gifted passing shots

Discussion in 'Tennis Tips/Instruction' started by ChrisCrocker, Feb 12, 2009.

  1. ChrisCrocker

    ChrisCrocker Rookie

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    i play a guy who has a ridculous passing shot, he could be out of position and still hit a passing shot that i just cant touch. i like to play net and when he hits a weak 2nd serve i hit it down the line or cross court and the guy just barely gets his racket on it but still hits a passing shot.

    im not the greatest guy at the net but i can put volleys away if i get one and i do have long reach but i just cant get a volley on this guy. my baseline game is about the same as his maybe a bit worse and when i play him im wise about coming to the net, but when he hits a short shot and i hit a shot that should be close to a winner and come to the net, he raises his level and hits a passing shot that leaves everyone on court with an awkward face.

    should i just stay away from the net altogether or keep coming in? because i feel like this guy doesnt even feel the pressure when i do come to the net, if i even come close to the service line its like he gets in the zone.

    weird thing is he can only do this in singles not doubles.
     
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  2. Failed

    Failed Semi-Pro

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    Are you just that easy to pass?
     
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  3. mikeler

    mikeler G.O.A.T.

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    I have two opponents I play that I just can't come to the net against. No matter how good of an approach I hit, they just blast the ball by me. Some players just like a target, don't give him one...:)
     
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  4. Nellie

    Nellie Hall of Fame

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    Maybe your buddy has shots designed for passing - down the line/cross court with decent pace and that land around the service line. You may want to look at his shot pattern and try to anticipate better based, for example, his foot and should position.

    Also, you may not be hitting a good enough approach shot. When you are passed, look to see where the passing shot was hit - was your shot deep and low, to the forehand or backhand, etc.? Try to adjust your net game and approach shots so that you are not getting beaten by the same shot over and over.
     
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  5. larry10s

    larry10s Hall of Fame

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    try to analyze your approach shots more.#1 how forcing are they. #2 does he prefer down the line or crosscourt and from which side.#3 do you always hit deep when you approach? an approach shot that lands around the service line and is dying by the time it reaches the baseline is very effective for me. by the time they get to it they have to dig it out and hit up due to where i have forced the contact point. #4 are you sure your position at net is correct . #5 if possible video your match to analyse whats happening. hope this is helpful
     
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  6. mikeler

    mikeler G.O.A.T.

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    This is a great observation. I was playing last Sunday and my opponent who is not known for great passing shots was blowing my deep approach shots by me. So I started hitting short slice approaches on purpose and it took care of that problem!

    I lost to a guy in a tournament last month who was killing me with short approaches. The guy was huge, so it was really tough to get the ball by him or over him.
     
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  7. Homey

    Homey Rookie

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    Bring him in!

    I play a guy who is a great passer. I have to PLACE my approach shot well. I am in trouble win I go for power. When I go for too much power I miss my target on my approach shot, and then he passes me.
    I need to focus on PLACEMENT OVER POWER. Always remember placement over power when you approach the net.
    Usually guys who are great baseliners and who hit great passing shots don't like to be at the net.

    This is kind of off the subject/question you asked, but give him a taste of his own medicine. Can you hit a drop shot and bring him to the net?? Then either pass him or lob him.

    I hope that helps!
     
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  8. serveitup911

    serveitup911 Semi-Pro

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    You could also possibly try approaching deep up the middle. That would take away his angles. Some guys can only pass when given an angle to work with.
    Let us know the strategy you used and how it goes next time you play! Good luck!
     
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  9. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    All excellent advice above.
    Naturally, my 1 cents worth....
    An approach shot is nothing unless it lands 3' or less from the baseline, and is placed INTELLIGENTLY into the opponent's awkward spot. If it's closer to 3', then a certain amount of skidding spin is needed to add a difficulty factor into the opponents passing shot.
    If you can approach within 1-2' of the baseline, you can beat mostly any 6.0 player.
    So unless that player was just plain old one full level better than you, then your approach is just plain too badly placed.
    And the low, short, hard sliced approach is great for that change of pace...something I've been mentioning about in the the sliced, one handed backhand on several other threads. Lotsa peeps discounted, but I notice it's mentioned again, and not by me.
     
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  10. mikeler

    mikeler G.O.A.T.

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    I was watching a show on the Tennis Channel a few weeks ago when Yannick Noah beat Mats Wilander at the French Open. Mats said he was completely unprepared for the short chip approach shots that Noah was using that day.
     
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  11. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Yeah, I always thought Yannick was about the most talented of the almost got great players. Pure athlete, great ball striking, not the most stable brain, I always identified with that kind of player. HenriLaConte also.
    Mats was of the Borg mold, inflexible, insisted his two handed backcourt game was the play regardless of opponent. In the end, he proved to be the "better" player.
    I'd rather play like Noah.
    Interestingly, his son is a pretty inflexible big stiff!:shock::shock:
     
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  12. mikeler

    mikeler G.O.A.T.

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    His son has been a trouble maker in the NBA, but was great when he was playing for my Florida Gators. :)
     
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  13. Gemini

    Gemini Hall of Fame

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    I think a few people have said it but it sounds like your not hitting a good enough approach shot. I rarely get passed by someone who BARELY gets his racquet on my approach shot.

    How about staying back and bringing him in for a change? Then work to pass him. If anything, it'll upset his rhythm.
     
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  14. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Yeah, you Gators must really like to party, especially after you're given 4 mil over the next 3 years guaranteed.:):)
    True dat... a good approach shot generally illicites a poor passing shot. If that guy can consistently pass you "barely" getting to the ball, maybe your technique is suspect...volley position, depth and location of approach.
    Or maybe he's biding time at the baseline, just generally barely awake, and when you approach, he actually IS a better player:shock::shock:
     
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  15. Kevo

    Kevo Hall of Fame

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    Some people just play better against net rushers. The only net rushers I have problems with are the ones with great serves. These guys move you around and get in quick for the put away.

    If you like to get into a rally and then approach I am a happy camper. I have good foot speed and nothing makes me focus better than a guy at net.

    Maybe the guy you are playing just loves to play against net rushers. If that's the case, you probably can beat him at the net only if you can figure out what shot gives him trouble. It may be something odd, like a high bouncing topspin shot to his forehand. I'd rally a bit and try to discover what shot will get you in and then use that. If you can't find it, you may just be out of luck.
     
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  16. Rickson

    Rickson G.O.A.T.

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    Deep approaches are best.
     
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  17. mikeler

    mikeler G.O.A.T.

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    If I hit a short ball and see the guy coming in, I dare him to approach to my forehand because I can hit a running passing shot pretty well from that side. If he comes into my backhand, well I'm already standing over in that corner, so it is not too hard to rip a 1 hander past him unless he makes an incredibly deep approach. In short, I like having a target unless my opponent can put a ton of pressure on me with their approach shot.
     
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  18. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    I'd just hard slice a low skidding ball deep right at you, and watch as you decide chip lob or get out of your own way :):):)
    Either way, after my approach, it favors me.
     
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  19. Rickson

    Rickson G.O.A.T.

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    What if your chip floats instead of bites?
     
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  20. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    IF my chip approach floats, I'd claim I was a 3.5 player.
    But it NEVER floats if I pay attention against a good player. It glides over the net about 1' higher, the ball is shaped almost oval, the opponents all say they can hear it (like my second serve), and it usually lands deeper than 4' from the baseline. I employ it as a change of pace PASSING shot sometimes, especially if I had been lobbing either top or over the backhand side on previous points.
    Gripped with conti with FOREHAND flavor (backhand approach or defensive change of pace), it gets more spin and less pace than eastern backhand slices.
    It's actually my volley grip..conti with a twist towards forehand. Like MOST pros volley grips. You can tell when they volley. Forehands short punch. Backhands, long stroke, full body turn and moving forwards. Not a balanced grip, but one favored towards forehand volleys.
     
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  21. Rickson

    Rickson G.O.A.T.

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    I've seen some penetrating slices, but they don't usually have a lot of backspin on them. Is this the case with your penetrating slice approaches?
     
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  22. mikeler

    mikeler G.O.A.T.

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    I'm short and low to the ground so I love slice approaches unless I'm far behind the baseline and the approach is short.
     
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  23. tennisalex

    tennisalex New User

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    I like to hit wide approach shots when I can, or drop shot it when I can and move in with him (which probably isn't the best idea, but a fun one).
     
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  24. skiracer55

    skiracer55 Hall of Fame

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    There's one other aspect to this whole thing...

    ...and that is that is *sounds* like the way your points are going is:

    - You hit an approach shot and move in.

    - He hits a pass by you...or not.

    A successful net approach is usually a three shot sequence:

    - Serve or approach shot.

    - Move in, hit the first volley, which is designed to open the court, make your opponent move at least 3 steps, put him in an awkward position, give you an easy opening for the...

    - ...coupe de grace, or finishing volley into the court you just opened up. Occasionally, you'll have to hit an overhead off a weak lob to finish off the point, but in general, if you're on your third volley at this point, the advantage just switched to the passer.

    So let's take this all apart:

    - Serve or approach shot. As everyone has said above, you have to get this one in the court or you don't get another chance, but you have to put the hurt on the other guy. Lots of ways to do this, deep to a corner, deep down the middle, short angles, all of the above. Basically, follow the old rule of "give him what he doesn't like."

    - Yeah, I know what you're thinking..."But I just said that this guy comes up with ridiculous passing shots even when he shouldn't." Maybe you're making it too easy on him. After your approach shot or serve, you have to essentially move to seal off the easiest passing shot. For example, if you hit deep down the line to the guy's backhand, follow the ball (rule #2) to the net, cheating toward that sideline. If the guy can hit a miracle cross court pass, you say "Good shot"...and then do it again, because nobody, including Roger Federer, can hit 10 of those in a row.

    On the other hand, if in this situation you say "Gee...but he might go crosscourt or down the line...think I'll go to the middle of the court and see what happens"...well, you just got passed down the line."

    - Now you hit your first volley. One of the few times I will agree with Nick Bolletieri, "never miss your first volley." You're not trying to win the point on this shot, you're trying to turn the thumbscrews one more turn so the guy can't wiggle free. Yes, if you have a hole you can drive a truck through, definitely go ahead and hit the winner right now. And you do have to do something with your first volley...the Aussies used to call it "putting some stick on it." You'll see the Bryan brothers do this. They'll hammer a hard volley right down the middle of the court, where they aren't like to miss, which elicits a weak return that they angle off for the winner. Or let's say you approach down the line, cover the down the line pass, and get a down the line pass...dump it short cross court, hit it deep cross court, but make sure it goes in and follow the ball in case the guy gets his racket on it.

    - And finally, the coup de grace. Wuddia know...the guy actually did get his racket on your first volley...but now he's over in the flowers trying to get his shoelaces untangled, and you have followed the ball to the exact spot where it's going to cross into your court. Fine, now all you have to do is make it: watch the ball (not him), and hit it safely into the obvious opening.

    Sound good?
     
    Last edited: Feb 13, 2009
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  25. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    For Rickson...
    I guess you have read some of the threads on one handed slices here lately.
    All the TEACHERS and coaches say I'm nuts, as they advocate traditional eastern backhand or plain conti slice approachs and groundies.
    They DO NOT KNOW what I'm talking about... like german and thai....
    They teach traditional tennis with sound basic fundamentals designed to get bad players to improve.
    My grip for sliced backhand is to allow naturally gifted players an extreme change of place penetrating skidding shot to be hit deep or short ....CONSISTENTLY. Pace is not an option or a necessity.
    My shots need correct and early prep, movement forwards, long stroke, good turn and feet moved, and maybe too much kinetics for any intermediate or 3.5 to employ. But I don't play 3.5 tennis. I get my tips from 7.0 PROS, and try to use them in my 4.0 level.
    And eastern backhand slice approach is an invitation for a clean easy pass, at my level.
     
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  26. mikeler

    mikeler G.O.A.T.

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    LeeD,

    Can you post a link to your slice backhand discussion? I'd be interested in reading about your technique. Thanks.
     
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  27. skiracer55

    skiracer55 Hall of Fame

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    Exactly...

    ...this is exactly what I do, also, and it works really well. I hit a topspin backhand with a semi-Western grip, but like you, I've always hit my slice backhand with a volley (Continental) grip. It's really just a longer version (slightly more backswing...maybe...slightly more follow through) than my volley and it's also what I do on serve return, most of the time. It's just something I've always had. My three coaches (Sam Winterbotham, Head Men's Coach at CU Boulder, Chris Garner, Men's Assistant at CU, and Dave Hodge, Men's Assistant at CU) always said that my slice backhand was one of my strengths, and they never messed with the stroke production...they just got me to realize what a weapon it was, and use it more. And guess what? Especially in these days of one trick ponies where everybody hits a topspin backhand and everybody knows how to rally against a topspin backhand...most of the guys I play against hate my slice backhand. So they get to see it a lot.

    It's a really great thing for a net rusher, too, because if you're comfortable hitting slice on both sides (I am), and you don't have time to make a grip change, you can still hit a forcing shot. This was the whole theory of the Continental grip...one grip, no thinking required, faster stroke preparation.

    Okay, let's leave that discussion aside, because I already hear Screams of the Doomed on the subject of using one grip for everything. The topic was slice backhands, and all I can say is if you have a good one, it can work wonders for you. There are a ton of people who pass well against a topspin ball that kicks up at them...but don't like groveling for a low slice that breaks away from them, and will either panic and whale one into the fence or chum up an easy volley for you. If you have both a topspin and slice backhand, and you should, it's a great way to break up the rhythm of and break down the game of those people who can hit a million of the same balls back...but don't know what to do when they see something different coming over the net.

    And, as LeeD points out, a slice is actually a surprisingly good passing shot. A topspin pass is a great shot if it doesn't get up too high...in which case, it becomes an early Xmas gift, because there's nothing, as a volleyer I like seeing more than a topspin ball hammered at me up around shoulder height.

    A slice pass, on the other hand, if done right, has some pace, some really nasty spin...and hugs the net. Ken Rosewall had nothing but a slice backhand, including on the pass...and from what I remember, he won a bunch of $$$ and Grand Slam titles...
     
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  28. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Just scroll down to sliced backhand threads within the last month.
     
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  29. Kevo

    Kevo Hall of Fame

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    A nice hard biting slice works wonders. I haven't gotten completely comfortable with it during matches, and I don't use it often enough. In practice though when I am more willing to really hit it, it's usually a winner or unforced error, especially if it comes after several topspin shots. It stays very low, 12 inches max, and about 3 inches min. This thread makes me want to go out and practice it some more.

    My forehand slice is pretty pitiful in comparison, and I don't know if I could ever hit it as well, it's mainly a last resort shot.
     
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  30. Djokovicfan4life

    Djokovicfan4life Legend

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    You need to look at HOW you approach the net. Do you charge in quickly and get as close as possible, or do you sort of just wander in there like 95% of the tennis population? Do you know WHERE to cover based on your opponents position i.e. down the line if he's on the dead run, looking for the cross court when you come in DTL, etc.?

    I guess what I'm trying to say is, are you a Sampras or a Roddick?

    Matt
     
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