What is it called when you hit the ball before it bounces in pickleball technique?

What is it called when you hit the ball before it bounces in pickleball technique?

Pickleball, a popular sport that combines elements of tennis, badminton, and ping pong, involves hitting a plastic ball with a paddle on a smaller-sized court. One of the key techniques in pickleball is the ability to hit the ball before it bounces, which is known as a volley. This technique is vital for gaining an advantage over your opponent and requires proper timing, footwork, and hand-eye coordination.

Importance of the Volley Technique

Mastering the volley technique in pickleball is crucial for several reasons:

1. Control: By hitting the ball before it bounces, you have more control over the direction and speed of the shot. This allows you to strategically place the ball and keep your opponent off balance. You can aim for specific areas of the court that will make it challenging for your opponent to return the shot effectively.

2. Pressure on the Opponent: A well-executed volley puts immediate pressure on your opponent. Since they have less time to react and prepare for their next shot, they are forced to be more defensive and limited in their shot selection. This gives you a psychological advantage and increases the chances of winning the point.

3. Maintaining Momentum: In pickleball, maintaining momentum is vital. By volleying the ball, you keep the game moving and prevent your opponent from gaining control or dictating the pace of play. This constant back-and-forth exchange of volleys keeps the energy level high and makes it harder for your opponent to regain control of the game.

4. Creating Opportunities: Volleys can set up winning shots or force your opponent into making mistakes. A strong and well-placed volley can put you in a position to hit a shot that is difficult for your opponent to return effectively. By creating opportunities through volleys, you increase your chances of winning points and ultimately the game.

Techniques for Successful Volleys

To execute successful volleys in pickleball, you need to focus on the following techniques:

1. Positioning and Footwork

Proper positioning and footwork are essential for successful volleys. By following these key points, you can improve your chances of executing effective volleys:

- Stand in a ready position with your knees slightly bent, weight balanced, and paddle held in front of you. This position allows you to react quickly and maintain stability.
- Anticipate the ball's trajectory and move accordingly to get into position early. By reading your opponent's shot and adjusting your position beforehand, you can be prepared for the volley.
- Step towards the ball as you volley, using short, quick steps to maintain balance and agility. This footwork technique allows you to stay balanced and in control while executing the volley.
- Keep your eyes on the ball at all times and adjust your position accordingly. By keeping a constant eye on the ball's movement, you can make precise adjustments to your positioning and ensure a clean strike.

2. Timing and Hand-Eye Coordination

Timing is critical when it comes to vollying in pickleball. By improving your timing and hand-eye coordination, you can enhance your ability to execute successful volleys:

- Focus on the ball's contact point and track it closely to determine the right moment to strike. By closely observing the ball's movement, you can time your volley to make solid contact.
- Maintain a relaxed grip on the paddle to allow for quick adjustments and better control. A relaxed grip enables you to make subtle changes in your paddle angle and adapt to different shot trajectories.
- Keep your paddle face square to the net, ensuring a clean strike on the ball. By keeping your paddle face square, you increase the chances of making a solid and accurate volley.
- Practice drills that improve your hand-eye coordination, such as wall volleys or partner drills. By regularly practicing these drills, you can train your eyes and hands to work together effectively, resulting in improved vollying skills.

3. Shot Selection and Placement

Choosing the right shot and placing it strategically is key to effective volleys. Consider the following tips for shot selection and placement:

- Aim for shots that put your opponent under pressure, such as deep and wide shots that require them to cover more court. By hitting shots that force your opponent to move quickly and cover a larger area, you increase the difficulty of their return.
- Look for opportunities to hit angles or drop shots that catch your opponent off guard. By varying the direction and trajectory of your volleys, you can surprise your opponent and make it harder for them to anticipate your shots.
- Mix up your shots to keep your opponent guessing and prevent them from anticipating your moves. By using a combination of power shots, finesse shots, and placement shots, you can keep your opponent off balance and maintain the element of surprise.

Strategies for Using Volleys to Your Advantage

In addition to mastering the volley technique, implementing strategic strategies can further maximize your advantage in pickleball. Here are a few strategies to consider:

1. Third Shot Drop

The third shot drop is a common strategy used in pickleball. It involves hitting a soft drop shot with the intention of forcing your opponent to hit up, allowing you to take control of the net. By executing a well-placed volley, you can set up the perfect opportunity for a third shot drop. This strategy requires precise control and placement to keep your opponent on the defensive and create opportunities for winning points.

2. Aggressive Moves

Using volleys to make aggressive moves can catch your opponent off guard and put you in control of the point. Examples of aggressive moves include hitting powerful overhead smashes or using a fast and deep volley to force your opponent into a defensive position. These aggressive moves can disrupt your opponent's rhythm and give you the upper hand in dictating the pace of play.

3. Net Play

Volleys are often utilized during net play in pickleball. By staying close to the net and volleying effectively, you can put immense pressure on your opponent, limiting their shot options and increasing your chances of success. Staying aggressive at the net and executing well-placed volleys can force your opponent into making mistakes and give you the opportunity to finish points quickly.


In pickleball, hitting the ball before it bounces is known as a volley. Mastering this technique is essential for controlling the game, putting pressure on your opponent, and creating opportunities to win points. By focusing on positioning, footwork, timing, hand-eye coordination, shot selection, and placement, you can enhance your volleying skills and take your pickleball game to the next level. Implementing strategic strategies, such as the third shot drop and aggressive moves, can further maximize the advantages of volleys in your gameplay. Practice regularly and incorporate these techniques into your training sessions to become a formidable pickleball player.


1. What is a volley in pickleball?

A volley in pickleball refers to hitting the ball before it bounces on the ground. It is a key technique that allows players to have more control over the direction and speed of the shot.

2. Why is the volley technique important in pickleball?

The volley technique is important in pickleball for several reasons. It allows players to have more control over their shots, puts immediate pressure on opponents, helps maintain momentum in the game, and creates opportunities for winning shots or forcing opponents into making mistakes.

3. What are some techniques for successful volleys in pickleball?

To execute successful volleys in pickleball, it is important to focus on positioning and footwork, timing and hand-eye coordination, and shot selection and placement. These techniques involve maintaining a ready position, anticipating the ball's trajectory, using short and quick steps, observing the ball closely, and selecting shots strategically to put pressure on opponents.

4. How can volleys be used strategically in pickleball?

Volleys can be used strategically in pickleball by implementing strategies such as the third shot drop, aggressive moves, and net play. The third shot drop aims to force opponents to hit up, allowing players to take control of the net. Aggressive moves catch opponents off guard and dictate the pace of play, while net play puts immense pressure on opponents and creates opportunities to finish points quickly.

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