Master the Volley Grip
Attack the Net with Confidence
It’s 6-6 in the first set tiebreaker. You hit a heavy slice serve on the deuce court. Your opponent sends the ball back to the middle of the court. You attack their shot with an aggressive topspin forehand. The opponent barely gets to the ball and their shot comes floating over the net.
Are you ready to close out the point? Are you going to put away the ball with an angle, drop, or deep volley? Master the volley grip and be the player with great hands at the net.
Finding the Volley Grip
The volley grip is also known as the continental grip. This grip is used for both the forehand and the backhand volley. Use this grip to create underspin and control your volleys. Make it a goal to find the volley grip in the first five minutes of your warmup. Here is the easiest way to find the volley grip:
- Hold the racket with your non-dominant hand in line with your nose.
- Make the shape of a V with your dominant hand.
- Place your V on the grip.
- Wrap your fingers around the grip with your pointer finger spread further up the grip
- Gently practice a few taps with the edge of the racquet on the net as if tapping in a nail with a hammer.
Feeling The Volley Grip
To get a feel for the volley grip practice your ups, downs, and spins. Develop a feel for how much grip tension you need to apply for control.
- Let the weight of the racquet rest on your thumb. Loosen your fingers
- Next, grip tighter with your fingers and looser with your thumb.
- Move part of your hand off the handle and only hold with your thumb and pointer finger.
- Hold the racquet near the throat for more control
- Grip the racquet tightly at a tension of 10
- Hold the racquet loosely at a tension of 2
Why this works
Get a feel for your grip tension and develop a feel for the ball.
Challenge yourself and see how many downs you can do a row on the sweet spot of the racquet. Check out these volley grip drills in the My10sFriends Dropshot Video. Subscribe to My10sFriends YouTube Channel for tennis tips and drills.
Develop Feel for the grip
Extend your arm away from your body and hold the racquet chest high in the volley grip. Use My10sFriends Swing Resistance Cover to increase racquet weight. Let the weight of the racquet rest on the heel of your hand with minimal grip tension from fingers and thumb. Your goal is to hold the grip with the loosest finger tension possible so the racquet presses into the palm of your hand.
Why this works
When you are hitting solid volleys, you should feel the support of the palm of your hand behind the racquet.
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Drilling the Volley Grip
Using the volley grip will allow you to put underspin on the ball. Practice hitting up on the volley with an open racquet face to see the underspin. Keep busy feet and steady hands to put yourself in a great position to contact the ball.
To react faster, increase efficiency between the ready position and the contact point of the forehand volley. Minimize movement for more power. Confidence will come with a consistent crisp contact point that is out in front of your body. Listen for the “POP” sound that the solid volley makes leaving the strings. Less is more when it comes to the swing of the volley.
Check out the drills below to gain confidence in the volley grip.
Volley Grip Drill #1
Close in for hand fed volleys
- Start at the service line in the volley grip
- Have a partner toss shoulder high volleys into the air forcing you to move forward
- Practice moving to a short fed ball before the ball drops below the level of the net
- Get low and use your legs. Steady hands, busy feet
- Focus on depth and height rather than power.
- Bump the volleys at a speed that you control 20 in a row.
- Use the large muscles in your lower body to control the ball rather than your arm.
Why this works
During this drill, you are developing a feel for controlling the racquet head. After you’ve hit 20, you should try to hit 20 past the service line. The deep volley is at the foundation of a great volley.
If the hardest you can hit a volley is a power level of 10, this drill should be done at a 5. Work up to your full power level.
Volley Grip Drill #2 Wall Ball – Hit against a wall.
You can try using an orange or green dot compression ball to avoid hand fatigue.
- Hit 20 forehand volleys in a row against a wall
- Stand in a very athletic stance
- Keep the racquet head above your wrist
- Minimize the movement of the racquet head.
- Absorb the power of the volley through adjusting hand and finger tension.
- Power is created from the crisp and consistent contact point.
Why this works-
This drill will instantly expose overswinging. It will be difficult to hit three in a row in the sweet spot without compact swings.
Volley Grip Drill #3 Cross Court Singles
- Play Cross court points only using the volley grip.
- Practice serving and volleying
- Chip returns and comes forward
- Close in and volley the points at the net.
- Don’t worry about winning or losing, focus on controlling the depth of your shots.
Volley Grip Drill #4 Mini Tennis Underspin
- Warm up mini tennis in the volley grip.
- Practice hitting underspin shots back and forth with a partner.
- Let each shot bounce on your side before sending back with underspin.
- Compete for points in the service boxes using only underspin.
Owning The Volley Grip
Gain confidence in your volley grip by using it during competitive play. Create a three-shot play to use your volley grip under pressure. Visualize the play before you even start the point. Set up the point with a first serve so that you receive a defensive or neutral shot from your opponent.
- Serve out wide on the deuce side
- Send opponent’s short return to wide to their two-handed backhand
- Approach the net and block the volley to the open court
Practice a play until you have the confidence to perform under pressure. Furthermore, anticipate the opponent’s weak shots. Gain forward momentum by approaching short balls with aggressive footwork. Don’t be defeated by a few good lobs and passes. You have to be confident that your approach and first volley will put the opponent under stress in critical moments of the match.
Always look like you own the volley grip at the net.
Use an athletic stance that allows you to move quickly in any direction. As you move forward, make sure to split step when your opponent gets ready to hit. Be confident and balanced in your split step to send the message that you are at the net to win the point.
Set the intention to consistently approach the net during your next practice. Let your momentum take you forward into a balanced split step position. Listen for the crisp pop sound on the sweet spot of your racquet. Achieve these results by keeping busy feet and steady hands.
Find the volley grip to create underspin and control your volleys. Make it a goal to find the volley grip in the first five minutes of your warmup. Develop a feel for how much grip tension you need to apply and you will develop a feel for the ball. Drill the volley grip to increase consistency of weight transfer and confidence in your contact. Own the volley grip and be ready to close out the point. Master the volley grip and be the player with great hands at the net.
Was this blog helpful to you? Are you gaining confidence at the net? Leave a comment below and Coach Eric will reply.
USPTA Elite Professional
Director of Tennis at My10sFriends Academy
Director of Tennis at Woodfield Hunt Club in Boca Raton, Fl
Graduate of Ferris State University’s Professional Tennis Management Program