Discussion in 'Tennis Tips/Instruction' started by julian, Dec 16, 2009.
Never a good idea to develop any pattern. Smart opponent can develop picking up your pattern.
Use what's working for you 70% of the time, but you gotta still use your alternates sometimes to keep them on their heels.
It's good to develop a couple patterns that work well for you (where you're able to win a good percentage of the points). But use it to frequently and it'll work against you. If you're clever you could keep using the same pattern over and over again until it gets figured out. Then you could maybe change the end of the pattern a bit to confuse the opponent.
Federer uses a couple patterns like the short slice backhand and then pass/lob opponent. Another one is his inside out forehand, dtl forehand combo. Another one is his cc forehand then follow it up with a dtl backhand to gain control of the rally.
Absolutely players should be doing this. This puts purpose in all your efforts in tennis. This is the whole reason why we practice, perform drills, work hard at our conditioning, develop our serves, forehands, backhands, spend hours on the court working on our placement, and on and on.
What this can also be called is point construction, running plays, understanding tendencies, learning where to position yourself next after you hit your ball.
The serve should start your point construction. Players should know that if they hit the serve wide, what are the possible replies of their opponent so they can position themselves correctly as the point progresses.
A world class chess player knows what they want to move many moves in advance. They analyze the possible moves their opponent will do based on their move. They begin to think 5, 6, 10 moves in advanced.
Players should be using their brains to construct a point based on their game and what they bring to the table. This is why I don't buy into mindless tennis playing. A player shouldnt be thinkiing about their technique in the match but they should be thinking about this stuff! When some talk about "FEEL" in tennis, that is only part of what a player should be developing. They should also be developing match smarts and that requires conscious thinking. Good coaches do not only teach grips and strokes, they should also teach a player how to construct a point. The should be also thinking about how they can unlock their opponents game.
Some of the ways to do this are:
1. Know your matchup strategy. Warldlaw Directionals play a role here.
2. Construct points that favor your game. This might be an on-court at the moment thing. It can also develop and vary as the match wears on and you gather new information.
Point construction is also important for returns as well. I have often talked about rwreslting the initiative away from your opponent. This is chess terminology that I use in tennis. If you have played chess before and have played Black, you might know that White starts with the initiative. Black needs to wait patiently and position his pieces in hopes to take the initiative away and control the board (in a very simple sense, don't want to offend any good chess players here).
By understanding patterns, you also can see your opponents game plan as well. That is when tennis becomes fun, challenging, and the chess match begins.
IMO it's good to have at least 4 different patterns that work on the serve and at least 2 or 3 w/ the return. I usually want to mix up the patterns to keep opponents on their toes.
Some patterns work better against different opponents than others - what works for righties doesn't necessarily work for lefties, etc (for both serves & returns). Variety is key.
Return wise, don't worry about different patterns until you have a decent return you can count on the vast majority of time. Many people don't - so focus on the basics until you worry about variety.
Good Luck! K_I
Doesn't matter if a smart opponent sees it coming unless they do something about it, which they might not always be able to do.
Federer most likely knows where Nadal is serving (I hope to God he does), but rarely decides to do anything about it.
Most people during Sampras' career knew what he was going to do, but are helpless to stop him from doing it.
If you force your game onto your opponent well, then they can't stop you even if they know it's coming.
But if you're always serving to one spot over and over again, that's going to get attacked eventually.
I think any match should be approached with an OVERALL strategy, and if it's working, don't change a thing.
Reality says I don't care about the matches I win, so I DO CARE about the matches that are tough and the opponent is better than me. On those matches, I have to constantly MODIFY my strategy based on that particular players strengths and weakness THAT MATCH.
So after I serve wide pushing him past the doubles alley, I cannot alway hit the ensueing shot sharp angle CC. I have to go DTL just to keep him honest, or if he starts running full speed right after his return.
Some things, you gotta ad lib. That is what makes one player a little better than the other. The ability to ADJUST as you go along based on the play of your opponent, but also based on your play that day! :shock::shock:
Yup, just like the NFL. Some teams are running teams. They need to call plays that suit their strengths and guard their weaknesses. Got to have a game plan, got to construct points, got to be thinking and adjusting. Players have to be involved in their game.
I strive to play like McEnroe -
Plan A: serve wide, close to the net, volley wide the other way for winner, and than do it again.
If Plan A fails, go to Plan B - serve down the middle, close to the net, volley behind the returner for winner, and go back to Plan A again.
Nice simple plan.
in singles i use a return pattern. my typical return pattern is:
if serve is down the middle, then return DTL...
if wide, then crosscourt
i usually stick with this pattern until my opponent forces me to do something different, or if i find another weakness to exploit. the DTL return helps keep the server on his toes.
i realize good players will eventually see the pattern, but that's when i change it.
Nice job jpr. You are in control of your return. You are also trying to wrestle the initiative away from the server.
In singles I have a similar pattern...
Serve wide I return high over the middle of the net and deep into the court...
Serve down the middle I return high over the middle of the net and deep into the court...
I will usually stick with this until my opponent shows me that it is not a good idea for me to do anymore. Obviously if he is coming in I will do the same but keep the ball low, if he is able to hit effective volleys then I need to do more with the return. But there is no reason to take chances if there is no or a very small return on your investment. You can play to win... or play to look good.
But my whole premise is to take away the advantage of his serve and start the point at a neutral state and if I can do that... I feel I have won a small battle. Now to win the war.
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