning and ability to put volleys away as you dominate at the net.

Simple Guide to Mastering the Half Volley

Overall, it is important to know how to hit the perfect half volley, whether you are approaching the net, on the run, or at the baseline hitting a passing shot. 

There are a few steps to master in order to do this, including getting low by bending your knees, shortening your backswing, and guiding the ball rather than adding pace. 

If you want to improve your net game and don’t know where to turn next, check out our Art of Volleying course! We break down the fundamentals of the volley and help you improve from the ground up!

The Art of Volleying
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