Zero to Hero: Volleying

29th November 2018

What is it?

A volley is any shot taken before the ball bounces. It is a very useful shot to develop, as it allows you to far more effectively control your opponent and will also help limit the amount of running you need to do.

Why do we use it?

If you watch high-level squash you’ll realise how important the volley is – players are constantly looking to stay in front of their opponents and stay in control of the T zone, as this means that they do less work chasing around the court, while also constantly taking time away from their opponents by hitting the ball early.

You can watch Jesse’s great video on volley technique here.

There is no doubt that volleying is not easy. Not only are you taking time away from your opponent, but you’re also taking time away from yourself. On the upside, you don’t have to go all the way into the back corners, on the downside you have less time to prepare for your shot.

This means that you need to have a positive mindset when looking for the volley as well as a sound technique.

As a general rule of thumb, you’re looking to shorten up your swing and punch through the shot.

It’s important to also consider the tactics behind volleying, there’s no point in trying to volley everything with no control as you’ll end up being the one who gets tired, not your opponent. You want to do it at the right time.

One of the most important things that you can do when looking to increase the number of volleys is take up an appropriate T position and begin to anticipate where the ball is likely to be hit. 

In addition to your T position, you can also set up certain patterns of play that increase your chances of volleying. You make look to squeeze your opponent down the backhand wall or look to close down the court after having played a drop or a boast.

All this is covered in this video here. Refer back to Jesse’s shot combinations playlist for more details.

There is a lot of information to cover with regards to the volley, and you’ll need to keep revisiting this page and the associated content over the course of your career as it’s something that can always be improved. As your skill develops you will be able to volley more, close down space better, read the game quicker, and step into lines earlier.

It takes hard work and a positive mindset to become a truly proficient volleyer, you can, however, find a huge amount of information within the site from a variety of different coaches that will help you to volley more!


How to practice

There’s no doubt that as you become a more proficient player you’ll HAVE to volley more. The sooner you integrate the volley into your game, the sooner you’ll see improvement.

You can make life easy for yourself by doing lots of solo practice and starting near the front wall with simple exercises. These have been tied together into a complete session here.



As you become more proficient you can start volleying from deeper during your solos. We’ve compiled a more advanced solo session for you here.



Once you have your volley technique sorted, you’ll want to focus more on the tactical elements of the volley. The best way to work on this is with a partner playing condition games where you are forced to step up the court and volley.


Condition games are a wonderful way of getting out of your comfort zone and trying something new. They should form a core part of your training schedule and you’ll reap the rewards should you choose to integrate them on a regular basis.


Here’s a great volley focused pairs session that will get you off on the right foot.


Don’t forget you can find other pre-made sessions on the site here as well as being able to create your own from scratch using the session planning tool. You can find out more about this in the how-to guide here.


Additional useful content

Check out these excellent playlists that offer up a deeper insight into the volley:


Volleying with Jesse Engelbrecht




Volleying with Lee Drew




Volleying with David Palmer




Common Amateur faults and self-diagnosis

  1. Dragging the ball into the middle: If you find yourself giving strokes away or pulling the ball into the middle of the court, then it’s possible you may be over-rotating at the end of your swing or letting your follow through come too far around your body.
  2. Hitting the side wall: It’s likely that if your drives are hitting the side wall, then you could be getting too close to the ball. Focus on staying away from the ball and getting into the locked out position, whilst also paying attention to your contact point.
  3. Not generating enough power: It’s likely that you are not linking your movement to your shot, and not generating enough rotation at the beginning of your backswing.

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