Pickleball Tips: Volleys


A volley is where you hit the pickleball out of the air without the pickleball bouncing. Most volleys are hit when you are at the Non-Volley Zone Line.

There are a handful of volleys that you can hit on the pickleball court, which include (1) a block volley; and (2) a punch or swing volley. A block volley is more of a defensive shot where you may be caught off guard by your opponents and are trying to reset the pickleball softly into the Kitchen. A punch or swing volley is more of an offensive shot where you are playing aggressive and attacking your opponents.

To hit a volley, start in an athletic position, where you are compressed with your paddle out in front of you. Be sure that you have a relatively loose paddle grip. If your grip is too tight, you will likely hit the pickleball too hard. Volleys are all about touch and feel.

Then, find the pickleball with your paddle out in front of your body. It is important to be out in front, where you will have more control and more power.

At the point of contact, pay attention to the angle of your paddle face. Your paddle angle will dictate where the pickleball will go. If your paddle angle is too far open, you will be sailing the pickleball out of bounds, and too far closed, you will hit the pickleball into the net.

Then, if you are blocking the pickleball, absorb the pickleball with steady hands. Meet the pickleball with your paddle face and a loose paddle grip.

However, if you have time, go on the offensive and hit a more aggressive volley with a punch or swing. Generate some forward momentum through the pickleball.

Now, that you have the basic fundamentals of your volley, where should you hit it? You have a lot of options on placement when you are striking a volley (or any other shot), which include:

1. Down the middle;

2. Right at either of your opponents for a body shot;

3. At your opponents’ weak side, which is generally their backhand sides; and

4. At your opponents’ feet.

These placements are all good options, but each are really dependent on where you are, where your partner is, where your opponents are, and where the pickleball is on the pickleball court.

With that said, what will really hurt you is if you make unforced errors by hitting the pickleball out of bounds—in other words, by “going for” too much and aiming for the baselines and sidelines of the pickleball court. To reduce your unforced errors, shrink the pickleball court in your mind by two to three feet on each side and at the baseline, and play within the “smaller” pickleball court.

And, be sure to mix-up your shot selection!

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