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Tennis Tip: Practice Your Volleys On the Move

December 21, 2009 06:00 PM

Argentine pro David Nalbandian (photo by Toga)

By Nick Bollettieri

How do most people practice their volleys? One player will stand at the net while the other hits balls to them from the baseline. This is great, except for one thing, seldom are you ever in a stationary position when volleying. Most of your volleys will be hit while moving forward toward the net.

Practicing the volley from a stationary position is great to perfect your technique and develop some ball control, but you must also learn to approach, volley, and hit overheads while in motion.

Here's a way we like to do it.

The idea is to work together and keep one ball in play as long as possible. Both player A and B start on opposite baselines. Player A will feed a short ball to player B. Player B hits an approach shot back down the middle to Player A, then moves into the net. Player A returns this ball to Player B for a volley. Player B volleys the ball back to player A. Player A then hits a lob to Player B who hits the overhead back to player A. Player A takes this ball as an approach shot and moves into the net while Player B remains on the baseline and gives Player A a volley and then an overhead. Then Player B will move into the net off of Player A's overhead and the drill keeps going as long as the ball stays in play.

This drill is fantastic for footwork, balance and ball control. In the beginning you should keep the pace slow. The more advanced you become the more the pace can be increased.

Also, if you are getting tired too quickly you may add volleys to the drill to slow it down. So instead of coming to the net and hitting one volley before moving back for the overhead, you may hit two, three or even four to slow the movement down. Remember, you are trying to work together to keep one ball going.

This drill may also be done crosscourt to practice the movement and balance for doubles. When this drill is done correctly, it is a great cardiovascular exercise and many professionals use this drill to get a workout.

In 1978, Nick Bollettieri founded the Nick Bollettieri Tennis Academy, the first full-time tennis boarding school to combine intense training on the court with a custom-designed academic curriculum. He has coached 10 players who have reached No. 1 in the world, including Andre Agassi, Boris Becker and Martina Hingis. To learn more about you can check out: www.nickbollettieri.com.

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