The first volley is considered a transition shot because of its similarity to the approach shot. There are three rules to remember for the first volley:
Rule#1: After the server delivers the serve, his movement should allow him to get in as far as the service line. This will give him a good opportunity to make an effective first volley. Otherwise, a first volley can be popped up and will make it very easy for the return to pass the server unless the ball can be put away with a winner.
Rule#2: Unless the return is a floater, the first volley should either be hit back to where it came from or to the middle of the court, and the finishing volley should be placed into the open court. If a crosscourt volley is not put away, the whole court is left open for an easy passing shot by the opponent. In general, for any ball that can be put away, the player should go to the open court. If the ball cannot be put away, the court should be left closed. As a reminder to my team, when we do the classic serve-and-volley drills, I instead call them “serve-and-volley-volley drills.” This reinforces the notion that it should take two shots to volley.
Rule#3: The net should be closed off after the first volley. If the first volley is effective, then the server should be in control of the point. As the ball is in flight, the server should take three or four steps in to the net to close out the point. Not closing off the net is a mistake that gives the opponent an angle to hit a passing shot or a chance to get back into the point.