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What Is Volley in Pickleball? Learning The Basics

What Is Volley in Pickleball
Written by Alex

If you have just started playing pickleball and find yourself in the early phases while learning basic terminologies, you must have also come across the fascinating word “volley” which happens to be amongst many other colorful words used in the court.

And surprisingly enough unlike other words such as Dink, lob, and Ernie, the word “volley” might sound familiar from the sport “volleyball”, however, if it doesn’t ring any bells, allow me to explain what volley is in pickleball and what are its types and use cases.

What Is A Volley In Pickleball?

A volley is a term used for a shot that is executed whenever a ball is propelled toward you across the net without letting it hit the ground.

In other words, you are supposed to hit the ball before it bounces, so the ball remains in the air, the ball can be volleyed for as long as both players want while hitting it back and forth in the air.

A volley is generally divided into four individual types, each correlating to its use cases.

1. Forehand Volley

The forehand volley is by far one of the easiest forms of execution since it barely requires an individual to change their stance, commonly also termed a “natural stance volley” because once a ball is hurled towards you, you do not have to move much of a muscle when repelling the ball.

The forehand volley is perfectly legal in both offensive and defensive situations and should be executed near the net.

In order to execute the forehand volley, you need to hold your paddle with a continental grip and ensure your thumb forms a “V” Shape while your index finger lies on the upper region of the bevel, so that you can seamlessly move your hand while executing a forehand gesture.

2. Backhand Volley

Backhand volley, on the other hand, is a whole different story in terms of a learning curve and requires plenty of finesse if you are a beginner, I would advise you to pay plenty of attention to how you should be executing the backhand volley. 

While this execution can also be done with continental grip, it would require plenty of time to master it, henceforth, it is highly advised that you rely on the eastern grip because with this grip you can easily move your hand in counter-clockwise motion while holding the paddle in such way that your index finger and your thumb align diagonally at the top of your paddle.

3. Defensive Volley

Also known as block volley and requires little to no athleticism, the defensive volley lets you execute a volley while ensuring your stance remains unchanged. All you have to do is block the ball that is being chugged at you in the air while either using a forehand or backhand volley motion.

A simple Dink that is powerful enough to make its way across the net would be counted as a defensive volley, the purpose of a defensive volley is that it breaks the momentum of a powerful drive that is executed right across the feet without all while slowing down the game.

Defensive volleys are undoubtedly one of the best methods to counter the opponent’s aggressive playstyle all while ensuring you remain in the same spot. The best part about a defensive volley is that it also catches your opponent off guard which isn’t expecting such a defensive move.

4. Offensive Volley

An offensive volley, as the name suggests, creates sudden boosts in speed, turning the tables around whenever you are pinned by the opponent, the mechanism of an offensive volley is quite simple and straightforward just like you would on a defensive volley but the twist here is that you would need an additional power drive when executing such a shot.

In other words, when executing an offensive volley, you need to bend your knees while chugging the ball all while complimenting it with enough force that it lands right across the feet of your opponent. 

This form of volley is also termed a “high-risk high reward” volley since it provides an apparent advantage to the player but at the cost of losing trajectory accuracy in the long run. Moreover, if you aren’t proficient with your shots, you may also throw the ball outside the boundaries, which may backfire on you altogether.

Perfect Stance For Volleying In Pickleball

While you may have learned the basic intricacies of volleying, a volley without a proper stance is pretty much in vain, henceforth, here is how you can achieve a proper stance in order to attain a perfect volley, regardless of the fact it is in defensive motion or in offensive motion. 

1. Relax! 

First of all, make sure your body is as calm as possible, a rigid body is only going to make your movement much more harder than it is supposed to be. Pickleball is all about showing agility and being seamless. So try to keep your shoulders wide apart and well balanced, so that you remain vigilant whenever a counter volley is hurled towards you.

Try to hold your paddle as smoothly as possible and never clutch on it, so that you are always ready to change your hand gesture from forehand to backhand movement. 

2. Positioning Yourself

Next, you need to ensure you generate enough force from your body that the ball lands across the net. The net of the pickleball is approximately 34 inches higher in the middle, so for that, you need to be accurate all while complimenting your volley with a well-timed shot.

Bend your knees and use them as a spring while moving your dominant feet forward whenever you are expecting a defensive shot, menawhile if you are going in for an offensive shot, make sure your non-dominant feet are placed backward while using your dominant hand to propel the ball forward with your paddle.

Always keep an eye on the ball, so that you can calculate the trajectory of the ball otherwise it might land outwards from the court.

However, if you are planning for an offensive volley, you might want to follow through while swinging the paddle forward.

Bottom Line

Volleying in Pickleball might feel either too strenuous or too overwhelming especially if you are a beginner, however, once you learn and master the techniques mentioned above, you might as well be adding a powerful weapon to your arsenal, since a well-timed volley could make or break the game and if you utilize it while stacking or in duos format, it goes without saying that you would win a couple of games for sure.

That being said, hopefully, my article based on “What is volley in pickleball” was well worth your time, make sure to bookmark it and even spread it across your peers so that they could also benefit from it.

About the author


Hello, I'm Alex, and welcome to PicklerSpot – your ultimate resource for all things pickleball! I've curated this blog to share my 5 years of expertise and tips to enhance your pickleball skills.

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