From the net position, volleyers have quite a few interesting volleying options.
Drop volleys are those tantalizingly-soft volleys that just barely clear the net and die. Use this option when opponents tend to hug their baseline or when they’re tired or injured. You’ll need soft hands and a quiet racket.
Angle volleys are aimed sharply toward the sidelines. These work well when you’re very close to the net and the ball is high. The corner of the service box is a good target. You’ll need good touch again.
Lob volleys are directed up, off your open racket face, and over your opponent’s extended rackets. These are very impressive especially in doubles when everybody is at the net. However, they can backfire if poorly made!
Drive volleys are semi-groundstrokes made from further back in your court against floating returns. Use generous topspin on these for control. Use sparingly.
Deep, punch volleys are the standard volleys. They’re almost always directed deep, towards your opponent’s baseline and into the corners. These are the easiest to make and probably the most effective in most situations.
Great volleying is becoming a lost art in today’s power-groundstroke game. Perhaps it’s time for a long-awaited comeback. Check your opponent’s net playing during the warm-up before the match; you’ll recognize a reluctant player immediately.
Gary Sherby is tennis director at Racquets and Togs Tennis Center, 115 Bradford St., just off the downtown square. His tennis tips appear Sundays.