You have heard it before, “Don’t swing at your volley!” or “Punch the volley!” or “Just block it!” and so on. If you are hoping that I am going to tell you something different … sorry, but here are three tips that will help you if you have a tendency to swing too much.
First, “catch your volley” … I mean this literally. Have someone hit or throw you balls at the net and you should step and catch the ball with your forehand volley hand. You will get in the habit of just reaching forward. When you catch in practice, make sure the hand and fingers are pointed up. In this drill, you will notice that to catch a ball, you do not bring your hand back behind your head and then reach forward, you simply reach forward—the same with the volley.
Another way to stop a swinging forehand volley is to have someone feed you volleys while your opposite hand is holding on to your wrist of your volleying arm. Holding the wrist with the opposite hand will not allow any backswing motion. If you do this drill often enough, you will train the arm not to swing but to simply reach, developing muscle memory.
The third tip is not really possible, but try give it a shot anyway. I had a coach who wanted me to see the ball hit the strings of my racquet on the volley through the back of the racquet. While almost impossible to do, the point was well taken. I had to reach forward far enough so I could look through the back of the racquet head to try and see the ball hit the front.
If you have a two-handed backhand volley, use the above tips to help with that also. On the two-hand volley, it’s the opposite hand that reaches for the shot, so you can try all of the above, just reaching with the opposite hand.
The key to not swinging on the one-handed backhand volley is the use of the opposite hand holding the racquet up near the throat and letting go right before the step and hit. The opposite hand keeps the head of the racquet up and helps prevent a backswing.
Also remember that all conventional volleys are hit with a firm, locked wrist. Good luck and have fun.