The traditional punch volley is one of four fundamental shots of the game and is the stroke used most often at the net.
But several other types of volleys are also useful weapons in the forecourt, and these shots round out a potent net game. Here are four main variations to the traditional punch volley.
Although it's within the volley genre, the swing volley is essentially a groundstroke struck out of the air. A player generally uses the swing volley while transitioning forward to the net and intercepting a soft floating ball that can be driven.
The grips used are the same as those for the player's groundstrokes. Because the shot is usually executed from well inside the baseline, the player should contact the ball above net level, around shoulder height.
A low-to-high brushing motion is required. This brushing motion applies topspin to help bring the ball down into the court quickly. The player should avoid the temptation to hit down on a dropping ball.
The drop volley is a volley that bounces two or more times before reaching an opponent's service line. The value of this shot is that it forces an opponent to defend inside the court.
Two of the evolutionary elements of the modern game are the back court position of baseliners as well as their grip systems. Most often, opponents are found 5 to 10 feet behind the baseline. This defensive court position makes it difficult to track down a drop volley.
Also, the most common grip systems are the Western or semi-Western grip. These grips are custom made to handle deep, high strike zones but are extremely vulnerable on short, low balls.
Hitting drop volleys requires touch. Instead of punching the volley, the player practically catches the ball on the strings. The idea is to take all of the pace out of the passing shot and delicately drop it over the net. Players who are adept at hitting these shots are often said to have "soft" hands.