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View Full Version : How do you attack short balls? And what are other ways to attack?


Headshotterer
11-25-2012, 07:06 PM
I see alot of the pros who do this, and I want to make this in my game. Whenever I try to attack, its not enough pace and does not put me in the position to when the point or approach the net. How is it different from a basic groundshot?

boramiNYC
11-25-2012, 10:15 PM
you need more precise footwork and topspin for good control and power.

toly
11-25-2012, 10:44 PM
I see alot of the pros who do this, and I want to make this in my game. Whenever I try to attack, its not enough pace and does not put me in the position to when the point or approach the net. How is it different from a basic groundshot?
Here is example how to hit short ball forehand swing volley.
http://i47.tinypic.com/3466aoi.jpg
Figure 1. Azarenka forehand swing volley near service line, arm actions before contact.

http://i47.tinypic.com/2lcrxub.jpg
Figure 2. Azarenka forehand swing volley near service line, arm actions before and after contact

There is original video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rZ79q2GYogw&feature=g-upl and one more picture.

http://i47.tinypic.com/24gv9g1.jpg

5263
11-27-2012, 08:14 PM
I see alot of the pros who do this, and I want to make this in my game. Whenever I try to attack, its not enough pace and does not put me in the position to when the point or approach the net. How is it different from a basic groundshot?

There are many ways to attack and they vary with your skill and what type
short ball you are dealing with. Imo it is better to slice to the smart targets
on the lower contacted short balls or drop shot. For a ball that has a higher
contact point, Imo the flatter trajectory across TS works best to control the
net clearance with precise power; more of a crisp type power than all out
crush though. Also Imo it is important to make the most of balls that fall into
your avoid zone, as these give the best opportunity, but tend to proceed with
more caution on wider short balls, since they can also leave you in a tough
position to continue to push the attack.

LeeD
11-27-2012, 08:45 PM
you can hit it faster than they can react, thus creating your own winner..
You can hit a deep approach shot that forces them onto their heels, while you take service line position to put away the next shot.
You can hit a drop approach, one shorter than the opponent's service line after it's second bounce, keep moving to service line position...

LuckyR
11-28-2012, 09:28 AM
I see alot of the pros who do this, and I want to make this in my game. Whenever I try to attack, its not enough pace and does not put me in the position to when the point or approach the net. How is it different from a basic groundshot?

I am going to make a guess here and tell me how close I am to the truth: You are under 30 in age and typically don't hit a lot of volleys in a match.

If true, then I would not use weak balls to approach the net, but rather to open the court with a severe CC shot (and an occasional inside in DTL for a winner).

Power Player
11-28-2012, 09:47 AM
The mistake is that already someone posts a picture just showing the player's arms. that is almost meaningless in an attacking shot. The most important thing is your feet. what stance do you use? It matters more than anything. Balance is everything in this case.

I attack a lot of short balls with a closed or semi open stance. That way my weight is coming forward and I am stepping through the shot. I feel that is the most important key. Sometimes I need to stay open. Example : a short ball to the ad side that I want to hit an inside out forehand on CC. I hit from an open stance in that situation.

As stated above me, the volley is the same thing. You have to be moving into and through the ball. That is the most important part of the volley. The racquet is just going along for the ride. Studying how azarenka angles her racquet face is a dead end IMO.

fuzz nation
11-28-2012, 10:38 AM
Lots of short balls are also off-speed, so if you look to tee off on those for clean winners too much, it's easy to spray them into the donation tray for your opponent's point fund. That short ball is your opportunity to control the action and put the other guy in a box.

If you can hit into an angle and put 'em on the run, that's always nice, but it's not always easy to do it. If you don't know how to hit a slice approach, it's time. That's the shot that gives opponents no more than a low skidder, forces them to hit up, and if you've planned ahead, you've moved in and are ready to volley to daylight.

Here's the catch: the best approach shots are often ones that land nice and deep. Place that ball only a couple feet inside the baseline and opponents are usually neutralized. Leave it short and/or sitting up and you're going to be the one playing defense.

Another great attack with that slice approach can be leaving it semi-short (not quite a drop shot) so that it forces opponents to lunge forward and shovel the ball up. Step up (yes, to the net) and enjoy your free lunch! This is the "north-south" sort of attack that's worth considering in case you can't beat someone with more of an "east-west" array of shots.

toly
11-28-2012, 12:16 PM
The mistake is that already someone posts a picture just showing the player's arms. that is almost meaningless in an attacking shot. The most important thing is your feet. what stance do you use? It matters more than anything. Balance is everything in this case.

You really didnít read my post carefully. There is also original video. I repost it again specifically for you http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rZ79q2GYogw&feature=g-upl

Power Player
11-28-2012, 12:30 PM
I read your post clearly. You posted how to hit a swing volley. The OP is talking about short balls. Short balls usually are called short because they bounce short and are attackable.

What you should have highlighted was the shot before her swing volley. That was her attacking a short ball.

LeeD
11-28-2012, 12:39 PM
Short ball for an approach or outright winner is different from a groundstroke in the fact your depth is limited, while you need to hit close to your opponent's baseline for effectiveness.
So you need CONTROLLED power and depth.
Going for a winner, you need ball speed.
Going for approach shots, you need ball placement.

Tmano
11-28-2012, 12:51 PM
Assuming you get pretty fast on the ball that's what I would suggest:

FHand on the corner or right on the feet of your ooponent with some good top spin to clear the net enogh but with not too much power because you may over hit and go out wide o long.
if you are a bit late slice back hand as many mentioned, better if it has some side spin bit it need to be pretty deep
if late Fhand slice driven down the line with very little clerance of net staying low with your legs and driving the bal with your arm. A pro thought me this shot and I love it but it requires a lot of practice.

toly
11-28-2012, 03:01 PM
I read your post clearly. You posted how to hit a swing volley. The OP is talking about short balls. Short balls usually are called short because they bounce short and are attackable.

What you should have highlighted was the shot before her swing volley. That was her attacking a short ball.
Thanks for clarification. I really still don't understand US tennis terminology.:(

Power Player
11-28-2012, 05:41 PM
Well you were close. The video shows an awesome backhand attack of a short ball, so it is worth watching for sure.

5263
11-28-2012, 06:29 PM
Thanks for clarification. I really still don't understand US tennis terminology.:(
I'll confuse you more by saying you were right from the start. Both of those balls
were short ball attack opportunities.

I'm going to have to side with you on this one toly, lol, as attacking short balls
is about any ball we can move up inside the BL to hit forcing shots on. If a ball
is floating down thru the lane and can be taken in the air from inside the baseline,
then that is surely a short ball attack as well.

nice mid ct ball attack here-
http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=38VRRT0Qefk#t=712s

rufus_smith
11-29-2012, 08:21 AM
After you hit a short ball you are in a very vulnerable midcourt position. Imo, against better players you have to return the ball within 6 inches of the baseline or they will have an easy winner. Medium or high bouncing short balls should be no problem to return well. Low ones are difficult.

Power Player
11-29-2012, 08:27 AM
I'll confuse you more by saying you were right from the start. Both of those balls
were short ball attack opportunities.

I'm going to have to side with you on this one toly, lol, as attacking short balls
is about any ball we can move up inside the BL to hit forcing shots on. If a ball
is floating down thru the lane and can be taken in the air from inside the baseline,
then that is surely a short ball attack as well.

nice mid ct ball attack here-
http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=38VRRT0Qefk#t=712s

Reread the OP.

5263
11-29-2012, 10:19 AM
Reread the OP.

I did & fail to get your point. What am I missing?

Swinging volley from near mid ct is surely a short ball attack and
not really too different from a normal groundstroke.

OP was-
How do you attack short balls? And what are other ways to attack?

Swing volley is how some attack short balls as well as an other way to
attack, right?
What did I miss? You have me very curious ..:)

5263
11-29-2012, 10:25 AM
The mistake is that already someone posts a picture just showing the player's arms. that is almost meaningless in an attacking shot. The most important thing is your feet. what stance do you use? It matters more than anything. Balance is everything in this case..

While I agree balance is key....Balance is key and critical for all strokes and
how the arms swing is also very key on the difference in short ball attacks vs
BL groundies.

maggmaster
11-29-2012, 10:35 AM
After you hit a short ball you are in a very vulnerable midcourt position. Imo, against better players you have to return the ball within 6 inches of the baseline or they will have an easy winner. Medium or high bouncing short balls should be no problem to return well. Low ones are difficult.

This is the one where you MUST have a slice. Even on the forehand side you are better shoveling this out with a slice to a good position.

Power Player
11-29-2012, 10:38 AM
I did & fail to get your point. What am I missing?

Swinging volley from near mid ct is surely a short ball attack and
not really too different from a normal groundstroke.

OP was-
How do you attack short balls? And what are other ways to attack?

Swing volley is how some attack short balls as well as an other way to
attack, right?
What did I miss? You have me very curious ..:)

I know you love to argue in every thread so I will let this be. Sure, swing volley is fine.

5263
11-29-2012, 11:05 AM
I know you love to argue in every thread so I will let this be. Sure, swing volley is fine.

Says the guy who was telling another poster his point was meaningless....

No, really I figured I had missed some aspect of the OP that would disqualify
the swinging volley, but I guess not.

Cheetah
11-29-2012, 02:46 PM
2 ways you can attack a short ball:

1) is with severe brush. finish low. must get brushing sound on contact. no pop. I use this on 'off days' when I'm hitting below par. easy to get the ball in and wide with this

2) 'rip it to the hip'. (named by the serve doctor) start high, contact at shoulder or above and finish low. finish must be low.

Jeff Salzenstein also just posted a vid on this and this is the method I use most. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eDOBOl6jkw8&feature=g-all

he also has a vid on the brush method but i couldn't find it.

y11971alex
11-29-2012, 04:13 PM
I try to slice it right to the corner and expect a feeble pass that could be smashed.

ramos77
11-29-2012, 04:39 PM
get to the ball early so it's at shoulder height, don't let it drop.

hit down into the court with a flat shot if the ball is high.

if you let the ball drop, use top spin and brush up on the ball to bring it down into the court.

I usually attack the backhand side a few times in a row, then switch to the forehand to get them moving the wrong way.

you can disguise a down the line forehand by making it look like your are hitting an off forehand, then at the last moment flicking the ball down the line.

practice, practice, practice.

get a coach to drill you

toly
11-29-2012, 05:18 PM
Kvitova hits short low ball running forward backhand winner.

http://i46.tinypic.com/28kkg8j.jpg
Figure 3. Kvitova short low ball running backhand before and after contact

This is original video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cy2Q1V4cO0k

LeeD
11-29-2012, 05:29 PM
Problem with posting pics of pro level baseliners is that they have the footwork and precision of swing to hit a clean winner, while WE can only do it maybe one in 3 tries, the 2 going into the net and long.
What amatuer level players need is a de facto attacking shot that is SAFE for us, replicable, and NOT use too much energy.
I can't imagine using as much energy as K does on a backhand approach. AND, she prolly clears the net by 9", and hits within a foot of the sideline.

NTRPolice
11-29-2012, 05:51 PM
It really depends how short and how high the ball is. If you can take it in the air, why wouldnt you at least 90% of the time? Singles or doubles makes a difference too. If its singles, id consider dropping it way more than in doubles.

If I have an even or downward swing path after the bounce ill take a full swing more often than not. Once the swing path has to go upwards the choice becomes a lot harder.

Topspin anything is going to be dramatically harder if it has to go upwards first before crossing the net especially if you're trying to hit a clean winner. If you dont have a modern fore/backhand I wouldnt even try this shot. If you're wearing knee/wrist/elbow braces I wouldnt try it either. You need to be very low and "brushy" to perform this shot under pressure.

Honestly? In doubles if I can squat and hit an overhead when im playing net I will choose that more than not. In singles ill hit a swinging volley or a drive after I let it bounce.

A "short ball" is really too vague to say definitively what you can play because the circumstances and player ability are so broad.

goran_ace
11-29-2012, 08:18 PM
Attack with placement, power is only a secondary concern.

5263
11-30-2012, 11:06 AM
Attack with placement, power is only a secondary concern.

yep, and manage the bounce height. (up or down out of the strike zone)

LeeD
11-30-2012, 12:08 PM
And the REASON you attack a short ball with placement, instead of pure pace, is that you are already closer to your opponent, and give less time for the opponent to react to your shot. And placement over pace is more consistent, the shorter court you have to hit is harder to control depth, and you're also closer to the net.

Ballinbob
11-30-2012, 12:39 PM
Another great attack with that slice approach can be leaving it semi-short (not quite a drop shot) so that it forces opponents to lunge forward and shovel the ball up. Step up (yes, to the net) and enjoy your free lunch! This is the "north-south" sort of attack that's worth considering in case you can't beat someone with more of an "east-west" array of shots.

Fuzz, I play a guy who does this to me all the time and I really struggle with it. I can beat him pretty handily with the "east-west" array of shots as you put it and he knows this. He does this short slice that makes me lunge forward and I honestly don't know any 4.5-5.0 guys who do it as good as him. I'm a 6'3 baseline player with a westerm grip and end up playing this guy pretty close every time. He is a good player and I respect this strategy, but I feel if I figure this out I can beat him more often.

Right now when he slices it short I slice it back (forehand and backhand) and retreat to the baseline where I'm most comfortable. It's just so tough for me to be in a baseline rally and then all of a sudden have to lunge forward to retrieve this short slice.

I guess my footwork/forward movement isnt too great but thought I'd see what you think of this.

5263
11-30-2012, 12:44 PM
Another great attack with that slice approach can be leaving it semi-short (not quite a drop shot) so that it forces opponents to lunge forward and shovel the ball up. Step up (yes, to the net) and enjoy your free lunch! This is the "north-south" sort of attack that's worth considering in case you can't beat someone with more of an "east-west" array of shots.

THis is a version of what I advocate and discuss in the Smarter Targets thread.
While I usually tend to use the short angle in conjunction with it, we seem to be
looking for the same effect. When you work it on an angle, you can keep it even
shorter and open up the court more as well.

Power Player
11-30-2012, 12:45 PM
Ballinbob

I would strongly suggest practicing getting those slices better. I had to do a drill with my coach where he gave me those balls and I had to basically come really low under them and "throw them into a corner" with topspin. Once you come in to the net, you don want to be running backwards. You want to keep moving forward and end the point.

What I like to do sometimes is hit a drop shot, and the guy attacking it is prone to slicing it back DTL, I will get ready for that and get there for it early. It sets up a pretty easy CC lob for a winner.

LeeD
11-30-2012, 01:13 PM
Welcome back, BallinBob...
If you opponent gives you the net, you should take the net....behind a deep underspin approach shot usually DTL.
Since you are 6'3" now, you can hang 2' inside your service line, awaiting his pass attempt or lob. Shorter players need to get closer to cover all pass attempts, leaving the lob more open.
Use you advantage. Height and reach.

NLBwell
11-30-2012, 02:06 PM
Serve and Volley is another way to attack.

5263
11-30-2012, 04:05 PM
Since you are 6'3" now, you can hang 2' inside your service line, awaiting his pass attempt or lob. Shorter players need to get closer to cover all pass attempts, leaving the lob more open.

So you think taller players do better in NMsL?

LeeD
11-30-2012, 04:10 PM
Well, for sure, at 5'11" currently, I would cover more passing shots and lobs by being 4" taller, but also 6" more reach, possibly more.
Not sure what NsML is, but I suspect it's normal or medium tall?

LeeD
11-30-2012, 04:11 PM
Oh, NML, as in No man's land?
Yes, a taller player can still hit a slice approach shot deep into a corner, move in to just inside the service line, and cover more court than a shorter person.

5263
11-30-2012, 04:15 PM
Imo a taller person is more vulnerable in NMsL than a shorter person in general,
and has less need to be there.
for what it's worth, but
I don't really suggest it for anyone except the movement challenged because it
has that name for a reason.

LeeD
11-30-2012, 04:30 PM
Well, 6'3" tall should still allow for good footspeed and movement.
6'5" might be starting to show some clumsiness or lack of coordinated footwork, leading to possible injuries in the long run.
5'11" is well within reason for athletic movement and quickness in all directions.
5'7" should be solid footwork and explosive possible speeds.
5'3" should have good enough movement, but lack of reach.
Given a choice, I'd rather play tennis at 6'4" than any other height.

Ballinbob
11-30-2012, 05:51 PM
Ballinbob

I would strongly suggest practicing getting those slices better. I had to do a drill with my coach where he gave me those balls and I had to basically come really low under them and "throw them into a corner" with topspin. Once you come in to the net, you don want to be running backwards. You want to keep moving forward and end the point.

What I like to do sometimes is hit a drop shot, and the guy attacking it is prone to slicing it back DTL, I will get ready for that and get there for it early. It sets up a pretty easy CC lob for a winner.

Haha I wish I could "throw" it into the corner with topspin. Easier said than done but I agree this is a shot that will take some practice to deal with. I'll get on a ball machine tomorrow and practice moving quickly to these shorter slices. I feel like if I'm moving well the rest of my game also does well and vice versa, and him making me lunge forward for short slices just hurt my movement and game overall. The drop shot idea is a good one though, I never thought of that.

LeeD's approach is one I have thought of already, and I will try it next time. I have a pretty good slice on both sides which helps. I just feel like I'm letting him bring me out of my comfort zone with me coming to the net that often, but it doesn't look like there is really away around it.

I guess another way to solve this problem is to avoid it altogether. He has a weak second serve which if I attack I can dictate the point with my groundstrokes right off the bat