Ready Position 
in the Backcourt
Ready Position in the Backcourt

Tennis: Ready Position is Different at the Net Than in the Backcourt

Dick Moss, Editor

When waiting for a shot in the backcourt, most beginners quickly learn to assume the ready position: knees slightly bent, weight on the balls of the feet, slight bend at the waist, the racquet in front at chest level with the throat supported by the non-racquet hand.

Many students use the same ready position at the net during doubles or while waiting for a volley. However, the ready position should be slightly different when at the net.

Ready Position at the Net

Ready Position at the Net
Ready Position at the Net
When at the net, incoming balls move faster, the time available to react is less, and balls are returned using a net-high (or higher) volley.

So your students should assume a ready position in which the racquet head is at or above the net to improve reaction-time on incoming shots.

In assuming this ready position, your students should raise their arms until the top of the racquet is at eye level. They should also move their arms farther forward, away from the torso, since volleys should be contacted in front of the body.

These changes are subtle, but they allow a quicker reaction to the ball …and that can mean the difference between returning the shot, or eating it.

1. Joey Rive & Scott Williams, Tennis Skills & Drills, Human Kinetics, 2011.
2. Stan Smith (Instruction Editor) with Alexander McNab, “Six Basics for Better Tennis.” Tennis, June 1996.

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