Among the most misunderstood and improperly hit shots in pickleball is the volley. Too often players use the wrong grip, overswing, or just simply execute poor technique. This article focuses on proper grip, technique and placement of the forehand volley.
THE CONTINENTAL GRIP.
The first, and perhaps most important, fundamental tip for a good volley is having the correct grip. The continental grip is preferred by over 95 percent of the touring 5.0 players because it offers numerous benefits that no other grip can match. Using a continental grip allows you to hold the paddle in a neutrally balanced (forehand or backhand) position. Thus, you can use the same grip for dinking, overheads, groundstrokes, lobs and all volleys.
An easy way to get your hand set properly in a continental grip is to grab the edge guard of your paddle with your dominant hand and slide your hand downward until comfortably gripping the paddle handle. Another way is to simply shake hands with the paddle.
Keep your paddle gently extended out in front of your body. More specifically, make sure your paddle and elbow are out in front over the kitchen line in an 11 o’clock, slightly backhand, position. Having your paddle out in front allows you to see your contact point – making it easier to see and hit the paddle’s sweet spot.
MINIMAL BACKSWING AND FOLLOW-THROUGH.
Another big mistake I see players make at beginner and intermediate levels is the overswing. First, watch to make sure you’re not taking your paddle back behind your body. Second, punch the ball in front of your body and follow through back to your ready position. Note that unless you’re hitting down on a high volley, try not to swing up, down or across your body.
The volley is a simple shot that is too often complicated with multiple grips and big swings. Stick with a continental grip and maintain a short, compact punch and you’ll see your game elevate.