THE VOLLEY BOAST

 

The boast played on the volley is an excellent attacking shot, especially when played off an opponent’s fast drive or cross-court. When a player does so, he sends the ball to the frontcourt while his opponent is still getting up from his previous shot. To see more situations involving the boast, go to the section on deception.  1.  2.  

 

An important consideration to make when playing this shot is that the ball is normally struck at a height greatly superior to that of the tin. A player is therefore, tempted to hit the ball slightly downwards. This action should only be implemented when the ball is above shoulder height. Otherwise, the downward trajectory should be absolutely minimal. It is the slow speed of the ball, which should naturally take the ball lower. When playing a volley boast at waist height, try sending the ball slowly onto the sidewall at a point of the same height off the ground. play video 

 

 

 

Note carefully in the two photos above where the ball is sent onto the sidewall. Any attempt to direct it lower onto the sidewall would make the shot end up in the tin. The sidewall takes the pace off the ball and makes it go downwards.

 

 

A very useful technical tip when playing the volley boast to get the timing and speed of the resulting shot right, is to use very little wrist and shoulder joint movement. Most of the racket movement is created at the elbow. The swing is therefore, short and looks like a slow, controlled jabbing action. play video This is most handy when the ball is near the sidewall, where there is hardly any room for a complete swing.

 

The forehand volley boast- played using the correct foot

 

In this clip, the jabbing action can be seen. You may have guessed that the follow-through is missing and that returning to the T may take a little more effort. play video This could be either resolved by preparing to push back with the legs as early as possible, or add some follow-through after completing the jabbing action. play video In all cases, the wrist is held very still but not stiff. Again, note how useful the short swing is when the ball is close to the sidewall.

 

 

 

 

 

The forehand volley boast- played using the other foot

 

Having learnt the shot with the left foot forward, it is time to learn this very interesting option. In this video clip, the position of the shoulders is distinctive. There is not much rotation for the back-swing. In fact, the short swing and jabbing action make this very attainable and functional. Moving onto the ball in this manner, may give the impression of shaping up for the cross-court. When the boast is then executed, the opponent's task of taking off in the correct direction is no longer simple.

 

 

 

 

 

The backhand volley boast- played using the correct foot

 

We have seen above that this shot can be played with accuracy even when the opponent's shot is quite close to the sidewall. There are limits, and when there is no room for lateral racket movement, the volley drop could be used instead, to send the ball to the frontcourt. (More information on such decision making will be found in the tactics section)    For now it is important to realise that the shot show in this video can be easily inserted when both players are rallying down the wall. Note how the racket is horizontal on impact, in contrast to the other shots on the volley such as the drop-shot, drive, and cross-court.

 

 

 

The slow speed and angle on this dropping ball could render it more effective than the finest of drop shots. The shot is more effective when hit softly and allowed to drop, than when struck hard and low.

 

 

The backhand volley boast- played using the other foot

 

There is no obvious advantage in the use of this foot here, unless the player fails to get his  proper foot in front, and needs to play the shot for tactical reasons.  video  However, when the ball is closer to the T, this position may save time and energy.

 

Off an opponent’s cross-court

 

Now here is a shot that is simple in concept, but can create very interesting results. The opponent will probably not even see the ball leaving the player's racket. The player's body will most likely hide the ball on impact. The change in direction required to retrieve this shot is also not simple. The video clip shows how all this works.  play video   The execution of the shot itself is not complicated. The striker must only allow for the fact that the ball is moving across and away from his body, and will not strike his racket at a 90-degree angle.