How to deal with high bouncing moonballs on the forehand

Discussion in 'Tennis Tips/Instruction' started by HughJars, Jan 9, 2013.

  1. HughJars

    HughJars Banned

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    Im about a level 3.0 rec player, and I often play a mate about the same level who loves to just loop the ball up to keep it alive at every oppurtunity, knowing it will force a weak return or unforced error.

    Slow moving, loopy, high moonballs landing near the baseline on my forehand I have no idea how to combat, other than feeding back a ridiculous looking loopy shot for him to clean me up with at the net or watch it sail out, and its so frustrating!

    How to I play an efficient shot to combat this?

    Thanks
     
    #1
  2. Mick

    Mick Legend

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    at the 3.0 level you probably don't have the shot to counter the high bouncing moonballs. When you reach 3.5 you will have it but of course you would encounter 3.5 guys that hit more difficult high bouncing moonballs.

    I would give him a taste of his own medicine. He probably doesn't like it either.
     
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  3. Headshotterer

    Headshotterer Professional

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    Don't let the ball get too high up to you. Slice or hit on the rise.
     
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  4. defrule

    defrule Professional

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    Semi-western grip and spin the hell out of the ball. It'll look like a loopy return but it will have a wicked bounce.
     
    Last edited: Jan 9, 2013
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  5. TomT

    TomT Hall of Fame

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    Welcome fellow 3.0 player. :) These kinds of balls present problems for me too. Do I let the bounce get into my comfort zone? Well, that doesn't always work because with good topspinners the ball never gets into my comfort zone. The best alternative seems to me to learn to hit the ball on the rise. Which, I think, takes a lot more practice than most of us 3.0 players have done. I think there's hope, but I think that timing is even more critical in effectively returning the kinds of shots you're talking about than in effectively returning most groundstrokes, and that entails LOTS of practice.

    I'll be watching your thread for helpful suggestions.
     
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  6. Mick

    Mick Legend

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    #6
  7. TomT

    TomT Hall of Fame

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    Thanks for that vid. Subscribed to the channel. :) Definitely affecting a scouser or pikey accent. But their moonballs weren't really all that, uh, moony. :)
     
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  8. Mick

    Mick Legend

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    No Problem, Tom. I would say it would take a pretty good player to successfully attack their rainbow FH. I watched some of their videos and these guys have pretty good forms.
     
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  9. TomT

    TomT Hall of Fame

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    Ok Mick, will check more of their vids out when time permits. Thanks.
     
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  10. Bagumbawalla

    Bagumbawalla Hall of Fame

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    The easiest thing to do is step back so you can strike the ball in your comfort zone. Then hit the same moonball shot back- deep and with some topspin (if you can). Don't get in a hurry or be embarrassed by how stupid it looks. Continue hitting deep moonballs back until, eventually, you get a shorter ball- then you can move up and drive the ball for a winner or, at least, put some pressure back on the opponent.

    There are about half a dozen other things you can do- but they would require some skill- achieved through practice. So, you can start with this- then work with your practice partner on other skills- taking the ball on the rise, lobbing over a net-rusher, drop-shotting the guy who hangs 8 feet behind the basekine, striking/slicing through a high ball with power- and eventually you will have more options.
     
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  11. UCSF2012

    UCSF2012 Hall of Fame

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    Charge the net and volley it.
     
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  12. Relinquis

    Relinquis Hall of Fame

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    alternatives to moonballing back?

    what kind of courts? if on red clay, step further back behind the baseline and wait for it to come into your contact zone. hit a semi-deep (no need to aim for baseline) shot to his backhand. you can drive it or use topspin. you might get a short ball or a normal height ball from his backhand. if he runs around to hit a forehand, you might have a court positioning advantage.

    if on hardcourts and you are short enough, just take a couple of steps forward and smash it. if you are tall, volley it.

    a third alternative is hitting it on the rise, but this takes a lot of practice.
     
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  13. TheCheese

    TheCheese Professional

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    Hit the same shot back to him but to his backhand. He'll hate it.
     
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  14. Alchemy-Z

    Alchemy-Z Hall of Fame

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    work on your overhead
     
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  15. Orion3

    Orion3 Semi-Pro

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    They're Irish :shock:
     
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  16. Orion3

    Orion3 Semi-Pro

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    #16
  17. 10isfreak

    10isfreak Semi-Pro

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    Reverse forehands make it easier to hit a clean shot off a high ball, but if you want more penetration, you'd need a scissor kick forehand and that's pretty hard to achieve -- especially for a 3.0! I use both, but it's not necessarily a good idea for you. (A scissor kick forehand is what Federer does when he gets airborne to hit inside-in or inside-out forehands.)

    For the more realistic option, I do have an idea. Generally, we catch high balls by simply raising our preparation. Instead of swinging to the ball from down your waist, make your swing very horizontal and start it even by your shoulder if necessary. In short, you just have to take your normal swing, but raise everything to the ball's level.

    There are also ways to prevent that guy from moonballing efficiently. Nothing is easier to moonball that a mid-paced shot that we contact around the waist or a little higher. A good slice makes it very hard to get any spin on the ball while still getting the right height... It would take ridiculous spin to get the right height and the right pace to make a moonball annoying off a low contact. At best, a 3.0 could make a lob out of it. An other option is to force him to make adjustments. Most people are used to move from coast to coast and to hit with their foot well planted. Force him to move forward, to move backward, to adjust to different contact heights, etc. That's how pushers annoy recreational players, but since you do have a great forehand (presumably), you have more options than a pusher. These are general tips, but they can make a difference.

    Depending on the moonball, you may also try to take it out of the air, take it on the rise or wait for the ball to drop. Furthermore, if your opponent is not very handy at the net and you are confident enough, you may draw him forward and hit a passing shot -- people with poor net games are easy to pass in one or two strokes.
     
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  18. Chas Tennis

    Chas Tennis Hall of Fame

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    I once asked a tennis instructor how to hit high bouncing balls like moonballs. I had been using the mindset to still get topspin by hitting up on the back of even the high balls with very poor results. My instructor said that there is not as much need for topspin to bring the ball down on a high ball.....

    He said to hit across the back of the ball horizontally, using mostly or all sidespin. The racket moves mostly to the side, parallel to the net. I found that I could hit much better shots off of balls above my head height using this sidespin impact. I position the ball in front of my face - facing the net the ball is directly between me and the net - and not to the side as on a forehand.

    I also will return using moonballs or high deep ones and wait for a moonball return that I can come in on to volley. Best for that is to wait until you have hit a high one that will impact near the baseline. Wait and when your opponent is distracted and turns for your high bouncing ball, sneak in at the last minute.
     
    Last edited: Jan 10, 2013
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  19. rufus_smith

    rufus_smith Professional

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    I keep watching over and over. I know that they're speaking english but I still can't understand them!

    These are probably not the shots OP was referring to since they are hit pretty hard. More like "rainbow shots" as they say in the video.
     
    #19
  20. Mick

    Mick Legend

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    Yep. these guys are definitely not 3.0 :)
     
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  21. Power Player

    Power Player Talk Tennis Guru

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    You can hit across, over, drive it flat, it doesnt matter.

    What matters is getting off the ground and raising your contact point to shoulder level.
     
    #21
  22. martini1

    martini1 Hall of Fame

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    Are they speaking the hobbit language?? LOL

    To the OP you need to learn these things:
    - ball sense: anticipate where the ball will land and how high it will bounce
    - hit on the rise: hit the ball before it jumps up to your shoulder level and beyond. You will need to step in, not backing up. That's why ball sense is important.
    - learn the reverse fh, and extreme semi western bh, and/or the bh slam. Hit with a ball on the rise with power and spin. You will get some of the rainbow shots ppl are talking above. BH slam it if it gets too high on the bh side. These shots will take time away from the moonballer to get into position.

    The key is never back up. Watch the guy's strokes and if you see the moonball coming get ready to close in. A few rainbows later they should give you a short lob and that is when you come in for the kill.
     
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  23. jakeytennis

    jakeytennis Rookie

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    i either back up way behind the baseline to hit the ball in my strikezone (which only hurts me if my opponent comes to the net) or i slice it while it's high. i used to be good at running forward and vollying them out of the air.
     
    #23
  24. dlam

    dlam Rookie

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    The high moonball/lob with lots of topspin is best against a pusher

    To counteract the moonball you gave to learn to hit the ball better with topspin and moonball back. Its another level Of tennis
     
    #24
  25. Mick

    Mick Legend

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    if I had to play somebody who could hit moonball really well, I would hit short and bring him to the net to see how good his volley skills are. If his volley skills are inferior compared to his moonball skill, I would continue to hit short. That would stop him from hitting moonballs because nobody would hit moonballs from the net position.
     
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  26. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    And the normal counter to a moonball is to move to service line position to volley the ball into an open corner, not giving the baseliner the time to set up for his next shot.
     
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  27. TennisCJC

    TennisCJC Legend

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    For 3.0 level, I suggest backing up, letting the ball bounce and drop to just below shoulder height and hitting your normal groundstroke back with a lot of net clearance to keep it deep.

    If you have a pretty good forehand, and you want to be more aggressive, try: hitting a hard topspin shot usually CC but DTL is OK. But sure to use some knee bend and lift because it is real easy to muff a slow high bouncy ball if you don't use some leg lift. If I am set up, I like to hit this pretty fast but with a lot of topspin for margin of error. Again, my key is use the legs to lift.

    As others say, you can also move in and take it out of the air with a volley into the open court. Since you will likely be hitting this volley from fairly deep, you want to hit a firm volley and not try anything fancy - no severe angles or drop volleys. Basically, you are hitting an approach volley that you follow to net. I would not use a topspin drive volley, but an underspin volley as it is easier to learn and to keep deep.
     
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2013
    #27
  28. Wodz

    Wodz Rookie

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    lmao I played with a 4.0 the other day and he was hitting moonball top spin a good 20' over the net.. I kept hitting defensive bh slices right onto his baseline to wipe out his power until he collapsed.. rotfl epic
     
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  29. NLBwell

    NLBwell Legend

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    Then move into the net.
    The key at lower levels is to have a good overhead. Otherwise, they will kill you with lobs. If your OH is good, you get to kill the lobs.
     
    #29
  30. Nellie

    Nellie Hall of Fame

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    While the emphasis of this video is taking the ball on the rise, it does raise one of my favorite points- prepare high and swing straight through the ball. A common mistake I see is preparing low (as if you are going to hit at a normal ball at hip height) and then swinging very loopy to get from that low starting position to a ball at your head height. This gives you no margin for error (a millisecond slow/early, and you are framing the shot). Also, this stroke gives you no power since you are almost entirely brushing and not contacting the ball. By preparing high and swinging level, you have a much better margin for error and power, and the ball will drop into the court due to gravity. You don't need to swing that hard (no kill shots), but your ball will be fast and flat - very tough for the moonballer.
     
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  31. watungga

    watungga Semi-Pro

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    High balls. Easy.

    Like a forehand swing, throw your racquet high enough and over the fence.

    When youre throwing the racquet, its not an arming stroke, as long as you start with the butt directed at the ball on takeback. Let the racquet and the handle throw themselves up to the ball. Relax wrist relax. To ensure relax wrist on this particular shot, pull your grip further the end of the handle.

    Smile.
     
    #31
  32. President

    President Legend

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    If you are using an eastern grip it can be difficult, shift a little over towards western. I use a full western grip and just crush high balls all day long.
     
    #32
  33. tennisdad65

    tennisdad65 Hall of Fame

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    1) move way in and volley it
    2) move a bit in and whack it flat on the rise at about shoulder height.. no need for spin. it is a high percentage shot from anywhere inside the baseline.
    3) move back and moonball it back.

    if you do #3 above, you will stay at 3.0-3.5 all your life :)
     
    #33
  34. mxmx

    mxmx Semi-Pro

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    I can confirm this...

    On very high balls, either on the backhand or forehand side, i will also hit less topspin and more sidespin...almost at 45 degrees or more...any spin will slow the ball down and cause it to drop, even backspin in some instances (but not all)
    In other words, in a less than ideal situation, i will contact the ball with a groundstroke above my comfort zone or even above my head. It is important not to lean back though...
     
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