Add “Pop and Roll” to Your Role Volleys


A small adjustment can add much more spin to the ball coming off your paddle when you’re hitting a roll volley.  Let’s investigate this one step at a time, as we refer to the pictures above.

In the first picture on the left, my opponent’s shot is on the way towards me and I want to hit a roll volley. I’ve repositioned my paddle so it’s pointed downward, between my feet, about a foot in front of me. I push my paddle forward about a foot and a half, as I begin rotating my paddle about 180 degrees to complete my swing motion.  Picture three shows me close to the end of my role volley swing motion.  The last picture on the right shows me back to my ready position, prepared for my next shot. 

Now, store that motion in your mind because that’s one half of this lesson.  The second part of this roll volley lesson dives deeper into the swing motion that happens between the second and third pictures.

Now, go get your paddle and hold it very loosely at your side with the paddle pointing downward with the paddle face open as if you were about to hit a dink shot.  Now, without making any other movements, suddenly squeeze your paddle grip and as you do this, watch the movement of your paddle.  It suddenly rotates – doesn’t it?  That sudden squeeze to how you get much of the rotation of your paddle that happens between pictures two and three.  You get some of the power you need to quickly rotate your paddle from the motion of your arm, but most of it comes from squeezing your paddle. Remember the importance of having a loose grip on your paddle as you begin executing the roll volley and then squeeze your paddle handle as you execute your swing motion.

Now, think back to the way you were taught to hit a roll volley.  Your stance and paddle preparation are about the same as for preparing to hit a dink.  Your swing motion is a relatively smooth but swift motion that moves your paddle from your side to a position that’s about a chest-high, a foot in front of you. Next, grab your paddle and slowly perform this motion.  We’re going to build on to that swing motion by squeezing your paddle handle as we previously reviewed.  Here’s how the new and improved motion will work.

As you prepare to hit a roll volley. Make sure the head of your paddle is facing directly downward – not off to the side, but in front of your right knee.  Begin your swing as before, only now prior to making contact with the ball, squeeze your paddle handle as you rotate your paddle face with greater force.  These small changes will give your roll volley even more pop and roll.

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