This series of fast-paced volley drills will sharpen your footwork and net game.

To be a successful volleyer, you need good footwork, racquet awareness, and ball control. Sounds like a lot to work on, but luckily they are things you can easily practice. These drills will help improve the overall technique and effectiveness of your volleys. In each one you’ll work both the forehand and backhand while moving from side to side, with an emphasis on controlling the ball. After a few practice sessions, not only will your volleys improve, but you’ll have more stamina as well.

Stand a few feet from the net in the doubles alley, with your partner mirroring your position on the other side. Depending on how many you can handle, each of you should hold up to four balls. Hit one ball out in front of your partner, leading him toward the other side of the court. He should volley a little in front of you. The idea is for both of you to continue to move across the court until you reach the other alley. Since you’re so close, you don’t need much of a swing. Try to exchange a minimum of five shots before you make it to the other side. After you complete your trip across the court, go back in the other direction. You should be hitting the opposite volley you were hitting on your way over. Continue until you use all eight balls.

Once you do that, gather up the balls and go back to the alley. This time move back until you’re halfway between the net and service line. Now you’ve got a little more time to play the ball and use a slightly bigger swing. Continue shuffling back and forth across the court, trying to hit at least five shots per cycle until you use all eight balls.

Again start the drill in the alley, but now stand at the service line. There’s more time and distance to hit these volleys, so you can lengthen your swing even more. Still, don’t take a big hack at the ball or snap your wrist. Try to hit a minimum of four volleys as you cross the court. Once you get good enough to master this and the previous drills, do the series again, only this time start in the opposite doubles alley from your partner. You both work your way to the other side hitting crosscourt angles. Keep the ball out in front of your partner and remember to move your feet to the next ball, as proper footwork is key.

To practice your volley, start in the alley across from your partner. Move across the court, leading your partner all the way to the other alley. Work on this from three different spots— right by the net, a few feet back, and at the service line.