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crash1929
10-10-2009, 11:12 PM
I have been a doubles player since I got back into tennis 5 years ago. Over the past 6 months I've been playing singles exclusively. I am a 4.5 player.

I know this has been discussed before, but here is my problem shot:
The short sitter forehand where I have to move up to it (sometimes running) and put it away. I'm having a horrible time with this shot. Can a coach here please list a few things I should keep in mind to improve on this shot.

Thank you in advance!

xFullCourtTenniSx
10-10-2009, 11:52 PM
I have been a doubles player since I got back into tennis 5 years ago. Over the past 6 months I've been playing singles exclusively. I am a 4.5 player.

I know this has been discussed before, but here is my problem shot:
The short sitter forehand where I have to move up to it (sometimes running) and put it away. I'm having a horrible time with this shot. Can a coach here please list a few things I should keep in mind to improve on this shot.

Thank you in advance!

These are the kinds of shots we smart, aggressive players look for. But yes, your first times handling these are very difficult.

The most important thing you must do to prepare yourself for these, is to look for them! Nothing technical, just the anticipation that a ball will bounce short. Once you recognize this, you can move into position for the ball earlier. Those early 3-4 steps mean the difference from hitting the ball aggressively and just putting it in.

Now, the second thing is shorten your stroke. I've personally never followed this advice, but it's good nonetheless. You might want to start off shortening your stroke, but once you get better you can use whatever sized stroke feels comfortable to you (that does the job consistently).

The third thing to do is recognize the height of the ball you'll make contact at. If it's above the height of the net, especially by a significant margin, you're meant to kill it. Or at the very least, you must force an error. These are NOT approach shots. There are kill shots! Put them away! Now, if the ball is below the level of the net, these are approach shots. You cannot hit these balls flat like the kill shots, but you can still be aggressive with it using placement, depth, and decent pace. You must also use adequate topspin to get it to go over the net and drop back in. HOWEVER, do NOT use TOO MUCH topspin! This will slow the ball down and make it sit up for your opponent. And if you hit it short, the results will be BAD! Even if you hit it deep, you're setting yourself up to get passed! So you want to focus on aggressive placement, depth, and pace that you can consistently pull off 99% of the time. Use SOME spin to get it over and in, but not too much! It is still very possible to hit a winner off a ball below the height of the net, but it's difficult. I just recently regained that ability. The farther it is from the net, the easier it is to still hit a winner even if it's a low ball. But you need a lot of racket head speed to produce the right combination and amounts of pace and spin to get a winner off that. But to start off, focus on the fact that balls a foot or higher above the net should be killed or put away and balls below the height of the net should be placed aggressively and hit as approach shots to set you up for an easy volley.

Now the hardest part, practicing them as much as possible! Hit 50-100 of these following these tips and you should have a very aggressive approach shot or constant winners off these short sitters! (You should keep this ability as sharp as possible)

These probably aren't as great as BungaloBill's advice, but at least I tried. These focus points actually helped me gain a very powerful transition game! The most important one being anticipate the short ball!

Oh, there are shoulder level dip drives, but we'll get to that when you need that.

crash1929
10-11-2009, 12:24 AM
tks man. i've thought about shortening my storke but that hasn't seemed to help as of yet.....

i have been thinking about anticipation lately. and i've thought that is its often used in a general way. I've been trying to focus in on exactly what does anticiaption mean? where are your eyes focused to help you anticipate the quality, direction, pace, and spin of the shot. i mean anticipation is more than just realizing you hit a good shot and have your opponent moving and then realizing you should come in right......

a couple things got me thinking about anticipation. One i got beat by a girl, true she is a DI Ivy leage player, but events like these are like a slap in the face. I realize that when i come in on an approach shot i have horrible anticipation. I often don't even watch the ball. So it got me thinking how can i get better at anticipating where the opponent will try to pass and hence be set up better to hit a winning volley? Do you watch the ball? The face of the racquet? Body position? If you are a good at this please share.

Also, as I mentioned I have a hard time watching the ball and focusing. A cute girl will pass by and I will forget to look at the ball for 5 minutes. etc etc. Some one on here posted as an excercise they watched the ball the whole match where ever it went. This has been helping me. I mean I haven't done it for a whole match or even a set. But Its helped keep my eyes on the ball longer. The other day I realized that while returning serve I was only watching the ball at contact. I started to watch the ball as the opponent bounced it and held it in his hand pre toss. Then I continued to watch it as it moved in his hand up through the toss as well. For some reason by focusing on the ball for a considerable amount of time before the actual impact it helped my anticiaption considerably. I mean I thought it would only be improtant to watch the as it was in the air during the toss or at impact. but no watching it from the time the opponent picks it up off the ground helped me. anyway thats enough for now.

xFullCourtTenniSx
10-11-2009, 12:34 AM
Anticipation is being able to predict your opponent's next shot (the one they'll most likely hit) and being able to determine where the ball will land and what kind of spin and bounce it will have. I can generally tell when a ball is going to go deep, when it'll be short, when it'll go out.

Focusing on the ball is key to this.

When I hit a groundstroke, I like to focus on watching the ball as it bounces and rises. That's my most important focus in the rally in regards to the ball. This is what helps me the most, personally. However, if I have the attention span to keep my focus on the ball the entire time, I will do it.

Now, as for watching their toss, I do the same. It helps you react slightly faster, which can be the difference between an ace and a deep return.

LeeD
10-11-2009, 09:19 AM
You don't seem to recognise that a short ball doesn't need to be hit hard or with extreme spin to be a winner. You can chip/float it deep into the open court, short angle low away from the opponent, or drop right towards him, and all will be forcing/winners.
Nice to back it up with a ready second shot, against superior players.
So you can approach and watch the ball better, hit it hard with any kind of spin (western grippers usually outside and top), or slice it with a conti grip hitting to one of the 3 spots I mentioned.
Won't comment on your level if you can't hit this shot....:):) it's the basic tenet to get above 3.5.

crash1929
10-11-2009, 01:01 PM
Hi Lee yes I agree those are good points. And infact I tend to want to overhit so I could probably be better by thinking about other options rathing than killing the ball all the time. By the way I am a computer rated 4.5 player in CA after three years of usta match play. This is just I'm having trouble with for some reason.

NickH87
10-11-2009, 01:32 PM
Thanks for these tips, I am somewhere between 3.0-3.5 and this is a problem area for me as well. I play club tennis at my school and one thing a lot of the guys keep telling me is to work on the short balls during the rally. I footwork is off and I often over hit. I never really shortened the stroke so I will keep my mind on that and the placement of the ball above or under the net is something Ive never considered.

xFullCourtTenniSx
10-11-2009, 03:56 PM
You can chip/float it deep into the open court

If we omit the chip part, floating the ball into the open court is setting up your opponent for a kill shot! :shock:

tribunal4555
10-11-2009, 04:02 PM
IMO, floating a short ball makes NO sense. A knifing slice I can understand, but a floater? You'll get annihilated against better players. So much for those tenets :???:

5263
10-11-2009, 04:11 PM
This shot is not exclusive to singles. What the heck did you do in dubs with one like this?

The key is get on balance, and stay on balance while you make the shot of your choice. If you have to move thru the shot, then a LeeD, agressive slice.

jserve
10-11-2009, 04:28 PM
Treat it like you would most other groundies. It would be silly to make an error at the part of the point by going for too much and overhitting the ball. Place it deep to a corner and follow it in to the net and this will put all the pressure on your opponent to come up with a big shot. In most cases your opponent will go for too much and make an error or give you an easy volley.

LeeD
10-11-2009, 05:14 PM
You guys are simplistic and think only one way....
A hard slice is the best option, for sure...
But a floater slice, from just inside the service line, can easily be a pure winner, even at 6.0 levels. You're INSIDE the service line, opponent has been run off the court. Safest shot is something you can hit easily without error, and a floater with some backspin is it. Even a floater to the open court is a downright WINNER, so why try to hit it hard?
Please try to envision MORE than just your one way of thinking. Haven't you guys ever groundied an opponent into submission, when they're off the side of the court, way back, and give up on the ball? Now you want to hit a real manly shot? What, you dumb and what to lose or something?

xFullCourtTenniSx
10-11-2009, 06:20 PM
You guys are simplistic and think only one way....
A hard slice is the best option, for sure...
But a floater slice, from just inside the service line, can easily be a pure winner, even at 6.0 levels. You're INSIDE the service line, opponent has been run off the court. Safest shot is something you can hit easily without error, and a floater with some backspin is it. Even a floater to the open court is a downright WINNER, so why try to hit it hard?
Please try to envision MORE than just your one way of thinking. Haven't you guys ever groundied an opponent into submission, when they're off the side of the court, way back, and give up on the ball? Now you want to hit a real manly shot? What, you dumb and what to lose or something?

You never played a guy like Nadal who fights and scrambles for every point did you?

At the 6.0 level especially, if you hit a floating slice, EVEN if they're off the court, THEY'LL GET TO IT! And they will do something with it! Granted if you got them off the court, it wouldn't be too bad but they can still get a winner off that through pure placement. At higher levels of the game, if you get your opponent off the court and have a short ball, SLAM THE DOOR ON THEIR FACE! RUB IT IN! DESTROY THEIR SPIRIT! Don't let them even think that they had a chance to get back into the point if they tried to chase the next ball. I'm not even close to a 6.0 level, but if you knock me off the doubles sidelines and put that floater into the court, I'll get it back and I can hit a winner off that or put myself back into the point. But if someone knocks a hard ball into the other side, I won't be able to get it back. I won't even come close. A drop shot in this scenario is fine, but a floater on the service line?! That's too deep and too short! That's where you're NEVER supposed to hit a shot! NEVER! Unless you hit the sidelines with it!

The safest shot you can hit without error is by definition a topspin shot.

nfor304
10-12-2009, 04:23 AM
You never played a guy like Nadal who fights and scrambles for every point did you?

At the 6.0 level especially, if you hit a floating slice, EVEN if they're off the court, THEY'LL GET TO IT! And they will do something with it! Granted if you got them off the court, it wouldn't be too bad but they can still get a winner off that through pure placement. At higher levels of the game, if you get your opponent off the court and have a short ball, SLAM THE DOOR ON THEIR FACE! RUB IT IN! DESTROY THEIR SPIRIT! Don't let them even think that they had a chance to get back into the point if they tried to chase the next ball. I'm not even close to a 6.0 level, but if you knock me off the doubles sidelines and put that floater into the court, I'll get it back and I can hit a winner off that or put myself back into the point. But if someone knocks a hard ball into the other side, I won't be able to get it back. I won't even come close. A drop shot in this scenario is fine, but a floater on the service line?! That's too deep and too short! That's where you're NEVER supposed to hit a shot! NEVER! Unless you hit the sidelines with it!

The safest shot you can hit without error is by definition a topspin shot.

LeeD probably has the most high level playing experience of anyone on the board.

The guy knows tennis.

brad1730
10-12-2009, 05:56 AM
This shot is not exclusive to singles. What the heck did you do in dubs with one like this?

The key is get on balance, and stay on balance while you make the shot of your choice. If you have to move thru the shot, then a LeeD, agressive slice.

I think this was my problem. In singles, I find myself rushing into the shot from the baseline. In doubles, I would either volley the shot or have plenty of time to get my feet and grip ready. You (5263) game me the following advice that I found helpful...

Two things come to mind. One is that if you time to just gather yourself a bit, not a full stop or split step, but find that moment of calm balance; sort of a moment of float. At this point, if you can focus on your hand/eye ability, opposed to focus on hand/eye/feet, you may find you can execute this shot more consistently.

The second is if you can move just to the side as you hit, helping you to hit up and across the ball, this can aid control as well. These are 2 things that I learned to focus on recently and it has really improved things in this area. Before I was more traditional in stepping forward and hitting out thru the ball. It worked ok much of the time, but to get control, power was often sacrificed.

xFullCourtTenniSx
10-12-2009, 06:50 AM
LeeD probably has the most high level playing experience of anyone on the board.

The guy knows tennis.

Yet the guy saw a guy of 5.5+ tennis asking for advice and said "that's 4.5+! You're too good for me to critique on".

Yeah... Granted those aren't the exact words... But... These are:

Nice forehand, well up into the 4.5+ stage. Over my head probably.

http://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/showthread.php?t=292028

If you want to verify my evidence... Unless he was talking about the bounce of the ball, which I doubt, this makes me question if he's played 6.0 tennis.

LeeD
10-12-2009, 09:49 AM
xFull.....
Maybe that's why you're not at 6.0 level yet. You think it's necessary to hit hard with topspin on every shot.
I think it's necessary to hit the winner without a miss. Nobody can run from past doubles alley to single alley on the other side, even against a soft, underspun "floater" ball.
And safer shot from service line upwards is a underspin. A volley, a half volley, or a slice into the open court. Anyone who plays tennis knows you can mishit the topspin putaway, can hit into the net, can hit it long...just 3 ways to lose the point.
I've certainly given up the point when I've been run out past the alleys, and so have almost every player I've played against, whether I lost to them bagel or made it sorta close. That's the real game of tennis...you pick your battles, and you forgo wasting your energy chasing hopeless balls.
Look at the pros. They give up on weak lobs, short easy groundies, and give up when run wide after a long rally exchange. You can't run after every ball and expect to play the next point with any real competitiveness.

nfor304
10-12-2009, 04:46 PM
delete post

LeeD
10-12-2009, 05:40 PM
Remember the lazy vids of Federer and Youzny? You know they're OK players, but from watching just that one vid, they could easily be 5-5.5's.
So with this ONE vid.
And I say "4.5 +".
Some history. As a mid ranked B or 4.5 player, in 1978, I won 3 rounds of a ProQ for the SanFranciscoTransAm PRO tournament. Had I won two more, I would have made the $250 in the first round and been ranked under 1,000.
I didn't win the match, the money, or that I know of, the ranking.
4.5 can be someone who qualifies for first round of the main draw. Don't believe it? Following year, I lost to RussellSimpson, who got to the finals of the main draw. Since he had to Q like me, maybe our levels weren't the same, but maybe not all that different.
Some 4.5's have multiple weapons. Other's might just have pigheaded fetch and retrieve. Can't rate all 4.5's the same.
4.5's can easily be excellent players who have all the shots, and maybe just lacking that certain element to break thru to 6.0 levels.

JavierLW
10-12-2009, 05:57 PM
You never played a guy like Nadal who fights and scrambles for every point did you?

At the 6.0 level especially, if you hit a floating slice, EVEN if they're off the court, THEY'LL GET TO IT! And they will do something with it! Granted if you got them off the court, it wouldn't be too bad but they can still get a winner off that through pure placement. At higher levels of the game, if you get your opponent off the court and have a short ball, SLAM THE DOOR ON THEIR FACE! RUB IT IN! DESTROY THEIR SPIRIT! Don't let them even think that they had a chance to get back into the point if they tried to chase the next ball. I'm not even close to a 6.0 level, but if you knock me off the doubles sidelines and put that floater into the court, I'll get it back and I can hit a winner off that or put myself back into the point. But if someone knocks a hard ball into the other side, I won't be able to get it back. I won't even come close. A drop shot in this scenario is fine, but a floater on the service line?! That's too deep and too short! That's where you're NEVER supposed to hit a shot! NEVER! Unless you hit the sidelines with it!

The safest shot you can hit without error is by definition a topspin shot.

He said a deep floater, he never said to hit it on the service line. He said that you are "inside the service line". (the premise of this whole post)

The point is there is an appropriate speed that you can hit the shot where it will not come back, and it doesnt always have to be pounding the ball as hard as possible.

Especially not in doubles where court coverage is everything. If you run one guy off the court and open yourself up a nice hole, you really only need to chip it nice and low into that hole and it's probably not coming back.

It's not worth risking hitting it out by pounding it if you dont have too. Too many players try that, and it's hard to do when you are faced with a ball where the OP is talking about. (a sort of difficult to get to ball that is short and low)

As far as your getting excited about it all, I think you're just missing the point, we all want to win the point on that shot. You might feel good if you crack it in there, but it's probably more frustrating (and effective) when you give them time to try to run back onto the court only to find that the ball is way too far away for them to reach. (or too low which is better, gravity is my friend when it comes to playing road runners)

What (I think) LeeD is getting at is the closer you get to the net, your more angles and open court you'll have so you dont always have to pound it at 100%.

Sure some roadrunner might get it and that can get frustrating, but not everyone you play is a road runner. (I think if you encounter them then ya, your openings are smaller so the "appropriate" shot needs to be somewhat quicker, but still you dont need to pound everything against everyone)

charliefedererer
10-12-2009, 08:01 PM
Do you have access to a ball machine?

This shot is easy to set up and you can hit several hundred either practice putaways or approach shots in an hour.

Once you've got it down, you should be seeing plenty in play to keep up this skill.

Slazenger07
11-16-2009, 04:30 AM
This short ball put away with the forehand is definetly my best shot, so maybe I can help you out. First you need good foot speed, youve got to be able to get up to that short ball quickly, this will give you more options, stay light on your feet and take little steps in order to get you body balanced and in the perfect spot to punish the short ball. Then get under the ball, I love to hit these short balls with lots of topspin, it gives you more margin as well as helps you improve your accuracy with the shot. Punishing those short balls is all about good footwork, balance, placement, and plenty of spin.