Volley Strategy - Playing Down the Line
Attacking the net is considered an offensive strategy in tennis, but many times the opponent returns a shot that puts your volley on the defensive. When put in a defensive volley situation play down the lines everytime possible. Here’s the situation. You’ve advanced to the net behind a good approach shot, hoping your opponent delivers a sitter. But instead you’re on the receiving end of a low shot you can’t put away. What’s the smart response?
The percentage play is to hit your first volley down the line. Why? It puts you in good position at the net to cover your opponent’s passing shot attempts and you don’t have to take too many steps to do it. Unless he comes up with a great crosscourt shot, you should have a play on the next ball by taking only one or two steps. If you go crosscourt with your volley you’ll have to take two or three steps laterally just to get in position for the next shot. Plus you open up the court and make it easier for your opponent to hit a successful pass down the line.
Remember, the general rule is to go down the line with your volley if you can’t put the ball away. Go crosscourt when you have the opening for a winner.
Here is an article offering advice on hitting the forehand volley succesfully.