Having been a tennis coach for some time now I have observed many players standing at the net position just watching the ball being hit from one side to the other and just hoping that they will be able to brave enough to jump in the path of the ball and take the glory by finishing the point with an interception volley. The question is – as the net player, when do we jump in and take the glory and stop saying “I should have gone for that one!”
Communication is key to any partnership on court, this allows both players to develop an understanding and better positioning.
Step 1) Tell your partner that when you are up at the net that you have a desire to intercept the ball and not watch there partner grind it out from the back of the court.
Step 2) Decide which ball you will be aiming to intercept on.
Sounds easy so far, right?
Choosing The Right Ball
In order to make the right decision then you have to know and understand what you are looking for when you are at the net.
As the net player you could intercept any ball but your success rate will be limited so choosing the right ball is of huge importance.
Make your decision early, know that you will for instance intercept the second ball this will mean that you will allow your partner to hit back the ball from the return of serve then the next ball you will be intercepting on. Let your partner know your plan before they serve.
Timing For Doubles
Timing is key! You have to make your move as the ball is being struck, the reason for this is simple. The player cannot change the direction of the ball if they are about to make contact, so this will give you the control and you can just move across the net and put away the interception volley.
What Could Go Wrong?
Confidence could waver so you take a couple of steps not reach the ball and then shuffle back and that will tend to put players off trying again. Taking those few steps and being unsuccessful will let your opponents know of your intensions. This allows your opponents to possibly delay there swing allowing them to see you making a move to intercept, giving them time to change the direction of the ball and pass you.
Not having conviction to move towards the ball coming across the net. If you have to move to your partner’s side of the net just shout switch and that will indicate to your partner to move across to the other side of the court, allowing all of the court to be covered.
Have the confidence to succeed but know that you will at times fail. Keep learning from all your failed attempts and don’t be put off when you miss the ball, you do have a partner to hit the ball you miss so all may not be lost if the ball does pass you.
Getting over confident and swinging at the ball as the net player will end in a huge lack of control and more than likely the ball will end up out the back of the court. The key to the ideal volley is to take the ball out in front of you and step in using your legs for power not your arm. If you allow your racket to just give the ball a high five then control will be easier, the direction of the ball is determined by where your strings are facing at the point of contact.
Don’t try and do too much with the volley. This just means that getting the ball back into court is usually enough as your opponents are not expecting the ball back so quick and so are usually not prepared.
Now you know the common problems that all players face when wanting to intercept at the net, the main issue you will have is which one of these points to concentrate on to ensure success. I would advise that you stay relaxed, keep trying and stay focused on the ball.
Don’t be put off by being unsuccessful after the first few attempts. Be confident moving forward, take the ball out in front and just don’t be tempted to swing at the ball.