Forehand cross-court volley


This shot should be treated very much like the normal cross-court. Beginners should start off by placing the left foot forward at a 20-degree angle to the sidewall. The ball is then struck in line with the front foot. The technique is the same as for the volley down the wall. The only difference lies in the position of the body and point of impact. The shot can be seen in video, by clicking here. The example shown in the video is most suitable for a beginner. The position of the left foot emphasises the early point of impact to send the ball to the other side of the court.





Advanced players should not use this position of the feet. Early impact is all it takes, as can be seen here. To see how the same shot is played with the other foot forward, click here. Now the same two shots can be viewed from a different angle.   play video         play video




The player in the photo above reaches high up to smash the ball down. When volleying to the other side, off such a high ball, it is best to hit the ball hard and downwards. The photo on the right traces the ball's ideal path, which should bounce on the green spot in the service box. This makes the ball dip very low and almost impossible to volley. At the same time, such a trajectory would produce a second bounce very low in the back corner, instead of riding onto the back wall.



Backhand cross-court volley


Again, this shot is illustrated in the following photos and video clips. The backhand cross-court volley is a very important basic shot, used to keep the opponent behind and always on the move. Much more will be said in the tactics section, but for now, it is important to realise that when executed, the player must make sure that it gets past his opponent. play video This is achieved by first turning the shoulders very well during the back-swing. By doing so, the player shows his opponent that he could also volley down the wall if he wishes to. That in turn keeps the opponent in check on the T and waiting. Good racket preparation is also vital in enabling the striker to put enough speed into the shot. The combination of disguise and speed inhibits the opponent from volleying the shot in question. In fact, if the cross-court volley is cut off in flight by the opponent, the results are can be very negative. Instead of attacking, the player could find himself attacked and with little time to respond.




   A full  powerful back-swing,



an upright racket angled towards the target,







hitting through with the arm and not the body,



..and a strong follow through are the necessary ingredients for a perfect cross.





To achieve the deep and wide trajectory depicted in the photo on the right, it is very important to use a correct wrist action, which keeps the racket upright and brings in the tip of the racket early onto the ball. There is no point in moving the arm early if the racket head is left lagging behind.


Width must definitely be considered. Not only for the reasons mentioned above, but also to make the shot difficult to play out of the back corner. If the ball is sent into the nick, that would be ideal. A bounce that is very close to the nick is still most satisfactory. The ball would consequently turn into the corner and remain very low. In order to achieve the desired width, the ball should be struck early and with a fairly upright racket as can be clearly seen in the following video clip. The angle of the racket enables the player to cut the ball on the outside and guide it across the court. A long high follow through also helps greatly. When monitoring the width of the shot it is better to hit a little too wide than a bit too narrow. That is, a first bounce that is low on the sidewall is much better than on the floor far from the nick.


The following video clip demonstrates a classic error which results in sending the ball too close to the T. play video Here the error is exaggerated for demonstrative purposes. Often, less experience players try to make excessive use of the shoulders, believing to pull the ball to the other side of the court. As can be seen in the clip, the outcome is the racket arriving late and impact is greatly delayed, sending the ball into the middle of the court. A player whose shots are often not wide enough should examine his swing. Until the moment of impact, the shoulders should be fairly still, and the hand should be doing most of the work. 


Another classic error is that of bringing the body around the ball to play the cross-court. play video As mentioned earlier, it is sufficient to get the racket head around the ball. When this error is committed, the player takes an extra step after the shot, leaving him totally out positioned, especially if his opponent cuts off his "narrow" cross-court.


We shall now consider the possibility of playing the same shot by using the other foot forward. Such technique is handy when the ball is at immediate reach. play video Only experienced players should try this, as adequate racket preparation is not easy. Note how the player makes a special effort to turn his shoulder during the back-swing phase for the reasons mentioned earlier. The same shot can be seen from a rear view here.