Help on short, low balls

Discussion in 'Tennis Tips/Instruction' started by ubermeyer, Oct 8, 2009.

  1. ubermeyer

    ubermeyer Hall of Fame

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    Okay, so I've been having trouble returning short, low balls. Now these aren't drop shots, but they are just topspin strokes that, for whatever reason, bounce well inside the service box, stay quite low, and have their second bounce around the service line. The problem I've been having is that they just bounce twice so soon that I am barely able to get there, and they are perfectly disguised since I don't think even my opponent was trying to hit them. I don't know how to return these... they are too low to hit a good approach shot on, about the only thing I can do is slice it back, but sometimes I couldn't even get there in time since the topspin pulls it back down for the 2nd bounce so quickly.

    How to hit these [probably unintentional] "topspin drop shots" back?
     
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  2. GuyClinch

    GuyClinch Hall of Fame

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    LMAO. They sound like dink shots to me. As a recovering dinker I used to hit a ton of them. FWIW they don't have much topspin if they don't bounce high.

    You can kind hit with the topspin motion but without racquet speed they don't really have enough forward rotation to really count as "topspin." Lots of amateurs hit shots like this. But I digress..

    What you can do is anticipate them and try to return them with alot of top yourself. Really try to get your racquet low so that it almost touches the ground then swing up at them to generate as much topspin as you can.. Also pronate more aggressively then normal. This will give you a nice kinda medium paced topspin shot if you do it right.

    As for them landing in front of you you just got to anticipate them and be ready to move forward. it takes practice.. I find its a real pain in doubles.

    You are at the net your partner is back.. They hit a kind mid court dink to your partner. She muffs it because she didn't get up quick enough. But you kinda kick yourself because you could have run over and got it..

    Truth is when your learning you can look like crap when you play with a dinker like that. You just have to lift your game so that you rip em apart for that dinking. That's why I favour learning the topspin shot of that and learning to smack it fairly hard over the slice shot. If you return with slice you kinda get into this dinking contest and that sucks.

    Granted some people can hit hard driving slices but thats a skill that has to be learned as well..I say go with topspin.

    Pete
     
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  3. ubermeyer

    ubermeyer Hall of Fame

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    thanks. however, I wouldn't call them "dinks" because they had a lot of pace on them. I guess they were more short, hard, flat shots but hit with technique like a topspin forehand.
     
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  4. If i understood you right, you just need to react quicker, anticipation my friend, give yourself the time and chance too be there in time and prepare for the shot, if you still dont make it, you have too use your wrist alot-improvise!
     
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  5. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Approach shot IS a slice shot, so just move in and slice it into the open court. Since you are closer to the net, the opponent has less chance to react to your shot, even if it's hit really slow. Short court and all that.
    Once opponent thinks you're slicing deep into this open court, then slice it short angled or dropped.
    You don't need to hit topspin on everything to be agressive.
     
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  6. defrule

    defrule Professional

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    Shots like these I love and hate, if I get to them I try my best to lift them applying lots of spin with little forward speed and angle it towards the side lines.
     
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  7. Recon

    Recon Semi-Pro

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    In all honesty, this is just a fitness problem, you need to be faster, react quicker and more fit. This is apart of tennis, basically theres nothing you can do if you cannot get to the ball. once you get to the ball quick enough, you should be able to do whatever to the ball.
     
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  8. Nellie

    Nellie Hall of Fame

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    play closer to the baseline?

    Strategy wise,, try going cross court with the shot (over the low center tape) to give you more margin for error and an ability to hit wide shots
     
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  9. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Prob with CC is the basic tenet of approach is DTL.... easier cover.
    When you approach CC, you're moving across the court, and it's easy to go behind you or wide where you're headed.
     
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  10. ReopeningWed

    ReopeningWed Semi-Pro

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    How do you hit a shot that's hard, fast, flat, and takes its second bounce around the service line?
    I need to learn how to hit that. :D
     
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  11. BullDogTennis

    BullDogTennis Hall of Fame

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    so your saying if someone hits a short ball. and i hit a topspin shot to the corner to approach the net, with no intention of going for a winner, its not an approach shot?
     
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  12. 4sound

    4sound Semi-Pro

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    This sounds like an issue of judging the ball and reacting to the opponents strike. Move into position as soon as you can off of the opponents strike.

    You can see a lot of advanced players do a split step during a baseline rally on contact of the opponents strike.
     
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  13. BullDogTennis

    BullDogTennis Hall of Fame

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    i was kinda doing that yesterday when i was playing...completely unintentionally. i hadnt played in a like a month and when i had high balls i would flatten them out and they would land really short(probably would have made it a couple feet past the baseline tho) and my oponent(a college player) would take advantage of it pretty well.
     
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  14. ubermeyer

    ubermeyer Hall of Fame

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    they might have been somewhat mishits because when he did it even he seemed surprise, and the ball didn't sound like it came off the sweet spot. he might have been accidentally slicing them while trying to use a topspin forehand... I don't know how you do that but he did...
     
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  15. OverTheHill

    OverTheHill New User

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    slice down the line deep. Your ball bounces low and your opponent is now in the corner and you are at the net cutting off his return angle. If you hit your shot good, your opponent most likely UE's. But you must learn to anticipate this ball and have the fitness to meet the ball in time to hit your slice. If you instead crosscourt your shot, you may be leaving your court open (though there are times when you will want to crosscourt your shot).
     
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  16. darthpwner

    darthpwner Banned

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    Um, Move your feet and bend your knees:confused:
     
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  17. OHBH

    OHBH Semi-Pro

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    You are probably just using dead balls.
    Get some Dunlop Grand Prix
     
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  18. xFullCourtTenniSx

    xFullCourtTenniSx Hall of Fame

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    Anticipation of short balls is the most important thing in tennis. If a ball is low over the net, it'll probably be short (unless he hits through the ball REALLY well and both of you hit with crazy amounts of pace). If the ball dips early (or before or right as it gets to the net), it'll be short (unless it was like hit from his baseline and went 3+ feet over the net, it'll have decent depth and bounce).

    Now, once you recognize the short ball, move up quickly! Those extra 3-4 steps can mean the difference between a winner and an unforced error. I've occasionally caught these so early I've hit full swinging half volley approach shot winners off of these while running through them (albeit from pure luck, but I was comfortable hitting the ball from that low; you can pretty much tell it's from luck when you read that I ran through them even though they were hit cleanly and placed perfectly :shock:).

    Recognition and anticipation is the key to playing high level tennis. Every missed step adds like a 70% chance that you can't return the ball, probably more. You miss one step and you're REALLY lucky to play a decent ball back. After anticipation is footwork and preparation. Then the stroke itself. Of course, there are other factors like fitness and mental strength, but let's not discuss those yet.

    A good split step doesn't just get you on balance and help lower your center of gravity, but it loads your muscles to take a quick burst of a first step when you need it. I can get 2 full steps in before the ball crosses the net on a big shot with a split step and my current shot recognition and anticipation skills (excluding the split step). That is HUGE for me. People who are better than me (especially pros) can probably get 3 or even 3 and a half! That's half the court! If I didn't use a split step and started from a standing position, I might be able to get a half a step in, 1 if I'm REALLY lucky and faster than I thought. But the burst split step only works if you were on balance before you started it. If you weren't on balance, you'll be back on balance, but you won't be able to burst out in one direction nearly as quickly because your body just regained it's balance and wasn't fully prepared to move in all directions. In this case, you'll still be much faster than if you didn't split step. That's why we look to knock our opponents off balance. If we do it well, they won't be as quick out of their split step. If we pull someone wide and get them off balance, if they want to cover the other side of the court, a split step will actually slow them down, and using a split step to cover shots going behind them will increase their odds of getting to that ball greatly, but their first step will still be about 50% slower! That's why the best time to strike is when an opponent is off balance.

    Sorry about going off on a tangent, but I felt I had to mention my feelings on how important these things are. An advanced split step is VERY important to responding to high speed shots. Also, if you all haven't noticed already, I usually tend to put up a lot of info, going into detail about everything I think about a subject.
     
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  19. ubermeyer

    ubermeyer Hall of Fame

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    thanks everyone for the great advice.

    now to implement it... :???: let's see what happens
     
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