Hitting Deep is Overrated.

Discussion in 'Tennis Tips/Instruction' started by KenC, Oct 11, 2012.

  1. KenC

    KenC Professional

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    Everyone says to hit deep with a lot of topspin. How many people can actually do this well without constantly hitting long? Do you try to hit every ball say within 3 ft of the baseline? I think depth really doesn't matter as much as we think it does, and a ball hit to 6ft. from the baseline can do just as much damage as a ball 6in. from the baseline.
     
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  2. r2473

    r2473 Legend

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    Depth really means where your opponent has to stand to return. So if you hit with heavy-ish topspin, you can aim at the service line or perhaps just behind, but the spin will keep your opponent back.

    Aiming just behind the service line also means that you can hit 15 feet "long" and be fine.
     
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  3. AnotherTennisProdigy

    AnotherTennisProdigy Professional

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    You are correct, hitting 3 feet below the baseline is a low percentage play. Usually a deep shot like that is considered an aggressive shot to push the opponent back. Just look at the pros, about only 25% of their shots are that deep.
     
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  4. charliefedererer

    charliefedererer Legend

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    There was a recent review of where the balls actually landed by the male pros, including Djokovic.

    Because of their "heavy ball" as r2473 explained above, most of their shots did just land past the service line, or midway between the service line and baseline.

    It just emphasizes that not even the pros try to hit that incredibly close to the baseline on most shots.



    Obviously there will be times to hit deeper like on an approach shot down the line - in part the higher net height and no cross court angle will mean this ball will land deeper.



    Many develop an ability to really crack a course shot deeper than their usual rally ball when they get the right ball to hit - right in their strike zone.

    By cross court, I include inside out forehands.
     
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  5. Larrysümmers

    Larrysümmers Hall of Fame

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    check out the thread smart targets lol
     
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  6. goran_ace

    goran_ace Hall of Fame

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    When watching the pros, don't pay so much attention to where their ball bounces, look at where there opponent is when they return that shot. Because they hit heavier their ball still carries through the court after the bounce.

    Whether you do it with placement or with pace, you want to keep your opponent back. If you let him play a lot of balls inside the baseline you're asking for trouble.
     
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  7. 5263

    5263 G.O.A.T.

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    I liked your TS was over rated topic and now this is even better.
    Making some good points here.

    I've been making the point for a while that for winners and aggressive shots, it is pace and line
    of shot that matters most.
     
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  8. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    The distribution shows most of the balls landing beyond the service line, and specifically the forehand and backhand winners being more closer to the baseline. So when the pros want to win by attacking, they go for depth most of the time.
     
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  9. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Also, that old "depth is everything" advice came out in the early '70''s.
    Since then, TomOkker started getting good, as did JohanKriek, and topspin started to take over. Then some BB guy came around, and while depth is great, short angles and the chance of hitting short, but pinning the opponent behind his base line came into play.
    You slice, you aim for depth. You hit flat, you aim for depth. You hit with HEAVY topspin, you can hit shorter and get a way with it, and also reap the benefits of sharper angles.
     
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  10. user92626

    user92626 Legend

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    LOL...another "overrated" thread, KenC? hehe.
     
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  11. tennisplayer1993

    tennisplayer1993 Semi-Pro

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    hitting deep in my opinion throws off an opponent with enough power/spin to the deep corners.
     
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  12. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    IF I can consistently hit deep, and into the corners, I will WIN every match and set I play.
    But we know that's impossible, both me winning AND the idea of being able to hit deep with consistentcy.
     
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  13. 5263

    5263 G.O.A.T.

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    So what suresh would have you believe here,
    is that anything past the svc line is GOOD depth, lol.
    He is trying to insert this definition as misinfo on Depth terms and discussion.
    Most everyone here has played a good amount of tennis, done some drills, and
    had some lessons.
    I don't expect anyone here believes that 1 ft beyond the svc line is considered
    good or excellent depth in any form of traditional instruction, but sureshs will have
    you believe it is.
    Granted, it might be acceptable depth for a particular drill or game, but never
    have I seen a coach or book teach it as good depth.
    Even Oscar, who teaches you that you can get away with hitting shorter with
    modern strokes...does not teach that anything past the svc line is good depth.
    One more strawman he tries to create to confuse the issue on depth.

    Even I, who agree totally the idea that depth is over rated, don't teach it as
    good depth and treat it not as a depth issue, but an issue of pace and line of shot.
     
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  14. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Acceptable depth at my level is landing the topspin shot in NML.
    Good depth is within 3' of the baseline.
    Forcing/winner depth is within 18" of the baseline.
     
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  15. 5263

    5263 G.O.A.T.

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    Pretty good definitions based on traditional books I've read and drills I've seen & done
    with some of the top instructors in history.
     
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  16. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    I never ever read a tennis strategy or instruction book, never had lessons, seldom talk strategy with my peers.
    But I know what works at my bad level, and what doesn't.
     
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  17. 5263

    5263 G.O.A.T.

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    I'm just agreeing those are pretty standard understandings of depth, but not
    agreeing with that concept and think Ken is right. Depth is grossly overrated
    and only matter in limited situations.
    I think that for a solid 3.5+ player, line of shot and pace are far more important
    to playing well.
     
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  18. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    Please don't post misleading stuff. Just behind the service line is not enough - when Nadal hits there it bounces up to the base line and beyond with spin.

    Kindly stick to what you want to say rather than going after others with some commercial agenda in mind to repeatedly bring up the name of your leader.
     
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  19. 5263

    5263 G.O.A.T.

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    So you deny saying numerous times that anything beyond the svc line is good depth?
    Another milestone in our progress of terms here on tt!
    thanks
     
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  20. KenC

    KenC Professional

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    I tend to look at shot selection based on how much damage it will do vs. the risk of the shot. Hitting balls really hard and deep certainly does a lot of damage when they go in, and even more if they have a nice angle, but how often do they also go out? Losing the point because of hitting long or wide doesn't do a whole lot of damage to your opponent. But, hitting the ball really hard and 6ft in still does a lot of damage yet has a much better risk.
     
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  21. 5263

    5263 G.O.A.T.

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    I can see above that you now don't agree with what you said below before, right?

     
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  22. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    Usually I find that the most populated area in the diagram is half way between service line and baseline, with winners closer to the baseline. That is what I have said I have seen on TV.
     
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  23. 5263

    5263 G.O.A.T.

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    Excellent points..
     
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  24. user92626

    user92626 Legend

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    They are all parts of the same equation. Risk, damage, ue, depth, hard, etc. Stop making ridiculous points like one thing is overrated or hitting really hard but 6ft in. Hmm..while you're at it, why don't you skip everything and just advocate hitting the ball right at opponent's toes??? That'll save everyone's time.
     
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  25. TheCheese

    TheCheese Professional

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    If you can add a ton of topspin, you can get the same effect as hitting the ball really deep because the ball explodes off the court when it lands. That's why Nadal can get away with hitting relatively short landing loopers against most players.
     
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  26. floridatennisdude

    floridatennisdude Hall of Fame

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    Important to consider pace when discussing spin.

    A blooper topspin shot landing at the service line is much less effective than if the same shot lands a foot from the baseline. Same with a soft slice for that matter.

    But as you add pace (hit heavier) you are able to hit with more margins for a couple reasons. 1) The ball will push through the court and 2) The spin causes the felt to get slowed via air friction and will not travel as far. When 1 and 2 are combined with pace, the opponent is forced to play deeper. Pretty simple concepts.

    It's not that landing balls within 3 feet of the baseline is bad, quite the contrary. It's just really fricken hard to completely control pace and spin consistently. Even for top 10 pros.
     
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  27. ollinger

    ollinger Legend

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    Hitting deep is UNDERRATED. It is, simply stated, the one thing you need to do to win. Hit consistently deep and there's essentially no way your opponent can do any damage offensively. Every tennis coach I've ever known has urged me to "miss long" rather than "miss short" in order to promote consistent depth. Watch videos of Djokovic's tremendous run last year (or Connors' entire career) and you'll see balls consistently landing just inside the baseline.
     
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  28. user92626

    user92626 Legend

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    Yeh, but then there're guys like my buddy who consistently launches the ball long, like 15 long's for every 1 that hits the net bottom.


    Bottom line is...just play smart and adapt better. If your opponent is able to get to every shot of yours, you gotta hit with more risks, ie harder, closer to the lines. If you're killing yourself by making too many UEs, scale back. If none of these work, you're playing someone truly better than you. Go back and practice more.
     
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  29. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    While hitting deep is ONE of the aspects of winning tennis, consistency, shot placement, and the ability/willingness to run are also equal factors....for baseliners and counterpunchers.
    Or, you can hit the ball short and wide, forcing them to run beyond their doubles alleys, then use reverse spin to run them past the other alley, while you stroll to net position.
     
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  30. tricky

    tricky Hall of Fame

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    Some of this is also about knowing percentages. Deep shots makes a lot of sense when you're not changing the direction of the ball. Depth is riskier when you're hitting DTL. Don't overhit short balls. Etc. etc. It's obvious stuff but people forget these things in gameplay.
     
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  31. 5263

    5263 G.O.A.T.

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    Whenever I see a post like this I'm pretty sure the person has pretty high UEs and/or
    does not hit very hard. We did watch DJ last year did you? His run started when
    he quit hitting so deep as he had earlier in his career and started working longer,
    safer points. We also have diagrams on this forum of where DJ's shots were landing
    and there were very few very near the baseline, but nice try with the normal
    tennis myth repeated once again. The evidence does not support your claims.
     
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  32. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    The only good thing about being able to hit deep is that it opens up the court for your short angles.
    Most of our peers can handle our depth and pace just fine, that's why they are PEERS.
    So we can't just hit them off the court, we need to move them around to our strategic advantage.
    We need deep shots, but we also need short sharp CC angles.
     
    #32
  33. user92626

    user92626 Legend

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    That's not the only good thing, LeeD. Deep shot requires them to hit farther and harder from the back court so they're more prone to make ues. 2. If you re good at volleying you 'll have more time to run up and finish the point.
     
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  34. Coach Chad

    Coach Chad Rookie

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    I agree...I played the pusher of all pushers last night...my plan was to run him side to side all evening, which I did...he was able to return deep shots most of the time...but when I hit with more pace and more spin, he would get panicky and commit unforced errors. Also, I could "lull" him with some rallies because he never tried to hit a winner...so I would just hit around 5 or 6 with him, hit a drop shot to bring him in, then unload a shot with pace and spin well inside the baseline for the win. Won the first set 6-3 and he retired with me winning the second set 5-2 because of a blister. Pace and spin before deep in my opinion. If you get both, fine.
     
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  35. r2473

    r2473 Legend

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    With the caveat that "deep" simply means pinning your opponent deep (not hitting inches from the baseline), I think this is smart tennis.

    The problem we will always have with this discussion is defining what "deep" means. The members that want to argue against deep hitting will argue that "hitting an inch from the baseline just means you'll hit tons of UE's", conveniently ignoring what people are really trying to say.

    Equivocating on terms is a great weapon in rhetoric contests. But if you are really trying to work through an issue (and not just win an argument for the sake of winning an argument), it is best to come to an agreement on the meaning of common terms being used.
     
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  36. InspectorRacquet

    InspectorRacquet Semi-Pro

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    I am one of those people that constantly hit the baseline and within 3 feet of the baseline. Do I try to do so? It really comes naturally to me to hit deep most of the time. If I have an off day, yes, I do try to hit deep and with a lot of topspin.

    As far as a ball doing as much damage 6 inches from the baseline and 6 feet from the baseline, I wholeheartedly disagree based on personal experience. When I hit as deep as I usually do, so many opponents don't have the good timing to stay glued to the baseline, and thus have to back up. They then cough up a short ball (relatively short, that is), and I control the point from there. When I have an off day and can only hit 6 feet from the baseline or less, the topspin makes the opponent unable to come in (because it's not a short ball), but they can hit angles and winners with relative ease.

    For me, hitting deep is my life. If I don't, I'm forced to go for more than I'm comfortable doing.

    Also, because I hit deep so often, I don't really make that many unforced errors. The topspin keeps it in.
     
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  37. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Strange, all you guys talk about how great hitting deep is, then you pummell your opponent, who is obviously not at your level.
    Play someone who can handle your depth, or your pace, and you'll find a totally different story.
    We don't judge our tennis play by beating lesser opponents. Our tennis skills is judged againt our peers.
    I can serve any 3.0 off the court. Any 4.5 will return most of my serves with effectiveness. I judge my serves against other 4.0's, because I AM a 4.0.
     
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  38. 5263

    5263 G.O.A.T.

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    Now isn't that funny!! You give misinfo about people hitting 1 inch from the BL
    and how posters ignore what is really being said....then give that little speech
    at the end about just trying to win an argument??? Really? lol

    No one ever said anything about hitting 1 inch from BL (even though some players
    try that), so why do you bring that in here. Most have discussed from 3-6 ft
    from the BL, with on suresh giving the ridiculous comment that svc line was
    good depth. He is who you should go after...not some mythical poster you have
    imagined and sort of become with your comments above.
     
    #38
  39. 5263

    5263 G.O.A.T.

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    Are you really a 3.5 as in your sig? this would make sense, as you don't hit that
    hard yet; and without pace, depth is more important, along with depth being much
    more effective at 3.5 to low 4.0 where they don't position as well.
    When a player can hit with more pace and spin, the direction of shot becomes
    more of a factor than depth, as depth hardly bothers good players due to skills
    and better positioning, but a hard ball away from you is tough to get to even
    if you are skilled and you may not even get there.
     
    #39
  40. 5263

    5263 G.O.A.T.

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    Lee...you have hit it right here, but most will never see the importance of it.
     
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  41. bhupaes

    bhupaes Professional

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    Agreed! LeeD speaks the raw truth more often than not! Even at 4.5 levels, which I experience routinely, depth by itself is not sufficient. Deep shots do come back, in inconvenient ways. Works in doubles when I have good partner, but in singles, well, it depends on how good my legs are that day... :)
     
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  42. r2473

    r2473 Legend

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    You were suggesting to Ollinger that depth will produce too many UE's. By depth did you mean aiming 6 feet inside the baseline?

    I was guessing that you were criticizing player that aim much closer to the back line.

    I though you'd realize that 1-inch was an obvious exaggeration. My apologies for using that measurement.
     
    #42
  43. KenC

    KenC Professional

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    There are so many misconceptions in tennis and this forum is helping to propagate them like wildfire. It's time that we start putting things into proper perspective. I already have the next 5 or so topics lined up. You may want to add me to your excluded posters list.
     
    #43
  44. Roy125

    Roy125 Professional

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    I wouldn't say that hitting deep is overrated, but that it's not always necessary to win. Deep balls, to the corners especially, are a #$#@% to return.
     
    #44
  45. ace_pace

    ace_pace Rookie

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    Well this time, I agree. Hitting deep all the time is overrated. Although it does push the opponent further back, it limits the amount of angles you can do. Shorter balls make it easier to pull the person off the court.

    If you want to get down to the bare minimum depth vs. width, then its better to push the opponent wide than back because that way you are most likely to finish with a cross court shot, which has a better chance of getting in. Whereas when you push the opponent back, theres not as much area of the court to work with, you can still dropshot but it can backfire very badly.

    However the ideal situation is that you use a mixture of both and it heavily depends on the opponent.
     
    Last edited: Oct 12, 2012
    #45
  46. Jay_The_Nomad

    Jay_The_Nomad Professional

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    Hitting deep is not overrated particularly for recreational players.

    Yes, it is true that most pro ground stroke rally balls land in the middle between the service line and the baseline, but you must also remember that their balls are heavy and will hit the back of the fence on the first bounce.

    If you as a rec player tries to do the same thing and try to hit the ball just after the service box, you are just asking your opponent to give you a good workout session running left and right.

    So in order to create more difficult ball, your balls have to land closer to the baseline.

    If you don't believe, just try hitting angle shots. Notice how short your angled shots are? Now look at videos of pros. Notice how their sharp angle shots have so much forward momentum?
     
    Last edited: Oct 12, 2012
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  47. KenC

    KenC Professional

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    Of course this is true to some extent, and as always there is no black and white in tennis. But people get it into their heads that they have to place the ball deep and with two tons of topspin or they will get punished, and it is not often true. The fear of getting punished for a typical ball is what makes them eventually commit UEs. UEs are the real scourge of both rec and competitive tennis.

    In effect, the proper mindset of a decent tennis player should be "how can I make a difficult ball with the minimum chance of making an UE? If a person only understands that they have to hit a ball deep to stay out of trouble, maybe they should start think of alternative shots that are easier to execute with a much higher margin of error while still doing some damage. That actually is the fun part of tennis- strategy.
     
    #47
  48. FloridaAG

    FloridaAG Professional

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    Forget all tactics and strategy and just hit flat bomb winners on every shot.
     
    #48
  49. 5263

    5263 G.O.A.T.

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    First, you have my respect of joining the ranks of the few of us that can admit a
    mistake on here.
    Thanks
    As to good depth, I feel that 3-4 feet like Lee mentioned, is commonly considered
    good depth with 6-10' considered more like ok depth. There is info to support this
    but most depth info is pretty vague. I do think extra UEs come from shooting for good
    depth.
     
    Last edited: Oct 12, 2012
    #49
  50. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    I watched Stan-Fed yesterday and they were painting the lines or hitting very close to them for winners. Go by what the pros do, not by some made-up theory or argument about what depth means. If a pro wants to win by safely placing the ball short, he should be able to produce Nadal's topspin, otherwise he is toast.
     
    #50

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