Pickleball 101: The Volley

Proper grip and form can help you create a successful volley on the court.

To stay competitive in a heated pickleball match, you will need to hone your volley skills.

Mastering the pickleball volley starts with your grip.

“There are several keys to having good volleys in pickleball,” says Wayne Dollard, founder of Level-Up Pickleball Camps. “But it all starts with the continental grip.”

A neutral, continental grip can help allow for consistency with both forehand and backhand volleys.

You’ll also want to have your center of gravity on the balls of your feet. The proper way to do this is to:

  • Stand about two inches behind and parallel to the kitchen, or non-volley zone, line
  • Bend your knees with your feet approximately shoulder-width apart
  • Lean forward slightly, so that your body weight and balance shifts to the balls of your feet
  • Keep your shoulders square to the net

Remember to also keep your paddle above your wrist and in front of you.

When the ball comes toward you, simply aim your paddle face toward the intended target and punch through the ball a few inches before returning to your ready position. Your paddle should always start and finish in front of your body.

“You don’t want to be taking a big backswing like you would in other racquet sports like tennis,” Dollard says. “You want to have a controlled motion where you’re pushing the ball in the direction you want to go.”

To practice your volley, try this pickleball drill: Stand in the ready position and freeze your paddle for three seconds at the end of each volley before returning to the ready position. This can help you practice proper form and be sure that your paddle face remains pointing toward your target.

By working on your volley skills regularly, you’ll be ready to take on whatever your opponent throws at you on the pickleball court.