How to read or predict shot direction

Discussion in 'Tennis Tips/Instruction' started by southend, Oct 26, 2009.

  1. southend

    southend Rookie

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    Any tips on how to improve one's ability to read or predict an opponents shot would be helpful. While visual cues in advance of contact such as foot placement, racquet face preparation, etc. are probably key to this, how does one do this and are there any tips on how to watch and practice this skill.

    Seems like someone could come up with a great DVD or You Tube video with voice over to point out the subtle cues for a sample player -- although picking up cues is different for each player.

    Also, when anticipating a service return or in a rally with someone, I thought it best to watch the ball rather than the player -- same for the serve coming my way. Is this a good practice or not?
     
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  2. Jay_The_Nomad

    Jay_The_Nomad Professional

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    A bulk of the 'predictive work' is done the moment the ball leaves your racquet & how well you feel you've hit the shot.
     
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  3. southend

    southend Rookie

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    Sorry... I'm interested more for doubles, particularly for purposes of opportunistic poaching and preparation while at the net. While your point is well taken for both singles and dubs, I'm interested in "watching" for cues when my partner hits a ball and the opposing team is then returning the ball to us.
     
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  4. larry10s

    larry10s Hall of Fame

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    the most obvious one is if your opponent is coming in and has to hit a low volley or half volley(below the net) shot he will most likely go cross court and cant hit it too hard. thats a clue to look to poach. if the opponent stays back and you see the ball sent to him will land deep or in some way is a "forcing" shot thats another time to look to poach.
     
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  5. AAAA

    AAAA Hall of Fame

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    1) Look up the wardlaw directional stuff.

    2) Make a note of what shots your opponents like to hit.
     
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  6. Nellie

    Nellie Hall of Fame

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    I look at the opponent's feet and shoulders to pick up a pattern, but occasionally, I run up against someone with random shot direction, leaving me totally in the dark.
     
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  7. Geezer Guy

    Geezer Guy Hall of Fame

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    First of all, you know where they "should" go in most situations. Secondly, watch their racquet. Is the face open or closed? Are they swinging low to high or high to low? Feet and shoulders/unit-turn can give you some info, but it can also be disguised or misleading. The way the racquet hits the ball determines everything.

    When the ball is coming toward you, watch the ball. When the ball is going away from you, watch your opponents racquet.
    When the opponent swings the racquet to hit the ball, split step.
     
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  8. jazzyfunkybluesy

    jazzyfunkybluesy Banned

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    I watch the ball and just see shadows beyond that. This gives more focus as to how its spinning and where the ball is going after it bounces.
     
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  9. Yenster

    Yenster Rookie

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    1) Shoulder turn
    2) Shot preparation
    3) Footwork (open=crosscourt, closed=DTL generally)
    4) Anticipation
    5) Luck
    6) Tendency
     
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  10. OHBH

    OHBH Semi-Pro

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    It is really just experience. You see a couple thousand forehands and your brain will naturally pick up the patterns. You don't have enough time to conciously analyze somebody's foot placement. first off YOU SHOULDN'T BE LOOKING AT YOUR OPPONENT'S FEET. it will only distract you. think about it.
     
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  11. 35ft6

    35ft6 Legend

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    It's just something you develop naturally. When I play, I don't watch their feet or look for any physical tell tale signs. Most of the time, I'm reacting to the ball off the racket.

    Lets face it, even if you're playing in college, your opponent most likely can't hit all four corners with power and consistency. Most of the shots your opponents hits won't require anything more than reacting to the ball. Once I know my opponents well, I will camp out more or less in the places I know they can hit it consistently. And if they go for a low percentage shot -- like trying to rip a backhand down the line off a crosscourt backhand from me -- then fine. They're going to miss it most of the time anyways, and I can run down a few of the others. It may pay off for them 1 out of 10 or 15 times.

    Just saying, when you're playing most people, you don't have to stand there in a mild panic as if they can hit it anywhere on the court with power. I feel like I have pretty good anticipation but I couldn't really tell you what I'm noticing about the person. It's something about their whole body. I didn't once hear a pro say that on passing shots, they watched their opponents right foot, which would be crossed over (in this example the person is right handed), if it was parallel to the baseline, they figured it was going up the line. If it was a pointed at a net post, probably cross court.

    Especially at the pro level, I feel like the guys just hit too hard. You have to watch the ball. I don't think you can fixate on one body part and zero in on the ball again fast enough to make this practical.
     
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  12. OHBH

    OHBH Semi-Pro

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    PRECISELY!!!
     
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  13. 35ft6

    35ft6 Legend

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    ^ I meant I once DID hear a pro say they watched their opponent's feet on backhand passing shot. I want to say it was Mac talking about Borg, but not sure.
     
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  14. southend

    southend Rookie

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    For me at the 4.0 level, I think this should help me. Tried it the other day with some success, but should be beneficial over time.
     
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  15. Geezer Guy

    Geezer Guy Hall of Fame

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    Sorry - I missed this the first time around. Everyone knows about poaching when you're serving - right? The "return" poach works very well also. If the returner can hit a short, wide return (best sliced, so it doesn't sit up) the server will have to stretch to hit a low volley. That low volley will go cross-court about 80% of the time. That's an excellent chance for the returners partner to poach, hitting that shot at the servers partners feet. The returner should cover the area vacated by the returners partner, just in case. While this CAN be done spontaneously, it's best as a PLANNED, CALLED poach so both members of the returning team are on board. Works great on a second serve to the Deuce side.

    Aside from the above, when your partner is serving watch the returners racquet. If he's going to slice the ball, it'll usually be slower and cross-court. Something you can probably reach even if you hadn't planned on a poach.
     
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