We can and should be attacking the net a LOT more as rec players

Discussion in 'Tennis Tips/Instruction' started by Power Player, Mar 3, 2014.

  1. mightyrick

    mightyrick Hall of Fame

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    Excellent points. The comparison to fast-break basketball is an apt one. I was a Phoenix Suns fan for a long time. I watched year after year of them living and dying by the fast break. Pretend as if you have a 15-second shot clock. It was fatal for them.

    The game changed. Players got more agile. Defenders became too quick and able to guard in transition. Fast break basketball -- while exciting to watch -- quickly became a low percentage strategy.

    The same with net play in tennis. It is very exceptional and situational when it can be used successfully. But as a primary strategy -- not going to work.
     
  2. spun_out

    spun_out Rookie

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    But aren't you the one romanticizing the net, where all these great winners happen, whether from the player at net or the baseline? You are the one who says you need a biting slice to approach the net; you are the one who is saying you are going to end up hitting half-volleys after half-volleys; you are the one who is saying that going to net is not percentage play.

    I know you are arguing with PP and Edburger and probably didn't read my posts in this thread, but I have said that pushing your way to net and forcing your opponent to make a pass is percentage play. Purposefully hit what you think are mediocre shots (moonballs, dink/floating slice) and go to net. This forces the opponent to generate all the pace. In the pros, this is where they shine. In the recs, this is where they fall. I am not sure where the line lies between shining and falling, but I suspect it's higher than you think, especially with a 2hbh. Why is pushing from the baseline effective, while pushing from the net not? How come baseliners who become error generating machines when playing pushers suddenly start hitting winners after winners if the pusher goes to net?

    Of course, if you can beat your opponent from the baseline, then there is no need to change what you are doing.
     
  3. Topspin Shot

    Topspin Shot Legend

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    Something tells me hitting a weak approach shot, following it into net, and then expecting to win the point will not end well in most cases.
     
  4. spun_out

    spun_out Rookie

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    Can you hit a high bouncing floater with pace on your backhand side from behind the baseline? Can you hit it with directional control? Can you control it if you take it on the rise? Isn't it your experience that when you hit defensive moonballs or floating slices from the baseline when stretched wide (after your opponent smacks a shot off of a pretty good topspin shot), your opponents more often than not reset the point or make errors trying to hit winners?
     
    Last edited: Mar 5, 2014
  5. zaph

    zaph Rookie

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    Volleying is often given as the easy answer to all tennis woes. Being outlasted, beaten by pusher, get to the net. It isn't as easy as all that.

    I'm not a 100% hopeless volleyer, I play too much doubles for that, but serve volley would a suicidal stragedy for me. It is so much more that run to net, block ball.

    Even if you have a decent volley, a punch shot, no huge takeback, good technically. You still need good serve and a good overhead. Weak serve means you will be spending your life trying to deal with good returns, and without the overhead, you will be lobbed constantly.

    Even with those, you still need to be able to move to the net properly. Too many players charge the net, and are annoyed when they miss the volley. Not noticing that the best players stop, take a split step before volleying.

    Nice if you can do it, but playing from the back is far more effective for someone like me.
     
  6. johndagolfer

    johndagolfer Semi-Pro

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    This is precisely why the OP's notion that everyone should attack the net more is conditional on who you are playing and the type of player the person charging the net is. In the OP it states that he is facing a player with a "weaker" backhand or a pusher. In this case by all means attack and be aggressive to those weaknesses. Later in the thread it is stated that vollies should be practiced because at the 4.0 - 5.0 stage ground strokes are already refined. If a 4.5-5.0 is going to get a deep floater you better believe that they are most likely going to tee off on the ball and coming to the net may not be the best idea.

    This is why I believe that attacking the net in the title is overly broad in its reach. I totally agree with PP that being aggressive on floaters or other weak balls and stretching out your opponent, then coming to net isn't utilized enough. But that isn't what the title of this post seems to say to me.
     
  7. boramiNYC

    boramiNYC Hall of Fame

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    I love this aggressive mindset and not wasting opportunities to put you in a more favorable position assuming your volleys are as solid as your groundies.

    But there's also a risk of making your opponent get better at dealing with you coming in. If he can anticipate having to hit early and pass you this plan become less effective. Maybe there should be some compromise in frequency of rushing in to mix up.
     
  8. spun_out

    spun_out Rookie

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    I guess it comes down to exploiting the weakness of the stroke itself for me. Whether the backhand is weak or not, it is much harder for a 2hbh to generate pace on its own compared to the fh. It's much better at dealing with pace and spin. A 2hbh that is great in fast-paced rallies break down when junkballs are fed (at least in my experience). I think that going to net off junkball is the way to exploit this aspect of the 2hbh.

    p.s. if you have a 1hbh and I can't beat you from the baseline with topspin or win my service games with jamming you with serves and kick serves, then you are better than me.
     
  9. spun_out

    spun_out Rookie

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    Maybe it will be easier to volley if you focus on one thing: dink it deep to the backhand side. If you want variety, maybe you can alternate that with drop shots.

    I don't think there is anything aggressive about this. I think that people have this notion of being at net = being aggressive engraved in their heads, but this doesn't all have to be the case.
     
  10. Topspin Shot

    Topspin Shot Legend

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    Yes, and no. I can do enough with my backhand to pass an opponent of my level most of the time, and most of my opponents will punish me if I sit the ball up for them. But anyway, let's pretend I played at a level where my opponents and I couldn't do those things. Then the odds are we wouldn't be able to execute on the volleys well enough to make coming in on a weak ball worthwhile.

    There are some players at all levels where their volleys are so good relative to the rest of their games that they should and do crash the net every chance they get. This is a specific playing style and not really suited for everyone.
     
  11. boramiNYC

    boramiNYC Hall of Fame

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    Assuming your volley technique is sound, being closer to the net opens up much bigger range of angles you can work with. If you can take advantage of this it's an aggressive tactic but that's not always the case for many recs. But your skill at the net improves when you try the tactic more. It's the use it or lose it kind of thing.
     
  12. Power Player

    Power Player Talk Tennis Guru

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    I have not backed off of anything. Stop putting words in my mouth. The only thing i did was use the term half volley incorrectly. That really does not change the point of anything i said.

    You did this earlier when you claimed i believed rushing the net would cause mass errors every time.

    By twisting my words it appears you are clearly in this thread to troll at this point. I back off nothing i have said, and the fact that you believe i did indicates you have a reading comprehension issue.

    Im still coming to net. You dont want to? Fine. You dont even play singles tennis so i have no idea why you even care to argue so much.

    Fast break basketball is a horrible analogy because it never won anything. No teams ever won titles without playing defense in the nba.

    In tennis volleying dominated the sport for years and was how connors, johnny mac, sampras, edberg..etc won titles. Its a very bad comparison because you are comparing a failed strategy to a successful one.

    It has fallen off the pro game now, but this is rec tennis we are talking about. It still works in rec tennis if you put some time in and learn how to do it. Does it work every match? No, you will still lose matches. Nothing is perfect But your ability to change up strategies and force unforced errors in a match will always be there, and your win % will go up.
     
    Last edited: Mar 5, 2014
  13. OTMPut

    OTMPut Hall of Fame

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    http://www.webtennis.com/players/the-all-court-forcing-game/
     
  14. Power Player

    Power Player Talk Tennis Guru

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    This is awesome. Great find. This guy is 60 and playing this style of tennis. Really good stuff.

    He takes everything i have been saying and lays it out there with far more detail.

    What a stunner - it works. And this is brent abel..nobody can hate on this guy.
     
    Last edited: Mar 5, 2014
  15. Power Player

    Power Player Talk Tennis Guru

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    "I know that I have to hit far fewer winning shots to win points than when my opponent simply does not put the ball back in play with their passing shot or lob attempt.

    That’s right, I win more points through sheer forced unforced errors from my opponents than having to hit outright winners myself.

    And the other BIG reality at skill levels lower than touring professionals is this – our opponents only have so many perfect passing shots in their bag on any given day.

    Your job is to simply go out there and empty that bag asap."


    Right there. He nailed it. Thank you Brent.
     
  16. Topspin Shot

    Topspin Shot Legend

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    I like Brent a lot. Coming into net is his style, and it works really well for him. Maybe it works really well for you too. But you can't assume it will work for everyone.
     
  17. GuyClinch

    GuyClinch Hall of Fame

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    Brent hits really nice approaches and has really nice slice shots from both sides. Plus he is fairly tall and playing older players who don't have wicked topspin shots.

    Younger 4.5 and 5.0 play guys who have terrific forehands and backhands from the baseline and don't have his array of slice shots. Different games for different players..
     
  18. GuyClinch

    GuyClinch Hall of Fame

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    The title of this thread is the most inflammatory part of your post. You say that we can and should be attacking the net more as rec players.

    It's really a more personal thing. There might be some people who need to do that (you) but you can't generalize about all rec players. It's sad that people like you have to 'win' arguments and can't admit that maybe they overstated things in their initial post title.

    Plenty of rec players are already playing the right game for them. Not everyone has strategic flaws in their game. Not everyone has good volley skills and yet paradoxically doesn't use them. When you assume things you make yourself look foolish.

    If you just said "hey I personally did better going to the net against this pusher." That's cool - we can all dig that. But making blanket recommendations based on dubious assumptions - that's not cool. Too bad if you don't like the blowback you are getting.

    It's not any 'reading comprehension' problem. We can all ready the title of this thread. We just don't agree with you.
     
  19. Edburger

    Edburger Rookie

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    It is generalised statement. In general, rec players need to attack net more. Statement absolutely correct.

    I think, you are looking for argument.
     
  20. Ballinbob

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    I agree with Power Player to be honest... Approaching the net more than you already do will help your game at the rec level. I don't know many 4.0-4.5 players who can consistently hit winning passing shots and lobs off a decently struck approach. I think that's what Power Player is getting at here. Heck, most of the points I win up there are from me intimidating/pressuring my opponent, not because of my winning volleys.

    Even at the pro level, Novak and Rafa have started to come into net more and have seen results. Making your opponent hit a winning shot puts pressure on them, simple as that. And at the rec level, people should exploit this fact since the passing shots aren't as good

    That's my opinion on the matter anyway...
     
  21. maggmaster

    maggmaster Hall of Fame

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    I agree, not too many rec players are hitting screaming winners from the baseline. I can work the point from the back until I get a down the line ball that I can try to rip or I can take that same ball and place it well and then come in. The approach is a higher percentage play. By the same token, even a weak stab volley can be a winner if the opponent is out of position, a weak rally shot generally results in the opponent taking control of the rally.
     
  22. Power Player

    Power Player Talk Tennis Guru

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    You didnt read the article. And you probably dont play younger 4.5 and 5.0s at all and have any point of reference

    I do, which is why i know what you are saying is wrong.

    Im not getting much blowback. Just you making up things i said and arguing semantics. You are not trying to learn more by reading the article referenced or checking out the video. You are just arguing because you want to be right on the internet and are not interested in a real discussion.
     
    Last edited: Mar 6, 2014
  23. Power Player

    Power Player Talk Tennis Guru

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    Correct. That is all he is doing at this point.
     
  24. tennis_ocd

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    Keep in mind that Brent was developing this skill in the early 1980s. If a similar guy was committed to improve today as he was in 1980, with today's rackets and strings, he would find it nearly impossible to achieve similar results with the same strategy. He'd be fodder. I do agree that at almost all levels, coming to the net at the selected right time can be improved. But you need to develop the skills to successfully do so.

    Fact is single guys bash for hours and hours on the baseline; very few spend 1/10th the time working on volleys. So the results shouldn't be much of a surprise when a guy with 1000 hours of BL hitting finds a guy at the net with, at best, 100 hours of volleying practice.
     
  25. X999X

    X999X New User

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    Think at any level it's simply all about the relative strength of your net game opposed to your opponents passing shots and lobs. Try coming to net more against different opponents and you will soon see if it's likely to be successful.

    Good to build into your game but will need loads of practice to work against opponents with decent groundies. And expect to get burned and lose to players you might normally beat while your practising and improving the net play aspect of your game.

    Also the speed of the court surface is going to have a big influence on how effective coming forward is going to be. I mean try and serve and volley on a clay court or slow paced hard court, you will need some serious game to pull that off. Personally if people try it against me on hard courts unless they have a really good serve I love it and have great fun ripping those returns back past them or down at their feet.
     
  26. johndagolfer

    johndagolfer Semi-Pro

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    I don't agree that Rafa and Novak come to net more to intimidate their opponents into making errors. I think they have changed their mindset to take advantage of the openings their groundstrokes give them and end the point quicker. That is different than just coming to the net for the sake of putting pressure on their opponents. Most often they come to net when they've opened up the court, have their opponents on the run and normally don't have to hit more than one volley to finish the point.

    This is where I agree with PP. Any average vollier should be able to put a ball into the open court.

    Is this the same as most rec players should come to the net "a LOT" more? That's open to interpretation. I believe just "more" would have sufficed and would have drawn a lot less argument in this thread.
     
  27. Power Player

    Power Player Talk Tennis Guru

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    But he is is still using it to this day and won a national title in 2009.

    It still works if you practice it. The article outlines everything.
     
  28. President

    President Legend

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    It would definitely eliminate a lot of unnecessary unforced errors at the rec level. If you can hit a forehand that puts your opponent in a disadvantageous position, you have a great shot of ending the point at the net. From the baseline, you can always make an error trying to finish the point or the opponent can neutralize the point by just hitting a deep looper. When you go to the net, they have to come up with a great shot and most rec players don't have the ability to hit good shots from a defensive position.
     
  29. mightyrick

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    Sure, it works if you are over 60 years old winning at USTA 60s nationals. Nobody in those ranks has any power, they all have old-man aches and pains, and they were all raised in an era where net play was the only real game in town.

    But how many successful juniors and D-1 players are there who employ "attacking the net" as a primary strategy? Maybe less than 5% of the entire landscape? At the professional level, it's even less than that.

    I'm with GuyClinch on this. It is nothing but romanticism. We all would love nothing more than to see net play come back into the game. But those days are over until some other factor in the game changes which requires it to come back.
     
  30. Power Player

    Power Player Talk Tennis Guru

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    Thats really my main point, so thankfully most people are getting that. You did a nice job of summarizing it

    There is the usual trolling that is to be expected, but I never said everyone should do it. I just think that many players should be attacking the net a lot more than they do now. Some can't. They don't like to run, they don't have the hands, they don't want to get better. That's fine.

    For the people that work on their strokes and have good technique but have those days where they just are not focused enough to grind out rallies, why not add this strategy in as Brett Abel described? He did a much better job than me of breaking down why he does it, and why it works. At the end of the day, we basically said the exact same thing, and it is nice to read from a respected teacher in tennis who has won national titles of how just simply changing his mindset and developing his net game lead him to winning Men's titles.

    Especially when he clearly states that he did not have many weapons, just pretty good straight ahead speed.
     
  31. tennis_ocd

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    Old-timer tennis. 60 yo guys aren't hitting remotely like their 20 yo counterparts.

    I'm all for developing the skills and encouraging more well timed approaches; even the mindset to look to set up a winning volley. This is the low hanging fruit.
     
  32. Power Player

    Power Player Talk Tennis Guru

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    The funny thing is, I am willing to bet some of the guys debating me in here (not pointing at you) are bare minimum 50 years old.

    Also, I watch older guys destroy 20 year olds all the time down here in Florida, and Im not even kidding.
     
  33. maggmaster

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    The Senior Olympics were held at my club last year. The power didn't really start to drop off in the top matches until the 65s.
     
  34. Power Player

    Power Player Talk Tennis Guru

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    What do Successful Juniors and D1 players have to do with REC tennis? Nothing. You are not even in the ballpark of what I am talking about if you base your argument on this premise.

    And I bet you could not beat or hit through any of those guys. These are excellent tennis players. You are speaking out of complete inexperience if you have never played a good senior player.
     
  35. DrewRafter8

    DrewRafter8 Professional

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    It happens all the time in my area too. Many of the 50+ guys play all the time. Those like myself who work and have small kids end up getting crushed. I find that I have to come in and attack the net or they will kill me. My hands are generally constant, my groundstrokes are not. Playing only once every other week does that to your game. It's been tough to stay competitive at 4.5. Pressuring the net has been the big lift for me for years.
     
  36. Power Player

    Power Player Talk Tennis Guru

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    Yes, dang a lot of you guys make points a lot clearer then I do. Really like the part I bolded.
     
  37. mightyrick

    mightyrick Hall of Fame

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    I've played awesome senior players who have destroyed me with S&V and C&C. Absolutely. But the question becomes... how do I counter their game? Do I counter their game by trying to adopt their style? Or do I counter their game by becoming a better baseliner?

    IMHO, I'm going to have better a better overall result by becoming a better baseliner. Players at high levels of rec tennis can and do win by limiting their net play to putaway volleys and overheads. They don't need to do more than that.
     
  38. Power Player

    Power Player Talk Tennis Guru

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    This ties into what I am saying exactly.

    I agree with almost everything, but you glossed over the part about limiting net play. You don't come to net to put away shots if you don't work on attacking the net on a regular basis. Following shots is something you have to work on. To know when to approach, to ACTUALLY approach, and then to put away that shot requires experience at net.

    Which is exactly why many rec players don't come to net and maximize opportunities to get those put away volleys. And is why they need to be coming to the net a lot more to hardwire those skills.
     
  39. mightyrick

    mightyrick Hall of Fame

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    Ok, I think I see where the misunderstanding is.

    If all you are saying is that recreational players need to be finishing points at the net because of errant or short balls coughed up by their opponents... then I 100% agree. Most recreational players I have encountered are way too passive in this regard.

    The poster child video for this is Matt Lin's 6,000,000 shot rally video where neither one was willing to come to the net to slam down an overhead.

    I thought you were making a different point where recreational players should be actively using a C&C/S&V game as their primary strategy. That I don't agree with or think is necessary.
     
  40. Power Player

    Power Player Talk Tennis Guru

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    Correct. If we all switched to S&V that would be a mass overhaul. I do firmly believe that you should be able to utilize S&V in your game either full time (not as common) or at least as part of it to change things up during a match.

    What I am saying is we need to get to the net much more behind those baseline shots. So when you are working on your baseline game as a rec player, it would be more effective to, for example, follow the Deep Targeting system by attacking an open corner and attacking the net behind that shot.

    It takes time. If you are used to hanging back and staying behind the BL, you will need to wire yourself to react and follow those shots in, whereas before you most likely waited back and looked for a short ball or just got ready for the return.

    If your goal instead is to get to the net behind a well placed ball (some ppl will be C&Cing here, others will be attacking with power baselining), your mentality will change. You will be playing a point and looking to get to net intend of grinding side to side and allowing your opponent to not feel that pressure of needing to hit a winner to pass you.

    The goal is to CREATE THAT PRESSURE on your opponent instead of allowing them to hit defensive shots and stay in a point. It is all about maximizing your baselining skills as a rec player - which by definition is a player who is at his or her nature, going to be inconsistent the longer the rally goes on.
     
    Last edited: Mar 6, 2014
  41. shindemac

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    Being a s&v requires a different skillset that most rec players dont have. You dont just start rushing the net every point. I mean, you could, but there's a better way. You work on the skills during practice. Work on your serve. Topspin serve, getting it to diff spots. Volley against wall. Transition game. Smash. Strategy and positioning. Once you have the basics down, then you bring it into practice. Then finally into matches.
     
  42. Korso

    Korso Semi-Pro

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    I play doubles with someone who likes to hit moonballs to the backhand and come in behind it. It is an effective sneak attack. He does not do it all the time to keep things honest.
     
  43. Edburger

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    This, very ignorant.
     
  44. 5263

    5263 G.O.A.T.

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    really? it's one of his better post.
     
  45. GuyClinch

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    Exaggerate much? 5.0s are usually ex college players who have gotten older in the last 20 years or so. Sometimes they are teaching pros.

    No one on this thread really wants guys to avoid obvious chances to come into the net. Its the in-between shots - the kind of shots where you could come in or you could stay back. Those shots divide the aggressive net player from the baseline basher/all courter. It's the same with serve and volley. Most players do it to mix things up - the aggressive players do it all the time.

    Anyway, I don't know what kind of '5.0' you hit against but in most of the world those guys can hit a hella nice forehand which will rip apart mediocre approach shots or lousy half volleys.
    It sounds to me like you beat up on some 3.5 pusher and decided to start this thread.. In your mind he is probably a 4.0 and thus you think that aggressive net play is money against 4.0 - 5.0 players. Its not for most players.

    And with the evolution of the game its not going to be anytime soon. Why you think that somehow the pros have absolutely no relevance to our game is beyond me. The same issues pros have with going to the net - amateurs have as well.

    Yeah amateurs don't have as powerful groundstrokes but they also don't have volleys, overheads, approaches and half volleys that are comparable either. So just like the pros most people stay back on neutral rally balls. Like I said if anything its worse for amateurs since we mostly work on our groundstrokes and only deal with half volleys and such in doubles.
     
    Last edited: Mar 6, 2014
  46. Nostradamus

    Nostradamus G.O.A.T.

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    right we should be attacking a lot more. most guys can't pass well like the pros can nor do they have topspin like Nadal.
     
  47. Power Player

    Power Player Talk Tennis Guru

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    You are right, I am making it all up.

    Let's review - I play singles tennis. Have played with guys in this very thread who play 4.5-5.0 tennis and know me in person. I play USTA teaching pros who are 5.0, and now and then I play a 5.5 ex D1 tennis player and a blue chip junior when he needs a match.

    You dont play singles at all and each post just becomes more and more of an attack on what I am saying, regardless of what I actually say.

    Once again you display just horrible comprehension skills. I bolded where just to try and illustrate how full of BS you are. I never once said to hit lousy half volleys or follow mediocre approaches to net.

    I have posted video of my game here, and have played with multiple people from this site. Who are you, where is your video, and can anyone vouch for you? Or are you just another guy mouthing off who wants to fight online, but in person would be passive?

    Just curious where this animosity comes from, because you have been making up lies and twisting my words every single post you make. Why? It makes no sense to me.
     
    Last edited: Mar 6, 2014
  48. mightyrick

    mightyrick Hall of Fame

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    Shouldn't you be bumping your Ventura County Smart Targets(tm) thread or something? Be careful... it's about to fall off the first page.
     
  49. KoaUka

    KoaUka Rookie

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    You can judge a players level pretty well just by their 1st volley alone. I think the guy who said it takes balls to serve &volley summed it up. Improving your transition game will help get these balls.
     
  50. mightyrick

    mightyrick Hall of Fame

    Joined:
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    Um, no. You clearly aren't even able to keep track of which poster is saying what. You've gotten to the point now where you are blindly turning internet posters into adolescent males to satisfy whatever fetish you may have.

    You might want to up your dosage.
     

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