Developing World Class Volleys
The Forehand Volley

By Pat Cash

Developing world class volleys, starting with the forehand.

I was taught to volley in the traditional Australian way that goes right back to Rod Laver. This was wooden racquet volleying. And the great thing about the wooden racquet is that it forced you to hit through the ball. It truly did.

There was no forgiveness in the racquets. If you miss hit the ball even slightly, it wouldn't go anywhere. You had to really hit through the ball and time it exactly perfectly.

Although I became known as a server and volley player, I was a complete baseliner as a kid. My coach forced me to start going into the net. He asked "If you can't volley, how can you win a match?" And in the old days with the wood rackets, he had a point. I learned something wonderful there.

In the modern game though, fewer and fewer players are learning to volley and I can understand why. You have less time--you constantly get passed and lobbed. You really need to be quite precise with the volley to be effective. If you drop the ball a little bit short or don't play the shot aggressively, you are in big trouble.

But there is definitely still a place in the game for the volley, in the pros, and even more so at the lower levels. So in these articles I want to share what I know about the volley, including especially some of the fallacies I see that are still widely believed. We'll start this month with the forehand volley and then move on to the backhand in the next article.

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Pat Cash is an elite player in tennis history, having won more than 400 tour matches, and 19 singles and doubles titles over a 15 year career. In the early 1980's he was the number one junior player in the world, winning at both Wimbledon and the U.S.Open. In 1987 he won the men's singles title at Wimbledon defeating Mats Wilander, Jimmy Connors, and, in the final, Ivan Lendl, a match considered one of the greatest examples of attacking tennis ever played in a Grand Slam final. Today he continues to compete successful on the senior tour. We are thrilled to have Pat as a contributor to!

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