HOW TO CONTROL HALF VOLLEYS
To be efictive at the net you need to know how to deal with dinks onto your toes and dipping topspin groundstrokes down to your feet...
Good half volleys are all about control of the racket face on contact and to be able to do that you must get down to the ball. Bend your knees!
1. Christina's arms achieve perfect symmetry, creating a mirror image each side of her body for great balance. She already has her racket above her wrist ready for a half volley.
2. As the ball approaches her weight is slightly more on her back leg than her front, ready to transfer it through the shot. She closely tracks the ball and she brings her racket forward.
3. Christina begins to transfer her weight forward, through the shot and onto her front leg. Her knees are bent at almost 90 degrees as she gets down to the low ball.
'try to have a wide base to help with stability through the shot'
OBJECTIVES - JUST GET IT BACK
A successful half volley off an aggressive groundstroke is one of the toughest shots to play so don't go for too much. Generally speaking, you'll be tackling a powerful shot so you don't need to generate your own pace.
It's a bit like returning serve – cut down your take-back and follow through, meet the ball out in front, control the racket face and use the pace of the ball to send it back deep. Pretend your racket face is a wall.
GRIPS - TAKE YOUR PICK
Most players use the same grip they volley with to tackle half volleys, the Continental or Chopper. There's precious little time to change grip when a ball is dipping towards your shoelaces, but if you do have the chance to react you could try playing forehand half volleys with your forehand grip to add a little topspin.
'after playing the shot, move for ward to cut off the next volley and avoid playing an other ball off your toes'
4. She makes contact in the perfect position just in front of her body. Her hips are still sideways on with her weight fully on the front leg. She holds her low position throughout the shot.
5. Christina holds the strings behind the ball for as long as possible and moves her racket head through the ball for control. Again, great symmetry of the arms to promote perfect balance.
6. The ball has gone, but her head has remained still throughout. She holds her legs and wide base in position for as long as possible as her hips begin to open slightly during the follow through.
POSITIONING - MOVE FORWARD
Where you play a half volley will tend to be dictated by your opponent's shot, but once you've bunted it back into play be aggressive with your movement. Most of the time you'll have been forced to play a low ball because you're on your way into the net, so continue to move forward after your half volley. This will allow you to close down your opponent's angles and means you won't have to play your next shot at the net quite so low.
Images by: AMN Images