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HunterST
12-02-2009, 11:40 AM
I've been playing for around a year and just signed up for my first singles tournament. I've played mostly doubles.

What are the basic strategies in singles? I'm not looking so much for things like serve outwide, hit return cross court, but more basic things like positioning. For instance, if I'm a the baseline and my opponent moves to the right side of the court I move left, correct?

I'm basically looking for the little tips that come from playing singles for awhile.

Mazilla2219
12-02-2009, 11:47 AM
Use the center T at the service line as a guide and keep it between you and your opponent. This usually covers the easy angle shots that they can hit except for a DTL winner.

fruitytennis1
12-02-2009, 12:15 PM
Hit it where they aint.

dozu
12-02-2009, 12:20 PM
Hit it where they aint.

except where they can hit back to where you aint :)

5263
12-02-2009, 12:50 PM
Don't be afraid of hitting at them or down the middle too, as this can help keep them from hitting big angles away from you.

LuckyR
12-02-2009, 12:58 PM
I've been playing for around a year and just signed up for my first singles tournament. I've played mostly doubles.

What are the basic strategies in singles? I'm not looking so much for things like serve outwide, hit return cross court, but more basic things like positioning. For instance, if I'm a the baseline and my opponent moves to the right side of the court I move left, correct?

I'm basically looking for the little tips that come from playing singles for awhile.

You don't mention your singles style, but as a primarily doubles player here are some thoughts: You probably will be at a disadvantage if you try to play a power baseliner game against singles folks who play that game all of the time. You will likely have better luck playing an all court or S&V game (perhaps as a plan B). You could try a retriever game if you have the stamina and skills and a counter puncher game will work wonders if you have the touch to pull it off (unusual in your first year).

fuzz nation
12-02-2009, 01:14 PM
It's a lot harder for an opponent to put much pressure on you if you can keep your shots deep in his end. That just means trying to land your shots beyond the service line in the far court by at least a couple of feet if you can. If you want to outlast an opponent or at least sustain a more neutral rally, those deeper "rally balls" are essential.

Identify your opponent's weaker side and pick on that shot more often. Usually you can spot the weaker wing during your warm up - remember that some players have a much more reliable backhand than forehand, especially if it's a two-hander.

The best way to take pressure off your serve is to get that first serve in. Don't waste a lot of them on a low percentage attempts at a free points unless you're feeling like your serve can't miss. Before you start a point, either serving or returning, review a simple plan for the outset of that point. That way, you'll be more settled when the fuzz starts to fly. It might be something as simple as: 1) eye on the ball, 2) hit the ball deep to the backhand. Nothing more. This is just a good ritual for keeping your priorities fresh in your head.

W Cats
12-02-2009, 01:59 PM
Use the center T at the service line as a guide and keep it between you and your opponent. This usually covers the easy angle shots that they can hit except for a DTL winner.

You might want to specify which T you are referring to - the one on your side of the net or your opponents.:)

user92626
12-02-2009, 02:15 PM
Frankly I approach my singles game with one simple strategy:

Hit hard and hit well, optionally to an open area.

Winner = the one hitting harder and better. That's all.

HunterST
12-02-2009, 02:18 PM
thanks a lot guys, there's been some really helpful advice! As on poster pointed out, I failed to tell you my style.

Surprisingly for someone whose played mostly doubles, I have a strong baseline game and a pretty bad net game. I started playing tennis to play singles but haven't had a chance to. So all my time practicing alone with a ball machine etc. has been for singles. I've basically just been playing doubles as extra practice for when I eventually played singles.

Also, I'm 21 while just about everyone else in the tournament is above 40. On the other hand, they've all been playing tennis about 20 times longer than me. Any strategy based off of that?

HunterST
12-02-2009, 02:22 PM
It's a lot harder for an opponent to put much pressure on you if you can keep your shots deep in his end. That just means trying to land your shots beyond the service line in the far court by at least a couple of feet if you can. If you want to outlast an opponent or at least sustain a more neutral rally, those deeper "rally balls" are essential.

Identify your opponent's weaker side and pick on that shot more often. Usually you can spot the weaker wing during your warm up - remember that some players have a much more reliable backhand than forehand, especially if it's a two-hander.

The best way to take pressure off your serve is to get that first serve in. Don't waste a lot of them on a low percentage attempts at a free points unless you're feeling like your serve can't miss. Before you start a point, either serving or returning, review a simple plan for the outset of that point. That way, you'll be more settled when the fuzz starts to fly. It might be something as simple as: 1) eye on the ball, 2) hit the ball deep to the backhand. Nothing more. This is just a good ritual for keeping your priorities fresh in your head.

Really great stuff man, thanks a lot.

5263
12-02-2009, 02:36 PM
I learned something neat a few years back and used it a lot ever since.
I was playing a guy and down 3-2 thinking this guy sure is good for 4.5!
Scary Fh and very solid, even against big shots to his Bh.

I hit a big shot to his Fh (opposed to going for his Bh) and he had some trouble with it and then later hit a soft one to his Bh, which he didn't do much with.
At this point I realized that his Fh was killer as long as it wasn't a tough ball and his Bh was super if I gave the pace, but he couldn't do that himself. I had it figured that he could only handle pace well from one side and only create pace well from the other. I bet this worked well for him most of the time, as it match up pretty well with what most would try to do to him. I mean, who was going to waste a chance at a big shot hitting into his strength, and if you hit too soft to the Bh, he could just run around it.

From then on when I could hit a big shot, I went to the Fh and with chip, slices and slow rollers, I went to the Bh. This was the charm as I ran the table from there, winning 6-3, 6-0.

LuckyR
12-02-2009, 02:58 PM
thanks a lot guys, there's been some really helpful advice! As on poster pointed out, I failed to tell you my style.

Surprisingly for someone whose played mostly doubles, I have a strong baseline game and a pretty bad net game. I started playing tennis to play singles but haven't had a chance to. So all my time practicing alone with a ball machine etc. has been for singles. I've basically just been playing doubles as extra practice for when I eventually played singles.

Also, I'm 21 while just about everyone else in the tournament is above 40. On the other hand, they've all been playing tennis about 20 times longer than me. Any strategy based off of that?


If strong means high consistancy, I like your chances going toe to toe with these guys and using your athleticism to grind out a win.

If strong means deep, high pace shots that land long eventually, I forsee a painful, quick exit.

Nellie
12-02-2009, 03:05 PM
Have a simple strategy -

if the ball is at all challenging for you (wide/deep/fast) return over the low part of the net, controlled, with a lot of height and a 75 percent effort

if the ball is short and/or in the middle, change the direction of the ball

Try to be inside the baseline to put pressure on the opponent - even if you are hitting pretty medium paced shots, to your opponents, these will feel like bombs because the shots come back so fast. You can move back to get deep shots and than move back forward.

Correct about movement - shade to the side opposite to where your opponent is standing

xFullCourtTenniSx
12-02-2009, 04:32 PM
thanks a lot guys, there's been some really helpful advice! As on poster pointed out, I failed to tell you my style.

Surprisingly for someone whose played mostly doubles, I have a strong baseline game and a pretty bad net game. I started playing tennis to play singles but haven't had a chance to. So all my time practicing alone with a ball machine etc. has been for singles. I've basically just been playing doubles as extra practice for when I eventually played singles.

Also, I'm 21 while just about everyone else in the tournament is above 40. On the other hand, they've all been playing tennis about 20 times longer than me. Any strategy based off of that?

Don't miss. Hit crosscourt and deep. When they hit a short ball, hit down the line on 80% of them, and behind them on the last 20% (make sure you hold it long enough for them to open up the court for you).

Oh, and if that's how you played doubles, you won't have a problem in singles if you stick to hitting crosscourt.

Ripper014
12-02-2009, 04:50 PM
I've been playing for around a year and just signed up for my first singles tournament. I've played mostly doubles.

What are the basic strategies in singles? I'm not looking so much for things like serve outwide, hit return cross court, but more basic things like positioning. For instance, if I'm a the baseline and my opponent moves to the right side of the court I move left, correct?

I'm basically looking for the little tips that come from playing singles for awhile.



Push.............. actually I am not condoning pushing, but if you want to win it is probably a good tactic for you, being that you are younger and stronger than your opponents. But if you want to become a good player... use your shots to probe for weaknesses in your opponents game. When you find them exploit them the best you can with the strengths of your game.

There are a lot of ways to play tennis... a lot of ways to win and to lose... be aware of what is happening on the court and figure it out, don't be in a rush to play the next point. Sometimes you are just rushing to the end of the match.

Kostas
12-02-2009, 05:40 PM
Make him hit just one more shot on each point.

HunterST
12-02-2009, 05:50 PM
Have a simple strategy -

if the ball is at all challenging for you (wide/deep/fast) return over the low part of the net, controlled, with a lot of height and a 75 percent effort

if the ball is short and/or in the middle, change the direction of the ball

Try to be inside the baseline to put pressure on the opponent - even if you are hitting pretty medium paced shots, to your opponents, these will feel like bombs because the shots come back so fast. You can move back to get deep shots and than move back forward.

Correct about movement - shade to the side opposite to where your opponent is standing

Thanks for the reply! What exactly does "changing the direction of the ball mean". Does it mean pretty much hit down the line instead of cross court?

Fedace
12-02-2009, 05:54 PM
What about going Shirtless,,, does that work on some guys ??

CallOfBooty
12-02-2009, 06:07 PM
The keys to singles are consistency, shot selection, and court positioning. First of all, you need to stay consistent. Do not go for a winner down the line when your opponent hits a sharp cross court angle; instead you should go for a looping, topspin forehand back deep cross court into the corner, enabling yourself to get back in to rally position. Do not force shots you know you can not hit, and I will go to this in detail with shot selection.

Many times you can hear a coach or pro commentator refer to singles as a cross court game. This is because the cross court shot is the most consistent shot, which branches from the most important key to singles. If a shot is a 75% rally ball hit cross court, it will be hard to change direction on that ball. Not to mention, you will have to go over the high part of the net and you will have less court to hit in to. The cross court net is approximately 6" lower at the middle when compared to the net down the line. The cross court shot also enables you about 10-15 feet more margin for error because the cross court shot goes longer. Hit a 75% rally ball back cross court until your opponent gives up a short ball, in which you should either go inside out or down the line most of the time, and cover the line you approached down on. You should you have only been playing for a year, but you should strive to make all your winners at the net, at the approach shot, or win off your opponents unforced error.

The last important idea is court placement. I am not an expert on this so I won't be able to give you much guidance on this topic, but I know it is important. The main key is during a cross court rally, you stand midway between the middle of the court and the singles sideline closest to where the cross court ball was hit. You are anticipating the cross court shot because it is most likely where your opponent will hit the ball. This makes you run less, and makes your opponent make more errors because if he doesn't hit it back cross court, he will either hit a down the line shot which you can get to (50% of the time), miss a down the line shot going for the winner (35% of the time) or hit a winner (15% chance of the time). Those are good odds in favor of you. Search Wardlaw directionals for more information on this topic.

Good luck to you in your tournament as well.

slepax
12-02-2009, 06:28 PM
The best way to take pressure off your serve is to get that first serve in. Don't waste a lot of them on a low percentage attempts at a free points unless you're feeling like your serve can't miss. Before you start a point, either serving or returning, review a simple plan for the outset of that point. That way, you'll be more settled when the fuzz starts to fly. It might be something as simple as: 1) eye on the ball, 2) hit the ball deep to the backhand. Nothing more. This is just a good ritual for keeping your priorities fresh in your head.

That really depends on the quality of his serve. I used to have a fairly weak serve (somewhat better now) and I used to get down the line returns all the time, especially on my second serve. Playing singles, there is no one to cover the non-serving side of the court. Nothing you can do about it if your serve is weak, just be sure you are aware of it and be prepared.

Blake0
12-02-2009, 06:43 PM
The keys to singles come from this order, overall.
1.) consistency
2.) shot selection
3.) Execution
Mentality would go inbetween 1 and 2 in my oppinion. Since this is your first tournament and you've only played a year, your best bet is to not get nervous and break down.

This is advice against any opponent on any level that'll help you win on a consistent basis. Start off playing consistent, don't go for the lines or try to out hit your opponent or hitting harder then you can. Basically start off on your normal consistent level. If you're winning more points then losing this way, feel free to stop and continue playing like this until it stops working. This helps get your timing and rhythm yet you're not playing bad either. If your opponents are winning more points then you are, play a bit aggressive. Try to move your opponent around more, and go for your shot, not at your hardest but just a bit higher mph then your normal rally strokes that you can control quite easily. Here i like to hit crosscourt most of the time, some dtl to mix it up, and when i get a short ball i'll approach dtl and come up to net. Play at your level in which you can be aggressive yet be able to get only a few errors more then normal.

If you're playing someone that you know you need to play more aggressive to beat even if it costs you errors, go ahead. But don't be foolish and try to hit a blasting winner every openning. Try to construct a point..attack his weakness or isolate his strength to break it down. Whatever you plan stick with it. It could be going up to net more or moonballing, or even slicing the ball.

I'll try to find the nick bolleteri (spelled that wrong for sure) video on court positioning..

Here is video 1 out of 3.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T4A5xX_vn1I

Cindysphinx
12-02-2009, 07:18 PM
I'm a doubles player (3.5) who stinks it up in singles. I lack shot tolerance. I find long rallies rather dull. I come to net on a whim. I try to hit winners from impossible positions. As a result, I get murdered in singles.

Nevertheless, I spent most of 2009 trying to learn to play singles, and I can tell you the strategy my pro advised that works best.

It's called "The Circle." During a rally, you will hit whatever shot is comfortable to you at that moment, based on your position, what shots you favor, etc. The only guideline is that the ball must land outside an imaginary circle around the opponent's T. A short ball is OK, if it is angled and lands outside The Circle. In fact, short angles are highly favored, as they take your opponent off the court. You will never leave a sitter bouncing inside the Circle, as that is suicide.

The reason I like the Circle is that you get to hit the shots you feel you can execute. If you feel like hitting an inside out FH or DTL BH is a comfortable shot for you, great -- just keep it outside the Circle. I was never successful with Wardlaw's Directionals, for instance, because I lacked the consistency to execute a certain shot simply because the Directionals said I should.

The other thing I would suggest is that you pick a number and never, ever miss a shot before you get to that number. My number is 5. If I could just get 5 good quality shots over the net at 3.5 singles, I would never lose.

user92626
12-02-2009, 07:34 PM
I'm a doubles player (3.5) who stinks it up in singles. I lack shot tolerance. I find long rallies rather dull. I come to net on a whim. I try to hit winners from impossible positions. As a result, I get murdered in singles.

The other thing I would suggest is that you pick a number and never, ever miss a shot before you get to that number. My number is 5. If I could just get 5 good quality shots over the net at 3.5 singles, I would never lose.

hehe...I find that interesting and strange. We play tennis just to get to hit as much as possible. How much tennis is there if every point takes 2 or 3 shots? I guess you can just play more games but then it's also more walking, picking up balls, waiting to return :)

That pick a number strategy seems good but don't you also need hitting hard along to avoid opponent hitting a killer to you?

GuyClinch
12-02-2009, 10:45 PM
The Wardlaw directionals are good strategies indeed.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d7PJ73e-iVU

Nice video that teaches a bit about it.. Its not really that complicated. Its actually the "natural" state of affairs among alot of good players (as he kinda notes at the end of the video). I liked playing some baseball when I was in HS so the part about pulling the ball makes a ton of sense to me..

I think the Wardlaw strategies are the way to go if you want to become a good tennis player. If you just like to win at the lower rec levels numerous "gimmick" strategies work fine. For example the lob drop shot strategy is plenty effective - as well as the "slice and dice" strategy as well as the give em no pace "dinker" strategy..

Pete

LeeD
12-03-2009, 07:25 AM
:):)
User9 .
I play tennis to hit winners, not hit more tennis balls. I never just hit, only play sets or matches. I DO warm up, and doing so, hit right back to my opponent, so I can warm up and time my shots.
If I want excercise, I'd consider running, swimming, or working out. Tennis is for FUN, and fun is making the other guy do all the work.

fuzz nation
12-03-2009, 07:30 AM
That really depends on the quality of his serve. I used to have a fairly weak serve (somewhat better now) and I used to get down the line returns all the time, especially on my second serve. Playing singles, there is no one to cover the non-serving side of the court. Nothing you can do about it if your serve is weak, just be sure you are aware of it and be prepared.

I agree - actually, I think we're both coming from the same concept. You used to get a lot of those down the line returns, especially off your second serve, so you (me, OP, anyone else) would be better off getting more first serves in with just a hint of extra pepper. Just not so much to make the serve completely inconsistent.

fuzz nation
12-03-2009, 07:54 AM
Oh yeah...

Hey Hunter, I thought of something else. Since you've played a lot of doubles, it can be important to appreciate the change of gears that you need for singles in terms of your level of aggression. I think that a couple of our pals have sort of touched on this, but I forgot to mention it on my first go 'round.

Doubles demands a certain level of constant aggression where one team is constantly pressing for the advantage over the other. If you wait around in a doubles match and just react to the other team, they'll pretty much own you as long as they don't miss two out of three of their own shots, right? Singles usually requires a subtle yet significant change in priorities where players need to dedicate themselves to keeping more balls in play and often waiting longer for chances to press opponents. If I use my doubles mentality on a singles court, I'll miss a lot of shots too early in my rallies when I have no opening instead of waiting to hit another shot or two.

Don't be afraid to see what happens when you use your doubles skills. If you can comfortably go to net, especially when you get a short ball, that can make big pressure for an opponent that's no more than a super steady baseliner who likes a predictable tempo in a rally.

Bring your hardhat and lunch box to a singles match. If you're ready to put in some hard work and run down a couple of extra balls, that can be as demoralizing for an opponent as a bone crushing forehand from your end. If he can't make you quit when he hits some decent shots, that can leave him a little more resigned or press him to go after smaller openings. Translation: if you get a lot of his shots back, he will be forced to hit more low percentage shots. That'll make him miss, lose confidence, etc. Again, patience is key.

Who's your best cheerleader during a match? That would be you, amigo! If you miss, encourage yourself to "keep firing". If you mope and get down on yourself, you simply can't concentrate on what you want to do right. Doesn't matter if you're stinkin' up the joint - stay positive. Comebacks begin with one point.

More coffee??!!

5263
12-03-2009, 08:05 AM
Oh yeah...
Bring your hardhat and lunch box to a singles match. If you're ready to put in some hard work and run down a couple of extra balls, that can be as demoralizing for an opponent as a bone crushing forehand from your end. If he can't make you quit when he hits some decent shots, that can leave him a little more resigned or press him to go after smaller openings. Translation: if you get a lot of his shots back, he will be forced to hit more low percentage shots. That'll make him miss, lose confidence, etc. Again, patience is key.

Who's your best cheerleader during a match? That would be you, amigo! If you miss, encourage yourself to "keep firing". If you mope and get down on yourself, you simply can't concentrate on what you want to do right. Doesn't matter if you're stinkin' up the joint - stay positive. Comebacks begin with one point.

More coffee??!!

Excellent post and very important mention.

GuyClinch
12-03-2009, 09:46 AM
I play tennis to hit winners, not hit more tennis balls. I never just hit, only play sets or matches. I DO warm up, and doing so, hit right back to my opponent, so I can warm up and time my shots.

I rather play a pusher then watch some old dude shank alot of rally balls. People that try to hit "winners" are perhaps the least fun to play..

blakesq
12-03-2009, 09:57 AM
if you mostly play doubles, then you probably almost always hit return of serves cross court. IN singles, hitting a return of serve down the line is often a very strong shot.

also, keep your balls deep and in the corners. Good luck!


I've been playing for around a year and just signed up for my first singles tournament. I've played mostly doubles.

What are the basic strategies in singles? I'm not looking so much for things like serve outwide, hit return cross court, but more basic things like positioning. For instance, if I'm a the baseline and my opponent moves to the right side of the court I move left, correct?

I'm basically looking for the little tips that come from playing singles for awhile.

Ripper014
12-03-2009, 10:34 AM
I rather play a pusher then watch some old dude shank alot of rally balls. People that try to hit "winners" are perhaps the least fun to play..

I would rather play the old dude shank alot of balls... I know the points are over quicker and I almost always beat these guys.... the pusher forces me to work... and could take all afternoon.

But I think we are getting off topic...

I've been playing for around a year and just signed up for my first singles tournament. I've played mostly doubles.

What are the basic strategies in singles? I'm not looking so much for things like serve outwide, hit return cross court, but more basic things like positioning. For instance, if I'm a the baseline and my opponent moves to the right side of the court I move left, correct?

I'm basically looking for the little tips that come from playing singles for awhile.

I have bolded what I consider the most important part of his/her post. I would say... just enjoy the experience of your first tournament. Play hard and fight for every point (relish every point), this will probably be the first of many for you... and you have lots of time to learn to compete.

Cindysphinx
12-03-2009, 02:43 PM
That pick a number strategy seems good but don't you also need hitting hard along to avoid opponent hitting a killer to you?

No. Absolutely not. Not at my level. Trying to "hit hard" will just cause a lot of errors. It also might not bother your opponent, as the opponents I have faced have seen whatever pace I can generate many times and know how to hit a defensive shot.

The thing that seems to work better than anything at my 3.5 level is get your opponent running. How? The Circle.

VaBeachTennis
12-03-2009, 03:13 PM
The Wardlaw directionals are good strategies indeed.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d7PJ73e-iVU

Nice video that teaches a bit about it.. Its not really that complicated. Its actually the "natural" state of affairs among alot of good players (as he kinda notes at the end of the video). I liked playing some baseball when I was in HS so the part about pulling the ball makes a ton of sense to me..

I think the Wardlaw strategies are the way to go if you want to become a good tennis player. If you just like to win at the lower rec levels numerous "gimmick" strategies work fine. For example the lob drop shot strategy is plenty effective - as well as the "slice and dice" strategy as well as the give em no pace "dinker" strategy..

Pete

Nice video, thanks for posting it.

user92626
12-03-2009, 05:14 PM
No. Absolutely not. Not at my level. Trying to "hit hard" will just cause a lot of errors. It also might not bother your opponent, as the opponents I have faced have seen whatever pace I can generate many times and know how to hit a defensive shot.

The thing that seems to work better than anything at my 3.5 level is get your opponent running. How? The Circle.

U know I have tried to play a high percentage game before which basically is hitting a lot of shots even with good placement and focusing on great footwork and form. That did not work at all. Any semi-athletic, decent players would just return and eventually punish my average paced shots. In the end I realized no amount of good footwork and great stroke mechanic alone was gonna save my game if I did not start going for a little pace.

For sure we might not ever gonna be hitting with a pace like Federer or Nadal. But I don't see how you shouldn't keep learning to hit harder and harder. At some point pace is gonna make up for placement and even strategy. Meaning, you just simply hit well within the lines and still out-pace your opponent. :)

Bagumbawalla
12-03-2009, 05:24 PM
At your level, and with your limited experience, the first thing I would suggest is a positive mind set. First of all stay loose- just as if you were out there for fun, watch the ball intently and keep moving so you are always trying to be in optimum position for striking the ball. If you can do those things, you are on your way to having a good experience.

Try to hit the ball cleanly- just as you would be trying to do in practice. When you hit it, try to hit it with a definite purpose-- what ever that might be (into open court, to his backhand, down the line,just to keep it in play, to force him to the net, over his head... and so on)-- and to a definite placement on the court. That goes for the serve, as well.

At your level, for your first singles tournament, concentrate on consistancy, let the opponent make mistakes. Take advantages of short ball and weak replies to move in and, take advantage of the greater opportunity to hit angles and put pressure on the opponent.

Don't try to overload yourself with thoughts- just try to get a sense of what is working and what is not- then try to do more of one than the other.

In a pinch do not be afraid to just get the ball back any way you can- even if you look amaturish and awkward- at least you have one more chance to win the point.

Win or lose, at the end of the game, assess your play and make plans to learn new skills and improve your existing ones.

Bud
12-03-2009, 06:22 PM
I'm a doubles player (3.5) who stinks it up in singles. I lack shot tolerance. I find long rallies rather dull. I come to net on a whim. I try to hit winners from impossible positions. As a result, I get murdered in singles.

Nevertheless, I spent most of 2009 trying to learn to play singles, and I can tell you the strategy my pro advised that works best.

It's called "The Circle." During a rally, you will hit whatever shot is comfortable to you at that moment, based on your position, what shots you favor, etc. The only guideline is that the ball must land outside an imaginary circle around the opponent's T. A short ball is OK, if it is angled and lands outside The Circle. In fact, short angles are highly favored, as they take your opponent off the court. You will never leave a sitter bouncing inside the Circle, as that is suicide.

The reason I like the Circle is that you get to hit the shots you feel you can execute. If you feel like hitting an inside out FH or DTL BH is a comfortable shot for you, great -- just keep it outside the Circle. I was never successful with Wardlaw's Directionals, for instance, because I lacked the consistency to execute a certain shot simply because the Directionals said I should.

The other thing I would suggest is that you pick a number and never, ever miss a shot before you get to that number. My number is 5. If I could just get 5 good quality shots over the net at 3.5 singles, I would never lose.

No. Absolutely not. Not at my level. Trying to "hit hard" will just cause a lot of errors. It also might not bother your opponent, as the opponents I have faced have seen whatever pace I can generate many times and know how to hit a defensive shot.

The thing that seems to work better than anything at my 3.5 level is get your opponent running. How? The Circle.

What is this circle you speak of? I'm trying to visualize what you're talking about and have come up short.

user92626
12-03-2009, 07:02 PM
What is this circle you speak of? I'm trying to visualize what you're talking about and have come up short.

If I may, you draw an imaginary circle in the center of your opponent's court, then you try to place your shot outside that circle. The better you are, the bigger the circle should be.

slepax
12-03-2009, 09:00 PM
What is this circle you speak of? I'm trying to visualize what you're talking about and have come up short.

Someone posted this on a different thread few days ago (keeping your eyes on the ball), but check page 3 where they discuss the diamond, same thing as the circle I guess:

http://www.itftennis.com/shared/medialibrary/pdf/original/IO_30217_original.PDF

Cindysphinx
12-04-2009, 03:22 AM
Someone posted this on a different thread few days ago (keeping your eyes on the ball), but check page 3 where they discuss the diamond, same thing as the circle I guess:

http://www.itftennis.com/shared/medialibrary/pdf/original/IO_30217_original.PDF

That's basically it, although I would say that bouncing a ball on the edge of the diamond closest to the middle of the court is gonna get you in trouble.

As I understand it, the idea is to get players out of the mindset that deep is always better than short. A quality short-angle shot is better in some circumstances than a deep angle because it can draw your opponent off the court and get them hitting on the run.

larry10s
12-04-2009, 03:51 AM
cidysphinx the circle or diamond concept is terriffic. at 3.5 you are correct if you can hit it 5 times over the net you will win. this is also teaching you shot tolerance. progress:)

5263
12-04-2009, 06:31 AM
As I understand it, the idea is to get players out of the mindset that deep is always better than short.

Excellent point.

sureshs
12-04-2009, 06:53 AM
I'll try to find the nick bolleteri (spelled that wrong for sure) video on court positioning.

The concise way of saying this is:

"I'll try to find the nick bolleteri (sp?) video on court positioning."

sureshs
12-04-2009, 06:56 AM
It's called "The Circle." During a rally, you will hit whatever shot is comfortable to you at that moment, based on your position, what shots you favor, etc. The only guideline is that the ball must land outside an imaginary circle around the opponent's T. A short ball is OK, if it is angled and lands outside The Circle. In fact, short angles are highly favored, as they take your opponent off the court. You will never leave a sitter bouncing inside the Circle, as that is suicide.

The reason I like the Circle is that you get to hit the shots you feel you can execute. If you feel like hitting an inside out FH or DTL BH is a comfortable shot for you, great -- just keep it outside the Circle. I was never successful with Wardlaw's Directionals, for instance, because I lacked the consistency to execute a certain shot simply because the Directionals said I should.


How is this different from: Don't leave the ball hanging in the middle of the court.

Cindysphinx
12-04-2009, 07:11 AM
How is this different from: Don't leave the ball hanging in the middle of the court.

The difference is that The Circle is positive: "Do this." It gives you a mental target as you quickly decide where to hit each shot.

"Don't leave the ball hanging in the middle of the court" is negative and therefore more difficult to implement mentally. It doesn't give you a target. It gives you the opposite of a target.

W Cats
12-04-2009, 07:54 AM
The difference is that The Circle is positive: "Do this." It gives you a mental target as you quickly decide where to hit each shot.

"Don't leave the ball hanging in the middle of the court" is negative and therefore more difficult to implement mentally. It doesn't give you a target. It gives you the opposite of a target.

Well put. 2 Thumbs-up:)

LuckyR
12-04-2009, 08:18 AM
The circle vs the directionals is like grade school vs grad school. They are both correct advice for their target audiences. The reason is that the circle only avoids easy shots for the other guy while the directionals does that as well as put him on the wrong side of where to be on the court, strategically. Thus one can follow the circle rules (hit a good shot tactically), yet make a strategic error.

The directionals are a way of verbally describing the reality of court/net geometry.

user92626
12-04-2009, 09:45 AM
"The circle vs the directionals is like grade school vs grad school."

LuckyR
Funny I was thinking the same thing. Specifically I was thinking how the circle would jibe with the directional rules. At times it's forbidden to go away from the center such as when your oppon puts u on defense. I also observe that with certain opponents you should go toward the lines in gradual strokes, ie take 2 or more shots. It's certainly easier.

But maybe like LuckR alludes to, its all about level. At certain level shots are easy to tee into a certain area.

Cindysphinx
12-04-2009, 09:55 AM
The circle vs the directionals is like grade school vs grad school. They are both correct advice for their target audiences. The reason is that the circle only avoids easy shots for the other guy while the directionals does that as well as put him on the wrong side of where to be on the court, strategically. Thus one can follow the circle rules (hit a good shot tactically), yet make a strategic error.

The directionals are a way of verbally describing the reality of court/net geometry.

Oh, I agree, totally.

When I first started trying to learn to play singles, I read through the Directionals and tried to implement them. It was a total fiasco. I could barely win a point.

The reason was that I lacked the footwork and control to execute the Directionals. There were times when the Directionals said to take the ball DTL (say, on the BH side) but I didn't own that shot. I felt like I was being contorted into weird positions and weird choices. And the Directionals didn't say anything about depth -- it was mostly about direction. I found myself hitting deep per the Directionals but never putting any pressure on my opponents, who calmly patrolled the baseline waiting for me to miss.

I also feel like the Directionals will cause you to hit into your opponent's wheelhouse and not into their weakness. For instance, if I am playing The Circle, I might take my FH DTL from a deep position in the court, off of a ball that comes at me crosscourt. This is a no-no under the Directionals, for legitimate reasons. But at my level, there is gold to be found by hitting a lot of balls to an opponent's BH, and my FH DTL is just as reliable as my FH crosscourt (sometimes more reliable). The Circle says going DTL is fine, so long as I get it outside the Circle (short or deep). So it works well.

The Circle works better for a lower-level, developing player who struggles with control, in my experience.

5263
12-04-2009, 10:00 AM
IMO it is like grade school vs ground school, but in the sense that you still use what you learned in grade school when you get to grad school. Grad school incorporates grades school and adds to it. When you use the directionals, aspects of the circle should be used as well. When you follow the directionals, you still mostly need to avoid that circle as well.

user92626
12-04-2009, 10:36 AM
OK, the grade school vs grad school analogy can only be applied to a certain extent, much like the Circle becoming obsolete, inappicable at certain level. Let's not get carry away with it :) I imagine at ATP level, the Directionals become a little crude themselves. It seems like to me that the winners at ATP are those who break the rules, take risks the most and somehow still manage to get another shot in. They're the successul models.

HunterST
12-05-2009, 08:53 PM
Well I went 1-1. The first guy I played had a game similar to mine. Good groundstrokes (good pace and spin, fairly consistent).
The guy that beat me definitely didn't have the pace or spin that I do, but his consistency and placement were on another level. He could hit them on the lines and right in the corners, and he only made maybe 2 unforced errors the whole set. (maybe more, but I considered them forced errors).

I suppose now I need to get my consistency up to that level. Specefically, being able to continue to hit balls with reasonable depth and consistency when a ball lands deep or on the lines.

Any drills etc. I can do to get better at hitting tough balls? Or are time and match experience the only things that can get that.

5263
12-06-2009, 06:11 AM
I suppose now I need to get my consistency up to that level. Specefically, being able to continue to hit balls with reasonable depth and consistency when a ball lands deep or on the lines.

Any drills etc. I can do to get better at hitting tough balls? Or are time and match experience the only things that can get that.

Yes, many ways to drill. A good one is to have someone feeding tough balls and you go get them with the intention of never missing. Develop hitting replies to these balls that you know you can make,
IE.. when you are taken out wide and deep by a ball near the sideline, you return a high heavy TS shot back cross ct. The TS gives you some margin for error and the height of the ball gives you time to recover for the next shot.

GuyClinch
12-06-2009, 08:59 PM
OK, the grade school vs grad school analogy can only be applied to a certain extent, much like the Circle becoming obsolete, inappicable at certain level. Let's not get carry away with it I imagine at ATP level, the Directionals become a little crude themselves. It seems like to me that the winners at ATP are those who break the rules, take risks the most and somehow still manage to get another shot in. They're the successul models.

I disagree - and I think most good players would disagree as well. The pros use the directionals quite alot. Once you learn them you will see Wardlaw's pattern popping up all the time. Its his directionals that help explain why so much at the pro level guys seem to hit the ball right back towards the other guy..

What they actually do is try to goad each other into breaking the directionals. Thus they actually sit on the COD that you think 'wins' and instead they turn that DTL shot into a cross court winner. This can happen to amateur players as well. If you foolishly try to change direction of a nice deep forehand ball and hit DTL your actually giving your opponent a nice opening to rip a winner.

I personally never think about any 'circle' beyond the directionals - I also like to think of shot combinations. It might be just an ego boost but I am always trying to "pull off" combinations like slice serve out wide --> angled forehand short return -->DTL winner. There are lots of other ones of course. You have to build combos based on your game style.

Federer's favorite is his inside out forehand winner off of a backhand rally. That doesn't really work for me though because my forehand isn't such a weapon relative to my backhand..

Pete