There are many aspects of your game that you constantly have to train for and develop, one of the areas for an all round game is at the net. If you become more adroit of how to play a net game then it will bring a complete new dimension to your attacking play. Your tennis coach should be teaching you on this aspect of the game.
But here we give some excellent and solid advice on what and how you should be practising, either with your coach or with friends.
Why Develop A Net Game?
By developing your skills at the net will build a far more complete armoury to do battle on all surfaces against a variety of opponents. It will enhance your options tactically and give you a boost offensively.
The Four Phases
- Preparation Phase – balance, ready position grip, initial turn
- Swing Phase – backswing and forward
- Impact Phase
- Follow through recovery phase
The Correct Grip
It is imperative that you use the correct grips for certain shots, and this is compounded at the net.
- The forehand volley should be played with a composite or continental grip
- The backhand volley should be played with a continental grip
- The overhead should be a full continental grip
Try to develop your overhead with an abbreviated backswing that allows you to hit all areas, and don’t forget your jump smash.
Master The Volley
You will need strong wrist stability for the volley and this in turn will develop a stronger swing. The non dominate hand supports the racket head in readiness, including double-handed backhand players.
Greet the ball with strong but flexed legs and fast feet to control your balance to enable you to reach wide balls. It is important to push from your right foot to move to the backhand volley and push with your left foot to move to a forehand volley.
Always keep a strong base of support before and after playing the shot. Do not use lunging shots unless for balls powered past you, it is more advantageous to use flowing steps in such circumstances.
On turning, align your shoulders horizontally to the ball path and then keep your eyes and head balanced over the ball contact position to the completion of the swing.
- On contact the wrist should be solid but flexible
- Maintain strong visualisation in relation to net and ball height, take the net out of play for the shot
- The head must remain still throughout and your eyes must stay over the contact point of the ball until you play your shot. Don’t try and sneak peep to where you think the ball might go.
- Feel the moment either to absorb power or deliver more, don’t grip the racket too tightly
- Opt whether you will use spin or not
- Stay balanced at all times, be ready to be reactive with recovery and in anticipation for the next shot
- Understand the racket face determines all outcomes, know what you are doing and control it
Our sequel blog will continue all about net play and give more tips and advice how to be successful at the net.