Practice for Smarter Targets

Discussion in 'Tennis Tips/Instruction' started by 5263, Feb 11, 2012.

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  1. arche3

    arche3 Banned

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    This is funny. I don't know if your right or not but its very clever regardless. He would be roddick without the serve. Ouch.
     
  2. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    My question was different, though, and referred to only my quote.

    If it is risky to go close to the baseline, is the author saying that somehow going close to the sideline with an angled shot is safer? Surely the shorter distance only increases the risk? Or is it offset by the slower pace?
     
  3. 5263

    5263 G.O.A.T.

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    Very good question and well stated as well.
    The only time I think you should strive to be pretty close to this sideline, is when
    you are hitting dtl...and this for many players is still playing it safer than they
    normally would...as many actually go for the line or at least closer than the closer
    part of what I suggest.

    As to working close to the sideline on crosscourt, the Smart Targets are
    plenty big to give a wide margin on those shots even if the intent were to
    hit the target...but the intent is just to use them as a reference. I would never
    suggest that a player seek to be closer to the sideline than their skill will support. I do
    suggest that you can hit closer to a closer target than you can to
    further, harder to see targets. The sideline is easier to pick up as a reference for a
    couple of reasons, and therefore easier to hit closer to than the BL.
    That said, the idea is to have plenty of margin from the net and ALL lines with
    repsect to your ability
    to be very consistent with aggressive shots.
     
  4. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    ^^^ That makes one thing very clear which I don't think has been pointed out in other places: whether you can see the lines or not. Players say they can never be sure if the opponent footfaults (and this is when they are stationary and staring). How can they be sure of aiming for the baseline when they are on the move?
     
  5. 5263

    5263 G.O.A.T.

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    You are quite right in several areas here, except failing to note that when DJ came
    on to tour he was the hardest, deep hitting player on tour! He steamrolled his
    way right into the top 10 and hit a wall. Due to his hard hitting depth, he could
    only look good losing to the top players who will beat you with house odds by
    making you hit a couple of extra shots before you win a point.

    DJ is one of the ones who inspired my thoughts on using the court wiser, and this
    was before he made his breakthru at the highest level. I predicted he could be
    nearly unbeatable if he would just bring his target in just a little! WHen he hit
    real deep, he only missed by inches, so I figured he only needed to bring it in by
    3-4' to be way more consistent. To me it is clear that this is what he did for
    the most part, except often he pulls it in even more at times,
    using even MORE margin. Bonus is
    He does a good job of making adjustments to see what he is capable of against a given
    foe on a given day.

    I do think he would be far better than Roddick even with an avg Bh, as his movement and
    slices are so far ahead of Roddick.
     
    Last edited: Apr 23, 2013
  6. Power Player

    Power Player G.O.A.T.

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    There are multiple reasons besides just the backhand. Best side to side movement on tour is another. Ability to win pressure points..lots of reasons.

    Roddick could never move like that.
     
  7. mightyrick

    mightyrick Hall of Fame

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    I'm not comparing them based on movement. I'm saying that with an average backhand, Djokovic's results would look a lot like Roddick's results. The ability to win pressure points is predicated on him having the best backhand on tour. I agree his movement is important, but without a backhand... he's just Ferrer.

    Regardless, my original point is... you take away the backhand... and Djokovic isn't winning slams. Is he top ten? For sure. But he's Roddick. He'd go to lots of quarters, semi-finals and finals. He's get a few M1000s here and there. But he isn't going any further.
     
  8. 5263

    5263 G.O.A.T.

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    Just to be sure, you did understand this to say the superior play was well-angled,
    with a safe margin of error on depth side (even if not as much margin widthwise), right?

    The wording in the article leaves some confusion that is cleared up by-
    " In short, Djokovic made it look like Nadal was playing on a smaller court, with fewer available angles"
    Clearing up his point is that DJ is the one using hard angles and less depth. Seeing the match
    makes it more clear too.

    It is a great find that confirms the use of Smart Targets.
    He is basically saying this is the blueprint off great tennis required to
    win big matches against Nadal and the other greats I expect.
     
    Last edited: Apr 23, 2013
  9. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    I think Smart Targets are easier to hit when standing closer to the baseline. Djokovic stands closer than Nadal.
     
  10. 5263

    5263 G.O.A.T.

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    I agree.....
     
  11. Avles

    Avles Hall of Fame

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    This would only be true if the inherent center point of the distribution was the service line-- no reason to think it is.

    If people are aiming (say) 4 inches inside the line and missing the mark by an average of 2 inches, you're going to get a lot more shots landing 2 inches inside the line than 2 inches out.
     
  12. Timbo's hopeless slice

    Timbo's hopeless slice Hall of Fame

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    Hmmmmn

    I really like this thread, and the concept.

    I think the folk talking about DTL winners are forgetting something fundamental.

    Sure, the DTL winner is a great way to finish the point, but a lot of posters seem to be talking about the shot in isolation, as though a player just decides to rip one down the line to end the point. As a pretty solid 5.0 player, I can say that I, for one, need an opportunity before I try something extravagant like that. And here's the thing, those opportunities are almost always created by grinding CC shots until something a bit short or slow comes along...

    Watching the likes of Djoker et al, I am certain the same applies. Sure, their window of opportunity is wider, they can rip a winner of a much tougher ball than I can (duh), but they will still grind to areas until they get the right ball.

    your mileage may vary
     
  13. 5263

    5263 G.O.A.T.

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    Glad you like the concept and
    very well explained above by you.

    Also a guy like DJ, by working the court the way
    he does, puts a lot of pressure on the other guy that results in a lot of balls
    landing near his center, that he can now direct to either one of the side targets, moving
    the foe farther and Controlling the middle as Sampras called it. This tends to set up his dtl
    and I/O winners.
     
  14. rkelley

    rkelley Hall of Fame

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    My mileage matches yours.

    Working the point and being patient are so key. I've really been trying to improve my ability to hit aggressively to conservative targets and have the confidence that I can stay in the rally and not throw out an UFE. Then, when I get a weak ball, go for the more aggressive play (either approach, more aggressive target, or outright winner).

    The level of competition is key in this. If I'm playing a substantially weaker player I can be more aggressive about placement because I don't have the pressure being put on me. Given my preferences that would probably translate into aggressive approaches as opposed to going for outright winners. Against a stronger player who's hitting harder and putting more pressure on me, I going to swing relatively big for conservative targets.

    Looking at pros and particularly Federer, who tends to hit a lot of winners, there are only a few players who can consistently put enough pressure on him in a rally to really affect his shot choice. He's a guy that can just rip one DTL. I love to watch it, but that's not a realistic strategy for me.
     
  15. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    Good point. Do they aim at all, though? Or just replicate the feel of a past correct shot? And make micro adjustments from feedback of current conditions like ball wear and string tension? I think this aiming is fundamentally different from that in archery or shooting.
     
  16. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    Sometimes they do seem to be abrupt. Examples are Djokovic's DTL return of serve or is his inside-out backhand off a service return. Blake also used to come up with winners seemingly from nowhere. In other shots, they do grind till they press the trigger.
     
  17. 5263

    5263 G.O.A.T.

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    Good to remember though, a 2ond serve is a short ball that is coming to your side.

    Blake often played a high risk game and tended to run hot or cold due to his style
    and a couple of other things.
     
    Last edited: Jul 31, 2013
  18. 5263

    5263 G.O.A.T.

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    You make quite a few very good points here. I would also
    like to mention though, I think Fed is way more likely to just up and rip the
    I/O winner than the DTL one. Even Fed needs to get pretty much in a rhythm
    and feelin it to do well with his dtl. Imo this just illustrates how we all have
    our natural areas to play to.
     
    Last edited: Jul 31, 2013
  19. 5263

    5263 G.O.A.T.

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    Hey Timbo, thanks!
     
    Last edited: Jul 31, 2013
  20. 5263

    5263 G.O.A.T.

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    I thought this was a good post on the topic.
     
  21. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    I have to remark on this now. I just got back from the Carlsbad WTA event and watched the Ivanovic-Azarenka match and watched them practice before that, and also Hantuchova, Hingis and Jankovic. Again the first thing I noticed was the depth of the ball. At least half way between the service and base line, if not deeper. In fact, Jankovic had cones put beyond that half-way line and two people feeding her balls from either wing, and she was practicing hitting every ball beyond the cones.

    If there is one thing that stands out from club play, it is not the speed or spin, but the depth. They were hitting up to increase the depth and adding just enough spin to bring it down beyond the half-way line I mentioned above. The extra upward trajectory was visible in every shot.
     
  22. JW10S

    JW10S Hall of Fame

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    5263 is so desperate to keep this dead alive. At Indian Wells this year I was hitting with a player on the practice court next to Nadal when he was working with his team. A 12 oz. water bottle was placed in the corner of the court and Nadal was fed balls that he tried to knock down the bottle with. The water bottle was placed about 12-18 inches inside the baseline and the singles sideline--well outside the so-called 'smart target zone'. Why did he do this? Because he knew there'd come a time when such a shot would be an asset. I can't see why a top would spend the time to practice this during a big tournament if it weren't important. (Everytime Nadal hit the bottle the assembled crowd would cheer.) But I guess 5263 knows better. I've hit with and/or coached ATP & WTA pros who've practiced hitting deep. I don't think they were wasting their time. Don't forget that a singles tennis court is far longer than it is wide. Maybe this thread should be reclassified 'for those of you who can't control your shots and hit long a lot aim shorter'--just like 'if you hit into the net a lot aim higher'. Brilliant.
     
    Last edited: Aug 3, 2013
  23. tlm

    tlm Legend

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    http://i43.tinypic.com/abkplf.jpg

    I will show this shot chart again, there are more that are similar. These are actual match shot charts not hitting at bottles in practice. Anybody that pays attention when watching a pro match will notice that this chart is pretty accurate to most ATP matches as far as hitting depth.

    But I guess there are 2 ways to look at it, 1 the way some think it is or should be and 2 the way it actually is with video and shot charts that prove it.
     
  24. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    My take on this is: female pros practice hitting deep, but they may or may not be able to do so in a match. I actually studied this carefully yesterday. I watched both Ana and Vika practice (separately) on the same court as the match, before the match. In the match, they were not able to hit as deep as in practice, though many of the winners were precisely those deep shots they had practiced. I attribute it to both forcing by the opponent, as well as nerves.
     
    Last edited: Aug 4, 2013
  25. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    It shows most beyond service line. I am taking it a bit further and saying the women practice very hard to hit even deeper (most beyond half the way to the baseline), and may or may not replicate it in a match.
     
  26. tlm

    tlm Legend

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    No doubt they hit most beyond the service line, and yes I agree the women hit a little deeper on average than the men do.
     
  27. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    I contrasted the women with Haas-DP I saw on TV later the same day. The men are able to put so much more spin (top and side) to angle the ball away to the sides, and this means they can leave it "short."

    I think the smart targets box is correct, emphasizing "don't leave it short and in the middle." It is amazing how many rec players do precisely that.
     
  28. 5263

    5263 G.O.A.T.

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    I wanted to respond to your excellent post here sureshs, but much of this is
    not directly addressing your points.
    I agree, the women intend and DO hit deeper & flatter on avg than the men, and for them,
    due to weaker coverage, there is a bigger payoff for the deep hard placement.
    Imo it also partly accounts for why we don't see the dominate woman player,
    who can consistently win big events. Serena is closest to that I guess, and does
    use conservative targets in many matches as well.
    It's more about who gets lucky and hot with their high risk game.
    Of course, if some clown sees Nadal hit a water bottle deep in the corner,
    where the crowd cheers wildly,... who could argue with proof like that?
    I guess when Fed uses the blindfold serve, we should follow that crowd
    pleaser as well, lol.

    Imo the real question is how can players train to get better. There is NO doubt
    that players have trained for extreme depth for decades and it has some upside.
    But are there subtle adjustments we can learn that help us to better
    train to manage and use the court?....that is what we looking at in this thread,
    no matter how "desperate" some are to train for the past.
     
    Last edited: Aug 14, 2013
  29. 5263

    5263 G.O.A.T.

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    I think you did a good job of developing a useful chart, especially for your
    targeted audience and considering that you covered most of the exceptions
    in your writings.
     
  30. JW10S

    JW10S Hall of Fame

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    LOL! How many pages did you have to go back to dig this back up? A little threatened by TimeSpiral's thread, heh? I just want to know what HSCoach has to say, he's after all the only one I take seriously. 13 posts over an 8 hour period, wow, I only have that much free time when I'm asleep.

    BTW, since you apparently don't know, serving with your eyes closed is a good practice technique--it shows you have a consistent toss and good rhythm. Wimbledon Champ and former World #1 John Newcombe showed this to me years ago. I practice doing it and have my players do it. Top pros don't waste their time practicing things in the midst of a major tournament unless they help them win matches, whether it be serving with your eyes closed or aiming at water bottles.

    I don't have 8 hrs to spend here like you, besides I have early practice with a WTA player tomorrow morning in prep for next week's tournament, so I'll probably miss your 'witty' (cough) response. This thread will be likely off the front page by then anyway so you'll be talking to yourself again.
     
    Last edited: Aug 14, 2013
  31. 5263

    5263 G.O.A.T.

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    Now why would I be threatened?? I'm not the one with the huge ego, bragging
    about working with WTA players or which big name Pro told me something.
    Why would his thread be a threat when several posters were thoughtful enough
    to reference this thread in it and the OP stated he hoped I would chime in?

    Nice to know how important it is for you to keep up with my threads and post.
    I like knowing how often you are thinking of me.
    btw, if you decide to share some of your marvelous coaching tips, you might have a
    long running thread too; or you can just continue to snipe at those looking to share
    what they have learned.
     
    Last edited: Aug 15, 2013
  32. TimeSpiral

    TimeSpiral Professional

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    Hey, what's the beef here? This response reads as overly nasty, imo.

    This forum is a dangerous combination of philosophy and function. The former breeds bitter, circular, subjective arguments with no answer (i.e., Nadal is awesome / Nadal sucks, etc ...). Philosophy forums are almost always dominated by pointless arguing, grandstanding, and people forming factions. It's exhausting. The latter, a forum of function, typically fills the role of helping other people with technical and practical information (i.e., I'm having trouble with this computer program, can you help? Yes. I'm an expert with that program, here is the answer.).

    I joined this forum for the functional aspect of it (although I'm quite enjoying the live match commentary threads! Those are fun.).
     
  33. maggmaster

    maggmaster Hall of Fame

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    Wow what a nasty uncalled for response.
     
  34. arche3

    arche3 Banned

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    I really liked the smart targets idea. I see it in the mens game. Its obvious an aspect of the startegy top pros practice consciously. It has even made my game stronger. I teach this idea to my 12 year old son. It has worked wonders for him. Does he still tend to go big and deep? Yes. Thats because he likes to just blast it. But at least now he realizes there is another option. And actively practices this idea. It works.
     
  35. Power Player

    Power Player G.O.A.T.

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    I think you guys missed the fact that 5263 and HSCoach were the same poster. He used one account to boost himself up in arguments and got caught doing it. This thread was constantly resurrected by 5263 (just read through it) and he started trying to coin the term Smart Targets like he created it or something. that is why JW10s posted what he said.

    Anyway, carry on. The actual subject matter of studying where to place the ball safely so you don't get punished is an interesting read, and it does work. It is just not as black and white as some people like to make it.

    5263, you need to play that BT guy and slap him around a little bit with your concepts. A, it will give you more credence. B, we can actually see you play and C, you guys live nearby and have no reason not to set this up.
     
  36. arche3

    arche3 Banned

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    I did not know this. So I cant comment. I just liked this idea. And it was actually the first time ive heard of this. And I watch and scour tennis teaching articles and websites to help with teaching my son. So it is new
     
  37. Power Player

    Power Player G.O.A.T.

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    I love it when arche3 gets serious. A rare moment in the troll kingdom here. lol.
     
  38. arche3

    arche3 Banned

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    I am trolling. Lol. Wait. I was serious? I wish i can add another user alias without banning. Would need a snappy ring. Something that commands instant ttw allegiance. Like "TopATPcoach"

    I miss dozu and ihop. And all the rest. Maybe ihop will be back after golfing with his daddy. Even Sureshs is really serious now.
     
  39. 5263

    5263 G.O.A.T.

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    And you are correct arche, as this was just another false assumption some made.
    Very happy the Smart Targets have helped you and your son. Thanks
     
  40. arche3

    arche3 Banned

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    All trolling aside 5263 was the first time I read or heard anyone put a name of term to the idea of angles and spin instead of deep and into the corners. Yes pros did it. But fyb. Essential tennis. And all the rest bolletori youtube stuff never actually said it and identified it specifically.
     
  41. Power Player

    Power Player G.O.A.T.

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    It clearly was not. LOL..I mean cmon man. But whatever works for you.

    More importantly, are you going to play BT or not? I truly think you would win, that is not a troll post.
     
  42. arche3

    arche3 Banned

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    We need forensic analysis of ttw database to clear this up.
     
  43. Power Player

    Power Player G.O.A.T.

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    Do a search on HSCoach's posts. It will all make sense to you.

    On the short angles, safe ball concept. I think it works well to start a match like this. I have played some higher level guys who are fast and can attack these balls after a while, so you always need variation. I have played lower level guys who I just hit the back corners with using 60% pace and beat with heavy spin to their backhand.

    Against higher level players, depth works for me. It just keeps them back, but I do hit with a lot of spin, so that's my experience.

    There is no hard and fast way. The pro shot charts really do not demonstrate much to me. I believe you have to watch the match to see why that pattern was played. It makes more sense than looking at a chart and making assumptions.

    Would it hurt to have these targets and patterns in your arsenal? Heck no. We all have been in situations where we blank out and don't know what to do to get the train back on the rails.
     
  44. 5263

    5263 G.O.A.T.

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    from another thread, but relates to this topic.
     
  45. Ash_Smith

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  46. arche3

    arche3 Banned

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  47. 5263

    5263 G.O.A.T.

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    This goes right to the point-

    While at 4.0 players should be looking to attack weak, short balls....It will most
    often involve it being weak and short....not just short. Many things can make
    it weak... It can be soft, poor direction, lack of heavy spin....etc...

    Even though all players should be looking to attack on short, weak balls, ..You
    won't have to chart many matches to see how few successful attacks actually
    take place on the many weak, short balls. There will be way fewer successful
    attacks on the many balls that are ONLY short. Most players just don't attack
    that well!
    If they do, they are the better players in most cases.
     
  48. 5263

    5263 G.O.A.T.

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    Good post above I saw in another thread on depth.

    Also, even though I'm not BJ King fan, I did like something I heard her say in
    the men's US Open Final.
    She made a comment about how well these guys were hitting, even when they
    hit short; relating to how hard it was to take advantage of short balls hit by
    them.
    I also saw DJ smack a clean winner dtl Fh on a second serve rtn that bounced
    more than 2' inside the svc line and second bounce was near the baseline.
     
    Last edited: Nov 19, 2013
  49. 5263

    5263 G.O.A.T.

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    Welcome to TT.... here is a thread you may like that relates to your question....http://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/showthread.php?t=413112&highlight=smarter+targets

    Imo (and keeping it short), the key to the modern game seems to hit good pace & directon, with enough spin to bring the ball down soon after the svc line. That would be fairly short by old standards and IS STILL short if you leave it there softly.....but with good Pace and direction, there is little for the opponent to position to attack before the ball gets to the BL.

    Hitting shorter has many benefits and few downsides if the pace and direction are solid. These balls bouncing just past the svc line give you good margin for error if the ball carries a bit on you and sets a very versatile shot as your standard. This same shot is great for angles, passing shots, and hitting to wide open court with little risk of missing.
     
    Last edited: Nov 20, 2013
  50. TomT

    TomT Hall of Fame

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    @5263
    Been reading through this thread. I like the idea of having statistically supported, optimal areas to hit to on the court. If I can learn to do it, then I think it will give some precision to my game that has been severely lacking.

    I don't want to get into the discussion of whether to call it a 'system' or not. For me, it's a new way of thinking in general about optimal shot placement that I think will improve my game more than the usual general admonition to hit as deep as possible as often as possible. The term "Smart Targets" provides an apparently appropriate mnemonic, and a common way of referring to certain triangular areas on both sides of the court, which facilitates communication.

    I figure that anything that will help me to get away from lazily hitting balls down the middle of the court or right back at my opponent is worth spending some serious practice time on. Hitting to the Smart Target areas provides good margins for error (which hitting down the middle a lot does) while also, most importantly, putting pressure on the opponent (which hitting down the middle a lot doesn't).
     
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