Baseliners how do you play that way?

Discussion in 'Tennis Tips/Instruction' started by Shroud, Jul 21, 2013.

  1. Shroud

    Shroud Hall of Fame

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    How mentally are you OK just hanging out at the baseline? Its such a defensive position.

    I don't feel comfortable back there. I have decent groundies and I am betting a few here would love to have my strokes especially my backhand. But mentally I find it hard not to press. How do you cope?
     
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  2. newpball

    newpball Legend

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    It's a zen thing: "be like a wall, reflect!" :twisted:

    Seriously though I love the strategy: do I hit across or straight and how deep and high, do I drop shot or do I try a short court sharp angle....
     
    Last edited: Jul 21, 2013
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  3. corbind

    corbind Professional

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    I want to learn how guys can stand at the baseline more than a few shots.
     
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  4. GuyClinch

    GuyClinch Hall of Fame

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    Play someone good enough to rip forehand past you - and you might change your tune. It's natural to want to win - and if you win more by staying at the baseline - you tend to do that.
     
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  5. Lukhas

    Lukhas Legend

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  6. user92626

    user92626 Legend

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    Err..if you don't feel comfortable or think it's a defensive position, you're not playing it right. Your groundstrokes still leave a lot to be desired. :)

    I play tennis specifically to get to play alot of baseline hitting and it's for good reasons. It's more workout and more tennis than otherwise. It looks like the way pros play, and for me it's less chaotic and more beautiful than scrambling to the net.

    GC got it right. You tend to draw to what you're good at, more successful at.
     
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  7. TheBoom

    TheBoom Hall of Fame

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    I play baseline but I play more aggressively. I am always looking for a way to attack and to get a short ball. I stand barely behind the baseline. I think you are generalizing baseliners. The truth of the matter is that it is incredibly hard to serve and volley against anyone good. If I hit a 100mph + serve that is coming back fast and it is difficult to get to the net quick enough not to mention that once you are at net some people can hit incredible passing shots. Because of this I stay at the baseline for a little bit until I can get a ball to be aggressive on.
     
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  8. The Isomotion31

    The Isomotion31 Semi-Pro

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    This is exactly how I play the baseline.
     
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  9. TimeSpiral

    TimeSpiral Professional

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    Odd choice of words, OP.

    This feels like a thinly veiled dig at pushers/lobbers, aka counter punchers, aka defensive baseliners. This terminology is useful, but necessarily a generalization. All styles have offense, defense, and neutral modalities. Not all baseliners (everyone must play the baseline in tennis at some point) are overly defensive.

    When you say, hanging out, asking how are you mentally ok with, it just wreaks of condescension. In addition to that, if your opponent is just hangin' out back there, then you're not doing your job that well either.

    I think most consider their style of play superior, otherwise, why play that style? Hell, when I imagine myself playing: I'm Djokovic running around out there--flawless, incapable of anything short of glory, perfect form, brilliant tennis! Then I record myself and it looks like I'm some horrible slow-motion playback of cavemen picked up off the street and told to hit balls to each other.

    I like to consider myself an all-courter (who doesn't?), but I'm probably closer to an aggressive baseliner when equally matched. There is definitely no "hanging out" when I'm playing. Every point is a fight to the bitter end! If my opponent is hitting defensive, or predictable shots, then I start coming in. If I hit a great shot, I come in. But if they give me an angle, cheat to much to one side, or drop the ball a little inside the baseline--it's time to hit a winner. Also, most baseliners eventually have to learn to play the net anyway because their groundies will eventually draw a short ball and you're not always going to hit a winner. Once you chase down that shorty, you're at the net whether you like it or not. I've grown to like it!

    I like it when people rush the net off mediocre approaches. It becomes target practice for the passing shot.
     
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  10. 10isfreak

    10isfreak Semi-Pro

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    The game evolved and baseline patterns became increasingly valued. I think that no deterministic model could account properly for that sort of change because every detail that has been changed has impacts over the rest. How the average player plays his game on the tour influences how you will understand tennis, in what sort of context you will most often find yourself as you grow into a professional player and that average game is also what you have to respond to once you are there. To make my point clearer, take the example of our more powerful, lighter contemporary rackets. Introducing them does not only make the same game faster, it also changes the types of play you're likelier to go for, what you consider an opportunity and what you would consider a threat, etc.

    Your criticism is not so out of line with contemporary tennis because we can indeed suppose that the net could be used to great effect today, especially considering how so few players actually learnt to make an extensive use of it and rarely faced people who did so. When everything is the same, difference becomes a weapon, to say it differently. But the net isn't the only way to be aggressive or to use the inside of the court; great baseline players are able to step inside the court to hit aggressive shots. They are masters at this small transition, back and forth movement that enables them to thieve some time from their opponents. You do not have to go all the way to the net to gain an edge... just making contact slightly inside the court can be enough to earn points, provided that you do it right.

    Federer, for one, thrived on this ability to step in and hit a big inside (in or out) forehand. In 2011 and 2012 at Wimbledon, he struck 32% of his shots from within the court and most of them were not volleys, nor overheads... it's telling about how great players use the court today, isn't it? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h_tjJcgTHEc
     
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  11. sundaypunch

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    If we are going to make generalizations, some could guess that you are old and out of touch with the modern game. That may or may not be true, just as baseline tennis may or may not be defensive.
     
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  12. josofo

    josofo Semi-Pro

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    that is how everyone learns now a days they just stay in the middle of the baseline and hit groundies to each other.
     
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  13. 10isfreak

    10isfreak Semi-Pro

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    The first glass of wine a man has in his life mostly reveals acidity and bitterness. He'll then get to taste other wines and this will build in his mind an ability to compare the experiences. If he is lucky, he might encounter people who are capable of describing these experiences or, else, he might read about wines on the bottles or in magazines. With time, he'll discover new things. Certain wines have touches of field berries, cherries or even vanilla and there are such things as more textured wines...

    You're like that man who got only few glasses of wine or who never bothered learning to describe what he experienced: you never learnt to think about how baseline points are being built and all you can see are two people hitting big shots, not even being aware of what these players are actually trying to do and what sort of subtle variations they use to achieve these goals.
     
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  14. newpball

    newpball Legend

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    Exactly there is a lot of 'positional chess playing' going on.
     
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  15. bhupaes

    bhupaes Professional

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    Hmm... after the third glass of wine one feels so good that one usually switches to scotch... :)
     
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  16. GoudX

    GoudX Professional

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    How are YOU mentally okay attacking the net every time. You are forced into hitting a winner in one or two shots, or you will be passed by a decent player. From the baseline you can take as many shots as you want to win the point, as long as you are hitting well enough to keep the opponent on the back foot.

    From the baseline there is also a larger choice of shot type, as the variation in shot height and spin allows for huge variations in play. You can hit a looping topspin lob to the backhand, a flat drive into the corner, an angled topspin shot at a sharp angle, a deep side-spin slice to buy time, a short under-spin slice, or a drop shot.

    At the net you basically have a choice of dropping the volley short or punching the ball deep with a bit of slice. If you change your shot height or spin too much it will make you miss or let the ball sit up.

    Basically at the baseline you have the time to make more choices about the shot you want to hit, and set up for shots. Good players can play either position comfortably, as a decent opponent can force you into or away from the net.
     
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  17. tlm

    tlm Legend

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    You obviously have not played good baseliners, they may hang out at the baseline but they are anything but just defensive. I have found that most guys that want to rush the net all the time do not have that good of a back court game, so they are better at attacking at the net.

    Now of course a complete player can do both well, but usually most players are better at baseline bashing or rushing the net. I am the opposite of you to me the baseline game is much more fun, I love the rhythm and chess match of playing another baseliner.

    Plus it is much more physical to stay back and bash from the back court and I enjoy the workout. I played a guy yesterday who was really good at the net and came in a lot. I noticed after our match I did not feel that tired because our points were decided much quicker.

    Now is net rushing effective yes it definitely is, a good net guy can really disrupt a good baseliner. At rec level S+V is very effective if the player is good at it and knows when to come in and how to make good approach shots.

    I should come in more myself and I do a little more than I used to. But to come in a dump a volley for the point is not that much fun to me. To me that no way compares to working a guy back and forth and ripping a inside out forehand winner that dips down with a bunch of spin and goes off the side of the court for the clean winner. No volley or overhead winner comes close to the feeling of ripping a big groundstroke winner.
     
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  18. Mikeplaystenniss

    Mikeplaystenniss Rookie

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    It's called aggressive baselining for a reason. Some baseliners have such sound strokes they can open the court up or earn themselves a short ball to move in on.
     
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  19. OKUSA

    OKUSA Hall of Fame

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    I stand on the baseline and attack anything inside the baseline, I half-volley pretty much everything because I hate being more than a foot behind the baseline. Of course I don't play competitively but even if I did I would do the same thing.
     
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  20. Shroud

    Shroud Hall of Fame

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    Its all relative. When I am at the baseline it certainly feels defensive RELATIVE to being at the net. Not saying ALL baseline play is defensive but I think its safe to say that the net is and has always been considered a more offensive position.

    "Hanging out" is not condescending as I used it. Maybe "camped out" is a better term. Doesn't mean you aren't working hard, just not leaving the baseline.

    I dont think net play is necessarily superior and today's lack of net play is hard to argue, though I am not sure we can put netplay in a coffin as I am anticipating a resurgence. Nice use of the Geico commercial imagery. 5 gold stars!!

    Hey, if I want to give people targets for their passing shots I will :)
     
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  21. Shroud

    Shroud Hall of Fame

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    Thanks I think this is illuminating.
     
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  22. Shroud

    Shroud Hall of Fame

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  23. Shroud

    Shroud Hall of Fame

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    Thats the whole point of this post. I am not sure I am even better at sv. I wouldnt be surprised if some coach would categorically tell me to play back. Its just that I dont feel right back there. How do you get your mind to handle long points?

    Let me get this straight, you want to get more of a workout when you could just volley into the open court??

    And by defensive I am also talking about having a decent serve. If you can pull a weak floater, why not attack the opponents time. Certainly taking time away is more offensive than not?????
     
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  24. Shroud

    Shroud Hall of Fame

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    I saw a Salzenstein vid where he was analyzing net play and he said that most people think it is serve, 10 steps then splitstep. But he showed that Sampras often only took ONE step before his split step.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dwBAjiU6JMY

    OK so you both understand getting a ball you can be aggressive on. Thats the thing I do too, and the net is awesome for that. Where do you get that patience from??
     
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  25. Shroud

    Shroud Hall of Fame

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    LOL. Old and out of touch might just fit.:)

    Pro Tennis does bore me these days to be sure.
     
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  26. Shroud

    Shroud Hall of Fame

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    Sign me up for only a few glasses. Yikes, maybe my chess is oldschool too, but Fisher never played around when he had the offensive did he?

    Anyhow there were all kinds of positional chess playing going on too when sv was the dominate form.
     
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  27. Shroud

    Shroud Hall of Fame

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    Its a good question. How am I OK attacking everytime. Well its not all the time. But a good amount. 1st off I serve better that way, 2nd are you saying that when you are camped out at the baseline you find yourself taking "as many shots as you want to win the point"?? Like you would like to do it in 5 vs say 3, or one?? I dont get that. Why mess around? If you can do it in one why not. If you had the power to ace on every serve, would you not take it? You think any pro would hit a spinner if they knew they had an ace up their sleeve??

    And while I agree that there might be more types of variation from the baseline, isnt the lack of variation a plus?? I have only a few shots to learn and well sure they might not be varied, but the time to react to them decreases, thats why IMHO the net is more offensive.

    Its a good point about being able to play both.
     
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  28. Shroud

    Shroud Hall of Fame

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    Lots to think about in this post.

    Isnt the goal of playing to win the point??? Yet it seems to make a difference HOW you do it. Is that what I need mentally to be a baseliner?

    FWIW there is SOME chess going on with S+V. And why would you want to stay on the court longer than necessary??

    Maybe I am a bit out of shape but running to the net frequently is pretty tiring even with those short points.
     
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  29. Shroud

    Shroud Hall of Fame

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    I GET that. but RELATIVE to the net you think the baseline is not defensive?? Said another way the net is the most aggressive position on the court any other part is more defensive. Its a positional statement not a style statement.

    Now how do you get those strokes or what I am really asking is how to feel comfortable just not pressing and advancing. I admit I am not explaining it the best. YOu know that feeling when you are at the bar and there is a hot chick and you just kind of hang back and dont approach or ask for the number. THAT is kind of how it feels when I am back at the baseline. YES, even when I do hit winners.

    Now that I can get my head around. I feel even worse if I am a foot behind the baseline. No idea how someone can stand 6ft back. I'd play it like agassi if I had too. Great half-volley here especially the backhand.
     
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  30. Shroud

    Shroud Hall of Fame

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    I GET that. but RELATIVE to the net you think the baseline is not defensive?? Said another way the net is the most aggressive position on the court any other part is more defensive. Its a positional statement not a style statement.

    Now how do you get those strokes or what I am really asking is how to feel comfortable just not pressing and advancing. I admit I am not explaining it the best. YOu know that feeling when you are at the bar and there is a hot chick and you just kind of hang back and dont approach or ask for the number. THAT is kind of how it feels when I am back at the baseline. YES, even when I do hit winners.

    Now that I can get my head around. I feel even worse if I am a foot behind the baseline. No idea how someone can stand 6ft back. I'd play it like agassi if I had too. Great half-volley here especially the backhand.
     
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  31. tlm

    tlm Legend

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    Yes the goal is to win the point, but my goal in tennis is to have fun hitting the shots that I enjoy. Running to the net the as quickly as possible to end the point one way or the other ruins what could have been a good point.

    To each their own but to me nothing beats hitting big ground strokes, and the chess match that goes on between 2 base liners.
     
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  32. GoudX

    GoudX Professional

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    It's not messing around. It's all about playing the percentages, compare a damaging rallying shot you can make 90% of the time to a go for broke shot you can make 60% of the time. You can hit the 90% shot 5 times with about the same chance of success, which gives you plenty of chance to set up a point.

    I enjoy attacking the net, but it isn't really my forte, so I know that I have a better chance of winning if I hang back. I find that the racquet in my hand will often change my shot selection, by changing which shots I feel confident hitting. A midsize racquet like you use will often drain confidence at the baseline, a midplus control racquet is perfect for baseline play - as you can swing out at the ball without having to worry about missing. It all comes down to confidence at the end of the day, your best play is nearly always the one you feel like you are most likely to succeed at.
     
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  33. TimeSpiral

    TimeSpiral Professional

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    Okay, fair. Perhaps I misread the color of your tone. Allow me to respond with a different perspective.

    The three primary dynamics--neutral, offense, and defense--are not necessarily relative to the net, or to the baseline, but relative to the point being played.

    Ostensibly, within the context of higher levels of play, the goal is to win the point. Relying on your opponent to make a mistake is not an effective strategy, meaning; defense is only necessary when being attacked. Both the neutral and the defensive position are relative to the offensive position, but only because they're both required to some degree. What this is all leading up to is this: the goal during each point is to earn an offensive position and attempt to win the point.

    For some, this means advancing into the court and playing a volley. For others, this means dictating play, waiting for an opening, and hitting a winner from the back-court. The net is often considered an offensive position because people are implementing offensive strategies that include the net. What's happened, is that some have taken that to mean that the net is automatically offensive--but it's not!

    There are few worse things than chasing a short ball, hitting it back and seeing your opponent setting up at the baseline with all the time in the world. You're sitting at the net, racquet at the ready, and BAM--you cover the line. You shrug as the CC Pass gently glides over the net, dips into the service box, and bounces out of play for a clean winner. Unless you hit an amazing approach shot, or your opponent is somehow under severe duress, the net can be extremely defensive (to the point where you have to guess).

    If you have to guess to defend a shot, you're in big trouble.

    Similarly, if you're rallying from the baseline and you put a weak reply over the net, it only takes about one step forward, and a clean strike, for your baselining opponent to make you guess: does he cross, go down the line, or drop?

    You get the point (no pun intended). The three positions--neutral, offense, and defense--are not relative to the net, or even the court, but relative to the point being played, which includes your opponent and all of his attributes.

    +$0.02
     
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  34. DirtBaller4

    DirtBaller4 Rookie

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    I can see the OP's point. I feel naked and alone at net, and have to force myself to come in and put away floaters some times.

    But I grew up wanting to play like Agassi. Why would you run all the way up to net just to get passed by the guy camping out in the back of the court. Or even worse, lobbed! Uggg, we all hate that feeling!

    It always seemed to me that the base liner thrives on brash net players throwing themselves into the net like moths to the flame.
     
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  35. TimeSpiral

    TimeSpiral Professional

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    The dreaded lob winner ...
     
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  36. 10isfreak

    10isfreak Semi-Pro

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    I stand further back than a foot, most of the time; I give myself space to hit and move. I do as I explained earlier: I move back and forth. I set up behind and, if I can, I'll step forward to make contact from within the court. I step in to put pressure on my opponent when I can and, then, I move back a bit, unless I've hit a really good shot.
     
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  37. The Isomotion31

    The Isomotion31 Semi-Pro

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    I find that in Sampras' case the one step split step was because of opponents hitting returns back at him using the pace he produced on the serve. For me when I serve and volley I do the 1 step split step in case of a lob or an angle, but as soon as I recognize a short shot I charge the net.

    The patience part is tough one to teach. It is sort of one of those repeat it to yourself while playing things. "patience, patience, patience."

    Often times I do not listen to myself and just try to either do a low percentage approach shot or hit a terrible approach shot. Then I get burned and usually that wakes me up to be more patient. lol.
     
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  38. GuyClinch

    GuyClinch Hall of Fame

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    Work on that overhead and you will love lobs. Its the ability to hit awesome passing shots with the WW finish that makes net play so tough.. The modern stroke is very easy to hit with a low arc over the net and lots of spin so it bounces short.. This is not such a great rally shot but its an excellent passing shot.
     
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  39. TimeSpiral

    TimeSpiral Professional

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    Well, I did say "lob winner," meaning the overhead is not in play, but I get your point.

    I choose not to engage in the "modern tennis is easy-mode" debate. Maybe someone else will bite on this.
     
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  40. RockChalkOhio

    RockChalkOhio New User

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    Baseline, baseline, stroke it deep and hard and in unpredictable ways. When the opponent returns weakly and shallow, attack and come forth. That is how RCO rolls and wins.
     
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  41. GuyClinch

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    A good strategy I think. The only issue is making sure you really attack the weak balls. If you just come in behind a weak shot without attacking it you open yourself up to the pass.
     
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  42. movdqa

    movdqa Legend

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    I went to hit with someone at work for the first time and we talked tennis on the drive there and he told me that a lot of people don't like to play him or they misjudge him. He's played 3.5s that thought that they were better than him but they couldn't beat him.

    We hit for about an hour in mid-90s and humid weather. He's somewhat short and a little overweight and he doesn't look intimidating when you see him. He didn't hit the ball very hard but he hit it high and moderately deep and moved you from corner to corner. He was also surprisingly fast, up to a certain number of shots, and then fitness came into play. If you're expecting to put the ball away, though, you might have to hit a few very good shots in moving him around.

    I had only hit once in the last two months due to recovering from running injuries so I was pretty happy to take it easy. So we just hit for an hour with him moving me from side to side and me just hitting high topspin shots to generally the middle of the court. I'd hit some to the corners too. Sometimes the rallies went to over 50 shots. I could definitely see this guy beating a lot of players trying to beat him with pace.

    He needed water breaks more frequently than I did and I think that he was surprised to run into someone that would just keep getting ball after ball after ball back without going for pace and winners.

    Points:
    - When you practice, do you try to keep the ball going to focus on your footwork, timing, mechanics, and accuracy or do you try to "beat" the person that you are practicing with? There are lots of YouTube clips on pros practicing and winning the rally doesn't seem to be a big priority.

    - Do you have the fitness level to beat someone that can hit strokes that generally take less effort than your shots with pace?

    - Do you have the fitness level to maintain a 50-hit rally? That pusher might start to have a few doubts if you can just keep getting the ball back.

    - Can you develop the patience to just keep hitting and hitting and hitting? You don't necessarily have to push the ball but just keep hitting the balls that you are comfortable with over and over and over again? Basically make it a challenge in practice to see how long you can keep a rally going.

    - Can you work on an effective way to hit against high, slow balls?

    - Can you practice with someone that moves you around? High to low, side-to-side, short to deep?

    BTW, I do like to attack, use tactics, move people around and construct points but sometimes you're in a relatively neutral balance or there a slight initiative either way and you just have to have some patience.

    I was running 40 miles per week before my injury and am just running 20 right now. It's surprising how effective superior fitness is against people my age because there are lots of players with a lot of skills and experience but far fewer in great shape.
     
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  43. 10isfreak

    10isfreak Semi-Pro

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    Let me answer all of these for fun. When I have a hitting session, I try to implement certain tactics that I want to use during matches. It's rare that I think that much about my footwork or my mechanics, unless there's something wrong about it.

    I can keep hitting for hours counting. Two days ago, I have played tennis for about 2 hours and it was a hitting session, so there were far fewer breaks and far more hits than in a match. I could still hit just as hard after 2 hours as in the first 10 minutes of play (after the warm-up, of course). An hour per set is long... and I could earn two of them without starting to feel drained.

    50 hits rallies? You're a crazy tennis player if you can sustain a 50 shots rally. I mean, I seldom miss my top spin ground strokes, but my body will let me done before I hit my 25th shot in a row.

    I do it sometimes. I might try today.

    The least demanding option I know would be a reverse forehand, but I'm talking about a 6 feet high contact point -- basically, above my head. If 5 feet is high in your mind, then my usual forehand works best off of those balls and especially if my opponent doesn't pressure me.

    Yes. There's an old guy I played with who was very good with his ball placement... he would make run like mad. It was fun, though.
     
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