When playing doubles, we are positioned many times during the match at the service line, or we are attacking forward toward the net, in both cases, we are subject to low, oncoming shots that require us to pick the ball up off a short hop, that’s the half volley.
I like to say the half volley is “drop, close and lift”. When the ball is going to bounce at our feet the first move is to “drop," in other words, bend the knees, not the waist, and get as low to the ground as possible. Always concentrate on bending your back knee, the forward knee will obviously follow and your body will stay upright and balanced. If the front knee bends more your body will be leaning too much forward and have you out of balance, or worse, falling forward.
The “close” refers to the face of the racquet. As you drop, I need you close the face so when the ball strikes it will stay low on your return and not pop up for an easy put away. You are actually hitting the ball on the rise; the ball hits the racquet face at an upward angle and will want to leave at an upward angle, so, to negate that the face must be closed (see below).
To finish the stroke “lift” the racquet up with a firm wrist. If you are new to this shot remember to keep the wrist firm, as you improve try loosening the upward lift and turning the racquet face over to generate some topspin. The lift refers to the racquet, not your whole body; you must stay low through the follow through.
The backhand, be it one or two handed, is the same form, “drop, close and lift."
Try these tips and you will not pop those low balls up anymore!
For more tips, visit http://onlinetennistraining.com.
Good luck and have fun!