Hitting approach shots and attacking the net is a great tactic in both singles and especially in doubles. It puts pressure on your opponents to do something with the ball. Some players will try and pass you close to the lines, over your head or they will hit the ball right at you. This brings us to our topic of discussion. You want to get close to the net to be in optimal volley position but you do not want to get too close.
You always hear us coaches yelling “close to the net”. This terminology in tennis simply means move forward. You do want to close in on the net to avoid hitting low volleys at your feet, but you do not want to have your nose on top of the net. Here are three reasons why:
Number 1: If you accidentally touch the net during a point before the ball bounces twice on your opponents side, you automatically lose the point.
Number 2: If you are too close to the net, then you give yourself less time to react to the ball to hit a good volley. The more time the better.
Number 3: When you are on top of the net, you expose your self to be lobbed. Even if your opponent doesn’t hit a great lob, if you are too close you have no chance of tracking the ball down.
So, how close should you get? To measure, go half way between the net and the service line and then take one step forward, which will be your best location to stand. It is absolutely fine to step forward to hit a strong volley but make sure you recover and step back into the best volley position for your next shot. Keep on Playing!