Where to Aim Aggressive Volleys in Tennis Doubles
Knowing where to aim aggressive volleys when playing doubles tennis can make a big difference in your game. If you place it too high, you will either hit the ball out or hit your opponent in the face. If you hit it in the wrong place, your opponent will return the ball. Instead of the point ending to your advantage, you will have to continue playing in hopes of setting up another chance at a put-away volley. There are some basic things to remember when hitting an aggressive volley.
What is an aggressive volley?
Hitting the ball before it bounces is a tennis volley. An aggressive volley can either be a put-away volley in which you effectively end a point or it can be a shot in which you strike it in a way that your opponent can only make a defensive shot in return. A volley is aggressive when it is placed in an area in which you intend to draw an error or hit an outright winner. There are times and places for volleys that just keep the ball in play. I, however, prefer to attack volleys when playing at the net in doubles. If my team doesn't take advantage of a volley opportunity, my opponents certainly will.
This is a good, inexpensive training tool to help you keep your wrist in the proper volleying position.
Things to remember
- Aim for the 'T'.
- Don't aim for heads or faces.
Tennis doubles and the aggressive volley
Doubles tennis is a delicate balance of accuracy and aggression. In singles, you have the whole court in which to hit the ball. In doubles, there are two opponents on the other side of the net covering even more court. The goal is to keep the ball low and cause your opponent to pop the ball higher so either you or your partner can put the ball away.There are a few ways to hit an aggressive volley.
USPTA certified tennis professional, Bill Graves, helps his tennis members at Peak Tennis in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho learn where to place volleys. Here are some of his tips:
- Aim for the 'T'. The 'T' is the the rear-middle of the service box between two players. "I tell players to hit the high volley at the center 'T'," says Graves. "That's a difficult spot on the court to defend." I agree. I aim a lot of my volleys in that spot. It creates confusion about who should take the ball and allows me to hit a winner. If the opponents start cheating over to cover that shot, guess what? Now the alleys are open. Aiming for the 'T' is a smart place to aim your volleys.
- High-near-low-far. Graves refers to this as a "Chinese restaurant theory". Aptly named, this theory sounds like a great place to dine and is also a great way to remember how to volley intelligently. If you are hitting a volley that is high, aim it at the nearest player--the net player. Your high-struck ball will be difficult for the net player to handle and will either result in a winner or another opportunity to hit a winner. If you are punching a volley that is low, below the net tape, hit the ball to the player furthest from you. When hitting a volley that is low, you will have to pop it up a bit in order to get it over the net. Aiming it for the furthest player ensures that you won't have a shot slammed down at either you or your partner by an aggressive net player.
- Avoid hitting your volleys high and at your opponent's head. If your opponent is quick, they will duck and your ball will fly out. If they are less agile, you risk hitting them in the face. When aiming your volleys at the near player, aim at their feet and not their face. Regularly hitting people in the face will make it difficult to find anyone willing to play tennis with you.
If you remember these basic tips, you will see your tennis doubles game improve by leaps and bounds. One of the easiest ways to get a sense of aggressive tennis volleying is to watch professional tennis doubles live or on television. If you have access to Tennis Channel, try to watch the Bryan brothers play. The team of Mike and Bob Bryan is a perfect example of textbook doubles play.