Being able to hit “on the rise” is an amazingly powerful tool. One that should be part of your tennis game! When you can take the ball early you can:
1. Make pushers pay more easily for those weak, floaty shots.
2. Re-direct deep, strongly hit shots from your opponents with pace without having to take a huge swing.
Today’s lesson shows me demonstrating a very simple drill that you can do by yourself to better feel the correct rhythm of hitting on the rise. Go try it today!
Questions? Comments? Please let them below. Thanks for watching!
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What technique(s) would you suggest to prevent me from over-hitting a ball from a player who hits a weak paced shot that gives me time to "take it on the rise" ? I find when I have to generate the pace I am often vulnerable to an unforced error than a ball hit to me with lots of pace.
Another great video. I love hitting those groundies on the rise. It upsets your opponets rhythm My coach says if I have the room it is better to hit the ball the traditional way and take a big swing.
Isn't this also known as or referred to as "short volley or ground volley or half volley"? Lots of different terms out there being thrown around the tennis courts.
Doesn't the racquet have to be quite a bit lower to hit the ball right off the bounce?
Hey Ian, good video. But I have a question.
In tennis thought and terminology, is hitting on the rise the same as the term "short hopping" the ball?
I ask b/c I somehow came to understand, thru pros & players, that hitting on the rise amounts to hitting the ball as it bounces up to you, AT or NEAR it's apex, and preferably nearest your strike zone, if u can catch it there. The shot that you show was taught/shown ashttp://www.essentialtennis.com/video/footwork/tennis-footwork-split-step-lesson-1-of-3/1749/ a half volley or short hop w/ the ♫ba-boom♫ rhythm.
Ian, please disregard the "http://www.essentialtennis.com/video/footwork/tennis-footwork-split-step-lesson-1-of-3/1749". I dunno where THAT came from
I do hit on the rise, but it is seldom by choice–I either misjudge the depth and have no choice but to hit on the rise or I see a ball is going to be deep and I just am too lazy to backup. I do notice if I try to change direction the angle is exaggerated and often goes wide. Any tips for those of us (me) who aren't necessarily hitting on the rise by choice? Oh yeah, I do hit kick serves on the rise because I am short and that's the only way to handle it.
Hi Ian, I like what you did with this video as there certainly is a difference between hitting a normal (?) shot and hitting a ball on the rise. Some thoughts: in my opinion the most important things to understand when hitting a ball on the rise are 1. What is the footwork as you approach the ball (usually a person is moving into the court to hit a ball on the rise)…open stance/neutral stance ? 2. Is the stroke shorter and more compact as you are reducing your time to hit the ball by moving into the court ? 3. How high do you bring back the racket ? over the shoulder ? shoulder height ? above the waist ? 4. What kind of follow through do you use ? higher / over the shoulder ? around the body ? 5. Are you hitting with topspin / backspin ? 6. How do you determine your target ? I would love to hear your thoughts on these concerns. Thanks a lot, Jim
Thank you Ian.
Shouldn't we also take a short backswing in order to hit the ball " on the rise " ?
Excellent teaching, Ian! I try to hit on the rise most of the time, since I hate surrendering the baseline. I am also always prepared to move forward, and hitting through the ball on the rise keeps me ready to take advantage of the opportunities to move forward that this way of hitting seems to generate. The way I think about the shot itself is that I want to hit it as early as possible–I think about hitting it almost as a half-volley, and then my footwork is better because I am setting up for a particular spot on the court–where the ball bounces. Inevitably it seems that when I do this the ball is hit about a foot to two feet off the court, but still very early. Vastly preferable technique for dealing with extreme topspin–I want to get those balls off the bounce before their action comes much into play. After all, later in the bounce you not only get to find out about the rpms of topspin, but also about whatever sidespin is a component of your opponent's stroke, and I'd rather not if I have the choice. kudos, Ian!
I like the question below about the racket position relative to the lower ball and maybe even is there any extra knee bend required to get down to the lower ball position.
Would it also be appropriate to; on a later video, discuss the footwork for hitting this ball for real while it is in play. I know when I am hitting on the rise I spend a lot of time scooching forward!
Last question from a drill standpoint. I like to be sure I have a full core turn and prep when I am hitting (one of my common error issues) and it seems like hitting the ball so quickly after the drop might encourage me to abbreviate my swing. Would you consider doing the same drill off of two bounces — pros and cons???
I do love these mini topics — great format.
Are there shots you think people shouldn't hit on the rise (say, off a moonball)? Or can it be used in most situations?
Thanks Ian, Very valid subject ( at least to myself)! Hitting on the rise really gives a competitive edge to players at any level. Personally, when trying to hit earlier (when I see it necessary during a match) I seem to start loosing my touch and consequently a whole base stroke even when hitting the ball going down. Therefore I'm finding it safer to stay back and not to try hitting on the rise to keep my base strokes solid. Unfortunately for me this results to longer rallies and usually lost points. Any further drills or advice would be appreciated.
I will try "on the rise" in the morning. Thanks for speaking clearly as to just how to hit!
Ian, this is very timely subject for me. Thanks a lot.
I'm having hard time finding rhythm hitting the ball on the rise AT WAIST LEVEL OR HIGHER.
It is easier for me to hit it just after the bounce, like half volley, but I can't time well if I need to hit a bit later than that.
An example is the return of serve.
What would be a good way to time like that?
I was always playing the standard way and I had to move out of the court ,sometimes far behind the baseline to do my groundstroke.
But Hitting on the rise seems to be stronger, simpler and more correct way of playing.
My question : Is there any difference in the swinging motion of the racket for playing this shot. How to take a back swing for such a low shot?
Thank you for your easy to learn demonstrations. Like the Rise
Wonderful explanation of hitting on the rise.
Good drill explanation.
Great video demo and explanation. Looking forward to incorporating it into my game! Thanks for your continued efforts to make us all better tennis players!
It's a great and fast tip! I ask myself if I can try playing like this all the time. Is that possible?
I always get mad when playing against pushers. I don't have pacience to make "their" game. Maybe your tip could help me.
Well done and right to the point. thanks
cool i like it, i will give it a try.
Excellent, let me know how it goes!
Ian: I think your are the most analytical and perceptive of all the on-line tennis guys. There are many seniors, and "senior, senior" doubles players who could benefit from some guidance specifically developed for their game. Trying to play as you once did doesn't work well when your reactions are slower, you don't move as fast or hit as hard. So my suggestion is put together a total program for us.
Thank you so much for the kind words and the suggestion as well, Dave. I really appreciate it!
What a bright spot in the day are your quick lessons. Thanks for bein' Ian.
Aw, thanks Tim
Nice, simple way to explain and practice the concept. Thank you
Crisp, clear and (as always) very useful. Will try this the next time I'm on court. Thanks Ian!
Thanks Ian. Very helpful as always. Just curious to know if this it possible to hit with this technique for balls hit with topspin or just lobs. What grip would you recommend? Thanks.
Yes, most definitely! I would recommend whatever grip you always use for a topspin drive. That's what I did while demonstrating.
Ian, that's a terrific lesson. When did you get that fancy house with the court in the front yard?
Hi Ian, thanks for the video. Very helpful as always. I was wondering if you would do the same to return top spin shots or just lobs. Also what grip would you recommend? Thanks.
That is great many thanks
You're very welcome, Atallah.
Good clear lesson – crisp – understandable – and a good tip for solo practice
also an amazing gift of the serving lessons – you have taken generiousity to a new level
You bet, Pete. Great to hear that you appreciate it!
You're welcome, Ed!
Thanks for the timely video about hitting on the rise.
I notice that when I have to hit a shot near the service line by pushers (I play in the League of Extraordinarily Older Gentlemen), I hit long if I swing through too much. So it's not only the timing of hitting on the "short hop" as they say in baseball, but following through steeper for topsin. I find hitting on the rise gives me lots of pop on the ball without racquet head sped, but following through quicker gives me more top.
A question: On a ball hit hard near your baseline, is it better to take a normal backswing, or have more of a volley backswing and follow through?
That's an excellent observation, Ron. If you watch the path of my first on the rise shot you'll see that I in fact hitting it stronger and flatter, as more of a drive. It absolutely takes more of a conscious effort to spin that type of shot since it's bouncing upwards off the court as you make contact.
What kind of backswing you should take depends on several factors, most notably your ability to time these types of shots effectively and exactly how fast the incoming shot is coming upon you. If you tend to mis-time these types of shots frequently (especially late) and the ball is coming in deep and fast then shortening the backswing is definitely a good idea. That being said using "more of a volley backswing" is probably a bit exaggerated in my opinion. But then again I suppose that depends on how big your volley take back is, haha.
Ian, thanks for the comment.
I can see in your video how you take a full follow through to drive the ball, even as you hit on the rise.
Regarding the "volley take back", I do have an abbreviated backswing: As I take my racquet back, I can still see it in front of me. The racquet doesn't move much at contact. The reason I ask about the volley swing is that I notice that even Nadal, Djokovic, and Federer, with their great timing, sometimes get caught and have to use a very abbreviated "volley-like" backswing. But they're still hitting and following through forward.
I make a conscious effort to hit as many groundstrokes on the rise as I can. It gets frustrating when I mis-time or mis-hit the shot (it happens more than I want), but it's a way of thinking about time and distance that revitalizes my game at my age. That is, hitting on the rise takes away time from the opponent and makes him cover more distance. I conserve energy on my hitting arm and can play longer.
I agree with everybody else on your site: You have excellent, thoughtful, practical instructions on improving our tennis. If you can help me with my lefty spin serve (it's almost non-existent), I will go door to door!
This was very good. I have been told a lot to hit the ball on the rise but never really knew what it meant. very useful.
Great to hear that this was useful, Pat!
Thanks for another helpful installment!
Do you have any suggestions for drills to help adjust timing when attempting to move forward to take the ball on the rise? I've been struggling to find timing and ideal contact point (height) as there appears to be way more factors and ball speed at play when hitting on the rise vs the fall.
Also, a burning question – Is that your home in the background? Nice, very nice!!
You're welcome, Jeff. Hands down the best practice you could do to work on your timing as you move into the court would be with a ball machine. Receiving the same shot over and over again would allow you to get comfortable with your footwork and swing timing in a controlled environment. Of course you could also have a pro feed to you as well. You'll be hard pressed to find a fellow player who could feed you the same shot over and over again.
Nope, not my house. I wish
Great video as always. Also important to mention that on the rise shot requires a shorter backswing, and it's also important to keep the racket face a little closed upon contact.
I wouldn't say that it's "required" to shorten the backswing at all, but it is often helpful, yes. I do agree about closing the face a bit more upon contact since the ball has upward momentum from the bounce! It takes a bit of time to get a feel for it.
Hi Ian. Thanks for the lesson. Keying the stroke to the rhythm makes a lot of sense.
Here is a question. I could not really see it — on those drop hits, and presumably when playing points, are you trying to make contact in about the same place out front when you take it early, or is the ball getting a little deeper?
You're welcome, Robert. Yes, I'm definitely trying to make contact in the same place out in front regardless of the timing of my swing (taking it early or waiting for the ball to come down again).
PS. Had to say I loved the flatter one that landed just inside the baseline and kicked to the fence, where it dug into the link. Nice punctuation mark for the technique!
That's funny…..I'd watched this video at least 10 times and never noticed that a ball stuck in the fence.
I like the drill – can't wait to try it.
But those purple shoes gotta go……did you steal those off of Violet Beauregarde ?
Haha…..first ever Willy Wonka reference in reply to one of my videos. Excellent