[Merged] Wardlaw Directionals -- what a difference!

Discussion in 'Tennis Tips/Instruction' started by smoothtennis, Apr 13, 2008.

  1. bhupaes

    bhupaes Professional

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    If the ball is paceless, or a sitter, or easy otherwise - directionals don't apply - just hit it to wherever you'll get the most advantage.

    It's just not safe to change directions on a heavy and/or deep "outside" ball, unless you are hitting perpendicular to the baseline, because a slightly delayed swing will spray the ball outside the sideline. This is not true for "inside" balls, where you have to hit earlier to change direction, and hit later to send it back where it came from.

    This is all the directionals are saying, as far as I can tell.
     
  2. Tennis_Monk

    Tennis_Monk Hall of Fame

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    Well ...whose stupidity is really showing up is very clear. All of a sudden the directionals became foundational as opposed to advanced players winning strategy. May be few more posts can knock it down to beginners stuff. In any case foundational also means Basic. Who usually learns the basics?..probably the Pros because they dont have their basics...yea right.

    I never disagreed with hitting cross court. There are several advantages in hitting cross court (little to do with Wardlaw). The diagnol is longer and hence provides more margin, The net is little lower in the middle of the court and etc ... Look at the link i provided.

    I would like to point out the "Blindly accepting risk".

    So which has more risk involved?

    a) Hit cross court or DTL because a ball did or didnt cross the path

    b) You hit DTL or cross court because you already did the risk evaluation (that includes your court position, opponents, your available shot options, your comfort level, opponents preferences/limitations, possible responses)

    (a) may work at beginner levels. (b) has higher percentage of working even at Advanced levels because it incorporates more parameters.

    Once again i will reiterate what i stated in earlier posts. Wardlaws is basics/beginners.it doesnt incorporate some essential key elements that is staple diet of advanced players game.
     
  3. Fay

    Fay Professional

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    Please share what is the staple diet of play for advanced players ~
     
  4. Ross K

    Ross K Legend

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    1. Can someone please oblige with a simple explanation here?... basically I get the first part about hitting back cross court in the direction of where the ball came from - but not sure about the rest of it - 'inside balls', etc.

    2. How specifically do the directionals relate to inside out fh's? :confused:

    Thanks

    R.
     
  5. pr0n8r

    pr0n8r Rookie

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    WD's are what every beginner should learn, but surprisingly, they are also what many advanced players are missing.
     
  6. pr0n8r

    pr0n8r Rookie

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    If the ball crosses your body, it's an outside ball. Otherwise, if the ball doesn't cross your body, it's an inside ball.

    1. As a general rule, don't change the direction of outside balls. Hit these balls deep with plenty of net clearance.

    2. If an outside ball falls short, or you feel as if you can punish it, change the direction of the ball, which means sending it down the line (Wardlaw's 90 degree change of direction). You are looking for a winner or weak reply on this down the line shot. Follow these to net.

    3. Change the direction of inside balls, and pull them accross your body. These are the balls you can do damage with while not being risky, so feel as if you have the license to hit them more aggressively. For example, if your opponent's backhand doesn't cross your body to your backhand, punish that ball with your forehand to the deuce side of the court (for righty's). One of the most important aspects of WD's that is often overlooked is that you really need to get into the mindset of punishing inside balls to receive the full benefit. It's not just about hitting crosscourt.

    I treat run-around shots as a replacement for the shot you might have hit, and they inherit the rules of the shot they are replacing. So, if an outside ball is coming towards the backhand, and you run around it, if you want to play safe by the directionals, hit that forehand inside-out. If you want to take risk, hit it inside-in.
     
  7. Ross K

    Ross K Legend

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    prOn8r,

    Many thanks for your revealing, clear and concise post there ^!
     
  8. Bungalo Bill

    Bungalo Bill G.O.A.T.

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    Ohhhhhhh!!!!! Outstanding! Great comment and reply which I believes summs up this entire thread.

    With your insight, I rest my case.
     
  9. Bungalo Bill

    Bungalo Bill G.O.A.T.

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    Man you are talking in circles. This will be my last reply to your stupidity.

    Once again, there is nothing opposing. YOU ARE MAKING STUFF UP! What you just said about "winning strategy" (which you have no clue about) is complimentary in nature. The pros aren't working on the Directionals in practice although they still practice fundamentals. They already know that the crosscourt ball is important in their matches. Your argument is weak.

    Actually, you said the Directional are only for beginners. I said they are not. There are many 4.0 - 5.0 players that could use the Directionals to improve their game.

    Yeah you did. Over and over again you said the Directionals are for beginners. That advanced players just "do whatever they want" and you implied that they dont need to hit crosscourt. You also implied that pros really don't hit crosscourt and they just hit where their heart desires. Pretty idiotic isn't it. lol

    So what are those key elements? I have already stated what they are and showed how they all compliment each other? They are progressions. Have I ever said the pros only use the Directionals or consciously use them and are not allowed to do anything else?

    Once again! The Directionals show where the ball should be hit that is most natural to your body position and swing. It does not say "you can't do anything else." The Directionals were introduced at the college level and is also incorporated in many books. The video that shows this is hardly for beginners.

    You also seem to think that I am implying that ALL pros use the Directionals. They don't! The Directionals is simply an approach to the game. It is a way at looking at it and provides answers to players who are diving into tennis strategy and tactics which usually takes place at the 4.0 level and above. It also provides insight for the crosscourt ball that the pros hit often. It provides insight on when the most opportune time is to change the direction of the ball. It isn't saying you can't change the direction if it happens another way.

    This is what you are not getting.
     
    Last edited: Apr 29, 2008
  10. Swissv2

    Swissv2 Hall of Fame

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    Bill, Tennis_Monk is "obviously" a pro player, better than any of us at TW, rated a 8.0+ NTRP - and has 5 GS under his belt, has beaten BOTH Nadal and Federer at least 12 times - so he MUST know what he is talking about. :p
     
  11. Bungalo Bill

    Bungalo Bill G.O.A.T.

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    Yeah, actually I think he is a frustrated 3.0 tennis player that can't keep things simple to save his life. He is trying to box in the Directionals when there is nothing to box in!

    Just his ranting about how taxes are illegal and brings up the wrong amendment (and also explains it wrong) is enough for me to know this guy is for the cookoo's nest.
     
  12. rocket

    rocket Hall of Fame

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  13. NoBadMojo

    NoBadMojo G.O.A.T.

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    I dont blame you for being confused. While these directionals are fundamental, i think the terminology 'inside ball' is really confusing as evidenced by all the discussion both in this section of the forum and in the Adult League section.

    As to inside out forehands as applied to these confusing directionals, I teach two types of inside out FH's.....a step around FH and a run around FH. both can involve a change in direction. so you might step around a so called 'inside ball' depending and hit an inside out forehand ...that would/could then essentially be the same as a crosscourt and you arent changing the direction of the ball...or you might step around and hit a forehand and rip it up the line if that happens to be the better choice. There is also the element of hitting to the opponents weaker side which is often the backhand at less than advanced levels, so that would involve more change of ball direction. then at more advanced levels, the strategy might be to expose the backhand by pulling the opponent wide to his forehand and then making him hit his weaker backhand on the run...so much of this is situational and based on abilities.

    I really think depth trumps direction any time. that the use of these directionals is so dependent upon the players abilities and strengths and the opponents abilities and tendencies that they arent really that meaningful other than the message of crosscourt = good. you have a lower net to clear and more length of court to work with

    The basic rule of going cross court unless you have a ball to change the direction on is fundamental to tennis..the 'directionals' just seems to confuse a lot of people....but cross court sans the depth aint so good

    EDIT: I added more stuff
     
    Last edited: Apr 29, 2008
  14. Bungalo Bill

    Bungalo Bill G.O.A.T.

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    Very good post. I can buy that explanation. I appreciate your comment. I really do. It isn't for everyone nor should it be. It is simply an approach.
     
  15. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    Some of these posts got me thinking. That is why I learn something new every so often out here. What I am wondering now is: how important are the lesser net height and longer distance in today's game, specially for recreational players? I think the difference in height is 6 inches. Shouldn't recreational players be hitting with much more margin than that anyways? Re: distance, with sufficient top spin, is it really that much more difficult to bring the ball into the court on DTLs, specially when the swingspeed is not at the pro level?
     
  16. Bungalo Bill

    Bungalo Bill G.O.A.T.

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    Great point! At the beginner level the ball is moving so slow or is usually looped that the Directionals aren't going to be of much help except just learnig that crosscourt balls are a key fundamental. In other words, the swing speed of the racquet vs. the speed of the incoming ball will outweigh things.

    When the ball is hit harder and coming at you faster and with more spin, controlling the ball becomes more of a concern. The ball is heavier and timing is critical, not to mention your ability to hit cleanly consistently.

    Although you can defy the Directionals any time, this knowledge plays a key role in understanding what is the most natural shot to take in order to reduce your chances for error. The Wardlaw Directionals are about playing the percentages and going with the shot that gives yo the best chance to win the point.

    Should you ever defy the Directionals? Sure. That is where risk comes in and knowing what your strengths are. Many times, when I play I run around my backhand which technically keeps the ball on the same side, however, the natural shot is to hit my inside-out forehand back crosscourt.

    The Directionals are basic and fundamental to tennis strategy and tactics. This is different then it being for beginners.
     
    Last edited: Apr 29, 2008
  17. Ross K

    Ross K Legend

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    Thanks NBM - nice post.
     
  18. NoBadMojo

    NoBadMojo G.O.A.T.

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    you're quit welcome Ross. mojo
     
  19. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

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    Others are more qualified to speak, but I have the unique perspective of being Not Very Good, especially at singles.

    I think the advantages you get by going crosscourt (lower net, bigger court) are huge for us recreational players. We *don't* have the control to thread the needle that finely. Many of us have little spin to help us and hit too flat too often. We have been known to hit when badly out of position due to unfortunate footwork, which further decreases our control and ability to generate spin.

    So if the DTL court is both smaller and requires some topspin to clear the net, we are flirting with disaster absent some discipline in our shot selection.
     
  20. heycal

    heycal Hall of Fame

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    It seems like I notice the opposite when I watch pros. Before I learned of this wardlaw business, and just thinking about cross court shots in general, I could never understand why the pros seem to engage in so many cross court rallies, while I myself rarely did. As I'd watch a pro rally, I kept thinking they could/would/should go down the line into the open court that seemed to sitting there beckoning right before my eyes -- but often they would just hit it back cross court. Now I finally realize why they do that. It's a smarter and safer shot.

    Exactly! WD is NOT just about hitting cross court. Spanking those inside balls is a whole other part of Wardlaw that is getting overlooked here. That's why this Wardlaw stuff is worth paying more attention to than the simplistic "try and hit cross court unless you get a short ball" advice we always hear.
     
  21. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

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    Just to add to what Heycal says . . .

    The "hit crosscourt until you get a short ball" doesn't seem to be working for me. You have to wait a great long time for a short ball against some players, as hitting deep is what they do. I figure Wardlaw gives me a guideline on when I can Try Something. Right now, I just Try Something when I get sick and tired. It feels random because it is random.

    Well, I have another practice match today, and I will try Wardlaw. again. The opponent is good at directing medium shots to the baseline, so waiting for a short ball isn't going to work so well with her.
     
  22. Sentinel

    Sentinel Bionic Poster

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    ^^^ Cindy, wardlaws is not the end all -- as you said earlier, what to do if the ball is in the center, not in the side? I've been watching DVD's on tactics by various coaches and there's a bunch of other things you can do to get that shortball.

    As I understand it, you can;t wait all day for a short ball. I'd rather not get into details because i am not a coach, and I'm probably newer and less experienced than most.

    Suggest you google for tactics and check out some books or videos, too.
    Or start a thread on tactics.
     
  23. Fletch

    Fletch Rookie

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    I am going to give this a try just based on the simplicity of the principle, and it seems to make perfect sense. One question though.
    Say you are playing a lefty and he gets you in a your backhand to his strength, his forehand rally, do you keep with the crosscourt pattern? Doesn't seem like the right play with the crosscourts, seems like you would eventually want to go down the line. Same goes if the player has a slightly better backhand.
     
  24. Bungalo Bill

    Bungalo Bill G.O.A.T.

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    Hi Fletch,

    In this case no. You want to get out of that matchup. Chances are you will lose more rallies then win.

    Where the Wardlaw principle comes into play is recognizing when the BEST time to change directions for various reasons including moving the ball to get the matchup you want.

    However, the Wardlaw Directions are guidelines to higher percentage tennis and shot selection. If you get a ball you should have changed direction on, but missed the opportunity, then it is because you are either unaware or are not paying attention.

    It is very easy out there to throw out what you know about tennis in a rally and just blindly hit the ball.

    With that said, if you are not getting the "ideal" ball, then an inside-out forehand may be the ticket to reposition yourself lets say after two more shots or you will have to assume more risk.
     
    Last edited: May 1, 2008
  25. Fletch

    Fletch Rookie

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    Bungalo Bill,
    Thanks for the tip, that is kind of what I thought, it makes sense. I read up on this last night and can't wait to try it. Interesting concept at the net too. It keeps it simple, basic and high percentage. I can tell I will have to work on the short ball change of direction shot. I would think every high school coach would implement this so kids are not just smacking the ball all over the place.
    When reading it last night, there was a story about a D3 team, Kenyon, using it with much success in the mid 90's. They won a national title in 94 or 95. I guess the theory that this is for beginners is not true. I have a feeling Clemson used this too, since there coach endorses it.
    Fletch
     
  26. Bungalo Bill

    Bungalo Bill G.O.A.T.

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    Yes, it does keep things simple. However, just because it is simple doesn't mean it is only for beginners. I believe (and some dont which is fine) that it is the basics of tennis tactics and strategy. As you begin to incorporate this in your game, you will need to grow further and add more intermediate and advanced methods and learn ways in constructing a game plan. It is actually pretty fun to get into.

    Exactly, it isn't true which was my point in that senseless argument.

    It is the beginning to tennis tactics and strategy which is usually introduced at the 3.5 level and many times higher then that!

    It will improve your game because it is going after the percentages which is very important in club level play. So many club players take unnatural shots and make so many errors.

    Even if you are predictable at the club level using the Directionals, you will still be in a good position to win the match simply due to you playing high percentage tennis.

    From the 3.5 level and above, I start introducing them.

    So here is what you need to practice.

    1. If you have a partner: Get a basket of balls (if you lived in my area, I would be happy to drill you for free). Have your partner feed you balls to your backhand coming from crosscourt. Every ball that crosses in front of you hit crosscourt. Go with the high percentage shot. Do 10 of these. have your partner from the 10th ball on, mix in a ball that doesnt cross in front of you. Change the direction of that ball. Always talk to yourself and mutter "crosscourt, straight, etc... Do this drill on both sides.

    2. Practice your crosscourt ball on both sides and also hit angled shots (seperate drill) to get a rally going crosscourt from the center mark area.

    3. Practice your change direction ball.

    Hope that makes sense.
     
    Last edited: May 1, 2008
  27. Fletch

    Fletch Rookie

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    It does make sense and I will give it a shot this week.

    I am getting a ball machine so this type of drilling will really work well with the machine.

    I appreciate the offer to hit for free, but I don't get to Boise much :)
     
  28. Bungalo Bill

    Bungalo Bill G.O.A.T.

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    Practice hitting the ball and moving the ball crosscourt - a lot.
     
  29. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    I hear you
     
  30. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    It is possible that when I watch, the open court shots are the ones which draw the attention, because they are more spectacular. Mind can play strange tricks by filtering out the usual stuff.
     
  31. hewitt20

    hewitt20 New User

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    Improved my game so much
     
  32. Wow, I'd be interested in reading that if it

    didn't give me a raging heading looking at the type.
     
  33. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    Watched on TTC last nite a 2007 clay court final in Acapulco, Mexico between Moya and Chela. Observed each point carefully to make sure I was not biased. I have to say that the only consistent pattern I could discern was "hitting to the open court." Happened all the time. Did not matter whether the open court required a crosscourt or DTL shot - they did it all the same. In fact, the more the shot from the opponent was going "outside" their body (away from them sideways, that is), the more they seem to return it DTL, not crosscourt. Seemed to be easier for them to guide such a ball up the line and into the open court, rather than put the effort to get it back crosscourt to the waiting opponent. The crosscourt returns were actually on shots over which they could exert control - these they aggressively smacked back at the opponent. Quite the opposite of what you might expect - the difficult shots were returned DTL, the easier ones were attacked crosscourt (sometimes - other times these were also to the open court). We are talking about a former #1 here, so it is interesting.
     
  34. heycal

    heycal Hall of Fame

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    ^^^
    Hmm. I don't have the tennis channel so can't run and watch a match to see what you mean, but what do others think of Suresh's findings, and the idea we are talking about in general? When and how often are the pros hitting xcourt and why, and when are they going up the line/into the open court, and why?
     
  35. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    It is very intriguing. A crosscourt return is supposed to be easier for the reason that your stringbed is at right angles to the incoming direction, among the many other reasons that have been mentioned here. I am wondering if this is true for topspin anymore. These guys really do not just hit with the stringbed moving directly forward into the ball anymore - they have topspin action going on. It might be that returning topspin is easier to do DTL with a little topspin of your own, rather than challenging it and putting it right back crosscourt, which might require a lot more topspin to reverse the incoming topspin.

    In table tennis, the advised return of serve to a "pendulum serve" is "up the line." This serve, the most common one, comes from a righty server from his backhand side to the righty returner's backhand, and moves away from him towards the left end of the table. It is considered that the safest return to control the spin is to get it back to the server's forehand, not to go crosscourt. It is called "going with the spin," not "against the spin."
     
  36. tennisdad65

    tennisdad65 Hall of Fame

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    Interesting observations by sureshs.
    Seems like there was a lot of open court..
    1) Did you notice if one or both guys were protecting their backhands and hitting more inside out forehands from the backhand corner?
    2) Were they cheating to their backhand sides after hitting their shots? i.e. were they not moving back to center completely after a stroke?
     
  37. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    They were hitting IO forehands, but not to the extent of someone like Roddick.

    They were always cheating on recovery. This I have noticed in the men's game a lot. The WTA players often follow the book and move back to the center for recovery. But even then, no one has the time to move to the other side of the center line after hitting a DTL shot. The men certainly move towards the center most of the time, but they do it partially after hitting the shot, and then continue it only after guaging where the opponent is going to hit. If they anticipate the return is going to come to the same side, they stop their recovery. They don't want to be caught by a shot aimed at getting behind them.

    The impression I get is that they are making a tradeoff during recovery. They do the minimal recovery, to protect against the "behind" return. If they always did a full recovery, it would mean spending a lot of energy, and even then they may be still on the run and unable to return successfully. They just let these balls go and concede the point, rather than spending energy in an unsuccessful attempt. The exceptions may be Nadal and Hewitt, who have the stamina to chase down every ball. For others, it is not worth it since they have to conserve energy for the entire match.
     
  38. LuckyR

    LuckyR Legend

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    You are aware that you aren't supposed to recover to the hash mark after hitting your shot, right?
     
  39. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    What I have heard is till a couple of feet of the hash on the same side after crosscourt, and a couple of feet of the hash on the other side after DTL (these are the center of angles). What I was saying is even after DTL shots, the men don't seem to do this.
     
  40. Sentinel

    Sentinel Bionic Poster

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    suresh, I was just watching a match (small clip) of Davydenko, and I noticed that in a CC rally he is always recovering and then again coming back. Just one example, though. I don't know whether its the norm, but certainly it is happening.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=31BuQK-za6o
     
  41. heycal

    heycal Hall of Fame

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    Many cross courts shots as opposed to open court shots there, Suresh...
     
  42. tennisdad65

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    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9tZhQi8aDcg

    This is a 64 second rally between hewitt and Fed. They seems to be following the law >80% for the first ~45 seconds during the baseline rally. The last ~15 seconds of the rally is more net related.
     
  43. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    You are correct. The Fed-Hewitt point was almost all cross-court. In the Davydenko clip, lot of crosscourts, but some of them were also to the open court.
     
    Last edited: May 4, 2008
  44. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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  45. Chrystal

    Chrystal New User

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    Good point. Could it be something to do with the fact that one is LH and the other RH? Are the directionals compromised if you are playing an opponent who uses a different hand to you?
     
  46. heycal

    heycal Hall of Fame

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    ^^^
    That's always the question I come back to, the lefty player versus righty play aspect of things, and how that might affect the Wardlaw principles.
     
    Last edited: May 4, 2008
  47. GuyClinch

    GuyClinch Hall of Fame

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    I think they are quite effective and I disagree with the poster who says that are used for beginners. The beginners I play with hit so many short balls that the Wardlaw rules about not changing direction don't apply that much. Your allowed to change directions on weak balls - in fact I think it's encouraged.

    I also think Wardlaw might get a bit too much credit. I think many players naturally learn to play with these laws just through trial and error.

    Pete
     
  48. Kaptain Karl

    Kaptain Karl Hall Of Fame

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    sureshs - I think you are over-thinking the Directionals. (Have you actually *read* Pressure Tennis?) Or are you attempting to formulate arguments about the Directionals based solely on the snippets of info you've gathered from abbreviated "finds" on the Web?

    Right on page 20, Wardlaw describes the Directionals as only one of "The Big Three."

    The big three -- Directionals, court position, and shot selection -- form the general framework for tactical tennis by addressing the following three tactical decisions:
    • When to change direction of the ball
    • Where to position yourself on the court
    • What type of shot to use

    ... Again, the big threee address tactical decisions and provide a strategic framework from which players build their tactical games.


    The Directionals are not "laws". They are part of a "framework" for tactical tennis.

    My copy of Pressure Tennis is one of the most highlighted tennis books I own. Wardlaw's book is a prized resource to me as a Coach.

    Good luck as you explore the Directionals ... and how they work with the "other two" members of The Big Three....

    - KK
     
  49. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

    Joined:
    Oct 1, 2005
    Messages:
    35,057
    No no, I am not over thinking it. The first match that I watched after reading this thread just happened to be a Moya-Chela clay court match shown on TTC where they were hitting to the open court all the time. As other pointed out, in clips from Federer-Hewitt and Davydenko, this was not the case.
     
  50. Bungalo Bill

    Bungalo Bill G.O.A.T.

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2004
    Messages:
    11,885
    Players will gamble on their shots a lot especially at the pro level when players are so fast and consistent. They have to make something happen.

    However, what goes largely unnoticed is when a pro hits to the open court. Although at times they will change the direction on a difficult ball, most of the time it is on a ball that is hit slower or is a ball that doesnt bounce as deep.

    Once again, the Directionals are a foundation to tennis tactics and strategy. It isn't law.
     

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