Just because it's called "no-man's land" doesn’t mean you shouldn’t hit shots from there. (Getty)

The swinging volley and half volley are two shots every doubles player needs. Though different in technique, they share one commonality: their mid-court positioning.

The mid-court is a few yards behind the service and a few yards in front of the baseline. The area is commonly referred to as “no-man’s land,” but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t hit shots from there. In fact, the team that controls the mid-court is usually the team that wins, because they are moving forward, taking the ball early, and taking time away from their opponents by applying pressure.

Spend time mastering these shots to improve your odds of winning.

1

SWINGING VOLLEY

You could call this shot an airborne groundstroke. It’s usually hit shoulder level or above, but the technique is very similar to your regular groundies. The keys to hit this shot effectively are:

• Shorten the backswing

• Hit through the shot with extended follow through

• Hit from low to high, to generate topspin

The swinging volley is best used as an approach to get your team to the net. Don’t overhit it, and remember that its purpose isn’t to hit an outright winner, but to pressure your opponents.

2

HALF VOLLEY

This shot is an abbreviated version of the traditional volley, with the distinction that it’s hit right as the ball touches the ground. It takes a lot of practice to execute, but it’s a great emergency option if you didn’t get all the way into the net to hit a regular volley. The keys to hitting this shot effectively are:

• Emphasize a short backswing with a continental grip

• Move through the ball with your body more than with your arms—the upper body must stay still

• Stay low to the ground while executing the swing

As your mid-court game improves, so will your chances for success.

Gigi Fernandez is a 17- time Grand Slam doubles champion and a two-time Olympic doubles gold medalist. You can learn more from the former No. 1 at gigifernandeztennis.com.