Relishing Pickleball: The Half Volley and the Drop Volley

David Zapatka

Continuing our study of Pickleball Fundamentals: Master the basics and compete with confidence by Mary Littlewood, “As opposed to the volley, which is a shot taken when the ball is still in the air, the half volley is hit just after the ball has bounced. It is a reaction shot taken most often as you’re approaching the net and the ball has been directed to your feet. You bend at the hips and knees and place the paddle just behind the bouncing ball, causing the ball to rebound back over the net. After contact, follow through up and toward the net. You can execute the half volley from either your forehand or your backhand side. Your distance from the net determines how far open the face of the paddle must be in order for the ball to clear the net. The closer you are to the net, the more open the paddle face. Although a half volley is usually a defensive shot, it can sometimes become an offensive shot by surprising an opponent who thought that the rally had already been won.”

This shot is effectively used to work your way to the non-volley zone where rallies are won at the net.

“The drop volley can be a very effective shot when you are in a strong volleying position at the net and the opponent is deep in the court. Instead of executing a normal volley, loosen your grip slightly and give with the paddle—decreasing the force behind the hit by letting the head of the paddle collapse in a backward direction—at the moment of ball contact. Stop the follow-through immediately after hitting the ball. It is a soft shot that requires some finesse. Direct the shot to a shallow spot just inside one of the sidelines. The opposition, expecting a hard, deep volley, will have trouble getting to the ball and, if the opponent manages to return the shot, it will likely be a setup for you to put the ball away to win the rally. A drop volley can be done by either the forehand or the backhand.”

This drop volley is so effective and great fun!

Want to know more about the sport, the rules, equipment, or have some pickilicious news you would like to share with our pickleball community? Email David Zapatka at [email protected].