Attacking short and low ball

Discussion in 'Tennis Tips/Instruction' started by tennisturtle, Jun 10, 2013.

  1. tennisturtle

    tennisturtle New User

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    Recently I have the opportunity to play some singles in my club (we normally have enough players for doubles). My opponent played really defensive throughout the game by slicing most of the balls. The balls will land near the middle of the court and will be pretty low (not floating). Now, I am normally able to hit balls near the baseline with pace, but as expected, with the same amount of pace in the middle of the court, the balls that I hit will go very long. I tried to add more topspin but the ball is normally so low that I cant brush it enough.

    In the end, I have to resort to giving a weak return and approaching the net to finish up the point. The weak return gives my opponent time to choose his shots and I do get lobbed or passed occasionally. Ultimately I won the game but it isn't as aggressive as I want it to be. Thus what can I do to be more aggressive in this situation? Does shortening my swing help?
     
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  2. Lukhas

    Lukhas Legend

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    Little in fact. Learn how to slice it back, chip and charge. You see the pros doing it often when facing a low slice: they slice it back. Or hit a neutral shot back to continue the rally if you can. It's hard for everyone to rip good shots from below knee balls. Your opponent is merely forcing you to the net because you are probably weaker on this side. And maybe your serve isn't threatening enough, in a way they can't cut it low mid-cout.

    On the other hand, if your opponent can bring you at net when he wants, it also can mean your rally balls are too weak, may lack of depth or height. So maybe nothing is wrong with your net play, but the way you rally gives your opponent opportunities to do this.
     
    Last edited: Jun 10, 2013
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  3. fuzz nation

    fuzz nation Legend

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    A short low slice is a good answer there - just remember to follow that shot forward. The idea is to force your opponent to scramble forward and shovel your short low ball up into your kill zone. Careful though - don't get right up on the net or you'll be open to an easy lob with too much open space behind you.
     
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  4. Tight Lines

    Tight Lines Semi-Pro

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    I have trouble with those shots as well. Aside from not being over anxious to hit a winner, I try to concentrate on staying low with my body. In other words, my knees are bent just like hitting a ball at the baseline. But unlike at the base line, I do not come up as I hit the ball. That helps to keep the ball low to the ground.

    See if that helps.

    Harry
     
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  5. goran_ace

    goran_ace Hall of Fame

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    It is difficult to really drive that ball because it is below the level of the net, and at mid court you don't have a lot of court to work with, so you have to hit the ball up and get it to sit down in a hurry. Also being low, it means you really have to get down to be able to brush up on it to get the spin needed to get that ball to sit down. The better option is to slice it and approach, keeping it low. If you want to come over it try to hit a rolling forehand cross court if that side is open, think more about generating spin than power. Not many people out there have the hands to be able to rip that one down the line or on the short angle with a reverse follow through forehand, that's a pretty advanced shot.

    Playing aggressively doesn't mean you have to hit every ball as hard as you can. You can attack with angles and placement. That's a hard ball to hit a clean winner off of. Hit an approach, come forward, and look to finish things off at the net. That is still aggressive play.
     
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  6. Nellie

    Nellie Hall of Fame

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    If the ball is low when you get to it, there is very little you can do to be agressive since you need to keep the ball in and hit over the net. So have a simple strategy -

    Try to get to the balls earlier if you know the opponent is hitting short/weak. Stand close or even inside the base line so you can get to the ball when it is higher. When the ball is high (over the net) at contact, whack it! You can practice this shot with a drop feed since it will simulate the slow ball from the opponent.

    If the ball is below the net but still high enough to hit topspin (above your knees), try hitting an extreme angle, crosscourt shot with lots of topspin ball. Going over the center of net gives you more margin for error.

    If the ball is low (below the knees), than hit a slice approach deep (I always go down the line) to force a tough reply for the opponent.
     
    Last edited: Jun 10, 2013
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  7. SStrikerR

    SStrikerR Hall of Fame

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    drop shots.
     
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  8. tennisturtle

    tennisturtle New User

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    Thanks for the advice guys! I will try it out. Deep slice and placement while approaching the net to finish the point!
     
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  9. Lukhas

    Lukhas Legend

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    ^Said it's hard to attack on a slice, or that your opponent uses it to bring you at net to shoot a passing or a lob. Which means that by going at net, there's a possibility you do exactly what he wants you to do. It's very hard to be aggressive on a slice.
     
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  10. goran_ace

    goran_ace Hall of Fame

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    Depth would be good, but making sure that sliced approach stays low after the bounce is more important for now, and that starts with lower net clearance and a flatter trajectory.
     
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  11. dman72

    dman72 Hall of Fame

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    This. You need to know your "point of no return", ie where a ball is at a certain height and distance from the net that you have to slice it. Basically I know that any ball that is below knee level when I contact it, and short of the service line, I will have to slice, or the point will most likely end in my error. Or a deep but low bouncing ball that is about mid-shin height.

    It's just a question of the net height and your ability to bring the ball back down in play. It's much more difficult closer to the net than further back, but you also have to realize that any shot you hit from close to the net, your opponent has less time ot react to so there's a trade off.
     
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  12. lolminraise

    lolminraise New User

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    If the ball isnt too low, make sure you're using dynamic footwork for your topspin shots. You are running towards the ball and using your momentum and legs to get pace on the ball, while you're arm is mainly used to put extra topspin on the ball to bring it down into the court. Rafa does this very well against Federer's slice.
     
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  13. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Deep sliced approach works fine.
    You are not playing ATP tennis, nor do you play against Div1 5.5 guys.
    Few recreational riders can handle a sliced approach within 2' of their own baseline.
     
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