Approach shot placement

Discussion in 'Tennis Tips/Instruction' started by xFullCourtTenniSx, Nov 5, 2012.

  1. xFullCourtTenniSx

    xFullCourtTenniSx Hall of Fame

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    I couldn't figure out a good title, so I just simplified the problem.

    Say you hit a good backhand or forehand down the line from your backhand side (ad court for righties, deuce for lefties), then they hit a short ball crosscourt.

    The ball is hit at normal rally speed or a little less, and by the time you get to it, you will likely be hitting the from near the sideline (still inside the court though). Do you always hit this shot down the line (by far the easier shot as you can get your weight forward into the shot), or do you sometimes hit it crosscourt and behind your opponent who likely expects a down the line approach/winner?

    Basically, imagine hitting an inside in forehand (running around the backhand getting a relatively clean ball that landed short, and having to run in a forward diagonal across the court to hit it.

    Now, if you started from the forehand side of the court and hit this shot, you could easily hit the shot to both sides of the court while getting some weight transfer (since you can get to the ball much earlier, and there would be a less drastic change of direction to get your weight into the ball). If you're very fast and have strong legs (to change directions and push off in the crosscourt direction), you can probably also do it if you started from the backhand side of the court.

    So if you were like a strong 5.0+ (or like 5.5+), then you could probably get to the ball quickly enough and have strong enough legs to change go crosscourt behind your opponent. If you were a 3.0-3.5ish, then the ball would be slow enough such that if you ran to the ball, then you could be able to go anywhere on the court with it.

    At the 4.0-4.5 level (including upper 3.5 and lower 5.0), with mediocre/solid footwork and mediocre footspeed against a "medium" paced ball, would it ever be a good idea to take the risk to send the ball back crosscourt? Or should you just go with the flow and go down the line because the weight transfer into the shot is a million times easier? You will still always hit a strong shot that requires your opponent to produce a strong shot in order to win the point from you.

    I tried it once recently, and felt how awkward the shot was to hit. It did not feel even remotely like a smart shot to ever hit in that situation.

    Of course, you could meet the ball a few feet further back, giving yourself more time to settle yourself before hitting the ball, and then go crosscourt, but you've sacrificed about 5 feet of court and hit that ball from a few feet inside the baseline, meaning that all you did was hit a groundstroke that could either set up an easier short ball or be a conceding shot that gave up an aggressive opportunity and reset the rally into a neutral position.

    I don't think I'm going to get any faster anytime soon (though my footwork can be better and I'm working on it), so should I just scrap hitting crosscourt in this position or should I occasionally take the risk and hit it crosscourt sometimes when I feel it will be a clean winner? Because if it is an approach shot, I feel like my ability to approach the net would be very slow (you're approaching crosscourt when your weight is moving off the court, just doesn't feel smart).

    This is the sequence, but the ball lands shorter and you make contact with the ball at least 5 feet inside the baseline, as opposed to from on top of the baseline like Federer does here:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2nSDuILT5X4&t=117m50s
     
    Last edited: Nov 6, 2012
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  2. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Depends how good you can hit your low volley/half volley reply. DTL makes him run a bit, but he's ready for that. CC goes behind him. If he crowds the baseline, a deep shot works best. If he runs 4' behind the baseline, a drop volley or short angle works well.
    And tendencies. Once you've developed a pattern, and he starts to catch on, you gotta vary it one in 3.
    Key is to bounce your shot within 3' of his baseline, or drop shot it well inside his service line.
    There can't be recommended scenarios because the scenery is contantly changing.
     
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  3. boramiNYC

    boramiNYC Hall of Fame

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    I'm not a fan of that inside in shot you mention which Fed sometimes plays. you are way out of position for the next shot if it comes back. only a clear winner will work but the pressure is too high to make that winner. I wouldn't recommend that play to anyone but if you had to do it, you must very quickly assess what kind of return you will get and get you in position. but even doing this exposes a weakness and opponent with good running FH can hit dtl behind you while you try to recover. if you know it's gonna be short CC, my play would be fake dtl shot and drop CC and follow the ball and close the net. better disguise the better and the drop shot doesn't need to be a perfect one either.
     
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  4. Cheetah

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    going with the flow is hitting it back cc not dtl.

    depends on your skill level and the situation - where the opponent is, opponents weaknesses etc

    play w/in your self. otherwise you're playing low risk tennis.

    if you hit dtl w/ bh or inside in you should be smart enough to know you have to recover immediately after or be skilled enough to hit a clean winner and even then expect to recover. if opponent is good enough to hit strong and short then you shouldn't have played that 1st shot in first place. if opponent is not great and he got to the ball that means either he was in that area anyway and for some reason you decided to go that way and then leave the whole court open with your mediocre foot skills or you aren't good enough to blast a winner past him on the same side of the court but you tried anyway and didn't play within your abilities. both not wise moves.
     
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  5. xFullCourtTenniSx

    xFullCourtTenniSx Hall of Fame

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    The strength of my volley or half volley is irrelevant. I'm in a better position at the net. The ball is more likely to come back if I hit down the line, but I'm also in a much better position. If I go crosscourt, then I'm much more likely to get a winner, but for any ball that comes back I'm also more likely to be in a bad position.

    If he hits down the line, I can still get it back deep unless it was hit in a way that I wouldn't get to it unless I was sitting there waiting for it (ie, it'd have to be hard AND well placed).

    I like the inside in play a lot. I'm realizing more and more it's a more necessary play for me, as strong baseliners can literally demolish me if I rally crosscourt on the ad side. If I choose the lowest risk play, then it would be to hit the backhand crosscourt. The issue with that is that some players can actually bash through my backhand. For players that can't, it's not a big issue, I can play as low risk as I'd like. For players that CAN, I need to take some sort of risk in order to balance out the situation and give myself a better chance to win the point. I can run around the backhand and hit an inside out forehand, I can hit an inside in forehand, or I can hit a backhand down the line. My backhand down the line is not a very strong shot, but it's a decent change of direction. An inside out forehand is okay, but if I commit and for some reason don't hit it well enough, they just step in and rip the backhand up the line for a winner. If I hit inside in, he at least has to run for his forehand. From there, he can go crosscourt or down the line. If he goes down the line, he takes a risk, and I can hit it back crosscourt and put him on the run (which is good for me, since this sort of alleviates the difference in backhands, though for only one or two shots). If he hits a winner, then kudos to him. If he goes crosscourt, he either hits it deep, short crosscourt, or short crosscourt winner. Again, if it's a winner, still a tough shot. If it's short crosscourt, I can hit my own running forehand to either side, and it'll become a running point, which I won't like, but it's still better than rallying with a weaker backhand all day. If it's deep, then I get what I want, which is a crosscourt forehand rally.

    However, there is also the chance that my shot forces a short ball. If he goes down the line and it lands short, I can take it with a forehand or a backhand to either side and approach the net. But if it lands on my forehand side instead, I have to run a bit more and with my weight going outside the court and forward, going crosscourt would be awkward. Though I'll consider your drop shot suggestion for when I do want to go crosscourt. It'll probably be a bit better than trying to hit a solid forehand crosscourt with no weight transfer.

    I think you mean high risk. ;)

    Do you understand the situation? He hits a ball short and crosscourt when I am in the middle or backhand side of the court. I have to run forward and to the sideline to catch it early. It is MUCH easier to hit down the line because I still have a forward component of momentum to transfer into my shot. If I went crosscourt, then I would have a 0 or even negative component of momentum to transfer into the shot because I'm going in a completely different direction. It is NOT a strong and short ball. It is about normal rally speed or a little bit slower (so quite a bit slower than if either of us took a rip at it looking to be aggressive).

    If you hit down the line, you can't recover fully to the crosscourt side because the down the line shot becomes almost just as viable as the crosscourt shot because they don't have to change the direction of the ball. So you recover to around the middle of the court.

    And even if my opponent WAS good enough to hit a winner on the run off my down the line shot, I still need to play it like I stated before. Against some players, I NEED to protect my backhand if I want to win. I don't need to hit the ball especially hard or look for a winner, I just need a change of direction (unless the ball was short and/or slow to begin with, in which case I would approach the net right after instead of waiting for the next shot). If by chance, the change of direction forces a short ball, I need to take advantage of it (obviously). If I play with 0 risk, I will lose to some people 2 and 2. If I take a few calculated risks, I can win a tight set or lose a tight set. Either way, it gets far more competitive and disrupts their rhythm (because some players would like nothing better than to rally backhands with me all day).

    With this shot, I am just looking to change the rally up and take pressure off my backhand.
     
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  6. Cheetah

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    will reply in 1 hr
     
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  7. Cheetah

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    I thought you said you started the sequence by going down the line. That's different than being in the middle.

    the shorter the ball the less momentum matters. And if you run correctly ie by cutting off the angle there is still momentum no matter where you hit it but won't matter much. and there's also angular momentum.

    going dtl is a low percentage shot coming from a cc. you're changing the direction of the ball (low percentage) plus your hitting over high part of net( low percentage). Plus you didnt say what the opponent is doing. is he recovering to right of center after his shot ball? is he coming in? is he waiting cc? did he take a step up? is he behind the baseline?

    if i hit a short cross court and you have to run in im going to take a step in and bisect the angle and adjust according to the height that you're going to be able to reach the ball. if you're going to reach it low then i'm going to give mental weight to anticipating dtl because i can reach it no matter what you do cuz it will most likely be soft because you have to hit over high part of the net. all the other shots (cc, etc) i have covered by my physical position so i don't have to worry about those shots.

    when you go dtl you give up the whole lot of court. so you are saying you went dtl w/ an inside in just to change direction and then want to go dtl again from a short ball? what if he gets to that ball? you're at the net near the sideline and he's most likely got a soft ball from you to hit.

    inside in dtl should be aggressive. not just a change in direction. otherwise you're just protecting a weakness and it becomes obvious and subject to repeated attacks. when you protect a weakness you give up something else. like court position. It would be a better play to continue to hit cross court or i/o fh until you got an attackable ball instead of dtl to change direction.

    it's hard to say what to do because it's already not an ideal situation and i don't know your level. hitting 2 opposite dtl's in a row is not something you should do often. too much open court.

    It sounds like you're playing without a strategy. Just reacting. If your bh is weak then you should already have established patterns of play to protect it. You don't have a bh slice to deuce side? You could also hit straight up the middle hard and a little deep to get them to stop hitting to your bh. you can use moonballs, drop shots, battering ram, a looping shot dtl would be better too. it would give you time to recover. etc
     
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  8. junbumkim

    junbumkim Professional

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    I guess it is still situational.
    If you are still inside the court around the service line, you could go down the line and close in at the net. Crosscourt would be the percentage play for him, but you could cover it unless it was really sharp. If you go crosscourt, you are leaving too much court wide open - unless it is a quality shot (very short sharp or very hard and deep.)

    If you are inside the court between service and baseline, you are probably better of going cross court. If he smacks DTL winner, that's too good.

    If you are pulled off the court, you just gotta pick a place and try to finish the point..

    This is why inside in forehand from backhand corner has to put your opponent on defense or force an error. You have way too much to lose to hit this shot to change the direction. You are better off hitting more inside-out forehand to elicit a weaker reply to the mid-court.
     
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  9. xFullCourtTenniSx

    xFullCourtTenniSx Hall of Fame

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    Actually, if I played without a strategy, I would rally crosscourt forever, until I get on the run and wide, then I'd go for what I would see as the most likely to get me a winner or until I get a short ball, which I then attack and follow to the net. But I am more or less reactive. If I feel like I can rally all day (not playing at a disadvantage), I will do just that and keep going crosscourt all day. If not, then I will start mixing up the ball (high topspin, slice, flat, or forehand down the line) and try to find ways to give myself more forehands. I avoid hitting drop shots as much as possible because most of the times I use it, it is because I don't want to rally anymore and use it as a bail out shot.

    As for short balls (approach shots), I've learned that going down the line with them is almost always a good choice (unless you want to go behind them or attack a weakness), because it's easiest to get into the right position to cover the net. I agree that the first down the line is much riskier, but as I said, I need to take some risks against people who have better backhands (or groundstrokes in general). I would also prefer to go with my body weight as it is easier and more comfortable (meaning it's easier to repeat the shot 100 times).

    Also, the sequence probably doesn't start with an inside in forehand. I just remember being near my backhand corner or the middle of the court behind the baseline, then having a short ball to my forehand that I can easily attack. I hate hitting down the line with my backhand (though I'll do it a few times), so I assume that my forehand would be the shot I went up the line with, which makes sense since that shot would more likely than not produce a short ball. It's actually far more likely to produce a short ball than any down the line backhand I could hit consistently.

    Also, I usually get to it before it gets low, so I can really attack it. Even if it goes low (unless it's close to the net), for some reason, I can still smack it and get it over the net. My brain tells me not to because it doesn't make any sense for that to be considered a percentage shot, but my body seems to keep producing the shot, so I keep going for it and it keeps going it. Maybe I've just been on a lucky streak with it. It's usually a winner, a forced error, or an easy volley.
     
    Last edited: Nov 6, 2012
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  10. Cheetah

    Cheetah Hall of Fame

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    I see.
    Unless you are leaving out info then it appears you are playing w/o any strategy. If you have days where you feel you could rally all day then why don't you mix it up then when you're on?
    Why do you hate hitting dtl on a bh? Because you're not good at it? Why don't you just practice it? dtl bh has a high cool factor. If you don't like hitting dtl on a bh how long do you think it takes someone to figure that out? 2-3 games? After that they have now have 5 feet of free court width that they don't have to worry about covering and will be that much more prepared for the reduced set of possibilities of replies from you. Not only that but now you are limiting your options because you hate that shot so you have to do more work trying to hit than optimal shots putting you in less than optimal situations.

    And you shouldn't avoid drop shots. Do it to make the guy run. Do it as a change-up. Do it to make them angry. Even if you miss it. I do that all the time haha. Ppl don't like getting beat more than once from a drop shot. They have to expend a lot of energy for a 'soft shot' and then if they don't get it they want to kill on the next point and try to hit harder than they should producing errors. They want 'revenge' and will deviate from their plan A if they had one. A player who uses their mind will figure out in the first set that you don't hit drop shots given the opportunity.

    Not sure what you mean w/ the body weight thing. If you are moving forward you have momentum going dtl, up the middle or cc. if you cut the angle while running.

    It seems like you're pretty set on doing what you've always been doing in this situation so go w/ it if it works. If i were you i'd work on ways to avoid getting into that situation in the first place. It's obviously an issue or something you want to improve right? That's why you posted.
    The soft i/o dtl to change direction is not a good play. DTL i/o has to be a winner attempt or quite aggresive with intent to hurt. If you watch the pros or anyone 5.0+ they are going all out on that shot every time. Not because 'they can' but because it's the right play.

    I'd recommend more aggressive play. Try to control points more. It's not that difficult. You just have to make a conscious choice to do it and have some basic play patterns to utilize.

    You should check out FYB's new course. The free one. I forget what it's called. "Singles playbook" or something like that. It's pretty good. He goes into some patterns that work and help you to control the point. If you're not controlling the point your either in 50/50 rally situation or defensive. Those are not winning strategies.

    Also you might want to just fork over $19 and get brad gilbert's 'winning ugly' book. That book will increase your winning percentage the day you finish reading it guaranteed. It teaches you how to win when the other guy is better than you.
     
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  11. xFullCourtTenniSx

    xFullCourtTenniSx Hall of Fame

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    If I can beat someone by hitting crosscourt all day, forcing them to beat me or until I get a short ball to attack, I see no reason to change it.

    I hate hitting backhands down the line because I hate hitting anything down the line (forehands included) unless it's off a short ball or I'm attacking.

    I'll try throwing in more drop shots later on. I don't want it to end up being a bail out shot that becomes overused whenever I'm under pressure. Djokovic did that to Federer in the 2007 US Open and got WRECKED for it. The only difference in my mentality when someone uses a lot of drop shots on me is to watch for it if I hit short, which means I'll hug the baseline more even if I hit short.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2nSDuILT5X4&t=117m50s
    This shot (actually the entire sequence) is what I mean, only a bit shorter. Instead of hitting the ball from on top of the baseline, I'll be like at least 5 feet in so my weight will be moving more forward, as opposed to running to the side, planting, and ripping it. Given that same shot/situation at my skill level, I'd just rip it to whichever side I feel like. I'd lean more to the down the line, and hit it crosscourt whenever I feel like they will cheat to the down the line (like Murray did). Note that Federer initiates his split step from the ad court and finishes it in the middle of the court. This is basically the exact situation I'm talking about.

    It's not a situation I want to avoid. On the contrary, it's a situation I want to reproduce as often as possible (would certainly shorten my points a fair bit). This is a situation in which I am 100% comfortable and am on complete offense. The reason I asked about it, was to ask if going crosscourt in this situation is ever really advised, because I can always comfortably go down the line and big. However, if it is recommended that I hit the crosscourt variation, then I will work on that. Otherwise, I will hit every last one of these short balls down the line.

    And I don't really hit a soft inside in forehand ever unless I put a LOT of topspin on it to keep them back. I almost always rip it with a lot of spin or with a combination of spin and drive. If I think about it, if I ever go for this shot, my instincts will always say to go for it (because it is a chance for me to 1) get a winner, 2) force an error, or 3) go on the offensive/transition to the net). The only time I'll ease up on it is if I take it way early (basically a swinging half volley) while moving forward and transitioning to the net. So I guess in retrospect, if I did initiate the sequence with the inside in forehand, then I drew out a weak ball that I sort of have to run up for. Either way, it's a kill but I'm more comfortable hitting it down the line. I probably initiate this sequence more often than not with a backhand drive down the line.

    I guess I'm more cautious about more outright aggression because I used to just bash the ball mindlessly for winners, and it wasn't really the best course of action. At this point I'm just rallying until I see an opportunity to let loose on a forehand.

    I'll look at the FYB videos. Most of my patterns are derived from watching pros play then instinctually repeating them. I try to avoid down the line though unless it's off of a short ball or a slower shot with a forehand.
     
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  12. Cheetah

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    Fed set that whole point up. his dtl bh was heavy and he was recovering as soon as it left his racquet and was back to center already as murray hit the ball from a defensive position plus his split step was exceptional. these 3 things factors equal time taken away from murray. it was an easy put away because fed was basically waiting for the only reply murray had in that situation. Fed wasn't 'reacting' in this situation. So it's kind of a different situation than yours.

    You can go cross court if you see opponent is sprinting to recover. You can deceive and feint going dtl to make him sprint that way. then hit behind.

    What's a typical play pattern you use currently?
     
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  13. rkelley

    rkelley Hall of Fame

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    On the Fed/Murray point, Murray got himself in trouble on his backhand off Fed's return. Murray's cc backhand was short and weak. This weak, short shot gave Fed options. Fed chose to hit into the open court dtl. Fed’s dtl shot hurt Murray even more. Murray had to now run this ball down and really didn’t have many high percentage options. He could try dtl with an on the run fh, but that’s would have been a higher risk shot and because the recovery from a running fh would have left almost the whole court open he would have need to put it away. Murray went cc, which was the higher percentage play and would give Fed less winner options, but again he didn’t get much on the ball and didn’t get it that deep. Fed had set-up for the cc response, but with Murray’s weaker reply all Fed had to do was hit behind Murray. The only way Murray could have covered Fed’s cc winner was to guess.

    Murray lost that point on the short bh he hit. The cc fh might have been able to get him out of trouble if it had been really good, but it wasn't.
     
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  14. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Of course, most important is how good or bad your low volley/half volley is.
    If it hits 1' from the baseline, you win the point. If you pop it up in short NML, soft and high, you lose the point.
    That is more important than anything else, how good YOU are.
     
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  15. dominikk1985

    dominikk1985 Legend

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    A deep DTL shot is the best choice here.

    usually angles and CC is the best option in tennis but if you do that as an approach you will give him a lot of open court.

    so I would approach DTL and deep. If you do you force him to a good short angle passing shot or very good DTL because you cover the long cross and DTL pretty good.

    to keep him guessing hit an occasional short cross but aimed more for a winner than an approach.


    on a cc aproach you have to cross the whole court to get in position at the net

    [​IMG]
     
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  16. xFullCourtTenniSx

    xFullCourtTenniSx Hall of Fame

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    You're right, I'd be reacting, but I'd still end up hitting the same shot in my skill range. The instant I see a ball to attack come off the racket, I get in on it unless it's those short high ones. Those I stare at for a bit before I move, which is a bad habit (also because I can't always gauge accurately where and how it will bounce, so I'm more cautious about them). I will expect a deep, crosscourt shot, and when I see a short one, I will move up.

    My typical pattern... Take everything on the rise and go crosscourt. Occasionally I throw a high topspin down the line or a slice a backhand (been doing more down the line backhand drives recently). I basically only actively think of taking balls on the rise and going crosscourt unless it's short, then I go up the line. Again, I used to be a mindless baseline basher, and I've been trying to improve my shot tolerance so I haven't developed any good play patterns yet.

    FYB talked about hitting topspin backhands mixed with short slices crosscourt to create some up and back movement for the opponent, but I'm a bit more wary of that combination because I would probably take the slice with the forehand or hit a slice approach if it wasn't placed very well, so I'm more wary of hitting short slices. I can't really think of what I would attack on a person aside from their generic consistency or a side weakness. I would also prefer to avoid high ball rallies, as I have a one handed backhand... The only thing I can think of to use is low balls (ie slice backhands) but one handers prefer that and from my experience hitting two handers for fun, they probably prefer that too.

    If I hit my standard volley (be it good or bad), then if I'm in a good position at the net, it will be that same volley, no better and no worse. If I hit it while in a bad position, I will very likely miss it. Given the same volleys, they are irrelevant when compared to my position at net.

    Also, for the record, my backhand volley is quite good and my forehand volley is much shakier unless it's in doubles. There's not much stick to my forehand volley.

    Thought so... So I guess I should keep practicing the crosscourt to have more options?

    And holy crap that hole on the crosscourt pass is so much bigger than I thought it was. I always felt it was huge, but looking at the diagram, it's ridiculous!
     
    Last edited: Nov 6, 2012
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  17. Cheetah

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    well, yes technically it's the same shot. but if you want to become a better player you have to think of the mental aspect. Fed in that point was in control. Fed knew it and Andy knew it. Andy's stress level was up. Fed was building up for the kill 3 shots earlier. Once the opportunity came Fed's mind and body was all over it. During the whole point Andy was probably thinking "oh sh*t i'm under attack.... damn.... don't hit to short!!!... shoot!!!... how do i get out of this??.... don't panic!!..... maybe on the next shot if i can just..." then boom! point over. Control of the point is king. Not just the kill shot. That's why analysts and instructors always concentrate on 'taking control of the point'. Once you have control of the point it's an immediate advantage. If you don't have control it's neutral or you're reacting. It's easier to play once you have control.

    Short slice is effective even if you lose the point. You need to not let an opponent get into a groove. A groove is comfortable. Smart playing is taking time away, putting the opponent in uncomfortable situations and attempting to control points. Hitting cc all day is likely to get someone in a groove. You have to move players up and back too and not hit every ball penetrating through the court. Not every rec player is going to be able to crush every short ball. If they are smart players they won't try to either. then they are at the net and you have a chance to end the point which kind of forces you to be aggressive.

    You can also hit repeatedly to their strength. When you get an attackable reply attack to their weakness. Even if you fail you were aggressive and you have mixed it up and you attempted to take control with a plan.

    Also you can always work on footwork. If you notice the better a player gets the more they talk about how important footwork is.
     
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  18. OHBH

    OHBH Semi-Pro

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    The better you're anticipation/footwork becomes the more time you will have time to wait for your opponent to make a move and the choice between cc or dtl will make itself clear.

    At the lower levels it is better to just go forehand dtl and come to net. At the lower levels the anticipation is so bad that you rarely can go behind your opponent as they do not have the sense to recover to the middle before you hit the ball.
     
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  19. corbind

    corbind Professional

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    Almost any time I'm 15 feet inside the baseline I'm going to hit the ball (regardless of which side the ball is on) to the ad court corner. That's normally a righty's backhand and I find hitting approach shots to their backhand works well for me.

    Even if I'm mid court at the deuce side hitting a FH I'll hit DTL to their ad court corner (their backahand). If I'm mid court hitting an approach from the deuce sideline I'm gonna hit crosscourt to the ad corner (to their backhand).
     
    #19
  20. Netspirit

    Netspirit Hall of Fame

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    If you watch the video carefully, Federer wrong-footed Murray who had already started his jump to the left to cover the expected DTL approach.
     
    #20
  21. xFullCourtTenniSx

    xFullCourtTenniSx Hall of Fame

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    Yeah well footwork is the only thing I'm focused on improving right now, because my forehand is pretty dangerous, and it only gets better with better footwork. Of course, switching to the lighter BLX Six.One Tour didn't hurt. ;)

    Hmm... I think the bit about hitting the short slice even if it loses me the point is something good to think about. I've been working on going for my shots more during matches (but aiming for large targets, ie not lines and not down the line except when I should), regardless of if I make it or not because it's still the "right shot to play". And by that I mean it's not like trying to flatten out a winner down the line from 10 feet behind the court on the full run when instead you should probably aim to hit a very high topspin shot, though this is a bit of an extreme example. I guess even if my short slice gets taken advantage of, I'm still forcing my opponent to hit a good shot, with good movement, over the higher part of the net (to beat me outright, since if they go crosscourt I have a decent look at the ball), similar to hitting an approach shot and forcing your opponent to hit a good shot to pass you. But I'd rather avoid drawing someone to the net unless I felt their volleys were sub-par, because otherwise I'd be the one that's forced to hit a good shot relative to their fairly easy to execute setup shot.

    What would Federer's mindset or thought process be after he's hit his slice if you were to imagine? Because I remember that dialogue you put up for Murray almost word for word in a few points I've played. Knowing an attacking mindset might help me more (as you said Federer is expecting a short reply), because I don't usually expect short balls unless I see them stretch or maybe set up to hit a slice.

    So basically I should hit more down the line backhands with the same intent to be aggressive as I would with the forehand? Same with the short slice? (Not so short to bring them to the net, more so something they need to step inside the baseline to hit.)

    Is there any visual way to tell that your shots are bothering your opponent? I guess when your opponents are pretty consistent, there will be no visual signs that what you're doing has any real effect until you do it for 100 points, then play in a different way for 100 points and compare the win/loss percentages.

    I wish I could go back to the time when people didn't recover after hitting a ball and didn't anticipate where my shot was going to go. That was like... Since before I even started playing tennis. Damn! The only time I see someone not move is when they completely gave up on the point, and if they're moving they're walking to hit their next serve/return.

    I could sit back and hold the ball, but I'd rather take the ball as early as possible and be aggressive with it.
     
    #21
  22. Cheetah

    Cheetah Hall of Fame

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    You have too many 'hates' and thing you'd 'like to avoid'. How are you going to become a good player with all these things you don't like doing? Variety is the spice of tennis. If you try doing them a little more often you'll get better at them and then you'll have more options. You could develop your so-so bh dtl to be almost decent. Then you can use that shot to set up a ball to your strength when you need it or maybe it will be good enough for a good passing shot. etc.
    Do you know why my bh is better than yours? Only one reason... because I've hit more of them than you. That's all. The more you hit the better you'll get. Face your fears. I got beat in a tournament a long time ago. Lost pretty bad as I recall. I always remember what the guy said to me after... 'Don't worry. It just means I've hit more balls than you.'

    If I had to guess I'd say it would be along the lines of simply 'keep the pressure on'. That's all. No excitement no joy not celebration. just 'keep pressuring' or 'don't let up'.

    maybe you just try to use the bh dtl at the right time to change things up and if you get a ball in your strike zone then try to be more aggressive if the situation is right. It's a hard shot so give yourself the best chance to hit a good ball. Otherwise you just say 'see??? it didn't work!!' Anyway the more you try it the better it will get.

    yes unless you're playing an experienced competitive player who's hip to the mind game. Ppl will start talking to themselves, swinging harder, swinging slower, rushing on serves, little facial expressions, fist clenching, hitting themselves with the racquet, whatever. the signs are there. just look for them. They are human.
    Or ask yourself the same question. Can you opponents tell visually that their shots are bothering you?

    Yea, don't you hate that? :)
     
    #22
  23. xFullCourtTenniSx

    xFullCourtTenniSx Hall of Fame

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    Well, my original plan was to just become extremely good at the basics like Borg. If I have extremely good crosscourt shots and have good speed, why should I take the risk to go down the line ever except on a passing shot or a short ball? :p Right now, I want to focus on easier to execute shots, which includes going crosscourt when behind the baseline. It's hard to execute when your opponents are also blasting the ball at you and sometimes even do it while pulling you wide with a lot of spin (because there will always be someone better than you at something, which in this case would be groundstrokes).

    And one of my old problems was having TOO MANY options. I could hit basically any shot in the book and sometimes got confused with what shot I should hit. I'm trying to minimize my options to have a few STRONG ones for each situation. The fewer my options, the more routine my game will be. Of course, like you said, players will try to disrupt my rhythm so I can't do that. I feel like developing a strong foundation, THEN adding on to that is the way to go, which is what I'm trying to do at the moment. But as I play against strong players, I feel like I can't do that and then force myself to pull the other shots out of my bag.

    Hmmm. For me, it's just being extra aware of balls I'm comfortable attacking (usually with pace).

    If I feel like I got them a bit off balance and say draw out a ball that's 5 feet inside the baseline and going down the line, I will step up and rip it on the rise crosscourt. Same thing if I can drag out a short ball I can attack with the forehand.

    Funny thing, today I hit a ton of these short forehands off a short slice, and only missed 2 all day because at that point, I hadn't hit that ball in a while and always wasn't expecting those slices to come out when they did (probably a lack of focus at the moment because it's pretty obvious when your opponent is going to hit a slice). Second one I went from a running forehand to an inside out forehand, so that might've been a bit of a stretch to pull off. I feel like it's a pretty reliable shot for me at the moment, and is something I need to really center my game around, especially in my next match.

    Nah. If I know it's the right shot, then it's just whether I've hit it often enough to be proficient at that, I know that already. Also, it's also choosing when is the right time to hit it. Sometimes, you just blow one down the line, miss it, and blame the shot when in fact you were trying to do it off a hard, deep shot that realistically you might even want to be a bit more defensive with the shot.

    After hitting a few good ones in a few rallies, I know it's the right shot now and then (otherwise no good player would ever hit it), it's just hard to find those moments, especially when you're under pressure to perform. I mean, I've drawn out some short balls with it, so there must be a time and a place for it. I've even hit winners with them that I feel I shouldn't have gotten, but hey, time and a place for everything, I just happened to guess right on those occasions and executed the shot just well enough. I'm not one of those guys that shuts out every idea on the court. I shut out some because I have certain things that have been tried thoroughly and have proven themselves (like my old running forehand and running backhand, though I haven't been able to hit those since my shoulder injury, and have focused more on just getting good at the basic shots again).

    I mean, now, I won't have the balls to go all out on it down the line, except maybe on a pretty easy ball, especially in a match. Right now, I primarily use it to change the diagonal of the rally.

    Federer, Nadal, and Hewitt did this all the time, and two of these players are some of the strongest mental players the game has ever seen. Djokovic does this a lot, but you KNOW he's mental and it doesn't even matter because the damned guy just swings a racket when he's given up and still hits a handful of winners on Nadal.

    I'd feel like that's just the player angry with themselves for missing a shot that they would consider routine. When I'm like that, it's more so me being mad at missing a routine shot, which does feel less routine when you've hit so many different shots during a point. But I can tell some shots are messing with some people's heads.

    I miss the days when people would just let a well-placed shot just be a winner. You had less pressure to put something on it and less pressure to actually do something good with the ball. T.T
     
    #23
  24. xFullCourtTenniSx

    xFullCourtTenniSx Hall of Fame

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    Bit off topic, but...

    I have a tennis match on Saturday for club tennis (round robin stages). I'm pretty sure the winner comes out #2 in the group, so I really want to win it before we go into the single elimination stage.

    Both of us are one handed backhands, can hit plenty of topspin on the forehand, and have reasonable volleys.

    He likes to hang back more and is likely more comfortable with topspin forehand exchanges. He plays from several feet behind the baseline whereas I like to take the ball early. Long rallies from the forehand I feel would put me at a disadvantage. He won't go for a big forehand down the line as readily as I will, but he will change the direction and go for a looper down the line more readily than I will, which is a pretty strong spin to my backhand that I would like to avoid. Even taking all of his balls on the rise (a relative strength of mine), I would like to avoid rallying with the forehand as much as possible.

    His backhand however will always throw up a slice when he's uncomfortable or rushed. This is my target of attack. As I've said before, I'm very confident and comfortable attacking these balls with my forehand as long as I maintain good footwork. In terms of topspin backhands, his might be a tad bit better, but my slice is more vicious (and almost always draws out that slice response I'm looking for). Hitting my backhands on the rise also draw out a fair number of sliced backhands (as well as running around my backhand to hit an inside out forehand). I can also hit a slice approach off these balls if I feel like running around the backhand would be too risky of a play (ball too short and wide).

    As for after I hit the forehand, I'm not likely to see many winners off this shot (though I will get some). What I will see however, more likely than not, is a reasonable volley I can finish the point with. I will probably get passed cleanly a few times, but I'm more likely to win points than lose them. He also seems to mishit a fair number of forehands when rushed to hit these passing shots.

    He also doesn't capitalize on short balls in the same way I do. He will move up and hit the ball, but he won't go back to the net to hit a volley too often. He will instead back up and go back to baseline play. I can also expect him to hit a few drop shots in the match.

    My plan of attack, obviously, is to hit damn near every single shot to his backhand. I will however occasionally attack to his forehand (since my taking the ball on the rise on nearly every shot should at least be a bit of a different look compared to what most players will do), and when given an opportunity (or forced in a bad position with little option left) go down the line to his backhand. Or if he goes down the line with his looper, I will try to hit my slice (or backhand on the rise) to try and give him a tough backhand that will hopefully draw out a slice. At this point, I just need to be worried about how the serve and return will modify my plan. But yeah, lots of topspin backhand rallies with the slice mixed in every second or third shot I hit. I'm probably going to avoid down the line as much as possible (though it could be a GREAT changeup to employ), just because I really want to avoid hitting to that forehand as much as possible, because I feel like if he's going to hurt me (and not me hurting myself), it's definitely with that shot.

    Of course, with all this data on my opponent, he could easily play completely different. We only hit around and played points with a bunch of people. It's perfectly possible that in the match, he runs around a ton of backhands, ditches the slice altogether, comes to the net ruthlessly off of short balls, and blasts the forehand down the line instead of looping it. Or he could've just as easily found something giant to exploit against me to abuse in the match (two things I can think of are my backhand, and my forehand off of short, high balls, though that is a bit riskier to abuse, but a perfectly viable option that I'm trying to practice and getting better at little by little, though still shaky). Also, he could attack my forehand with his forehand, since his topspin combined with a wide shot results in a very difficult shot to get back while preventing him from being too aggressive. But I'm counting on the fact that this information should at least give me an idea of what to do and where to go during rallies and will hopefully at least be 80% match accurate. ;) If most of this information is accurate, then it all comes down to execution, so I can only hope for the best that I will be the better player that day.

    Any other ideas on plays I should do? Other angles I can attack with?

    I feel like I will be by far the more aggressive player, and the match will essentially be on my racket and my ability to execute. It's a mentality that maybe a month ago wouldn't have liked to do, but is a direction I should be going since I feel like being (smartly) aggressive on big points is far more likely to win you those points than being passive. Against players I feel are better than me, rallying with them all day and waiting for a miss isn't going to happen. Waiting for a short ball isn't going to happen. I need to make something happen and take every opportunity presented to me, even the small ones. I just got to be mentally tough and play it one shot at a time, one point at a time. Staying mentally tough has been my biggest weak point though. It sort of ties in with my lack of confidence in my endurance (which also promotes an aggressive game).
     
    #24
  25. Fuji

    Fuji Legend

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    Just skimmed, but in response to OP...

    I like the cross court. It gives me more action to whip up on the ball. I never really feel comfortable hitting DTL when I'm on the run, CC just feels natural to me.

    -Fuji
     
    #25

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