First Volley, (or third hit in a point after the return of serve)
can be the most difficult shot that a player must perform on
a regular basis. Many players blame their serve or credit their
opponent’s return of serve and do not take the time to
understand this shot.
only get one serve, it is risky to push the limits of your
ability and break the first sin of Platform Tennis - “Don’t
Fault”. Your opponent has the advantage, he knows the
ball must land in the service box, can position himself for
a drive, and knows the server will be in a poor position to
make a volley.
you may be tempted to stand wide (by an alley) to force the
serve into the screen this can work against you if you opponent
also adjusts, and results in your opponent getting the ball
sooner and you having to take more steps to get into position.
If you cannot gain the advantage by getting the ball to the
side screen, concentrate on making your first volley. Try serving
from closer to the center, it will give you the option of serving
up the middle or to the side and get you into position to make
your volley quicker.
A= Server B= your partner D= Returnee
what your partner will cover, which should be about 1/3 of the
net (shown in red). It is important that your partner does not
jump into your lane (poach) without you knowing he is going
to. You will find yourself thinking your partner can cover more
ground than possible and start coming in too wide. Your partner
is doing his job by taking a third of the court away from the
return and not giving you something else to worry about.
serve you will set your position off of your partners left hip
and be prepared for the ball coming over the middle third of
the net (yellow).
third you will leave for your opponent to try to hit. It is
a low percentage shot and you should not give up the center
of the court to try to cover it.
serve follow through and bring you paddle into the volley position,
keep your paddle low, anything above your waist this far back
in the court will probably go long. Take a couple of big steps
then continue to close the net under control with little steps.
the spot - if you can get to here you did pretty well but
you are still in a tough position to make the volley. Your
target for the first volley is the center of the court behind
the service line. If you can get your volley here your opponents
will not have another good opportunity to drive.
Think of your serve and first-volley together, you are at a
disadvantage until you can make these shots. By slicing the
court into lanes you and your partner know exactly what to and
not to cover. When you warm up don’t just hit serves,
practice the first volley too! This a brief overview of the
first volley, there are many other variations depending on the
placement of the serve. Visit vikingacademy.com
or Paddlepro.com for
drills on serve / return of serve / and first volley.