How To Avoid Missing Long When Blocking Hard Volleys
Today, I’m going to give you some advice on how to avoid missing long when blocking hard volleys.
Making volleys when balls are coming hard and fast at you is a huge challenge. There can be a tendency to have the ball pop off the racquet and fly long. You may also mishit the shot altogether.
This issue can eat away at your confidence at the net during a match, causing you to avoid the net altogether. There are several aspects you can focus on in order to be more successful when volleying back balls which come at you like a speeding bullet.
Let’s get into them.
1. Picking Safe Target
One of the best tips for how to avoid missing long when blocking hard volleys, is to pick a safer target.
Most coaches will tell you to volley deep. While this can work, it’ll often cause you to miss your volleys long.
Instead aim just past the service line.
In your mind’s eye, that should be your target goal, so if you misfire you have a greater chance of making the volley. Visualize the ball going down at an angle, straight towards the service line.
If you visualize the ball going just past the service line target, often the ball will still go deep, as long as you clear the net. This specific target focus makes a big difference between making the shot or missing it long.
2. Shorten Your Backswing
When a fast ball is coming at you, you don’t want to take a big backswing.
Instead, you should keep the hands in front of your body. Then just absorb the pace, and redirect the ball back at the opponent.
Taking a big backswing is a big technical no-no, because you won’t have enough time to find the proper contact point. When you hit the volley late the ball can fly long. When a hard hit ball comes at you, there’s very little time to react at the net. This is why you need to focus on the economy of motion, eliminating any unnecessary movements.
In this case, the ball will have more than enough pace on its own for you to make the shot and put it back into play, even without any backswing.
Okay, onto our final tip for how to avoid missing long when blocking hard volleys.
3. Resist Your Instinct And Stay Grounded
When a speeding ball comes flying at you, the natural instinct is to protect yourself which may cause you to jump as you hit the ball.
Try not to panic. Instead, stay grounded.
Resist your instinct to jump into the air. Stay low with your legs in a wide base as you make contact with the ball. If the opponent sends a body shot, try shuffling your feet or moving to the side in order to hit the volley without jumping. When you jump or pop up, you immediately lose stability. This in turn affects the outcome of the shot.
You can practice this with a sparring partner by having them feed you fast balls, right at you.
So there you have it…
Plenty for you on how to avoid missing long when blocking hard volleys.
By using the above tips the next time you step on the court to play against a heavy hitter, you’ll surely make more volleys. As it turns out, those points you lose at the net often mean the difference between winning or losing a close match. So aim for a shorter target. Shorten your backswing. And stay grounded.
By doing so, you’ll win more points at the net, and in turn, win more matches.