The volley is an essential shot for every good tennis player because it allows you to end the point. When you come to net, you are trying to put the ball away and not have a long rally. Volleys are at the same time very simple and very complex to execute. They are simple because there are only a few things you need to do to hit a technically correct volley, but they are complex because there is a very wide range of possible contact heights. When you are at net it is much more difficult to control your contact point because you have less time to react to the tennis ball, and it is more difficult to control contact height because you cannot move up or move back easily.

Because contact heights can vary so much when volleying at the net, this can cause the shots to look different each time. However, there are certain fundamental things that all pro tennis players are doing each and every time they hit a volley, and in this section we are going to focus on those things. If you can master the fundamentals presented here, you will be well on your way to hitting technically correct, effective volleys.

Introduction to the Volleys (START HERE)
This video introduces the volley and explains how we teach the shot in this section.

Volley Grip
There is a narrow range of grips you can use when you hit a volley. You want to use a continental grip, or something close to it, when you hit a volley. You don’t have as much time to react to the tennis ball when you are at net, so you need a grip that allows you to hit both forehands and backhands.


1 Prepare to Hit
This video focuses on the preparation necessary to hit a forehand volley. Among other things, you need to turn your body sideways and get your racket in position to swing forward correctly later in the shot.

2 Swing to Contact
This video explains how to swing and hit the tennis ball on your forehand volley. Unlike a forehand groundstroke, the swing on a forehand volley is much shorter.

3 Forehand Volley Summary
This video summarizes the mechanics necessary to hit a proper forehand volley.


1 Prepare to Hit
This video explains the first step of the backhand volley. This step deals mostly with preparing to hit the tennis ball. You need to pivot with your outside foot and get your racket into position.

2 Swing to Contact
This video explains the second step of the backhand volley. Having turned your body sideways and gotten your tennis racket in position to hit the ball, you are now ready to swing. Unlike a backhand from the baseline, the swing on a backhand volley is much more compact.

3 Backhand Volley Summary
This video summarizes the mechanics necessary to hit a proper backhand volley.


Forehand and Backhand Volleys Compared
This video compares the swing directions on a forehand and backhand volley. A backhand volley has more of a downward swing because the mechanics of the shot are similar to a backhand slice groundstroke.


  1. Anonymous says

    please may some answer me..Does roger federer opens his wrist or performs any wrist movement during the beginning of his swing?

  2. Arunia Dave says


    • Connor says

      I doubt you’ve mastered everything on here

  3. Matthew Scott says

    Hi FYB,

    To compliment these 5 forehand fundamentals could you also add a few brief paragraphs on the importance of how to watch the ball and keep the head still while playing the stroke – this could actually be a 6th fundamental. We’re always reminded to watch the ball – yet even many good club players tend to look ahead of the ball while timing their contact. Federer has been observed to watch the ball differently from many other top pros while executing his strokes ~ this is particularly noticeable on Youtube slow-motion video clips. Could FYB please comment on this and explain how tracking the ball is linked to how we watch it. It would be good to have all this information on the FYB site for reference.

    • Ianw386 says

      i totally agree. I was watching some of the French Open, Nadal/Hewitt and the close up of their shots … both were watching the ball closely … almost after they had hit it. I find this to be very difficult to do … thus the reason that i mishit so many shots eh ๐Ÿ˜‰

      • Rebecca says

        These top players has a different spacial awareness of the court and do not have to “look up” to check where the ball is going. Similair to golfers loke tiger woods whose head remains fixed during the swing and only looks up when he has virtually finished his swing.

  4. Chris Wakeley says

    Here is an interesting tennis website by Mark Papas – the analysis he gives can get a bit complicated and involved, nevertheless it makes a good read. The article on Federer Vision is particularly good. If anyone has any comments as to how accurate or sound the information is I’d like to hear them.

  5. Richard says


  6. Richard says


  7. Rahul says

    Hi FYB,

    Thank you for this information… These fundamentals are awesome and great things to think about while practicing/rallying. I have a fairly consistent forehand, but I have one major problem:

    When I try to add power to my shot, it has a tendency to go out (over the baseline).

    Is there a good trick to add power to my shot while still keeping it in the court as much as possible? Is it one of the fundamentals that I am not doing consistently which is causing this to happen? I would appreciate any advice.

    • Sam says

      Try to add topspin to your forehand. That allows the ball to dip inside the court and as a result, you can hit the forehand much harder.

  8. Jazz1910 says

    Thanks for the videos. I think they are great. Can you tell me why some players hit off their back foot at contact and others hit off their front foot at contact? In this video I noticed all the women hit off their front foot at contact and the majority of men, but not all, hit off their back foot at contact. When I am watching a match on TV I notice that all players sometimes hit off their front foot and at other times they hit off their back foot but each one seems to have a preference. My guess is fast balls are hit off the back foot in men’s tennis because they don’t have enough time to step into the shot where the women don’t hit as hard so they can step into the ball for more pace. Also I am guessing high balls are hit off the back foot and low balls are hit off the front foot. Also, short balls seem to be hit off the front foot as well. I am guessing also that people who use an eastern grip hit off their front foot while people who use a western grip hit off their back foot because they need to open their stance more to hit the ball. People who use a semi-western grip alternate what foot they hit off depending on the situation. I would like to hear your opinion?

  9. Slomoe says

    I’m new to tennis (about 2.5 years) and a senior (64 this year) and have learned a tremendous amount from these videos. It’s made a big difference in my game already. Next come backhand. Thanks to everyone for the videos and the comments coming from the more experienced players.

  10. anna says

    Very informative. Thanks a lot!

  11. Imagem Med says

    Hi dear:ย 

    I’m right-handed, so wich would be my outside foot? left or right?ย 

    • Tony07uk says

      For forehands your right foot is your outside foot – for backhands it would be your left foot.

  12. Whiteheart087 says

    thannnnnnnnnnnnks so much

  13. Crystal says

    So i have trouble Moving up to the net,Like finding the right time.Do you have any pointers on that?

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