Ask Nick: Making the Grip Change

Friday, May 10, 2013 /by
AP Photo
AP Photo

Hello Nick, I started to use a swing volley in my game a couple of years ago and I love it now. But when the ball is not at the right height, I have trouble changing the groundstroke grip I use for my swing volley to the conventional volley grip (continental grip). It results in many awkward errors. How can I get better at the grip change?—Sarah Song, Holmdel, N.J.

In the ’80s, people said that I did not know how to teach a volley, so I told Andre Agassi, Jim Courier and Monica Seles to just swing at the ball. Today, the swinging volley is a major part of the game. Most players use a semi-Western grip and try to make contact with the ball about shoulder height, but you must move to the ball to hit it. The lower the ball drops, the more difficult the shot, because of your strong grip.

Hitting low volleys will require a Continental grip—I suggest your coach hit a high volley and then a low volley, and repeat this hundreds of times with a fairly slow feed from your coach. Then step up the pace and have your coach mix up the feeds until you do it without thinking.

Max Mirnyi said you hit volleys by moving your feet to the ball. If I were your coach, I would make you hit all swinging volleys. Why? No option but to move to the ball without thinking.


Nick Bollettieri found the IMG Bollettieri Academy in 1978. He has coached 10 players that have gone on to rank No. 1 in the world.

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