What Is a Volley in Pickleball?

Volleying is a popular move in numerous racquet and paddle sports, including pickleball.

A volley is basically when you hit the ball without it first bouncing on or touching the ground. When used right, it is a great shot to have in your armory.

Volley: What Is It?

A volley is when you play a shot without letting the ball bounce first. In pickleball, the ball would be played from the other side of the court and over the net by your opponent. If the ball bounces and you return the ball, it is a regular shot. If you return the ball before it bounces, it is considered a volley.

Before we get into volleying more, you must first understand what function a non-volley zone serves in the pickleball game.

Non-Volley Zone

Non-Volley Zone

One main area of the pickleball court is the no-volley zone.

It is the area between the net and non-volley zone line – the line approximately 7 feet away from the net. The area is also called the kitchen.

As the name suggests, a non-volley zone doesn’t allow pickleball players to volley when inside it.

Why Should You Volley In Pickleball?

Why Should You Volley In Pickleball?

Volleying can significantly increase the speed of the ball and is particularly useful if it’s a high ball.

A groundstroke shot is the opposite of volleying. Instead of hitting the ball out of the air, the player hits it after the bounce. A well-times volley can catch your opponent off-guard.

Pickleball Volley Types

If you play pickleball, you know that it is a perfect combination of fun and hard work. To master the game and compete at higher levels, you’ll need to learn the different types of volleys.

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Let’s take a look at the basics and fundamentals of volleying.

Backhand Volley

A backhand stroke is made from your non-dominant side. You can tell it’s a backhand volley if the back of your hand is facing the net as you hit the ball.

When using the backhand, instead of leading with the palm of your hand, you lead with your knuckles instead.

Forehand Volley

Your palm would be facing forward if it were not curled around the racket handle, and your knuckles will be facing the back of the court. Your grip should be at an angle of 45 degrees.

While hitting the ball, make sure you maintain a firm grip.

When hitting volleys, it’s crucial that you use the right one at the right time to win more points. The only way you can do so is by learning the intermediate and advanced volleying techniques.

Punch Volley

Punch volleys come in handy when you want to make a quick exchange and aim for the opponent’s feet or toward a medium-height opening.

The volley is accomplished by positioning your paddle face slightly parallel to the net.

When your opponent makes the shot, move closer to the ball in a forward punching movement using your elbow as a hinge.

Roll Volley

Roll volleys are also called topspin volley. This is because the volley causes the ball to advance forwards after bouncing due to its half-swing form.

Drop Volley

Also known as the catch volley and makes for an excellent strategy if you want to change the pace of the pickleball game. 

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You’ll need to maintain a soft grip so that the paddle absorbs the impact of the incoming ball. Gently hit the ball so that it doesn’t go deep but make sure it is hard enough to go above the net without touching it. 

This strategy proves valuable when your opponent is at the far end of the court. 

If the game continues at a fast pace and both players have been throwing deep shots, the strategy disrupts the pace by having it thrown close to the net.

You’ll be more likely to score the point because your opponent must rush to the net before the ball bounces twice.

You’ll often see these volleys in action if the opponent attempts a drop shot.

Dink Volley

Dink exchange occurs when all four players are close to the non-volley zone line.

The goal of a dink volley is the same as a regular dink shot. It can be used to prevent an attack from the opponent as well as to catch the other team by surprise.

To prevent yourself from backing up and hitting the ball, try using the dink shot after the opponent has made their serve.

Underspin Volley

You can use the underspin volley to force your opponents to hit upwards. It’s also referred to as slice or backspin volley in pickleball.

You’ll need to hit the ball with slight low to high motion. Doing so will introduce partial underspin on the ball.

It will result in the ball lowering its height after the bounce.

Half Volley

A half volley is a groundstroke shot. Once the ball bounces, you’ll need to move quickly and serve the ball before it reaches gets too far off the ground.

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Scoring Good Pickleball Volleys

Scoring Good Pickleball Volleys

If you have seen a professional player in a pickleball tournament, you know that hitting a volley is much more than just knowing which one to use.

Here are some tips you should keep in mind the next time you try a volley.

Tip the Paddle

Make sure the tip of the paddle is aligned with the player’s wrist instead of the shoulders. 

You can double-check this by observing if the paddle does not make a v-shape between your wrist and the paddle. 

Use Your Elbows

Often amateurs forget that the power needed to make a strong shot comes from the elbows and not the wrists. 

If you use wrists, the shot will lack force, and it won’t be accurate either. 

Strong Grip

Your fingers should adequately and firmly grip the paddle. This will ensure an excellent volley with more chances to win points against your opponent.

Practice Your Volley Skills

When playing in an actual tournament, you need to know the type of volley that should be used according to the present situation and how to make it.

Consider practicing volleys with a friend or a wall to better your skillset.

Final Thoughts

Now that you know how to hit a successful volley, it is time that you host a tournament with your friends and family and secure the highest position on the scoreboard.

Sign up for a local pickleball tournament and show off your volley skills!