The volley is defined as a ball hit before it bounces. In most cases, the shot is hit near the net.

Technically, the volley is the simplest shot in the game. The grip for the forehand, backhand and drop volley is the same. Most pros suggest using a continental grip, which is a cross between Eastern (forehand) and backhand. In the case of a two-hander like myself, it is purely a question of preference. I like to use both hands.

Although the forehand shot is easy to hit, many players encounter problems because of long backswings and a desire to smack the ball as hard as they can. There are four simple points to remember:

* Keep the racket in front of you at all times.

* When determining the need to hit the shot, point your hand toward the ball and pivot your shoulders.

* Watch the ball closely and make firm contact with locked wrists in front of your hitting shoulder. At the same time, step forward in a 45-degree angle with the foot opposite the hitting hand.

* The follow-through should be a short, jab-like motion.

The power for the shot comes from three sources: the pace of your opponent's shot, a squeeze of the grip and a forward step. Remember, you are closer to your opponent and his or her base line. You do not need to swing.

The backhand volley essentially is the same as the forehand. Again, there is no need for a long follow-through. Try to keep the racket face slightly open and in the same plane as your wrist (see photo). I punch my volley and keep it short and simple.

The drop volley is used by advanced players. The ball is dropped over the net in a way that does not allow your opponent to reach the ball.

Follow the same steps as with the regular volley, but since it is a "touch" shot, soften the impact of the hardest-hit ball. Simply open the racket face in a 45-degree angle and "touch" the ball by loosening the fingers on contact. It is a great shot to learn and a real weapon on class and grass courts.