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View Full Version : How to beat this player -eastern forehand+1hbh-


Ballinbob
01-17-2009, 07:49 AM
Hey guys, sorry for making so many threads but alots been happening and I need advice. Anyway, the #1 singles player of our school (a friend of mine, but we're not that close) has asked me to hit with him every weekend both Sat and Sun. We played yesterday and he beat me 1-6,2-6. He's the better player so I was cool with it, but I feel like I didn't make the most out of my abilities while playing him. If you could guys could give me a strategy or two against this guy that I could use that would be great.

My playing style: I went from a pure S&V player to more of an all court player. My coach and I worked on getting more body rotation into my forehand, and its become a really big shot. My serve and forehand (SW grip) are my best shots. I can hit all the serves, but the kick+flat serve is what I use the most. My coach saw how I played and recommended to play Nadal style with standing 5ft behind the baseline and hitting big topspin shots, and its been working. I get to every ball, and hit big forehands and slice all my backhands. My fitness and speed has made this a really effective strategy. My volleys are good but I don't move around that well at net so I end up hitting alot of volleys with bad form. My footwork is average, but I end up using pure speed to get to the ball more than good movement/footwork. I have a 1hbh and its my worst shot. I end up slicing 90% of my shots on that side. My return of serve is poor but has gotten alot better. I'm returning from 5-7ft behind the baseline, and the extra time has made a big difference. And that's pretty much my game

His game: This guy is an all court player, and can play any style really. He can S&V and everything, he can do it all. He has an eastern forehand grip and a onehanded backhand. He doesn't have a weakness, but doesn't really have a big weapon. He is consistent, and hits with a surprising amount of topspin with his forehand. His returns seem to be always short, but they are all sliced and really low. I tried S&Ving but the returns have no pace and are so low. He slices pretty much all high balls to his backhand. His serve is strong but he only makes it in like 40-45% of the time, and his 2nd serve is a weak kick serve that lands deep in the box.

If you need any more info to give me a good strategy just tell me. This is all I can think off now. I think I gave you more than enough info, and I really just need to know how to attack an eastern forehand and the best strategy against a 1hbh. Are high balls the only thing that 1hbh generally have trouble with or is there something else? I run around all my backhands and/or slice, so I really don't know for sure.

Thanks

samster
01-17-2009, 07:55 AM
I say attack his backhand like Nadal does to Federer. Serve majority to his backhand. Loopy topspin to his OHBH. Wait for that side to break down.

samster
01-17-2009, 07:57 AM
People with Eastern FH don't dig high loopy balls to their FH side either. Regardless, attack his backhand. (Also work on improving your BH, work on developing a topspin BH, slice backhand is mostly a defensive shot).

thejoe
01-17-2009, 08:00 AM
He was probably keeping his returns short and low because he knows you like to come in behind your serve. I know you said you are now an all-court player, but you could try staying behind your serve, and putting away the short ball instead of hitting a volley.

Try being more aggressive on your return. That doesn't mean smash it back at him, but you could try new things? You say you slice most of your backhands, and you sound comfortable at the net, so why not chip and charge a bit?

It sounds obvious, but if his backhand is weak, go inside out with your forehand.

RoddickAce
01-17-2009, 08:10 AM
Hit high loopy balls to his backhand, sneak in and use your net skills to finish off the point. This usually works against the majority of one-handed backhanders who are in the club level.
One of my hitting partners is kind of like the guy you mentioned, he has crazy top spin on his forehand, and a strong serve, returns are low curving slices...Except he plays with a two-hander. What works for me against him is to overpower him with a huge flat forehand to his forehand, then work the short angles on both sides. Make him run, and finish the points at net or with the short angles.

Good luck, and tell us when you beat him and eventually take his #1 singles spot xD.

Ballinbob
01-17-2009, 08:18 AM
He was probably keeping his returns short and low because he knows you like to come in behind your serve. I know you said you are now an all-court player, but you could try staying behind your serve, and putting away the short ball instead of hitting a volley.

Try being more aggressive on your return. That doesn't mean smash it back at him, but you could try new things? You say you slice most of your backhands, and you sound comfortable at the net, so why not chip and charge a bit?

It sounds obvious, but if his backhand is weak, go inside out with your forehand.

Completely forgot about chip and charge. Ever since I started returning from that far back I pretty much stopped doing it. How about if I stand far back on his 1st serve, then on his 2nd serve try and take it early and charge the net?

And I think playing Nadal style (heavy topspin) to his backhand may be the best strategy then. I have almost a full western grip, and all my forehands go over the net by like 5 ft and land deep. And would serving all kick serves to his backhand be smart too? I usualy use a flat serve for my 1st serve, but now that I think about serving all kick serves to his backhand might be smart. So maybe the heavy topspin game is the best way to play against him then?

edit-roddickace, there's still a long ways to go until the season starts (fall). If we're going to be hitting 2-3 times a week, hopefully I'll get used to him. I'm playing him again today and I'm going Nadal style to the max, all heavy topspin shots

joshburger
01-17-2009, 08:39 AM
try to work on your backhand. when you last played him was he beating up on your backhand?

thejoe
01-17-2009, 08:49 AM
Completely forgot about chip and charge. Ever since I started returning from that far back I pretty much stopped doing it. How about if I stand far back on his 1st serve, then on his 2nd serve try and take it early and charge the net?

And I think playing Nadal style (heavy topspin) to his backhand may be the best strategy then. I have almost a full western grip, and all my forehands go over the net by like 5 ft and land deep. And would serving all kick serves to his backhand be smart too? I usualy use a flat serve for my 1st serve, but now that I think about serving all kick serves to his backhand might be smart. So maybe the heavy topspin game is the best way to play against him then?

edit-roddickace, there's still a long ways to go until the season starts (fall). If we're going to be hitting 2-3 times a week, hopefully I'll get used to him. I'm playing him again today and I'm going Nadal style to the max, all heavy topspin shots

Yeah, I think chip-charge on his second serve would be a great idea.

LeeD
01-17-2009, 12:42 PM
Personally, I'd use your coach's groundie forehand to effect....
Highbounce your forehand or serve to his backhand, KNOWING the return doesn't have much pace, but is low and sliced. Step around your backhand and WATCH THE BALL, the crush your forehand at either sideline.
If he hits to your backhand, slice hard and low, semi western grip for penetration.
You mentioned you are fast, but movement around the net position might be a weakness. That's why I recommend NOT chip and charge, which takes agile quickness, but use your height (overheads), and strength on forehand to your advantage.
If he never hits top backhands, then pound your hardest topped shots into his backhand until one floats back. Then work on your high putaway volleys.
Sounds easy, but it's hard to beat any good player.

Ballinbob
01-17-2009, 01:35 PM
Personally, I'd use your coach's groundie forehand to effect....
Highbounce your forehand or serve to his backhand, KNOWING the return doesn't have much pace, but is low and sliced. Step around your backhand and WATCH THE BALL, the crush your forehand at either sideline.
If he hits to your backhand, slice hard and low, semi western grip for penetration.
You mentioned you are fast, but movement around the net position might be a weakness. That's why I recommend NOT chip and charge, which takes agile quickness, but use your height (overheads), and strength on forehand to your advantage.
If he never hits top backhands, then pound your hardest topped shots into his backhand until one floats back. Then work on your high putaway volleys.
Sounds easy, but it's hard to beat any good player.

Thanks, i'll try it. He's coming over to my house today and we're going to play in a half hour. I'll report back tonight on what worked and what didn't. Right now I'm going into the match with a gameplan on hit heavy kick serves to his backhand and hit my forehand vs his backhand. My coach and I have been working hard on my forehand and its finally payed off, so I plan on using it to my advantage. Oh, and he does hit topspin backhands, but only on the lower/medium height balls. He slices back all my topspin shots.

Like I said, I'll report back tonight. He is the better player, but my goal today is to do better than last time (I lost 1-6,3-6).

LeeD
01-17-2009, 01:45 PM
Good luck...
and focus more on points played rather than games won or lost.
You're trying to make each game competitive, before you blow him off the court.
So take your time, focus on your strategy, and if he unexpectedly starts hitting powerful topspin backhands, then a change of your strategy might be called for.
If you can remember, you still gotta once in a while hit directly into his strength, his forehand, so he has to stay awake and reactive.

junbumkim
01-17-2009, 02:42 PM
I don't know why your coach advised you to play 5 ft behind the baseline when your strokes are not the best part of your game, but your volleys are.
You should look to attack and put pressure on your opponents.

Anyway, here are my suggestions.

If he's slicing all the high balls to his backhand, make him to that on the run.
Go to his forehand a couple of times and see if you can hit deep topspin shots to his backhand -almost like a moon ball.

If he's missing a lot of 1st serve, you have to put pressure on his 2nd serve.
Either by chipping and charing, or going for a big return. If youwant to go for a big return, i recommend you do it down the middle to give yourself room for an error.

Ballinbob
01-17-2009, 04:03 PM
Just got back from the courts, and good news! I lost 2-6, and then I was up 3-0 in the 2nd set and then he started complaining it was too cold so we just hit the rest of the time. I know I still lost an all, but I played alot better than yesterday. I was on a roll though, if we kept playing I would have won that set.

I hit big kick serves for both 1st and 2nd serves, always going for his backhand. I got the slice reply I was looking for, and right after I served I got into position to hit my forehand into his backhand. I got low under the ball and started pounding my topspin forehand into his backhand and eventually he made an error. I S&Ved on my flat serves and that worked good, but I was hitting mostly big kick serves (by big I mean alot more spin than usual). On returns I tried just keeping a short backswing for his 1st serve and it worked for the most part. I went for the big return on his 2nd serve and I went down the middle and approached. In short, I just played a really aggressive topspin game. If I can keep hitting my kick serve like I was today then I'm probably going to use that instead of my flat serve for my 1st serve. It bouncing 6ft and was consistently going in.

Obviously he is the better player and he won, but I still played alot better with this plan. Hopefully next time I might even take a set of him.

Thanks guys!!

edit-junbumkim, my coach suggested that I stay back behind the baseline when I don't S&V, because usually I stood right on top of the baseline taking everything early which never worked for me.

edit again-I actually lost 1-6,2-6 yesterday. We didn't use a score card and I thought it was 3-6

LeeD
01-17-2009, 04:41 PM
Remember, the score of the practice match matters little.
What matters for him....he's getting a good workout.
What matters for you... you are learning strengths and weaknesses, of your game AND his game.
If the points are close, the games are close, you are achieving your objective.
If he returns every one of your kickers, you gotta throw in some variety.
If his serve is just plain awesome, you gotta figure a way to get it back...volley, lob, whatever, but you gotta get it back.
If he just blows you off the court, then he's a good player.

Ballinbob
01-17-2009, 04:47 PM
Remember, the score of the practice match matters little.
What matters for him....he's getting a good workout.
What matters for you... you are learning strengths and weaknesses, of your game AND his game.
If the points are close, the games are close, you are achieving your objective.
If he returns every one of your kickers, you gotta throw in some variety.
If his serve is just plain awesome, you gotta figure a way to get it back...volley, lob, whatever, but you gotta get it back.
If he just blows you off the court, then he's a good player.

Yeah I see what you mean. He isn't blowing me off the court at all, and we went into deuce like every game except I choked on the big points. If we finished the 2nd set I would have won it, I was just playing amazing. He isn't getting all my kick serves back either, and I was placing them well. I really was serving well today vs yesterday and that made all the difference. I'm not the best returner and I tried to just block/lob it back deep in the court. I made the most out of strengths today (serve+forehand) and it really helped. I've got to make less forehand errors though. Once I cut down on the errors I'll be alot more dangerous...

Anyway, I'm happy with how I played today. Hopefully next time I'll do better

LeeD
01-17-2009, 04:55 PM
You will do better next time.
Really focus on maintaining the same consistent strokes that you practice with. Lotsa players practice really well, but tend to jerk or flail when an important point against a equal or superior opponent comes around.
If you need an alternative for that pressure point forehand return of serve, you can always continental grip high volley it back deep and low, mainly crosscourt.
I know that is against the grain of current thought, but variety works well in pressure situations.

Ballinbob
01-17-2009, 05:05 PM
Yeah that's true. I feel like he's alot more mentally tough than me because he plays more tournaments. I was up 40-15 on his serve and I got really excited because I felt like this was my chance right here. Then he hits two aces in a row and we're back at duece. He double faulted the last point, and then 2 aces that came out of nowhere? I ended up loosing that game because I started putting down myself for not breaking him. I'll try the continental grip/high volley thing, I'm willing to try anything to fix my return. The biggest thing separating us is mental toughness and preforming well on the big points (which I guess is mental toughness too), and that's something I need to work on if i'm going to beat him.

Thanks for everyone's help in this too. All of you guys really helped me out

Jonny S&V
01-17-2009, 05:23 PM
Yeah that's true. I feel like he's alot more mentally tough than me because he plays more tournaments. I was up 40-15 on his serve and I got really excited because I felt like this was my chance right here. Then he hits two aces in a row and we're back at duece. He double faulted the last point, and then 2 aces that came out of nowhere? I ended up loosing that game because I started putting down myself for not breaking him. I'll try the continental grip/high volley thing, I'm willing to try anything to fix my return. The biggest thing separating us is mental toughness and preforming well on the big points (which I guess is mental toughness too), and that's something I need to work on if i'm going to beat him.

Thanks for everyone's help in this too. All of you guys really helped me out

Yeah, I know how you feel. I played in a tourney yesterday and today and played two guys that had no weapons and were consistent to a tee... Beat the first one in three sets (that's what I get for not hitting in two weeks, prob coulda beaten him in two sets but all well...) and then lost to the second in straights. If I have something to attack, I usually win (even if they have a BIG weapon), but I need to work on my own consistency (note: S&Ving after two weeks off is a BAD thing to do, which is why I need to work on groundstrokes so I don't have to rely on my volleys so much...). Sounds like we both just have to work on consistency... :???:

Ballinbob
01-17-2009, 05:35 PM
Yeah, I know how you feel. I played in a tourney yesterday and today and played two guys that had no weapons and were consistent to a tee... Beat the first one in three sets (that's what I get for not hitting in two weeks, prob coulda beaten him in two sets but all well...) and then lost to the second in straights. If I have something to attack, I usually win (even if they have a BIG weapon), but I need to work on my own consistency (note: S&Ving after two weeks off is a BAD thing to do, which is why I need to work on groundstrokes so I don't have to rely on my volleys so much...). Sounds like we both just have to work on consistency... :???:

Yeah lol, I definitley need to work on being more consistent. My flat serve can be consistent on some days, but usually it has a mind of its own. The only thing that's really consistent on a day to day basis is my kick serve, just because I hate double faulting. I start cussing myself out when I double fault and I start getting down on myself. Its such a dumb way to end a point, I hate it... My forehand is strong, but after a couple shots I'll miss. Same goes for everything else. I think its funny though how one day you feel like your playing like a pro, and the next day you suck. I wonder why that happens lol.

and playing a tourney after 2 weeks of not playing is not smart haha. Why didn't you practice like 2-3 days before? That woulda helped alot I bet.

Mick
01-17-2009, 05:38 PM
I think its funny though how one day you feel like your playing like a pro, and the next day you suck. I wonder why that happens lol.

if your hitting partner is a half a level lower than you are, you would feel like you are roger federer every day :)

Jonny S&V
01-17-2009, 05:40 PM
Yeah lol, I definitley need to work on being more consistent. My flat serve can be consistent on some days, but usually it has a mind of its own. The only thing that's really consistent on a day to day basis is my kick serve, just because I hate double faulting. I start cussing myself out when I double fault and I start getting down on myself. Its such a dumb way to end a point, I hate it... My forehand is strong, but after a couple shots I'll miss. Same goes for everything else. I think its funny though how one day you feel like your playing like a pro, and the next day you suck. I wonder why that happens lol.

and playing a tourney after 2 weeks of not playing is not smart haha. Why didn't you practice like 2-3 days before? That woulda helped alot I bet.

No access to indoor courts, so I played my way into it. I'll try to get in sometime this week, but I should be fine for next week. I hate double faulting too... It's the worst thing for you 'cause your not making your opponent work for it.

BullDogTennis
01-17-2009, 05:56 PM
get him runnin, side to side, and come to the net as much as you can. make sure you hit Deep volleys to his backhand, and really either loopy shots to the backhand or deep balls, those are the toughest things to play with a 1hbh(at least for me)

Ballinbob
01-19-2009, 04:17 PM
played the guy again today, and we got to 5-5 before it started getting too windy. I think I finally have the guy figured out. Variety is really working for me against him, along with playing a big topspin game. I honestly wasn't hitting my strokes any better, it was just the way I used them. I hit alot of drop shots, hit short angles, varied placement on kick serves. Btw, I think drop shots are really underrated. They can get you alot of free points if your opponent is out of position. I'm actually going to start practicing this shot, its really nice to have. Before I just did a kick serve to the backhand and started hitting my forehand hard into his backhand. Eventually he grooved into that though and it didnt work. So from now on I'm going to start using my strokes differently and with more variety

Anyway thought you guys would like to know:)

BullDogTennis
01-19-2009, 05:55 PM
played the guy again today, and we got to 5-5 before it started getting too windy. I think I finally have the guy figured out. Variety is really working for me against him, along with playing a big topspin game. I honestly wasn't hitting my strokes any better, it was just the way I used them. I hit alot of drop shots, hit short angles, varied placement on kick serves. Btw, I think drop shots are really underrated. They can get you alot of free points if your opponent is out of position. I'm actually going to start practicing this shot, its really nice to have. Before I just did a kick serve to the backhand and started hitting my forehand hard into his backhand. Eventually he grooved into that though and it didnt work. So from now on I'm going to start using my strokes differently and with more variety

Anyway thought you guys would like to know:)


i dont think anyone has underated a drop shot. its not used THAT often because you'll miss it more times than not. even if you practice it alot, watch pros they usually miss 3/5 (when i say miss, not neccarily not get over the net, but hit it to deep and the other guy hits a winner)

d-quik
01-29-2009, 10:13 PM
whats wrong with your backhand? do you hit it into the net? directional accuracy? do you spray it long?

also, your forehand grip and backhand grip are the same right? i find the western forehand grip is great for driving backhands.