A speedup at the kitchen line leaves you almost no time to react. The ball travels 14ft from paddle to paddle in less than half a second.
You might catch yourself leaning away from the projectile in an effort of self-preservation. Well, we're here to tell you to stop it.
On resets and block volleys, it’s important to maintain a neutral stance. Channel the Kobe Bryant mamba instincts to not flinch and not lean away.
Leaning backward has some unintended consequences that will get you in even more trouble. As the rule states, you get two for flinching.
Leaning away will change the angle of your paddle face and the direction you push through the ball.
Both will result in a POP-UP and turn you into a sitting duck.
Think of it this way: if you're not confident at the NVZ and standing in the proper ready position, you're making it more likely that you'll encounter what you're ultimately afraid of.
Nobody enjoys getting hit by the ball, but just like skateboarders have to accept the occasional fall is part of their sport, you must accept that spikes will happen.
But you're much less likely to be struck by one if you keep your stance and hold your ground.
Remember to take the proper ready position at the kitchen line:
- Feet - shoulder width apart, ready to spring sideways or backwards if necessary
- Knees - slightly bent
- Core - engaged but not flinched
- Arms - holding your paddle up in front of you, around chest-height
Most volleys from the kitchen line don't require much swing, just a simple "punch volley" will do.
For those of you who never played tennis, we're talking about a compact motion.
Don't swing; swiftly punch the ball with a slight downward-facing paddle (not too steep!).
Part of fighting the flinch comes with experience. The other comes with confidence. Believe in yourself, anticipate the speedup, and keep your posture in check.