View Full Version : Taking the ball early question
09-08-2006, 02:17 PM
I've seen players that are a lot better than me taking the ball on the rise and just hitting it a lot earlier than I do and I want to start hitting like this. Are there any adjustments to my stroke that I need to make in order to do this? Or do I simply hit the same stroke, just earlier in the bounce, while the ball is still rising? Thanks!
09-08-2006, 03:45 PM
When you are hitting from a comfortable distance behind the service line, you may do quite a bit of running, but you also have time to plant yourself, get a look at the ball, find a rhythm, take an extra beat.
That's the difference six or eight feet can make.
When you move in and decide to play the ball early, you may actually run about the same distance, possibly less, but the time factor makes everything hurried, it makes you scurry, you lose that brief moment to regroup.
So, you have to (if at all possible) BECOME MORE COMPACT WITH YOUR STROKES. You don't have time to set up, so you have to take little steps so that you are already "in position" when you reach the ball.
It's like practicing against a wall from mid-court.
The ball is more like a blurry streak (rather than a ball caught at the top of its arc) and timing is everything.
There are, of course, advantages to taking the ball early-- but only if you do it well-- over and over and over again.
Unless you really have the attributes/inclination to persevere at this sort of game the advantages, then, cease to exist.
09-08-2006, 04:17 PM
that sounds about right. I actually hit better when I'm a little rushed and don't have time to think through the motions; frankly, I'm a lot better when instinct kicks in and I don't think about the shot. (I'm working on the mental aspect of the game too, but that's a different thread :cool: ) I've been working on it, and my swing is already naturally starting to compact itself. The biggest problem I've had so far is that I don't remember to do it, and I'll slip farther back again during the point, or I'll do it once well and not keep doing it. Again, that sounds mental, so I'll try to work on that.
Thanks for the tips, Bagumbawalla!!!
09-08-2006, 04:33 PM
I tell my students to use their normal stroke except for one thing...do a 3/4 turn instead of a full turn on the backswing and hit with their normal long follow through. Stand in front of a mirror and take your normal, loopy backswing but only rotate your upper body about 3/4 of it's normal turn. What do you see? Voila, the backswing looks compact but doesn't feel weird and choppy! The stroke feels really close to what you are used to except you've got this little extra coil in your legs from the slight pause during the backswing phase. It's also way easier to track the ball because you've got both eyes on the ball instead of peaking out the corner of one eye when you do the full turn. From this point...you can hammer the ball.
The beauty of the shot is in using your opponents spin against him or her as well as upsetting their rhythm because they aren't expecting you to make contact so soon. They're expecting you to hit the ball a millesecond later with less pace...so you've got them feeling like they're one step behind, while you feel like you are one step ahead. This is also how to beat pushers. You can rush them off of the court by staying around the baseline and the no man's land to mid-court transition area. The point is usually over before you end up at the net. Go nuts out there.:cool:
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