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exhaleexplode
01-05-2009, 12:13 PM
Ive been playing 3.5 years now. Sometimes though I feel like im playing like a total moron. just hitting the ball. My strokes are good. I have poor strategy. I just can't put points together. Ill make great shots that leave me wide open. Just stupid plays. Any good books on general strategy?

LeeD
01-05-2009, 12:22 PM
Books might help, plenty of strategy books from the library.
But first you gotta get mad at yourself for losing! Once you can't stand the way you play and lose, you will take on a whole different outlook on the game of tennis and actually work on your game.
If you can console yourself with your losses, then it's hopeless.
Of course, you're trying to improve, so I say...play more matches, beat all below you and most of those your level, and analyse what you did wrong.
NO, not "I was stupid". But WHY did you choose that shot, and why didn't you cover after you hit it?

exhaleexplode
01-05-2009, 12:39 PM
oh I work on my game!!
I actually work on my strokes. My serves, my volleys. So there I work on my "skills"...like I said Im just hitting the ball sometimes. I play sets. I play sets often. But even then..othere then pounding the backhand...not quite sure what to do!

LeeD
01-05-2009, 12:46 PM
OK, pound the backhand 90%, and when the return comes weak and high, move in and volley crosscourt to the open court.
Serve 110 up the middle, and within one foot of the service line.
Mix in 30% of your serves out wide....wider than the intersection of the service line and sideline....then come to net and volley away a winner.
When you return serve, hit it deep if they stay back (not hard, but deep), and low short when they move up to volley.
All passing shots within 3' of the sideline or low dipping over the other side of the center of the net.
When back at the baseline, be sure to hit at least 6 balls in without any going shorter than 5' past the service line.
You are now a 4.0 player with skills to move up one whole level.

Gogg
01-05-2009, 11:11 PM
I think it has to do with confidence or just putting the pressure on yourself. When I played my first game for points, I lost, but the game was close and I got ****ed at myself, so I worked hard to improve. In my second points game, I won, not by a whole lot, but I still won. Another thing that helps me is imagining myself as if I could do something. I'm on a very powerful jump serve, that explodes with power sometimes, but I can't always get it to explode with that power. When I think about what I could do if I had that, I want it badly, and strangely, my serves improve after that.

Indiana Puffed
01-06-2009, 02:36 AM
The book Pressure Tennis by Paul Wardlaw would be a good place for you to start in my opinion. It explains specific drills designed to highlight certain patterns of play that will make you a better player. Furthermore, these strategies are based on an underlying strategy looking at when to hit inside and outside groundstrokes. In essence, he provides the strategy behind the strategies. By studying these, you should be on your way to playing tennis in a more developed manner. I feel knowing where to hit the ball gives me more confidence, improves my footwork, and lets my strokes flow more freely.

Nick Saviano's book Maximum Tennis has a section that breaks down the court into zones, i.e neutral zone, groundstroke zone, creative zone and height zone. Understanding where you are making contact with the ball on court, will help your play immensely. There is also a tactics section that higlights a few general patterns such as on serve, backcourt and returns.

There is a book called Tennis Tactics with a foreword by Jim Courier (don't know author) that I heard has a good reputation but I have not got my hands on it yet.

As well as developing strategy, court personality is important. I wouldn't say it is right to feel you are a moron or stupid for hitting a good shot that leaves you open. Accept that your stategy needs to be improved. Of course, you might find you hit it to the right place as you develop and the opponent still hits a winner! Accepting you are on the court to improve and develop will mean you concentrate less on winning the match and more on your strategy and technique. The winning comes from playing your game correctly, not just trying to win. I could get mad at myself for not being the best guitarist in the world but wanting it more is not going to make me better, I need to understand where to improve and develop my knowledge. My post opinion differs from some of those above in some areas, but as suggested before, playing games (and practicing lots) is key, as it will help cement everything you have learnt together.

P.S. Enjoy the game too, it is lots of fun!

brad1730
01-06-2009, 04:39 AM
I'm in the same boat... 3.5 and trying to get better. I have found that developing the fundementals has given me more time (on the court) to have a strategy. Once my feet got me into the proper position, and I hit the ball with a better stroke, I wasn't hitting defensively so much. I can now concentrate more on what the other guy is doing. I'm Ok with where I am at... 3.5 play is just that - the emergence of strategy and consistent play. I have read 'Winning Ugly' by Brad Gilbert which did help. He stresses 'who is doing what to whom.' I'd have to say though, that until I had better footwork, I had no time to figure that out.

jules2
01-06-2009, 05:37 AM
Tomaz Mencinger has written an excellent e-book about basic strategy. I've been playing on and off for over 25 years and I still found it useful to re-affirm and articulate a sound basis for approaching the game. It pretty much gives you all the tools you need to approach a game against most types of opponent. It's quite a short book, but it's concise.

In D Zone
01-06-2009, 01:44 PM
oh I work on my game!!
I actually work on my strokes. My serves, my volleys. So there I work on my "skills"...like I said Im just hitting the ball sometimes. I play sets. I play sets often. But even then..othere then pounding the backhand...not quite sure what to do!

aside from just ounding the bh - try hitting the ball more behind the service line and to the body.

How is your slice? do you use it at all?

Do you attack the 2nd serve? If you are comfortable at the net - try moving the opponent around and then sneak in once in awhile to end the point at the net.

Analyze and remember what you think worked after each game. This will help you recognized what strategy and tactics you used to win that point.
Set small goal each game - example: I want to be consitent hitting a deep approach shot to the corner. Play more defense and with less unforced errors. This will help you build court awareness and will slowly get incorporated to your overall game apporach.

badmice2
01-06-2009, 02:45 PM
Ive been playing 3.5 years now. Sometimes though I feel like im playing like a total moron. just hitting the ball. My strokes are good. I have poor strategy. I just can't put points together. Ill make great shots that leave me wide open. Just stupid plays. Any good books on general strategy?

Look up "wardlaw directional" anywhere (TW board, google, etc); the concepts will make you rethink your tennis strategies and learn how to play more percentage tennis. Being that you're still in 3.5, a lot of the concepts can still be executed with ease as long as you're conscientious of your on-court actions.

exhaleexplode
01-07-2009, 09:38 AM
Nah I dont use my slice much. I havent been working on it. I love my topspin backhand so much it gets favoured. But Ive been meaning to. I can get it to jump to the left and go deep, also those low balls seem effective against two handers.
As for attacking the serve...rarely (unless im not thinking!). Especially a good second with much spin, high out of my strike zone. I win the most points just placing it back deep. If I can return every serve Ill break and do well. If I go for winners of the serve...they will be long or in the net.
As for the net play. Hardly any. My coach (I get one private a week) and I have been working on volleys a lot. Great in practice but much trouble transitioning that to match play. I know I probably just have to force it till I get comfortable there. I just never know if my shot is just right to approach on.
Thanks for the tips though!!!

In D Zone
01-07-2009, 03:19 PM
Nah I dont use my slice much. I havent been working on it. I love my topspin backhand so much it gets favoured. But Ive been meaning to. I can get it to jump to the left and go deep, also those low balls seem effective against two handers.
As for attacking the serve...rarely (unless im not thinking!). Especially a good second with much spin, high out of my strike zone. I win the most points just placing it back deep. If I can return every serve Ill break and do well. If I go for winners of the serve...they will be long or in the net.
As for the net play. Hardly any. My coach (I get one private a week) and I have been working on volleys a lot. Great in practice but much trouble transitioning that to match play. I know I probably just have to force it till I get comfortable there. I just never know if my shot is just right to approach on.
Thanks for the tips though!!!


Sounds like you have all the recipe in your war chest (well, almost except for the slice). The next step is to pull the ingredients together inorder for you to come up with your own game. The end product will make you a stronger and better player.

That is why I mentioned to set mini goals and evaluated your game after each outing. If you think it through you'll be more aware of strengthens , weaknesses and what to do during a match. Don't rely on your coach, they can only do so much. The execution and the desire in within you. Yes, it may take awhile (be ready to lose some games) but you'll notice immediately you'll playing better and better each outing.
Lastly, stay positive!

LeeD
01-07-2009, 04:05 PM
The right shot to approach with is the one you hit 2' from his baseline, as far from him as possible.
Once in a while, hit one really low and short right towards him just for fun.