The Flat Hitter - No Time to set up for your shots - why god why?

Discussion in 'Tennis Tips/Instruction' started by caugas, Apr 10, 2014.

  1. caugas

    caugas Semi-Pro

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    So, I'm a strong 4.0 top spin player, who at time can hit at a 4.5 level when I hit up with the right person.

    What goes up must go down, I hit a good friend of mine recently. His skill level is most likely a 3.0, but hit with him cause he kept asking me to hit.

    Every ball he hits is flat - NO SPIN. Many fall just over the service line :? I have no time to set up and sit back on my shots. :cry:

    What was the results, tragic - cleary my play skill style drops like a sack of bricks in the ocean.. I looked like a 3.5 at best

    Anyone else experience this when they play down or am I just not skilled enough dictate, full disclosure I'm a baseline player who likes to grind opponents and force an error - not come up to the net and hit winners rarely.
     
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  2. TeamOB

    TeamOB Professional

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    On the Kyrgios/Thiem/Zverev bandwagon!
    I know the feeling. Flat hitters who hit hard are my least favorite opponents. Try taking a few steps back to give yourself more time.
     
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  3. Ballinbob

    Ballinbob Hall of Fame

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    I'm also a strong 4.0. What I learned to do with those players is to stand on top of the baseline and look for those short shots. If you see it coming and set up early you can really lap those balls up and approach. Also work on your approach shots... You'll need them. I know you say you don't like coming in but it really helps, especially against these kinds of players
     
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  4. mightyrick

    mightyrick Hall of Fame

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    First, there really isn't a rating for "skill level". In USTA, you either beat people or you dont. Based on that, the NTRP computer calculates your rating.

    If you don't play USTA and are using self-rating guidelines, then you are probably overestimating your competitive level by 0.5 to 1.0 NTRP points. So that brings a tough reality that you might have to accept:

    You aren't as good as you think you are.

    Hitting with a good hitter can make everyone look good. Their mechanics and shots are consistent. The pace and spin of their ball is consistent. It is easy to get into a rhythm with those kinds of a player. Yes, it can feel like you are a high-level player while hitting with these people.

    However...

    If a guy who is hitting flat, non-heavy, no-spin shots that don't reach the baseline is giving you trouble... then you are probably not above his level. A true computer-rated NTRP 4.0 would double bagel a computer-rated NTRP 3.0 inside of 35-40 minutes.

    I would recommend continuing to hit with this person. They hit the kind of shots that will demand that you develop footwork, anticipation, shot preparation, and control. Otherwise, they will beat you every time.

    Good luck.
     
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  5. dman72

    dman72 Hall of Fame

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    His shots can't have much pace if they are completely flat, hit with no trajectory, and land just past the service line. You should be standing inside the baseline against him.
     
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  6. GuyClinch

    GuyClinch Hall of Fame

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    OP.

    NTRP ..this word does not mean what you think it means. It's not style points for your technique - it just means that against other computer ranked opponents you will almost always beat certain ones. That's it.

    FWIW most "4.0" players have little problems with 'flat' hitters who hit everything to the service line. <g>
     
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  7. caugas

    caugas Semi-Pro

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    You have no idea what you are talking about. I hit on the reg with D2 and D3 college players in new England and beat on the reg 4.0 club players...

    I've also gone pretty far in some 4.0 USTA tournament. I'm not overstating my skill level, we can hit when I'm in Austin over XMAS and you can recant...

    Stop hating.
     
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  8. user92626

    user92626 Legend

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    I second Mightyrick's points. Your assessment of your levels might be very faulty. If your skill is 1 or 1.5 level above your opponent, virtually nothing they do can hurt you.

    With that said, irrespective of results, against crappy players your game play may look a little crappier, too. Even Fed commented that first few rounds of a tournament are messy for him, ie shots were erratic.

    Just work on your skills. Against weak and low shots like your buddy's, just anticipate and get in position early, bend your knees and focus on hitting good, topspin shots back.

    (btw the What goes up must go down worldview is also faulty. Try the national debt, the world population to name a few... :))
     
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  9. Power Player

    Power Player Talk Tennis Guru

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    Use the pace in your favor.

    chop it down with slice or attack it with top.

    I love flat, power hitters. I am a similar hitter except I use a lot more topspin. But I hit with some big flat hitters. I stand back a little bit and give them back a ball that uses their pace, plus adds mine and my topspin.

    That keeps the ball out of their comfort zone a lot more often.
     
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  10. user92626

    user92626 Legend

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    In competition flat power hitters are actually feared. They are really skilled hitters if they could hit those shots because those shots are inherently more difficult to hit and return. They are fast, travel less distance and time so they are difficult to deal with. For practicing we should love these guys cuz they're rare.

    My tennis player 'pool' is about 50+ players. There is only ONE guy who uses the (old) federer heavy racket and hits every shot like you and I hit winners. His shots clear the net under 2 feet and if you need to take more than 3 steps to set up, you will likely miss it!!! Luckily he loves to partner with me so I don't have to deal with him that often. :)
     
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  11. mightyrick

    mightyrick Hall of Fame

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    I'm not hating. I do know what I'm talking about.

    If you are a NTRP 4.0 and have gone deep in a NTRP 4.0 tournament, then this person you are playing is at least a strong NTRP 4.0. There is absolutely no way that an NTRP 3.0 would give trouble to an NTRP 4.0. Even a recently bumped NTRP 4.0 wouldn't have problems.

    So either, both he and you are NTRP 3.0 or both he and you are NTRP 4.0.

    If you're in Austin, I'm all for hitting. There's always an open invitation to anyone.
     
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  12. moonballs

    moonballs Hall of Fame

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    I personally feel it is much harder to set up properly against balls with heavy top spin, both high and low. You might simply need to play with him more and he might be very familar with your top spin groundies. It is similar to when you first play with someone with very good slices. When I first play a buddy with good driving slices all of the incoming slices were threats. Now a lot of them are like sitters to my FH.

    In an actual match the flat hitter has to rely on a lot of net skimmers. You shouldn't have a problem of outlasting him in a rally. I can't see a 3.0 hitting three penetrating net skimmers in a row.
     
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  13. caugas

    caugas Semi-Pro

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    Let's all take a deep breath and stop bashing...
    First of all, I said I was hitting with my friend, not match play, just hitting around, so there's no need for 6-0, 6-0 comps, but btw we did play and I did beat him 6-1,6-1 (but that is besides the point).

    My point, was I'm a top spin baseline player, who is comfortable playing with other top spins players and has trouble not playing my top spin game and was wondering if other were like me, and could identify

    I do appreciate the tips and tricks from other responders.

    But other's just started talking about ratings, etc...

    re ratings:
    http://www.usta.com/Adult-Tennis/USTA-League/Information/About_NTRP/

    This would be me... PM I have You tube VIDEO to prove it!!!!

    This was more my friend

    People should not just bash each. I'm not some person who just starting playing. I have more than 1000 on court and have invested considerable in lessons from club pro...

    I'm not saying I'm Rafa Nadel..
     
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  14. mightyrick

    mightyrick Hall of Fame

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    To be clear. You are the one who mentioned NTRP ratings in your original post. So you brought it up. Also, if you beat your friend in matchplay 1 and 1, then that makes more sense.

    And yes, people generally don't like to hit with choppers, slicers, and dinkers. They require you to really bend your knees, use lots of micro-adjustment footsteps, and they make you create all of your own pace and spin. Definitely not fun.
     
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  15. Power Player

    Power Player Talk Tennis Guru

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    I play matches too. Why are you insinuating that I just practice?

    Played a guy like that last night. I match up better against those guys. The guys who are tougher to deal with for me are guys who can redirect the power and hit consistent shots.
     
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  16. caugas

    caugas Semi-Pro

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    Right... mostly skilled player when hitting or playing points 'want" at least 1 to 3 shots to set up the point. With dinkers, slicers, etc.. your lucky to get one within 1 to 2 ft from the ready position point...

    Also, no one asked, but the reason why he hits he as flat shots is because he has not developed his strokes, I'm not talk flat like flat with slight spin, but no spin lasers, that barely go over the net and he aims towards the corners.

    I don't care who you are those shots are tough to get ahead of
     
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  17. caugas

    caugas Semi-Pro

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    Thanks PP.
     
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  18. Power Player

    Power Player Talk Tennis Guru

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    Yes but if he is not developed, he will miss and make mistakes. You need to force those mistakes by finding what he hates. I am going to guess he will hate slice.
     
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  19. user92626

    user92626 Legend

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    dude,

    First you said many of his shots fall just over the service line, then now "no spin lasers, that barely go over the net and he aims towards the corners."

    Which case is it?

    The latter, as I said above, are very skillful shots and inherently difficult to deal with.

    IMO, it serves us better if we start adopting the understanding that it's not the shot peculiarity, it's always the physics that matters. I simplify (reduce) all my opponents to the fact of their shot's pace (time) and whether I could get to it. It's all been good to me.
     
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  20. caugas

    caugas Semi-Pro

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    I'm confused, lasers over the service line are nasty, right. Yes I originally said flat balls over the service line (left our lasers - sorry)- but flat lasers over the service line suck!! when you add balls over the service line that are lasers like going towards the corners, that really sucks - this was my point!
     
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  21. Egoista

    Egoista Professional

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    hate playing flat players
    especially during rallies when I TRY TO hit heavy top against their slices which stay really really low either I hit it out or back but not fast enough with vicious top just slow top
     
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  22. user92626

    user92626 Legend

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    Your posts were confusing. Consider "fall" vs "laser", service line vs corners.

    I'm telling you, if a player can play anything that is "laser" (notion of precision and fast) and to corners, he is pretty good and no shame in losing to him!
     
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  23. Power Player

    Power Player Talk Tennis Guru

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    Yeah I agree. A lot of my style is making the opponent hit shots that are difficult. I do this by hitting an attacking not and forcing a winner attempt by coming to net.

    If someone is hitting lasers then Im not going to be able to do that. Somedays people are on fire, and I accept it. But a lower level player - that is a rare occasion. So you need to chop his pace down with slice. Get a weak return, attack it and crash net. a new player will not be able to pass you more times than you will win the point. The %s are in your favor.
     
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  24. counterfeit25

    counterfeit25 Rookie

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    Ok, against flat hitters, if your natural shot is a heavy topspin type of stroke, it's very hard to hit a heavy arcing topspin shot off your opponent/hitting-partner's flat drive. Your best bet is to be patient and get the ball back deep, and wait for your opportunity to get a ball where you have more time to set up your heavy topspin strokes, and start hitting your bread-&-butter topspin groundstrokes from there, and move the ball around on your terms.

    If you think about it the other way around, the flat hitters also tend to dislike handling high arching heaving topspin shots, *especially* if you force them to hit on the run against your heavy topspin shots.

    My natural shot on my forehand is a wristy topspin shot, so I understand the frustrations. I've played against many flat hitters, on artificial grass to boot. But as I mentioned above, your topspin may equally frustrate your flat hitting opponent as well.
     
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  25. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    I also hate playing peers who hit hard, low, and flat. Usually, they employ a little bit of sidespin, so the ball skids to boot, bouncing about lower shin high on shots they hit to deep NML.
    Fortunately, they hate to hit off heavy slice and heavy topspin, so there is a neutralizing element to the equation. And, they can suddenly get OFF their game, throwing in a whole slew of errors, until they regain their balance and posture, early prep and shoulder turn.
     
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  26. TennisCJC

    TennisCJC Legend

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    I have a friend who is in his 50s who played college tennis for D2 school. He played 1 singles his last year so he was very good. He hits an extremely flat ball off the FH and BH. It maybe makes use a couple of rotation in the air while coming toward you, then it lands deep, slides and gets on you quickly. He was very difficult to play against. PITA in fact to play against this style. Timing the ball was very difficult.

    You can try shortening your backswing first. Most flat balls have good pace and tend to slide a bit so you don't need a big backswing.
     
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  27. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    I THOUGHT about shortening and flattening my swing against those shin high skidding accelerating after the skid balls, but logic tells me to heavy slice, or heavy topspin those shots back, so the contact point is lower or higher than thigh to stomach, to throw the flat hitter off his timing.
    Heavy top works better for me, as heavy slice can sometimes go short, allowing the flat hitter to step into NML and really pummell a flat shot into a corner.
     
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  28. torpantennis

    torpantennis Legend

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    OP, what's your FH and BH grip?
     
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  29. 5263

    5263 G.O.A.T.

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    It's more that his game just plays into a hole in your skill-set.
     
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  30. Steady Eddy

    Steady Eddy Hall of Fame

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    I've played some friends who hit like this. What people don't like is that even though you can beat them, you're aware that you look bad. You can't hit your normal stroke against their skidding flat balls. (Often we'd use old balls and play on a smooth court, which doesn't help matters).

    Sometimes they get lucky and hit a few winners into the corners. I think of this like a basketball team that sinks a few 30 footers. It can happen, but it's really unlikely they can sustain that. When they make a winner, just smile and say "good shot". They might think they can catch up with you quickly, but later they'll find out how hard the game really is.
     
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  31. Power Player

    Power Player Talk Tennis Guru

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    More I think about it I play another guy more like this, but it has been a while. He's left and his serve is nice. He hits back everything really flat.

    I do two things - I slice to him sometimes and I make him run side to side.

    I find that if you make these guys run, they make mistakes a lot more often.
     
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  32. Maximagq

    Maximagq Banned

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    I agree, I don't like playing really flat hitters, such as top-level girls. Girls hit a lot flatter than guys, and I honestly have a harder time dealing with a flat penetrating ball than spinny shots unless it is really heavy.
     
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  33. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Flat hitter I play against is also known as a rabbit, so he likes to hit flat while on the run, possibly even enjoys it.
    Varying spin does work against him.
    Oh, PP, you didn't read the fitness section. I posted I did the spider drill, heartbeat at 76 when I started, 20.3 seconds later, heartbeat 132. I made sure to tap the intersections with my left foot every time, and back at the center hash, my right foot, because I CAN push off my right a bit.
     
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  34. ace18

    ace18 Rookie

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    Good points counterfeit. I hit a pretty flat ball on both sides and slice a lot from the BH side. My heavy topspin opponents hate my flat shots as much as I hate their heavy topspin shots. Be patient until you can hit that heavy topspin shot. I'll smoke low balls but heavy topspin smokes me. In my case, hitting on the run doesn't bother me. If you are playing me, patience and get the heavy topspin going when you can. Accept that I will drill some lasers but you will force me into making errors. I will adjust, but you will make me uncomfortable.
     
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  35. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Good post above.
    You gotta weather the storm.
    HE has to weather the storm.
    Meanwhile, both of you are adapting to the incoming balls.
     
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  36. Power Player

    Power Player Talk Tennis Guru

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    What does this have to do with anything? lol.
     
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  37. user92626

    user92626 Legend

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    Why are you taking posts so personally?

    Most of my posts, those in this thread particularly, and posts written in a public board should be taken in general terms, opinion based, points and counter points. That's all. Stop thinking that everything is about you or people out to get you. :)
     
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  38. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    PowerPlayer, why indeed?
    Remember the comment's you made of me as being a gimp? I can accept gimp, because I am.
    So, I posted my time for a spider drill, starting heartbeat, ending heartbeat.
    Just for your benefit, so next time you compare Cheetah with me, you'll know the level of gimp that I am.
     
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  39. movdqa

    movdqa Legend

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    I had a 90-minute practice this afternoon and we practiced those flat shots. On the forehand side, I find that using the ATP-style forehand gives you plenty of time to set up and hit flat through the ball - you don't need to take a big swing as you can use the incoming pace for your outgoing shot. The ATP-style forehand makes it relatively easy to add top if you want to.

    The guy that I hit with can hit the flat, hard shots but he can also defend against them in a variety of ways and he did so in practice today. One thing that he'll do is just keep hitting high, soft balls to the corner while I was hitting flat balls deep. A lot of flat-hitting players might not like generating their own pace and they may be less accurate if you give them balls of varying height.

    On the backhand side (assuming a one-handed backhand), you can block these back, use heavy slice, use a flat drive or use a semi-loose wrist to hit a moderate topspin shot back. Mixing things up (height, speed, depth) is a good way to probe the weak points of the flat hitter. It wouldn't be a bad idea to spend some time hitting flat shots in practice too. This is what I mainly see when I see the Pros in their practice sessions.
     
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  40. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Personally, I find it very difficult to hit a soft flat shot back when I"m facing slow skidding shin high fast flat shots. I can get it back for sure, but I have to AVOID hitting anything short, as that just goes into the wheelhouse of the flat hitter's style.
    Better to go with heavy underspin or high loopy topspin, for me.
     
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  41. rkelley

    rkelley Hall of Fame

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    First to clarify on your friend’s shots, no spin, hard, low net clearance. I assume that they’re staying low on the bounce and they feel like they’re getting behind you before you can set-up. Do I have that right?

    Assuming I do, I understand your dilemma. One guy I hit with plays a very traditional game. He’s a former teaching pro and generally hits very flat shots a lot of the time. None of his shots have a lot topspin by today’s standards. He likes to take balls on the rise, especially if they might kick up on him, and use the ball’s pace for his own shot. His good shots tend to stay low on my side, skid through the bounce, and I can be late on swing if I’m not really watching the contact point.

    Assuming we’re talking about a modern stroke, basically what I do is get my body and racquet down low in the set-up, open my racquet face a bit to make sure the ball gets over the net, and really emphasize the up portion of the stroke to bring it down on the other side because if I swing through the ball too much I will hit it out since it’s so low. I like to think about defending the contact point on these types of balls as well and not allow the ball to get behind me. Basically the same approach I use against a good slice too.

    Hope that helps.
     
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  42. Mac33

    Mac33 Semi-Pro

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    I hit the ball on my forehand real,real flat but not that hard.

    It's actually not a flat hit,more a very flat topspin.

    The steeper I lift the ball the more topspin will be on the ball,the more the ball will CARRY to my opponent.

    However,I occasionally catch my opponent out by lifting the ball at a very shallow angle,the result is my opponent can still get to the ball but ends up having to play a defensive slice as the ball stays so low after contacting the ground.

    A heavy frame with a tight string bed can increase this effect substantially.

    Hitting the ball quite flat is a good way for weaker players who do not have the RHS to play with decent pace.

    And a good way for better players to kill the ball once they get a shortish return.

    Hope this helps.
     
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  43. Rui

    Rui Semi-Pro

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    It sounds like you're stroke is designed for a certain kind of incoming shot. A shot that is not flat. You're going to have to be more adaptable.

    Step up and hit more side spin.
     
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  44. mawashi

    mawashi Hall of Fame

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    Looks like you found your kyptonite. I like to hit flat, the pace and depth does make things hard for some players like yourself however, the guys who play with classic styles seem to handle better then others.

    Those who use continental to eastern grips seem to handle my flat shots fine so with those I switch to include a bit more spin.
     
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  45. winstonlim8

    winstonlim8 Semi-Pro

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    Odd that nobody's differentiated between flat topspin and flat slice balls. They bounce differently and require slightly different adjustments to return effectively, I believe.

    Against modern topspin guys, I try to play flat slice returns every chance I get (they hate the low, skidding bounce, especially if they use extreme grips). Against people who hit with less spin, I play a flat topspin return to get the ball deep and hard.
     
    Last edited: Apr 10, 2014
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  46. thebluereverend

    thebluereverend New User

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    People who can hit flat with pace give the most trouble. I find that I either start trying to slug with them, which doesn't work for my style, or I try to shorten up my backswing so I can style get some spin on the ball and I end up hitting short sitters.
     
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  47. winstonlim8

    winstonlim8 Semi-Pro

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    I don't know about other oldie-moldies but if they're anything like me, they'll play a lot of different spin shots with not much pace against most flat hitters. At our age, it's suicide to try to outhit or out-rally a younger flat hitter.

    A mixture of heavy, floaty slice, skidding slice, loopy topspin, lobs and dinking usually causes younger flat hitters no end of frustration, especially when you can also thump the occasional short ball with some pace or sneak in and put away the volley (flat shots don't dip much, so they're easier to volley.)

    Most less experienced flat hitters just try to bang everything back harder and harder without adjusting for the different bounces and spins, so they make a lot of unforced errors and get frustrated.

    Once, one of them yelled at me, "Hit the ball like a man and stop playing like an old fart."

    Well, I am an old fart, so what did he expect?
     
    Last edited: Apr 10, 2014
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  48. ace18

    ace18 Rookie

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    Bingo on the comment above " A lot of flat-hitting players....."

    As an old school flat hitting player, I love pace, especially when I can use my opponents. I take the ball on the rise and can really drill the low ones. Its tougher for me to generate pace though, especially on slow heavy topspin shots that get outside of my hitting zone. This is where I make errors or hit a short no pace ball where my opponent can attack me. So the varying pace/height mentioned above is what hurts me.
     
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  49. movdqa

    movdqa Legend

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    Even Federer plays the kind of shots that you're talking about when he's in defensive mode.

    Any player should expect the other player to find the shots that annoy you the most and pound away with them.

    If someone uses an annoying style against me - I try to see if I can practice with them.
     
    #49
  50. gregor.b

    gregor.b Professional

    Joined:
    Aug 9, 2009
    Messages:
    1,204
    Location:
    Brisvegas
    Isn't that what playing 'good' tennis is all about? A guy crushes the second serve return wide to his forehand short to the middle of the box and you step around and guide it wide to his backhand.

    Rafa has made a squillion doing this one.
     
    #50

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