Yes. You can hit the tennis ball before it bounces. This action is referred to as “Volley”. By rule, you cannot take the volley shot during the first serve. Except the first serve, the player shall take the volley shot anytime. The different types of volleys are punch volley, block volley, touch volley, low volley, drive volley, and low volley counter.
What is Volley?
When you hit the ball before it bounces, it called Volley. Volley is a French word. These shots require very little arm swing. According to the tennis experts, these shots help the player while he is advancing towards the net.
When should the ball bounce in Tennis?
During the first serve, it is mandatory that the ball should bounce. After this, the player can volley. Tennis wants its players to bounce the ball during the first serve so that the players can perform a baseline shot. What is a baseline? It is the line that is at the furthest distance from the net. This line is on either side of the net. It is the line drawn to limit the court’s length.
When to take a Volley shot?
You should take the volley shot while you are approaching towards the net. Players use volley in two most common scenarios. They are as follows:
- Serve and Volley: The players use serve and volley technique to move quickly to the net. After serving, they move towards the net and continue to take forehand shots. They then give backhand volley shots till they win a point.
- Approach Shot: The players also use volley techniques during approach shots. Assume the opponent hits a short drop shot. The short drop shot is also called approach shot. During this shot, you will have to move swiftly. If not you will miss the shot. In such cases, you take volley shots and remain near the net.
When should I not take Volley shots?
At first, you should not take volley shots during the first serve. The reason is the game rules do not allow the player to take volley shots during the first serve. Are there other circumstances when I am not allowed to take a volley shot? Yes. There are.
- If you are moving sideways or backwards, do not take a volley shot. This is because the execution becomes challenging. In such cases, allow the ball to bounce. While the ball bounces you get a better position and execution becomes easy. You also have time to make it tougher for the opponent.
- Never take a volley shot if you are not in a position. If you are not in the right position, you may miss the shot or you may not give a quality shot. This paves way for the opponent to take over and win a point.
What are the different types of Volley?
The volley shots are classified based on the position of the player and also based on the type of hitting strategy used by the player. The following are the different type of volley:
- Punch Volley: As the name suggests, this type of shot is taken with a punching motion. While taking the punch volley shot, the player does not swing completely. This is because he or she has a very less time to execute the shot.
- Block valley: The block valley shot is used while the ball is approaching fast. This type of volley shot requires high strength to execute. Also the player requires good reflexive actions to execute block volley shot. The player should take this shot when he has no time to position himself well.
- Touch Volley: The touch volleys are gentle shots. The touch volleys are aimed over the net. It is taken without power. And touch volley is taken when the opponent is in the back of the court.
- Low Volley: The low volley shots should be taken when you are near the net. The shot is taken when the opponent gives you a low ball hit. The low volley is the most challenging and the hardest to execute of all the volleys. Also the risk of losing the point is high with the shot. This is because, while making the low volley shot you may hit the ball to the net.
- Drive Volley: This is the most powerful volley of all the volley shots. While making this shot, make sure the contact point is near your shoulder.
What if the ball bounces in after hitting the net post?
The point continues. The net posts are a part of the net. Therefore, if the ball hits the net posts, it is considered that the ball has hit the net. So, the point continues. This rule is applicable inly during rallies and not during serve. If this happens during the serve, the player serves again. No point is added.
What if the ball hits a player before bouncing?
The player loses point.
What if the ball bounces two times continuously?
The player loses point.
Here are some cases that will help you learn the rules in the game around hitting the ball before it bounces.
Case 1: The player 1 makes the serve. After serving, the racket falls out of his hands. The racket then touches the net. All this happens after the ball bounced the opponent’s space. Will player 1 lose point?
Here the player 1 loses point. This is because the racket touched the net. And the ball was in the play when the racket touched the net. So the player 1 loses points.
Case 2: The player 1 makes the first serve. After serving, the racket touches the net. However, this time the ball bounced outside the court. Will the player lose points?
This is usually considered as service fault. The player 1 is allowed serve again. No points are deducted in this case.
Case 3: The player 1 is standing out of the court. He catches the ball or hits the ball before it bounced. Is this volley? Are points deducted for this action? Can the player claim points?
- This is not considered as volley
- The player loses points
But, if it is a good return then the point continues. What is a good return? The good return is declared in following cases:
- The ball touches the cord, net posts, metal cable, band, strap, etc. After touching, the ball passes over these objects and hits the ground. While hitting the ground the ball is in the correct court. In this scenario, good return is declared.
- The ball hits the ground. It hits the correct court. After hitting, the ball spins over the net. During this case, the good return is declared.
- The good return is declared when the ball returns outside the net post or below the top of the net. However, the ball should bounce on the correct court.
- When the ball flies under the net cord, good return is declared. That is, the ball passes between adjacent net post and singles stick. In this case, the ball passes without touching the net cord, net and the net post. Also, the ball hits the correct court.
- The good return is declared when the racket of the player hits the ball and passes over the net. Also, the ball should hit the correct side of the court.
- The good return is declared if the ball hits another ball in the correct court.
Case 4: The player 1 tosses the ball to serve. But then catches it with his hand or allows it to bounce and decides not to hit the ball. Will he lose points?
No. After tossing, the player can hit the ball, catch the ball or allow the ball to bounce.
Why does a tennis ball bounce?
The tennis ball holds air at higher pressure. The pressure inside the ball is more than the atmospheric pressure. The higher pressure pushes the ball against its wall. When the ball hits on the ground, the air inside the ball is pushed inwards. In return the air propels back creating a bounce.
Is it a rule to bounce the ball before serving?
You might have seen players bouncing the ball before serving. However, there is no such rule in the game that the players should bounce the ball before serving. But still, the player bounces the ball twice or thrice before serving. Why? They utilize this time to develop a tactic. The bouncing time before serving gives them time to focus and follow their technique. Also they take time to relax themselves in the court. What exactly do the players think while bouncing before serving?
- What is the direction of the wind?
- Is my opponent facing the sun?
- What happened in the previous game? How did I lose or win?
- What is the overall score?
- Is my opponent nervous?
- What is the current position of my opponent?
- Is my opponent effective in backhand or forehand?
After considering all these factors, the player makes his game plan. He utilizes the time of bouncing his ball to create his game plan!