Flat balls low on the net....killin' me

Discussion in 'Tennis Tips/Instruction' started by hornfan75, Oct 14, 2011.

  1. hornfan75

    hornfan75 New User

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    I took on a guy last night that was very skilled at hitting flat balls that probably cleared the net by an average of 6 inches. Normally I would think the odds would be against this shot but he only put about 10% in to the net. I tried mixing up topspin, slice and lobs. The only thing that seemed to be effective for me was lobbing, but I really hate being "that guy". Looking back, I'm thinking that I should have worked the slice a little harder to try to keep the ball low to the ground. It seems like this should somewhat negate his flat ball shots as he would have to get more lift on his shots to put it over the net. Any thoughts??
     
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  2. rkelley

    rkelley Hall of Fame

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    You played Jimmy Connors? Wow!

    If the guy is getting them over and keeping them in it can be difficult. You should be able to out hit him with modern forehand technique because the extra topspin allows you hit lower shots harder. Keeping the ball low should be effective because without the topspin to pull the shots back down he'll have to back off on the pace - just physics there. But again, if he's good at threading that needle you'll be hitting a lot of low, well hit balls.
     
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  3. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Actually, best tactic against flat hitters is to mix high balls with higher balls, or until you find the weakness in their strokes.
    Low slices are easy for EFH guys to hit dead flat. High weird bounces usually give them trouble, but if they step in and slice it, they can handle that high bouncer.
    OK, run them. Drop shot and lob them. Hit short angles to their backhand.
     
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  4. rkelley

    rkelley Hall of Fame

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    When I was using a flat stroke with an E fh grip I liked balls between my waist to just below my shoulder. The extra height gave me margin over the net that made up for my lack of topspin. I would go for more on those balls.

    Lee's right about the stuff that really kicks up high. That can be harder with an E. fh grip. And it's also true that the grip, combined with the flat swing path, is most comfortable with balls around the knees to the waist. It also depends on if the person is used to hitting balls that kick up.
     
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  5. Xizel

    Xizel Professional

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    I have hands on experience with this. A guy on my team can only hit deep, flat balls when it's a low contact point, whether by slice or hitting on the drop. On higher balls, he's forced to hit a normal topspin rally shot. I do notice that he tends to sit behind the baseline a lot, so the flat ball has more time for gravity to pull it down once hit.
     
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  6. thug the bunny

    thug the bunny Professional

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    How about the ones that hit flat backspinning with pace..never gets higher than 1ft off the ground. I could never get that shot - hitting it or returning it.
     
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  7. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    TTB, either whip around the outside of the ball imparting as much sidespin as topspin, or ..... switch to conti and slice it back.
     
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  8. AceServer

    AceServer Rookie

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    My friend always hits like that, and it's a nightmare hitting that back. The only way to hit that back for me is to volley, or put up a floating slice.
     
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  9. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Better read post 7 again.
    Nadal whips it buggy style, finishing on his LEFT side.
     
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  10. Frank Silbermann

    Frank Silbermann Professional

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    Theoretically, you could switch to continental and whip it back with heavy topspin; that was Rod Laver's specialty. But learning to do that would be like learning to play tennis all over again.
     
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  11. martini1

    martini1 Hall of Fame

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    So the best way is to step in and get under the ball early? There is little chance of the ball bouncing too high anyway, right?
     
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  12. Whirly

    Whirly New User

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    Thats how I have been hitting although probably with less consistency. Very low net clearance flat and hard. I can say while I am doing this I have the hardest time against someone with modern windshield wiper with heavy heavy top spin as long as its deep (too short it can kick up into my hitting zone). Doesn't need massive pace just lost of kick up to screw with my timing forcing me to hit less flat.

    Hope this is of some help.
     
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  13. origmarm

    origmarm Hall of Fame

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    I second this. I also hit hard and flat low over the net. I do however put a significant amount of topspin on the ball, just my trajectory is flatter.

    The best way to cause me trouble is to hit deep with some kick to it. I just don't like it and it causes me to either have to play farther back than I want or to come in and attempt to play very much on the rise with the higher error count that entails.
     
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  14. olliess

    olliess Semi-Pro

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    Isn't the classic way to attack a flat ball hitter is to hit junk? The idea being to force the hitter to hit up, often on short-ish balls, generate pace, and generally deal with less-than-ideal ball strikes. All of this takes away from his percentages.

    If he can still hit high percentage, hard shots 6 in. over the net despite everything you do, the he's just good, right?
     
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  15. dman72

    dman72 Hall of Fame

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    I'd say very low or very high bounces, nothing in between. That strategy works against most of the guys in my league, mostly flat hitters. You never want to give them a contact point waist high that's at or inside the baseline. It's not as easy to pull of as it sounds, but if you can get most of your strokes bouncing up near their eyes if they are standing at the baseline, or slicing below their knees anywhere in the court, you will win most points. Most of these guys can't buggy whip a foehand, so short low slice is very effective.
     
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  16. olliess

    olliess Semi-Pro

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    I think you're right -- if you have the "modern," heavy topspin groundstrokes to keep the guy pinned back, then that could be effective. When I said "classic" approach I was thinking of something like Ashe's strategy against Connors (the archetypical flat ball hitter). From the post I wasn't guessing the OP had the massive topspin option though (otherwise why would he have asked? :) ) If the heavy topspinner if it isn't sent heavy enough, I think a lot of rec players can step in and maybe around and hit down on it from the forehand side. Even a fairly slow looper to the backhand is often effective though.

    But the common theme is to try and get the flatballer hitting out of his strike zone and out of rhythm.
     
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