A stop valley is when the shot literally just drops over the net. To better understand what a stop valley is, it is best to define terminologies first. A volley is when a player hits the ball from the air without letting it bounce off the court first. It is different from a rally, which is when the ball hits the ground first before the player hits it with a groundstroke. There is a big distinction between a stop valley and a drop valley. A drop valley is a short angled shot. On the other hand, a stop valley is a short and straight shot, which kills the pace of the ball.
How to Perform a Stop Valley?
The objective of a stop valley is to hit a very soft volley close to the net. This is one way of tiring the opponent, giving the point in your favor. When the ball is place closed to the net, it becomes farther from the opponent to reach who is normally placed on the baseline or beyond.
When making a stop volley, it is important to use a very loose grip on the racket, giving it a lot of give. In order to do this, the player must practice with timing and must also be near the net. The best timing to hit a stop volley is when the opponent is deep or hits a shot that has too little pace. It takes practice to be able to perform a stop valley. Constant practice will give players a feel of how to soften their wrist. Practice will also help players determine which balls are best handled with a stop valley.
If a stop valley is not done well, the ball will most likely land on the middle of the court and have a high bounce, giving the opponent the chance to pounce on it and turn the point to his or her favor.
Tennis Players with Exceptional Stop Valleys
Stop valleys is a practiced art. Not many tennis players can pull the shot off. Some of the most exceptional include Henri Leconte, John McEnroe, and Ken Rosewall. A more recent example of a perfectly executed stop valley is the Federer-Wawrinka WTF SF 2014.