What is a Volley In Pickleball? Rules, Strategies, & Mistakes

Since there has been a major transition of players moving from other racket sports to pickleball, one question kept popping up these days constantly that is “what is a volley in a pickleball?”  

Well, Volleys are one of the interesting, difficult, crazy, yet game-changing shots in pickleball. In simple words, they are just the shots that are not bounced on the ground before being returned. However, they have various types with which they possess the ability to turn the entire view of the game. At the same time, they are the trickiest ones to master. 

So today we are going to teach you several ins and outs of the pickleball volley including its types, strategies, rules, and techniques on how to play it. We have also covered you with the mistakes most people make while volleying to make sure every volley you hit is the win. 

What is a Volley in Pickleball?

A volley is defined as hitting the ball in the air before it gets bounced on the court. The player has to be near or at the NVZ line and hit the ball towards the opposite side – whether backhand or forehand.

non volley zone (Kitchen)

Though, you cannot start the game with the volleys since the ball must be bounced once on the court. Professional players play volleys at a medium pace, such that it is hit low yet hard. The ball hit too fast might get it into the nets or makes the return of the ball that is too fast.

Pickleball Volley Rules:

Volleys are one of the crucial shots in pickleball. That is why the committee has set a few rules to make sure the players are volleying correctly and in the right way. These rules must be followed at any cost otherwise you’ll invite unwanted faults in your scorecard.

  • When serving a volley, the ball cannot bounce before you hit it.
  • It should be made either backhand or forehand.
  • The player cannot enter the non-volley zone or it’ll count as a fault.
  • The backswing is not allowed.
  • You can’t volley in the “out of the bounds” area.
  • The paddle face must be opened so the ball goes a little high over the net.
  • The game cannot be started with volleying i.e the ball must bounce once in the previous serve.


Usually, a pickleball game starts with a dink shot since it makes the ball bounce on the court. Even though you can initiate volleys from the second serve, however, there are times when the volleys can best benefit you (explained at a later point).

volley must be hit near the non-volley zone

According to the above rules, the volley must be hit near the non-volley zone or at the line. Though it’s restricted to enter the non-volley zone when you are volleying, and that’s apparently, why this area is called the “Non-Volley” zone. Though you can be outside the NVZ and your paddle can get into there to hit the ball. An elongated paddle is recommended to volley in such a manner.

Also, you have to hit either backhand or forehand. Mostly, backhands are preferred for volleys. One exception is the backswing since the paddle face must be open towards the opponent

Types Of Volleys:

Other than the rules, there is a vast variation in volleys. You can hit the volley either forehand or backhand though, but even that, you can play volleys in many styles.

Basically, there are four types of volleys. However, these have been known by different names.

  • Punch Volleys/ Reactive volleys:  
  • Roll Volleys /Topspin Volleys:
  • Dink Volleys/ Push volleys:
  • Drop Volleys/ Drop Dink / Block Volleys:
What Is A Volley In Pickleball?
Pickleball union

Punch Volleys/ Reactive volleys:

Punch volleys or Reactive volleys are, perhaps, the most famous and common types of volley being played on the court. The paddle shape is perpendicular i.e slightly open and slightly closed. It can be played at a medium height with a good average speed. Usually, a player’s motive when playing a volley is to hit the ball at the opponent’s feet to score a point. 

Roll Volleys /Topspin Volleys:

Roll volleys are basically swinging shots with topspin. They are one of the advanced pickleball shots that the players play to heat up the game. The technique to play roll volley is; to flick your writs, make the paddle open to the nets, put topspin on the ball, and swing the paddle a little too fast on the opponent’s side. 

Roll volleys often occur after the third shot and/or when you want to keep your opponents on the baseline. 

Dink Volleys/ Push volleys:

A ball being rescued and sent back to the other side before it bounces is called the dink volley or the push volley. Basically, the player is pushing the ball from his foot line just when it was about to hit the ground. Dink volleys are usually hit at a slow pace such that it lands on the NVZ of the opponent’s side. 

Drop Volleys/ Drop Dink / Block Volleys/ The Catch: 

Drop dinks are the toughest of all volleys. They have been given various names e.g drop dink, block volleys, and the catch. Basically, it’s just the defensive strategy that the players implement to slow down the pace. In this shot, you have to receive the ball with a soft grip, slice it, and return it with a backspin.

Best Time To Hit Volleys:

Well, volleying can be initiated just after the two-bounce rule. However, volleys can be best played under the following conditions.

  • When you want to test the skill level of the opponent so that you can give a game a turn in your favor. This is because volleys are extremely fast and if they play them well, you need to be one step ahead and be more focused to win the game.
  • When the game gets too slow, you can volley to slightly modify the speed.
  • Just when you get the opportunity to hit the fast-coming ball without getting it to bounce, don’t miss it out and hit it with topspin or backspin.
  • Mostly, volleys are preferred to initiate while you are at the NVZ line or you want to take your opponent to the NVZ line.

Best Gripping Mechanism When Hitting Volleys:

The “continental grips” turn out to be the best grip to equip the paddle. It allows you to hit the ball backhand and forehand with quick transitions. Though, volleying makes the game fast which won’t give you much space to change your grip style so it’s better you decide on one grip initially and keep it till the end.

Common Mistakes To Avoid When Volleying:

Since you have grasped pretty much of the knowledge of what volley is along with its the, now comes the mistakes that you are most prone to make when doing it.

  • Applying too much pace: usually, the players hit the ball quite too hard due to which the following three things happened.
  1. The ball goes out of bounds.
  2. The return comes with a multiplied speed that now you could miss the shot by 90%.
  3. The ball goes into the net straight away.

None of the conditions is going to favor you. Instead, it’ll get your opponent to make a point and benefit from your situation.

  • Retreating during the exchange or changing your position: most of the players start going backward to have more place on their side. This often leads to mishits and also you’ll lose your stance if the opponent slows down the speed on his end.
  • Allowing the ball to get too close to the body: that error usually occurs due to the miscalculation of the timing. Players often wait to get the perfect timing to hit the ball and end up getting the ball near their body, losing the space to swing the paddle. In this situation, you’ll also miss the angle and give your opponents a good time to analyze your hitting techniques.

Strategies And Tips To Improve Volleying:

To avoid the mistakes and make sure you are volleying for a “sure win”, these are the strategies that can help you make the most out of your game.

  • Aim your opponent’s feet when hitting volleys.
  • Hit hard and low.
  • Keep your speed low when receiving a dink.
  • Maintain your exposure.
  • Make use of spin rather than pace.
  • Stay on the kitchen line and don’t make unnecessary moves backward.
  • Try crosscourt shots more often.
  • Use your elbow strength, lean ahead a bit and keep your shoulders square to the nets.
  • Don’t change your grips in between.
  • Point your paddle tip in the upward direction and hold your paddle firmly.


Among all of the pickleball advanced shots, the volley remains one of the best game-winning shots in pickleball. Though, we believe we have highlighted all those points that you have been looking for and also catered to you in answering all your queries regarding what is a volley in pickleball and everything about it.

Just stick to the rules, stay confident, and maintain your stance. You can add variations of your want with topspin and backspin. Lastly, keep up the strategies planned and your mind active during the volleying, and though, you can definitely be a master of this crucial shot real soon!

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