Some people seem to "hate" getting shots towards smart targets

Discussion in 'Tennis Tips/Instruction' started by Hi I'm Ray, Jan 11, 2013.

  1. Hi I'm Ray

    Hi I'm Ray Hall of Fame

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    I don't play much singles games at all, mostly its doubles games or rallying singles. It seems like after putting away a few sharp angles at smart targets AFTER setting up for it during rallies, some opponents start trying to hit "hard" shots into the corners off soft feeds when starting a rally. They also start trying to hit feeds faster into the corners or start with deep moonballs to the BH. Pretty damn weak, IMO. I've been running into this a lot lately. I just hit easy feeds to the center and I'm hitting down the middle off feeds.

    Is anyone else running into this sort of thing?
     
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  2. 5263

    5263 G.O.A.T.

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    What you may have to do is tell them the Smart Target you want to work, so
    they can stay over that way and let you work on that target without running
    them so much.
    Smart Targets really make players run and that can bother them quite a bit since
    many don't want to move so much, :)
     
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  3. Power Player

    Power Player Talk Tennis Guru

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    Is this a trademarked term, or is there some reason you capitalize the two words all the time?
     
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  4. 5263

    5263 G.O.A.T.

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    It is the name of a targeting system I developed.
     
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  5. Power Player

    Power Player Talk Tennis Guru

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    You developed it? I thought it was data collected from pro shot charts that vaguely shows "optimal" places to hit the ball.
     
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  6. 5263

    5263 G.O.A.T.

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    I developed the system based on data.
     
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  7. Power Player

    Power Player Talk Tennis Guru

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    It's not really a system. It is two triangular spots on the court you think people should hit to. Seems like a reach to me.
     
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  8. Hi I'm Ray

    Hi I'm Ray Hall of Fame

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    I always thought it was ok to go for your shots or even more than usual when rallying. With most of the better players they say "nice shot," but the ones that get weird seem to be mostly those who can hit a hard shot now and then but cannot stay consistent or place it well. I think I might have to just tell them ahead of time as you suggested, though I try to hit both targets. A lot of them I am meeting for the first time.
     
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2013
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  9. Power Player

    Power Player Talk Tennis Guru

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    It matters who you hit with. Honestly a lot of drilling with balls that are hit pretty clean and hard, but up the middle will greatly assist you in matches. the longer you can rally, the more your mind settles down in "live fire", and your fitness level goes up a lot as well.

    If I am meeting with somebody to hit, my preference would be to have long rallies if possible. From there we could play points or practice sets if need be.

    I can about guarantee if you have a lot of long rallies, you will find hitting those angle you want to hit a lot easier because your stroke will be grooved.
     
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  10. 5263

    5263 G.O.A.T.

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    Well thank you for you thoughts about my system :)
    On the good side, it was intended to be very simple to make it very easy to
    use in the heat of a point. Most of it is about understanding the whens and hows
    of using it, which seems to be slightly more involved that you may realize.
     
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  11. Power Player

    Power Player Talk Tennis Guru

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    It's not really involved and its really not a system. You are saying to target for certain spots on the court, which is cool, but in no way is it as big of a deal as you have tried to make it.
     
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  12. 5263

    5263 G.O.A.T.

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    Again, thank you for your opinion :)
    Is that All I'm saying??
    Not sure where I tried to make it a big deal, but you clearly don't have any idea
    of how many letters, emails and comments of appreciation I've received with
    this simple system. I also have a few of instructors around the country who
    have made it the basis of teaching shot selection in their Jr academy.
    I'm delighted with how it's gone and you are one of the very few that have
    been negative towards it.
     
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  13. Power Player

    Power Player Talk Tennis Guru

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    You tend to exaggerate or say things that you never prove, so I doubt it is as successful as you infer.

    Seems to me as if you are trying to brand something on a message board.

    I like shot charts too. It's cool. Safe spots to hit the ball..that's nice, but it's not a system to me. It's just basic tennis.
     
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  14. 5263

    5263 G.O.A.T.

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    Fine, I think you have made yourself clear big Power! :)
     
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2013
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  15. dominikk1985

    dominikk1985 Legend

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    are you talking about short angles?
     
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  16. 5263

    5263 G.O.A.T.

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  17. Hi I'm Ray

    Hi I'm Ray Hall of Fame

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    Interesting, PP. I can see where hitting hard and clean in long rallies would be great practice to mix in with hitting targets. I'm pretty calm about long rallies and try to set up the point, but I usually try to jam them up & get weak replies or errors. It seems a lot of players try to attack off a topspin rally ball in the center... do you practice this more with someone who has first agreed to it?
     
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  18. Power Player

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    No you just can feel it out with who you are hitting with. I just try and warm up by sending balls down the middle anyway. I keep them deep and get up to a standard match rally ball so I can work on the heaviness & consistency of it.

    So if I was sending you pretty heavy top down the middle, but not trying to hit you off the court or move you around, would you do the same for me? That is the way to think about it. I also say sorry if I am late and hit a winner off that by accident.

    I just feel out whoever I hit with, but I do prefer a guy who can hold a 20 plus ball rally. It really develops my fitness and just fine tunes my consistency.

    Another way to think about it is I work on strike zones. the best hitting partners hit to you but don't always put it right in your zone. so you are seeing a lot of high balls that you would see in a match from a better player. It is tiring to hit shoulder high balls 30 straight times, but it will make you a better player.
     
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  19. slowfox

    slowfox Professional

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    With some of my practice partners we play *nice* balls or *mean* balls. Usually start out nice - just down the middle for the entire rally. When we mutually feel ready we start playing mean rallies. That's when it gets fun.
     
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  20. Power Player

    Power Player Talk Tennis Guru

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    Why not play "deuces"?

    Mini games where you serve at deuce and switch servers each win. Games can last 2 points or 20 like a real deuce game.
     
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  21. dominikk1985

    dominikk1985 Legend

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    Good read. I agree with that. especially that red zone is important to avoid. that is where you get killed.

    BTW this is nothing new. I photographed two "smart targets" from two of my oldest german tennis books written about 98-00:

    [​IMG]

    Uploaded with ImageShack.us
     
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  22. slowfox

    slowfox Professional

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    My practice partners can't serve... lol. But it sounds fun. Thanks PP. I'll keep it in mind.
     
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  23. Power Player

    Power Player Talk Tennis Guru

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    It's awesome. At least to me..lol. I like to try and practice my serve as much as I can.
     
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  24. 5263

    5263 G.O.A.T.

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    Glad you enjoyed the read and realize the avoid zone you found is quite
    similar! Pretty cool and we have all discussed how there is nothing ever
    really new.
    Hopefully you do see the the actual Smart Targets are quite different, and
    seem to lack some of the most important aspect of my Smart Targets,
    although I don't read German to be sure of any of this.
     
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2013
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  25. dominikk1985

    dominikk1985 Legend

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    I don't want to take anything away from your discovery. I think you really know tennis (you play and coach and not just couch comment).

    I just like to point oout that a lot of the things we like to sell as modern have been there for quite some time. this doesn't mean there is no progress but it is not a radical revolution more of a slow evolution of stuff.

    regarding the german. the word "grundlinienienzielfl├Ąchen" means "baseline targets" while "niemandsland" means "no mans land".

    Is the "2" (left pic) and "B" (right pic") what you consider the smart targets?
     
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  26. 5263

    5263 G.O.A.T.

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    Thanks, and I have a good appreciation for your contributions and tact.
    Excellent posts above of course and thanks for the translation.

    But No, those are all different in significant ways imo.
    Interestingly those are the one my teammate and world renowned Sr player
    Hugh Thompson had used over the years. I wonder if that was his source?
    Anyway, after developing mine, I discussed them with him and he liked that
    my system was more straight forward and provided better margins from the
    BL and sidelines, than the one he had been using above.

    I do realize little is new in this world, but imo, rediscovering
    things not currently common is important as well!
     
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2013
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  27. dominikk1985

    dominikk1985 Legend

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    It seems like you suggest an "in between angle" which is longer than a short angle but shorter than a deep CC.
     
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  28. 5263

    5263 G.O.A.T.

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    yes, something like that...with some margin for error on the sides and more for
    depth.
    Simple on purpose for beginners, but has been well received by more experienced
    players as well. All the Jrs talk about how different it is than what they have used before.
    My oldest son who played and coached D1 loves my system.
    With any luck, my 14 yr old will be good enough to test it on some bigger stages.
    He is really doing some cool things at his current level and you can notice
    quite a difference between him and his opponents as to how they work pts.
    Kids coming off the court saying they have never worked so hard...win or
    lose. Some even sort of tank due to the workload.
     
    #28
  29. luvforty

    luvforty Banned

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    the target and the landing pattern are 2 different things..

    if you aim for deep targets, only balls hit on the sweet spot will land there... balls made contact anywhere else on the string bed will land short.

    so to take a landing pattern chart of pro match and say ha - joker aims short, is wrong..... he aims deeper, but most balls land shorter
     
    #29
  30. 5263

    5263 G.O.A.T.

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    moving this to Smart Target thread to stop hijacking :)
     
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  31. 5263

    5263 G.O.A.T.

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    deleted.....
     
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  32. Hi I'm Ray

    Hi I'm Ray Hall of Fame

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    I think having a down the middle rally in the "avoid" zone will probably work with one of the better players who knows when to take it easy and isn't always trying to prove something (and achieving the opposite). I've run into plenty of players who after landing a shot a couple of feet wide, will take the very soft, feed-like shot I just hit back to the center keep the rally going & meant to be a cue to reset the point, and hit it into the opposite corner while I am still making my way back to the middle. A lot players just don't get it. I also apologize if I accidentally hit a shot too far off the center from a feed, but it doesn't keep them from trying to kill a feed.

    Anyways, I like the idea & will try it out with the right player. Thanks.
     
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2013
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  33. Power Player

    Power Player Talk Tennis Guru

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    Yep, without a doubt. In that case i just play it out after a few hits and look for other guys when i want a real good drill session.
     
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  34. Hi I'm Ray

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    ^^ Yesterday I had one of those long rally sessions with a pair of pretty solid players, with one of them being probably the most consistent player I know. The majority of it was 15-20 shot rallies, a few longer, and no one was trying to kill short balls or volleys. Pretty interesting seeing what kind of balls affected the more consistent player who has solid topspin replies for almost everything, except: aggressive low slices landing short near the service line forced weak slice returns, very high and deep topspin moonballs to the backhand(2H) could force gross errors, some UE's against 1HBH's that I'm supposed to be transitioning away from, the few unexpected winners I hit were all 1HBH's, fast shots down the middle occasionally caused some confusion/delay, and the only times I could reliably pressure him was with aggressive court positioning - not against short balls, but rather looking for opportunities to take a step or two inside the baseline and hitting on the rise against shots that I would normally stay behind the baseline for. Moving in along with sharp angles forced short pop-ups. Without taking time away, angles didn't really have any effect with the pair of them covering the court.

    When you are having these long rally sessions with the better players, do you look for opportunities to step inside the baseline and hit on the rise? What are your results?
     
    Last edited: Jan 25, 2013
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  35. dyldore

    dyldore Rookie

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    My favorite way to "rally" is to just have one person serve and one return for 20-30 points. It's great practice for when you play matches and it's fun. Just make sure that consistency is a theme for both you and your partner lol. If you are making everything, go for a little more. If you are missing every other point, take a little off.
     
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  36. Power Player

    Power Player Talk Tennis Guru

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    Yes I work on hitting on the rise or at shoulder level on heavy topspin balls. My results are that I hit a similar ball back..deep with top on it. It is a very tough ball for a player 4.0 or under to handle in a match. When I play a solid 4.0 player, I usually just hit inside out forehands like that until their backhand breaks down.

    I never subscribed to targeting, and if you watch the AO, it is obvious that players are not hitting for targets, but are in fact using angles and direction. this is especially obvious in a WTA match. Now if 5263 were here, he would try and say that he saw his system being used just to try and make it seem legit, but it's obvious if you watch that it does not happen.

    Long story short, hitting deep balls at the 4.0 level will win you a lot of matches especially if your serve is good too. those rallies you are practicing will help prepare your mind for the matchplay. Just stay relaxed, and hit it pretty deep.

    Now and then I will attack a high ball because I was taught how to do it. It is a great way to get in your opponent's head and force UEs. It seems to work really well once you are warmed up.
     
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  37. Hi I'm Ray

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    I like the targets. Back in the 90's and early 2000's all I ever heard was "hit deep," and my sharpest groundstroke angles were to the corners. The targets have been pretty good practice for safely hitting sharp angles that land very close to the service line and move off the court from there. I had trouble visualizing how to hit those angles before and our college coach never had us drill or practice groundstroke angles sharper than to the corners. IDK about you but I need to practice targets often - and days when I am not concentrating and watching the ball well or become tired out I can hardly hit them, like when I played mad dog I was very tired and only hit the deuce target maybe 3 times, then I think never again after the first 45min.

    4.0's.. a lot of them can hit a pretty good shot but without reliable placment and tend to over-hit after a few shots. Or can get a lot of shots back reliably with placement but not much speed. Well those are the ones I run into anyways.
     
    Last edited: Jan 25, 2013
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  38. Power Player

    Power Player Talk Tennis Guru

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    My only target is an opening on the court. Sometimes that is the same spot that people consider "smart".

    My problem is that the point flows differently each time, so if you are setting up to try and hit certain spots on the court even when not in proper position, it is UE time.

    That is why when you watch a pro match, there is no real targeting going on the way it is described here.

    If I am going to follow a system, it would be wardlaw directionals all day long.
     
    #38
  39. Hi I'm Ray

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    Not sure how other people are looking at it or talking about it, or what 5263 has posted beyond the basics. But I don't see or apply it in a rigid way. I use it rather flexibly.
     
    Last edited: Jan 25, 2013
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  40. Power Player

    Power Player Talk Tennis Guru

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    He just tried to make it into a system that he invented, which was silly. There is nothing wrong with hitting safe spots on the court, let's just not make it into more than it is.

    But watch the AO final and see how many times players hit into the "danger zone" for example. You will be surprised.

    As for drilling this stuff, instead of worrying about targets, I would suggest practicing down the line and crosscourt rallies with the right partner. It will greatly assist you in a match and you will hit the angles you want to hit easier.
     
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  41. Hi I'm Ray

    Hi I'm Ray Hall of Fame

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    I know if I just go crosscourt or dtl without an actual spot or target area, consistency of placement will get pretty random. :p
    Because I was coached to keep my concentration on watching the ball and visualizing where the ball is going to go, I usually will pick out and visualize a spot, or the flight of the ball on passing shots. When I'm not concentrating & watching the ball my visualization & placement usually go too. Practicing for the targets makes the rest of the court much easier to place, imo.

    I do appreciate any input or feedback you have.
     
    Last edited: Jan 25, 2013
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  42. JW10S

    JW10S Hall of Fame

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    Absolutely true. The problem with trying to trademark any system as being best paints one into a corner, you're stuck with it no matter what--which is why most fail miserably. The fact is the optimal target, whether it be for safety or a point ending shot, changes depending on where you are on the court, where your opponent is on the court, whether you are hitting CC, DTL or DTM, hitting slice, topspin or flat, whether the ball is high or low, where it landed on your side of the net, etc, etc, etc. The smartest target for a passing shot with your opponent at net or a rally ball with the opponent at the baseline will be very different. A target that makes your opponent run in one instance can leave you very vulnerable in another. To be good you have to do it all. Any system that would limit you so much is anything but smart. And I agree that 5236 has not made the important contribution to tennis that he seems to think he has.
     
    Last edited: Jan 25, 2013
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  43. HSCoach

    HSCoach New User

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    Interesting? i have only read 2-3 pages of this very long thread, but already see a couple of comments like below. Doesn't seem the OP's intent is to limit from the little I've read so far except maybe that shorter middle zone?

     
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  44. JW10S

    JW10S Hall of Fame

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    ^^so, just how many accounts do you have...?

    'where to direct ANY ball...'. That is the limiting factor. I won't just hit 'any' ball from anywhere on the court to specific spots just to satisfy some sophomoric 'system'. There are a lot of ways to effectively react to situations where 'you don't have a better idea' that are not dictated by set targets.

    And this trend of picking apart one sentence of a post rather than commenting on the post as a whole shows a desperate, weak hand. Nice try though...well not really...
     
    Last edited: Jan 25, 2013
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  45. bhupaes

    bhupaes Professional

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    Hi JW10S, as I understand it, 5263 proposed smart targets as the default strategy, if one didn't have a reason to hit elsewhere. And as per my observation of ATP tennis, that's exactly what the pros seem to do. It's a reference that helps the player avoid putting the ball into the "avoid zone". Even that is not really prohibited if the situation warrants it. Whether 5263 "invented" this scheme is not of great interest to me, but he has certainly been extremely helpful to folks like myself struggling with strategy.
     
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  46. Hi I'm Ray

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    ^^ Thats sort of how I see it. Nothing has to be followed like some rigid rule as some claim, same as with any other stragety.
     
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  47. Ash_Smith

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    Why do you think this concept is limiting? It merely provides some sensible, percentage target options for when trying to build a point - nobody has said (as far as I am aware) that the targets outlined are the only shots available. I've used a similar concept with some of our wheelchair players to good effect - it provides a good building block to use to create opportunities.

    Cheers
     
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  48. Greg G

    Greg G Professional

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    #48
  49. JW10S

    JW10S Hall of Fame

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    I went back and read the first page in his original thread on the subject--there it does not seem he is talking about a 'default' strategy. So apparently he has backed way off of his original concepts.

    Some things good players have in their bag are what I refer to as 'automatic' shots--their default shots. Since there is not always time to decide and set up to hit where you want or how you want everytime players will have an automatic go to shot that will keep them in the point but not put them on the defensive. Then when they have time, opened up the court, acheived good court position, whatever, they pull the trigger. But these automatic shots are situational and not always to the same places.

    I've seen point-by-point chartings of patterns of shots of Djokovic, Federer, Murray and Nadal and they each have their own unique patterns of play incorporating automatic shots to ultimately allow them to take control of the point based on their particular strengths and favorite shots. They don't use the same targets, their automatic shots differ. And their automatic forehands differ from their automatic backhands. They will hit deeper to one side of the court and shorter to the other, or wider to one side and more centered to the other based on their strengths and weaknesses and the strengths and weaknesses of their opponents. In many ways it's like chess--how many shots will it take me to get my opponent over there, or to make him hit to me here. It's fascinating when you study it.

    I'm surprised someone would need a reference to tell them that dropping the ball into the middle of your opponent's court is something you'd probably wouldn't want to do all that often. When I was 12 yrs old (long time ago) my coach would use tape to mark out a square in the middle of the court, if you hit the ball in it you lost the point. He didn't use a fancy term like 'avoid zone'. But it was a good tool, one I use in my coaching now, hit in the square in the middle of the court, lose the point, but it's certainly nothing groundbreaking.
     
    Last edited: Jan 28, 2013
    #49
  50. bhupaes

    bhupaes Professional

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    I thought that 5263 was saying that one can and should it to areas other than the smart targets - specifically, in post #2:

    "These 3 cones form a triangle shaped target zone, one on the deuce then another on the ad side. These 2 triangle targets will work well for most all shots from dtl to well cross court. There will definitely be several exceptions we can use from using these targets, but these 2 targets will work well for a vast majority of rally and mid-short ball attacks. Defining smart exceptions will be great to discuss in this thread."

    Also, the above language implies they are defaults and not absolutes, IMO.

    This makes sense, of course. The top players have no doubt refined their strategies to a very fine degree, and execute a number of variations based on their opponent and situation. And they will have to do so almost automatically, because of the speed of the game. High speed grandmaster chess at its best! However, we have to start somewhere...

    IMO, what seems obvious to you and other established coaches/players definitely needs to be spelled out clearly to those not in the know! I am just now, after so many years of hitting, beginning to understand why hitting in the middle - even fairly hard - is geometrically disadvantageous compared to hitting to one of the smart targets. It is a point well worth stating on a board such as this, again IMO.
     
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