The straight volley drop


The technique used for this shot is very similar to that used for the straight volley down the wall. The only difference lies in the position of the racket at the point of impact, and the direction of the follow-through. This can be clearly seen in the photo sequence below. A neat trick to get the trajectory of the ball right is to send the ball down an imaginary line which links the point of impact to a point on the front wall just above the tin. This helps the player concentrate on striking the ball well, rather than transferring his attention too early onto the front wall. Eagerness to see the resulting shot too early would have a negative effect on precision.




                 Entry, position and swing are almost identical to the volley drive.




The pace of the racket is slower, and the racket head slices through between ball and wall.




The tip of the racket which had come in on top of the ball is brought down to send the ball low



The volley-drop may be played from slightly different positions. The opponent's shot may have been at easy reach from the T, or close to the sidewall. In the first case, it is possible to go for the nick or make the ball travel very close to the sidewall. In the second, successfully hitting the nick is not easy, therefore, a low bouncing ball, parallel to the sidewall, is probably the best answer. Obviously, when the opponent's shot is extremely close to the sidewall, it is better not to attempt the volley drop.  


A few examples of the shot played on the forehand can be viewed. From a frontal angle, play video it is quite clear how the racket is not horizontal on impact. This allows the player to send the ball downward just above the tin. The ball is sliced on the side. The slice allows relatively quick racket movement and fast execution of the shot without putting extra pace on the ball. Viewed from behind, you can see how the player’s elbow remains low and the wrist action is used to keep the racket on top of the ball. This is even more important when played off a high ball, as can be seen here and also in this clip.


In all the video clips demonstrated above, you may have noticed that the player's follow-through is very long and the racket curves up and rises at the end. This long follow-through only enhances weight transfer to get back to the T with ease. Less expert players need not try this at first. The photo demonstrates a simpler movement, which is likewise correct. The follow-through traces the same line of the ball going to the front wall. This develops racket and ball control.




Going back to technical details for more advanced players; we can now have a look at the same shot played with the other foot forward. Using this foot is very handy for very quick shot execution when the incoming ball is fast and within comfortable reach. play video  Seen from behind, this example shows how effective the shot could be when placed in the nick. play video  Again, make sure you do not adopt the use of this foot until you can play the shot very well off the left one.


The same principles apply to the backhand. Low elbow, fairly upright racket, and slice on the side of the ball. play video For the same shot viewed from the front, click here. When played off a high ball, positioning the body while standing on the toes provides better footwork and more reach. play video  The same shot shown from behind demonstrates how the angle onto the nick is perfect when struck from a considerable height near the T.  play video  Note how the follow-through practically consists of completing the arc traced by the tip of the racket during the swing. The hand and wrist control the racket head and bring it down on top of the ball. View the clip in slow motion to pick up the details.










It is rather clear in the photo series how the racket slices through between the ball and sidewall. The slice transmits only part of the racket speed to the ball. To play even more delicate volley-drops, the arm movement should be initiated in advance, before the ball arrives. Such an action permits the very slow racket to arrive in time at the point of impact. For accuracy, try to visualise an imaginary line running down the sidewall, linking the point of impact to the ideal spot on the front wall. 



This section would not be complete without an illustration of how the shot can be played with the left foot forward, again, for the same advantages mentioned above. play video  This example is slow enough, and it is clearly visible how an angle is maintained between the racket and forearm. Feeling how the wrist works is most important.  play video



Played off an opponent’s cross court a very useful shot to learn


A very useful shot to learn and perfect. This shot should be practised very well, as not to make any errors while playing it. The volley from this position must never be wasted by sending it too high or into the tin. When an opponent’s cross-court is intercepted, the resulting situation is too valuable to throw away, and the most must be made out of it. The opponent is out-positioned and the player must either produce a winner or stretch his rival hard to the front.  play video


This shot should be practised mostly by using the “wrong” foot forward. This is because the player rarely has time to place the correct foot into position, and in most cases the cross court in question can be reached with just one step. However, it is vital for a player to first perfect the shot with the use of the correct foot.