| By Steve Annacone
Photo courtesy of Getty Images

 

There has been a lot of discussion about the difficulty of successfully moving towards the net and winning points with volleys in the modern tennis game. The game has changed and the balls are going faster. However, the biggest obstacle moving forward these days is that most players do not have the training and experience using this strategy.

Even many of the top ranked players in the world are using a "learn as you go" approach to moving in. However, it seems that Alcaraz, Rune, Ruud, Zverev, Tsitsipas, Hurkacz, and quite a few more of the young guns, have been taught and coached to be effective moving towards the net. This likely means that the aggressive, moving-forward game will have a resurgence in the next few years. There may even be players who successfully use this as their primary strategy, which has not happened in the last decade or so.

Try to learn the transition game and volley technique when you begin to play. It is much easier to gradually improve moving in and volleying over a five to ten year period (same for your groundstroke game) than to get really good from the baseline and then try to figure out what to do at the net. I truly believe that this is the key to becoming exceptional with transitioning forward and volleying. It will help you be committed to the idea, and learn to accept that when you come in, you will get passed (a lot).

If you win more of the points than you lose coming forward, you will get more confident and put pressure on your opponent to hit their shots a lot better than they have to when you play exclusively from the baseline. This will likely be the difference in the match if you are playing someone whose groundstrokes are as good or better than your own.

 

 

 

Steve Annacone, USPTA Elite Pro, is the Director of Annacone Tennis, www.annaconetennis.com and MyHamptonsPro, www.myhamptonspro.com throughout the Hamptons, NY.  In addition, Steve and Miguel Coelho have introduced the JET (Junior Elite Tennis) program at the Tucson Jewish Community Center (Tucson, AZ) for high level players ages 8-18. Please contact Steve at info@annaconetennis.com.