For those starting out in tennis, getting to know the different types of strokes, stances, terms, grips, etc., can feel overwhelming. Not to worry, we have your back! In our new teaching series titled, “The Beginner’s Guide” (fitting, right?) we’ve enlisted some of Canada’s top instructors to provide us with their expert steps and hot tips on how to approach the various basics of tennis. A free lesson? Pretty sweet, right? First class: Mastering The Volley 101.
Background: A Level 3 certified coach with a BA in Kinesiology, Robichaud honed his skills at a number of academies and clubs, including the Cloutier-Jousselin Tennis Academy, the MRTC, and the Robby Menard academy, before joining Tennis Canada to take on the role of National Coach. He also serves as captain and coach of Canada’s junior Davis Cup team.
To get into the ready position distribute your weight equally on the balls of your feet with your legs shoulder width apart. Like a goaltender in hockey, Robichaud says you need to stay low with good flexion in your knees, leaning ever so slightly forward ready to react and explode. Next, bend your arms and keep them in front of your body. Then, head up, there’s a ball coming your way!
In preparation to properly make contact with the ball, Robichaud says to envision yourself catching a baseball. Simply, open up the face of your racquet like you would a mitt, and boom, ball caught; no backswing required!
With no back swing required, you will be using the pace of the ball to generate your power. Then simply angle your racquet appropriately to redirect it would where you would like it to go.
Stay confident and leave the powerhouse moves for your forehand, serve, and backhand. The volley is all about control and placement. There’s absolutely no need to bring your racquet back and go in swinging. Think of it more like a quick jab as oppose to a right hook. (Or, left hook for all of you lefties out there.)
Stay light on your feet and practice, practice, practice! Also, to get a better handle on your technique, study the net work of your favourite pros. We highly recommend watching twins Mike and Bob Bryan. It’s impossible to win a doubles match without killer net play!
Class dismissed! Go on, what are you waiting for! Pick up that racquet!