PDA

View Full Version : How to beat a hard hitter?


eric892
04-14-2008, 08:23 AM
Hi,

I got a friend who is a hard hitter. I simply got no answer when facing him :(
His favourite shot is to hit the ball very hard into the deep middle area of the court.

Problem is every time he hits that kind of shot, the ball will bounce back to me very very low, the length of my knee, and I had to bend my knee to hit it back and since the ball is travelling very fast, it is double the task to bring the ball back to him. And when I do that, the ball will either hit the net or short and then he will go for the kill. :mad:

I've tried many times to pivot my racquet sooner but he still will win the point in the end. I've also tried to aim to the deep left or right area of the court when he hits hard to the middle but it will only create an angle for him and he will bash the ball cross court or down the line.

I don't think my PDR+ is a problem, it is heavy and stable enough to hit a fast shot. Any tips anyone? :confused:

Thanks :)

Eric

Vision84
04-14-2008, 08:26 AM
Give him lots of slice forehands and slice backhands. This will force him to generate his own pace which is very difficult to do especially if he hits a fairly flat shot that doesn't travel high over the net which is what it sounds like. Another option would be to loop it back making sure you keep it deep which also makes it very difficult to hit a hard flat ball off of. Or use a combination of these.

Also if his backhand is weak then just h it there everytime.

Bungalo Bill
04-14-2008, 08:38 AM
Hi,

I got a friend who is a hard hitter. I simply got no answer when facing him :(
His favourite shot is to hit the ball very hard into the deep middle area of the court.

Problem is every time he hits that kind of shot, the ball will bounce back to me very very low, the length of my knee, and I had to bend my knee to hit it back and since the ball is travelling very fast, it is double the task to bring the ball back to him. And when I do that, the ball will either hit the net or short and then he will go for the kill. :mad:

Sounds like you are choking man. He is hitting a hard shot and you have no time to think about what you want for lunch. so your rattled and when you swing, your hesitant and freeze your swing a bit, which means you dont swing through the ball, which means it lands short so he can kill you.

The first and foremost things you need to work on are:

1. Your read of the ball off his strings.

2. Your footwork to get into position immediately.

3. Your ability to relax and use his power back at him by not swingin hard! If he has swung hard for you and sped up the pace of the ball, guess what? he has done the work for you! Just reply with a relaxed smooth stroke!

Easier said then done right?

Well, you have to aks yourself some questions:

1. Is your footwork excellent?

2. What about your conditioning? Are you at a good weight for tennis? Could you shed a few pounds?

3. How difficult are your practices for tennis? Do you practice?

If you are out there only on the weekends and face this guy, that is tough. Try setting up some practices with him and challenge yourself to getin better shape (if needed) to help you relax, give you more confidence, and be able to settle down and go with the pace he gives you.

Noisy Ninja
04-14-2008, 08:44 AM
Get him out of his comfort zone. Hard hitters tend to like balls that sit up in their wheelhouse/strike zone. If you continue to feed them balls they prefer...they simply become zoned in to a rhythm and harder to unsettle.

Djokovicfan4life
04-14-2008, 08:48 AM
Find a shot that he is uncomfortable with and play to his weaker side. Don't just think "OK, I'm going to rip one cross-court now" and play right into his forehand (assuming that that's his best shot, it usually is for hard hitters). Give him a nice biting slice to the backhand and see what he does. If his shots start dropping short move up immediately and give him a taste of his own medicine. :twisted:

Kokopelli
04-14-2008, 09:10 AM
I will just expand on what already mentioned here.

I play with a similar player that you mentioned - very flat trajectory, fast pace, low bounce and deep.

You must improve your game (footwork, anticipation, etc.), but you also must try to get him out of his comfort zone.

1) What kind of balls did you give him when he hit these amazing shots?
2) Did your ball sit up? Backspin? Topspin?
3) How high did your balls bounce (where did he make the killing contact)?
4) Was he on the run when hitting these shots?

You must notice what gave him trouble, and when he did not hit his ideal shots.

For the guy that I've been playing with, he wasn't much of a mover, and could not hit his killing shots when the ball is below his knee and above his belly button. My solution (in addition to self improvement - footwork, anticipation, etc.) was to slice and dice, mixing that with extra topspin, and making him move a little. Hope this helps.

Djokovicfan4life
04-14-2008, 09:15 AM
Excellent advice ^^^^^^^^^^^^. Also ask him what grip he uses. This may give you a clue what kind of balls he likes.

smoothtennis
04-14-2008, 10:18 AM
I had a guy yesterday I played that hit this exact shot. Hard, flat, low, deep, and down the middle. I wasn't used to seeing that shot, but here is what worked for me. I quickly set up my feet, stayed low, and just blocked the ball back with a slight push forward. I didn't add any more pace, just let it go back with nothing on it deep.

Now this guy...was a 3.5, and wasn't able to put two or three of those together off the ball I gave him back, so I just waited for a less aggressive reply, then 'I' took the offensive by moving him or hitting a heavy topspin ball deep. He didn't seem to be able to hit that hard flat ball off of a heavy topspin shot deep. Of course, the shot I used to keep him away from his favorite weapon was a soft deep low backhand slice. He couldn't seem to keep his feet under him.

So I just mainly used either soft deep low slices, or heavy looping topspin deep. Worked pretty well.

smoothtennis
04-14-2008, 10:20 AM
I will just expand on what already mentioned here.

I play with a similar player that you mentioned - very flat trajectory, fast pace, low bounce and deep.

You must improve your game (footwork, anticipation, etc.), but you also must try to get him out of his comfort zone.

1) What kind of balls did you give him when he hit these amazing shots?
2) Did your ball sit up? Backspin? Topspin?
3) How high did your balls bounce (where did he make the killing contact)?
4) Was he on the run when hitting these shots?

You must notice what gave him trouble, and when he did not hit his ideal shots.

For the guy that I've been playing with, he wasn't much of a mover, and could not hit his killing shots when the ball is below his knee and above his belly button. My solution (in addition to self improvement - footwork, anticipation, etc.) was to slice and dice, mixing that with extra topspin, and making him move a little. Hope this helps.

LOL, just saw this post after I posted. Not only excellent advice, but this is almost ver batum, what I did too. Nice post.

boojay
04-14-2008, 10:41 AM
I love hard hitters because then I spend less effort having to come up with pace. Especially easy are hard, flat hitters who have no control (i.e. hit to the middle of the court all the time). I usually just direct the ball and make them run all over the place until they finally put up a short ball that I put away myself. Worst case scenario, if I can't control the ball, I'll just block it back (almost like a chip shot) and wait for the next one.

Hard hitters with control are a different story, however.

smoothtennis
04-14-2008, 10:44 AM
Hard hitters with control are a different story, however.

LOL, yeah - they do tend to be a tad bothersome.

lethalfang
04-14-2008, 12:02 PM
Hi,

I got a friend who is a hard hitter. I simply got no answer when facing him :(
His favourite shot is to hit the ball very hard into the deep middle area of the court.

Problem is every time he hits that kind of shot, the ball will bounce back to me very very low, the length of my knee, and I had to bend my knee to hit it back and since the ball is travelling very fast, it is double the task to bring the ball back to him. And when I do that, the ball will either hit the net or short and then he will go for the kill. :mad:

I've tried many times to pivot my racquet sooner but he still will win the point in the end. I've also tried to aim to the deep left or right area of the court when he hits hard to the middle but it will only create an angle for him and he will bash the ball cross court or down the line.

I don't think my PDR+ is a problem, it is heavy and stable enough to hit a fast shot. Any tips anyone? :confused:

Thanks :)

Eric

Shorten your backswing to give yourself more time.

boojay
04-14-2008, 12:06 PM
LOL, yeah - they do tend to be a tad bothersome.

No kidding, hey? They never hit the ball to you, how are you supposed to hit it back? Those jerks!

Tennisman912
04-14-2008, 01:49 PM
eric892,

The most effective technique to battle a heavy hitter is to shorten your stroke a bit and use his pace against him as someone else has suggested. You didn't mention the level you are playing but my guess is if you keep the ball in play he will over hit and probably self destruct. Once he realizes you are no longer intimidated by his pace, he will go for more and more and then all you will have to do is duck a lot. Try to steer your returns to his weaker stroke, I assume to be the backhand.


Don't rush either. You know a big one is coming so don't get excited or tense and rush your stroke. It will help as well. Get the racquet head below the ball and sweep through it. With a little practice you will beat this type of opponent easier than the pusher because they give you so much to work with (pace).

Now if he has pace and good control, you are just over matched. Remember now matter how good you are, there is someone who is always better. Good luck.

TM

eric892
04-14-2008, 08:46 PM
Ok thanks everyone. I think I'll try to aim for his backhand which is weaker if he shoot down the middle again and not forgetting to shorten my stroke a little bit.

Rickson
04-14-2008, 09:21 PM
Hi,

I got a friend who is a hard hitter. I simply got no answer when facing him :(
His favourite shot is to hit the ball very hard into the deep middle area of the court.

Problem is every time he hits that kind of shot, the ball will bounce back to me very very low, the length of my knee, and I had to bend my knee to hit it back and since the ball is travelling very fast, it is double the task to bring the ball back to him. And when I do that, the ball will either hit the net or short and then he will go for the kill. :mad:

I've tried many times to pivot my racquet sooner but he still will win the point in the end. I've also tried to aim to the deep left or right area of the court when he hits hard to the middle but it will only create an angle for him and he will bash the ball cross court or down the line.

I don't think my PDR+ is a problem, it is heavy and stable enough to hit a fast shot. Any tips anyone? :confused:

Thanks :)

Eric

Use his pace against him by using a short takeback, but a full followthrough. There's nothing more frustrating for a power player than to have his power redirected toward him.

choth21
05-18-2008, 04:15 PM
Hard hitting is my style of play, but I played against a guy the other day who also hits hard, but could place the ball a little better than me. After about 40 min, I was getting frustrated, because I wasn't used to being in this position.

so I changed things up and hit him some deep heavy topspin shots that landed 2-3 inches before the line or on the line, and that did the trick. All of a sudden he was missing a lot of his shots and he definitely got rattled. Then when I got a short ball, I went for the winner.

herosol
05-18-2008, 08:31 PM
iono what kind of hard hitter you are talking specifically, but if you're talking like complete flat hitters, then basically my solution is topspin.

well, i already try to hit with maximum topspin, but not only are you consistent, and have high net clearance, extra time to think often makes people choke. Not only that, flat hard fitters, play with very little net clearance, those margin of error very small. Plus, the amount of spin creates heaviness, although not as fast of a ball, creates pressure on your opponent.

Secondly, well-placed, and low slices, really kill big hitters. they want to cream everything, and if you have them at that rhythm, the slice will make unexperience hard hitters just try to bang away, and all they end up with is a trip to the net.

vndesu
05-18-2008, 08:53 PM
counterpunch.

5263
05-19-2008, 09:06 AM
flat hitters struggle to hit big shots against heavy topspin, so this can get errors and keep him off you when you have a ball you can spin up good. I like the low slice advice as well as this makes the flat hitter hit up and this creates problems for him.

These hard hitters are the easiest to take on the rise and their game demands you do it. It steals their time to take that big rip at the ball and minimizes how much he can run you around if you cut it off and take it early on the rise. Remember, don't try to hit major TS when hitting on the rise though.

willgonase10
05-19-2008, 12:57 PM
I'm the same type of player. I hit flat, with some topspin, and HARD+DEEP.

Trust me, slices won't bother me so thats out of the question. The real trick is hitting with a lot of topspin or loopy high balls.

Yes, I am saying moonballs work. Just make sure the moonballs are high and deep.

Hard hitters like the ball at waist level or stomache level. If you give them a super high ball, they will either do one of two things:

1. Lob it back
2. Hit out on it which will probably go into the net or long...

Never slice...I know from experience because I punish slices. Slices give me time to set up which means I won't miss as a hard hitter.

albino smurf
05-19-2008, 12:59 PM
Sounds to me like you better work on your power a bit too. Lots of good advice, but IMO you better work on getting stronger or you will be "pushing" back for a long, unfulfilling time.

albino smurf
05-19-2008, 01:00 PM
"Never slice...I know from experience because I punish slices. Slices give me time to set up which means I won't miss as a hard hitter."

Ditto that.

5263
05-19-2008, 01:02 PM
Will,
I'm sure u are the exception, but most flat hitters can't blast a low angle chip, that stays below net level and forces them to hit up, especially if it has a nice side hop off the skidding bounce.

Not saying you can't handle it though.

Bagumbawalla
05-19-2008, 06:03 PM
Say two players have excatly equal skills as far as consistancy, variety, serve, placement, volleys, overheads, snd so on.

The only difference is that one play can hit the ball HARDER, when called for, than the other player.

The player who can hit harder/faster will win.

So, let's assume that they are not equally matched.

In that case, if you are playing against a hard hitter, you need to, basically, be better at everything else-- consistancy, placement, patience, court strategy and so on.

If the hard balls throw you off, find ways to prevent him from hitting so hard. Slice low balls to mid court. Hit high bounding balls that force him to hit above his shoulder. Concentrate on angles and placement of the ball (rather than getting lulled into a power ralley).

If he thrives on pace, hit him puff-balls, if he has a great forehand, concentrate on the backhand.

Learn to play the court- to open up angles, move the opponent about, get the balls back- not just anywhere, but to a specific target.

Don't just try to out hit him, rather use the whole gamut of your abilities to create opportunities for yourself and obsticles for the opponent- then put the ball away.

Mick
05-19-2008, 06:53 PM
i think mary carillo called it "first strike" tennis in one of the telecasts. you have got to hit the ball hard first, move the opponent out of position, and try to win the point before he does it to you. Whoever does it first has a huge advantage.

GuyClinch
05-19-2008, 11:55 PM
Say two players have excatly equal skills as far as consistancy, variety, serve, placement, volleys, overheads, snd so on.

The only difference is that one play can hit the ball HARDER, when called for, than the other player.

The player who can hit harder/faster will win.

So, let's assume that they are not equally matched.

Exactly. I was thinking that we can't really tell from the OP if the guy he is playing is just better then him. If the guy is like my buddy - a hard flat hitter with little self control (this guy is probably a 2.5) - you can just serve up slices and watch him self destruct. :P

Pete

lethalfang
05-20-2008, 01:02 AM
the same way Santoro tears apart Safin :-D

5263
05-20-2008, 06:37 AM
So, let's assume that they are not equally matched.

In that case, if you are playing against a hard hitter, you need to, basically, be better at everything else-- consistancy, placement, patience, court strategy and so on.


I think it is important to challenge this statement as it is written, as you really don't have to be better at "everything else". Yes, it helps to have the edge in several areas, but this matchup could be broken down in a number of ways and some of us who are not known as big hitters do it most every time we go to the court. Hitting with power is way over rated, and actually about the only thing you need to even things up is to be able to handle power pretty well. You could still be even in several of the other areas and still pull out the win. Some counter punchers even thrive on your power.

Ultra2HolyGrail
05-20-2008, 06:58 AM
''the same way Santoro tears apart Safin''

Or hewitt.

chess9
05-20-2008, 07:06 AM
i think mary carillo called it "first strike" tennis in one of the telecasts. you have got to hit the ball hard first, move the opponent out of position, and try to win the point before he does it to you. Whoever does it first has a huge advantage.

Yes!!!! All I ask is that I get a forehand ball. Against guys my age the point will be over, usually. If not, I will have an easy put away.

And keep playing hard hitters. You'll raise your game. Play some slower players too. Soon, you will never lose to a slower player and will start winning occasionally against the big dogs.

-Robert

Radical Shot
05-20-2008, 02:35 PM
All good advice here. Just to add something completely different, try this also.

Hire, download and study every Fabrice Santoro match you can find. Large on-line video sites might be helpful here.

Fabrice made a career out of making big hitters shake hands in defeat, when he himself didn't have their firepower. He found a way to use skill, tactics, slice, drop-shots and generally found a way to beat big hitters.

You can learn a lot by just watching how someone else does it.

skuludo
05-20-2008, 03:00 PM
Did Santoro find a way to beat Pete Sampras and Andre Agassi?

Radical Shot
05-20-2008, 03:23 PM
He did. Check out this thread
http://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/showthread.php?t=197614

Whatsavolley?
05-20-2008, 03:54 PM
Drop shot! Slicing is a good option although if you slice sits up he'll love it. Keep it low and short and he'll be bashing the back fence everytime (assuming he hits flat)

Other options other posters have suggested will work too, such as hit it hard first, keeping him off balance. IMO blocking doesn't work because he'll just keep hitting until he finds a corner.

eric892
05-23-2008, 03:54 AM
Wow, so many advices. Don't know which one to follow, haha. Anyway thanks ppl.

troytennisbum
05-23-2008, 10:18 AM
"Never slice...I know from experience because I punish slices. Slices give me time to set up which means I won't miss as a hard hitter."

Ditto that.

Sounds to me like the slices that you are able to "punish" are the ones that just sit up for you at around waist height (I see these kind of ineffective slices a lot at the recreational level).

Slices that are hit with alot of backspin/sidespin and that bounce to around knee height (or lower) will not lend themselves to being "punished" by hard hitters. So a PROPERLY hit slice can be an effective stroke against hard hitters (this is why the slice still remains an effective shot in the pros where just about everyone hits hard).

The problem with slicing is that it is a difficult shot to hit effectively against a HIGH bouncing ball. Slices are usually best hit at around waist height or lower. So, against a high bouncing ball, the slice is usually not a practical stroke to employ.

Killua
08-20-2008, 01:17 PM
Do not hit low balls against a hard hitter, especially if he/she is using eastern grip, if i get a low ball the shot that comes out has never been returned

GuyClinch
08-20-2008, 02:18 PM
The problem with slicing is that it is a difficult shot to hit effectively against a HIGH bouncing ball. Slices are usually best hit at around waist height or lower. So, against a high bouncing ball, the slice is usually not a practical stroke to employ.

Agreed. The real problem with these kinds of threads is that good advice depends on seeing both players play. Then we could come up with some kind of prescription for stopping him. If the skill level gap is too great no strategy will help. Sometimes the player is incapable of hitting the shots people advise.

Asking people to play like Santoro is pretty ridiculous. You end up hitting a bunch of ineffective slices and junk balls that any good hard hitter will just cream.

I am a believer that your main strategy should work against most any player. It's all about executing YOUR game properly. I don't really know any players in the real world who suddenly have these amazing ability to hit all kinds of new shots they don't normally hit.

Maybe you go to a play that your normally do a bit more often.. But you have to have that in your game.

tennisfreak15347
08-20-2008, 04:12 PM
Moonballs!!!!

salsainglesa
08-20-2008, 11:52 PM
so he hits a lot to the center of the court? yo know what to expect most of the time, use his speed to your advantage.
seriously be concentrated on being fast to take your racket back....so when you get this one shot, you can move him next, to his weak side, also, dont hit hard, use the speed already on the ball