Pace Down-the-Line, Touch Cross-Court

You're a bold and aggressive doubles player, looking to charge the net.  Well, anyway, you're bold and aggressive on returns; it's a little harder to come in behind your serve.  But there you are, intrepid net stalker, moving in.  And, lo, the gods are so kind and generous!  Having set properly at mid-court, you see a high floater coming to your forehand.  It just doesn't get better than this.  Until you cream that high forehand volley, throwing veritable fire at the server on the baseline, who calmly hitches up his shorts and lobs the ball over your partner's head.  Or worse, you kill that forehand volley, but into the fence or into the bottom of the net.

Forehand volleys are particularly prone to these mistakes because it's so tempting to associate power with pace, and we think of our forehands as power strokes.  And, certainly, pace does have its place on a high forehand volley, but it's a specific one.  If you want to use pace to convert the offensive possibility of that floater, it must be down to the feet of the player straight ahead of you.  Because the server's partner is tight to net, close to you, she's vulnerable to your pace; the server, back at the baseline, isn't.  But remember, you're not trying to blast the ball past the up player; that's what causes those mistakes into the fence.  Hit down at him, right to his feet.  If he gets the ball back, it will likely set up once more, and you'll have the pleasure all over again.

Otherwise, what about attacking the open space in front of the server?  Good idea, since that's really the point of coming in to net against an opposing baseliner: until you get in, you can't attack the court in front of her.  But that means the attack cross-court must be done with touch.  You'll convert the offensive possibility of the up ball by taking pace away from it, hitting it even more softly than it came to you, but you'll have to have a long, hard talk with your forehand to get it to calm down and do this.

Assuming you've come in to net against a one-up/one back formation on the opposite side of the court, your high forehand volleys will win if you hit hard and low down-the-line, or with touch, short cross-court.  High backhand volleys are the same; it's just that we usually don't over-hit our backhands.

c Keith Shein