The Swinging Volley: A Pusher's Worst Nightmare
The Mens & Womens Pro Tours have landed in North America and will stay here all the way through the U.S. Open in September. That means fast hard courts, where true bounces, solid footing, and big hitting rule the day. There's a shot you'll see all the Pros using a lot over the next month that any recreational player can use to finish off points far quicker than would've without it. It's called the Swinging Volley.
Here's ATP Tour #1 Novak Djokavic showing off this shot finishing the point against ATP #2 Rafael Nadal:
It can be done just as well off the backhand side. Here's WTA #10 Victoria Azarenka demonstrating the Backhand swinging volley:
The swinging volley is used by the Pros to take advantage of slow moving topspin shots hit from deep behind their opponent's baseline. This gives them time to move forward and end the point. To do otherwise would risk a passing shot, or at very least, a longer groundstroke rally. On the scorching hot North American hardcourt tour, longer points is not what most Pros are aiming for. The very moment there's chance to move forward to end the point, even baseline clinging Pros will seek out the swinging volley.
Recreational players can use this shot to beat the most dreaded opponent on both the junior tournament and adult club scene: the Pusher! The Pusher, or Counter Puncher, is the player that hangs behind the baseline and drives their opponents crazy by getting every ball back using a high arcing, slow, deep shot. I train junior tournament competitors every day, and this type of player shows up in every tournament. Pushers give you the chance to use the Swinging Volley on most points. I coach my players to take the air time Pushers have on their shots, and use it to move forward into the mid-court area (a.k.a “no-man's land), and hit the swinging volley. If my player doesn't hit the outright winner, they typically get an easy overhead or drive volley to win the point. Pusher problem solved!