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COMING IN
HOME > TIPS > BEGINNER TIPS > COMING IN
Gary Horvath
08-16-2002
A properly placed serve is the first step in hitting an effective first volley. The server must be able to move the serve and hit it deep as a means of increasing the difficulty of the return. Once the serve is placed, you must play the percentages with your route towards the net. Finally, the first volley must be strategically placed to gain the upper hand in the point.
Typically, a majority of the serves are hit to the inside corner of the service box. A serve hit to the inside corner of the deuce court is hit to the backhand side for right-handed players while a serve to the inside corner of the ad court is hit to the forehand side for right-handed players. (Diagram One)
Placement of the serve to the inside corner minimizes the angle of possible returns for the returning player. This makes it easier for the server and net player to anticipate where the return will be hit, which in turn makes it easier for the serving team to be in position to hit a drive as a backhand volley.
On the other hand, serves that are hit to the outside corner can be returned with a much wider angle, giving the returner more options. In addition, serves hit to the outside corner are often driven at the net player, thus putting the serving team in a compromising position. Typically, the ball is served to the outside corner as a change of pace or if this is the returning player's weakness. (Diagram Two)
Because the serve and volley are usually considered to be a tactical unit, the recommended grip for the first volley is the continental grip. Since this is also the recommended grip for the serve, no adjustment is necessary.
Although there is a sense of urgency in getting to the net, the server should move to the net under control. This will allow him to be balanced when they hit the first volley. In other words, the server should move to the net in a manner that will prevent him from lunging to hit the first volley. Because many of the first volleys will be hit below the height of the net, the face of the paddle should be opened slightly.
A word of caution for tennis players - there is not enough time to turn the shoulders when hitting a volley, as is often done on a tennis volley. There is minimal, if any, swing and the contact point is in front of the body.
From a tactical standpoint, the first volley is simple. It should be hit deep in the back-court, within three feet of the baseline. In addition, the first volley should be hit in the middle third of the court. A first volley that is hit low and to the middle of the court will reduce the angle of possible returns for the returning team. In addition, it may cause confusion because it is possible for either of the back-court players to hit. (Diagram One and Diagram Two)
 

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