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The Hardest You Have Ever Hit a Pickleball - The Swing Volley

by JB Jones on

Alright, let's take a second to talk about my favorite shot in the game, the swinging volley.

This one is a big carry-over from tennis. It's a chance to show off a little bit of athleticism and let it rip. The opportunity for a swinging volley comes when the ball gets popped up. It's commonly seen in the shake and bake scenario.

The player executing the shot starts in the transition zone and takes a couple of steps towards the net while performing a volley. The volley however resembles more of a groundstroke than a volley. It includes a full follow-through, but a shorter back swing to prevent the ball from going deep.

Sounds pretty simple, so what's so special about it?

You'll never be able to hit the ball harder than on a swing volley.

It's like the Happy Gilmore swing in golf, a QB stepping up into a Hail Mary bomb or an outfielder crow hopping for a throw to the plate.

The shot allows power to be generated in the approach steps. The ball is simultaneously floating in mid-air and slowly accelerating towards the ground. It might as well be on a tee ready to fly down the fairway.

Execution - There are a couple of keys to hitting the successful swing volley.


When approaching the ball it's important to leave space. The most power is generated when your arm can fully extend while hitting the ball. This can create a little trouble for beginners who tend to underestimate the space needed.

As the distance between the player and the ball increases, more hand-eye coordination is required.  So players sometimes default to staying close to the ball.

Break this habit by consciously leaving enough space to deliver the blow.


Keep the Ball in Front

This one is pretty self-explanatory. The contact point should be in front of your body. Everything in this equation is moving forward. You should not be reaching back at contact.

Use one or two steps to build momentum towards the net. Then at contact, weight should be transferred from the back foot to the front foot.

For a right handers forehand. Weight should move from the right foot to left during the swing. It should be just like stepping into a normal forehand. Don't lose track of the footwork while on the move.

Short Backswing -> Normal Followthrough

Forward momentum will add power to the shot. A short backswing will help to reign in that power. Just remember to followthrough.

Eagerness to crush a floating ball might cause a lapse in discipline. A wild wind up with a big backswing is a good indication that the next ball is going deep. Avoid it if you're the one hitting the shot and look for it when your opponent is. If that paddle goes back like Happy on the tee box, its time to duck and cover.

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After the shot, don't forget to recover. There is a lot of movement going on during this shot. It is vital to split step and prepare for a response from your opponent.

If you're hitting a swinging volley, then you're in a good spot. You likely have the advantage in the point. Don't lose that advatage by not being ready for the next shot.

Hit the powerful swinging volley but instead of trying to hit a winner, set yourself up for the next shot. A hard hit, well placed shot will likely force an error or create a better opportunity for a put away on the next shot.

You will be closer to the kitchen line following the swinging volley which should also help win the point. Take the next ball out of the air to keep the pressure on and overwhelm your opposition.

More tips and a demonstration can be seen in tennis instructional video.

Have Fun

Like I said before, this is your chance to let it rip. In, out, net, fence, don't be afraid to go for it with this shot. The only way to know what you're capapble of is to go for it. Just be sure you're respectful of the other players and keep the ball away from headshots.

JB Jones

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