What are the exceptions to the Wardlaw Directionals?

Discussion in 'Tennis Tips/Instruction' started by Hrandyrko, Jul 20, 2009.

  1. Hrandyrko

    Hrandyrko Rookie

    Joined:
    Jun 10, 2009
    Messages:
    354
    Location:
    Long Island, New York
    Howdy y'all, and thanks for stopping by to view my thread.

    A few months ago I posted a thread up asking what the Wardlaw Directionals were. I now know what they are. However, I've heard from someone that these rules are not strict and that there are some exceptions regarding where you should hit the ball based on speed, depth, and your position on the court. Can anyone elaborate on this statement? What are the world class players thinking while playing points? Thanks in advance.
     
    Last edited: Jul 20, 2009
    #1
  2. benasp

    benasp Semi-Pro

    Joined:
    Apr 10, 2005
    Messages:
    409
    IMO these rules are to play safe when rallying but when you have a sitter/short ball use you imagination and end the point
     
    #2
  3. skiracer55

    skiracer55 Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2007
    Messages:
    2,065
    Wardlaw's Directionals...

    ...are only a part, albeit a significant part, of his book Pressure Tennis. What he was trying to do, as a coach, I believe, was to overall create and impose a training and match play system that would enforce the kind of discipline it takes to consistently win matches.

    There's a lot of different interpretations of Wardlaw's Directionals, here's one of the ones I like best:

    http://hoskinsjohn.bizland.com/direc/

    My coach got me into Wardlaw's directionals because I was making way too many errors on non-percentage shots...basically committing the standard error of trying to hit an offensive shot from a defensive position. A simple rule I use is "If you're not comfortable, just hit the ball back to where it came from. If you are comfortable, do whatever feels tactically right as long as, percentage wise, you can actually make the shot..."
     
    #3
  4. SourStraws

    SourStraws Rookie

    Joined:
    Nov 12, 2008
    Messages:
    327
    I would say short ball in the middle...And or playing a pusher or "unothorodox" players

    S.S.
     
    #4
  5. Bungalo Bill

    Bungalo Bill G.O.A.T.

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2004
    Messages:
    11,883
    Well, if you know what Wardlaw Directionals are then you should know how to use them for your game.

    When thinking of the Directionals, normally we are thinking of how to use them when you are evenly matched with an opponent. Obviously, when you play a lessor opponent, the pace, spin, and ability for your opponent to control the game or you will be less. Therefore, you can take more risk with the balls he hits because it is not a difficult ball for you. However, when you start playing people equal or greater than you, poor shot choices is what the Directionals can help you reduce.

    The Directionals are not rules. They are not laws. They are guidelines to help improve your ability to reduce unforced errors in your game. They can be seen used in professional matches and you can see how the chess game between two players unfolds better. You can see what each player is trying to do and the match ups they are trying to get.

    The Directionals are not something you religiously follow blindly and disregard taking on risk. You need to take risk as a player and many times you will be forced to take on risk. However, you need to be smart enough to know when to do so based on your abilities, skill, talent, conditioning, etc...and your opponents skill, talent, conditioning, etc... This is where the art and science of playing the game of tennis comes in. If you find that your opponent is not recovering properly and often, you might want to take some more risk and change the direction on a ball that is crossing in front of you vs. waiting for the "right" ball to get your opponent on the run.

    When I played, I used the Directionals to support my matchup strategies. My matchup strategies where the key - not the Directionals. The Directionals simply told me what was a higher percentage shot and what was a lower percentage shot. So, if I could accomplish my matchup strategy with a higher percentage shot vs. a lower, if I was smart, I would take the higher percentage shot since the goal of tennis is to reduce errors and win the point so you can win the game and eventually the match.

    So as an example of match up strategy and the Directionals, let's say my backhand was stronger than his backhand, but our forehands were both equally strong. I would not mind a forehand to forehand matchup but would prefer to move the rally to a backhand to backhand rally. If my opponent closed his court well and did not provide me a good opening to take advantage of, I would try to use my skills to change the rally to a backhand to backhand rally by "waiting" for the right ball to do so. In other words, I want a high percentage ball that I could change directions on and go backhand to backhand. This may not be a ball that does not cross in front of me. It could be a ball that my opponent didn't hit well and it comes back with little spin and is slower than his normal rally pace. It could be a ball that I can pounce on. Or if my opponent doesnt place the ball well and it doesn't cross in front of me, I could take that one and change directions on.

    One of the main benefits of the Directionals, is it helps a player to not go out there and hit balls mindlessly. That there is strategy and tactics to playing tennis while the ball is in play. That there truly is a mental side of the game while you and your opponent are in the midst of a rally.

    It is just not a hit, hit, hit, hit, hit, hit, hit, hit. It is using the ball that you receive, and living out your strategy through the tactics that are played out in the point. It is not thinking about your grip, your stroke, whether you trained hard enough or anything like that. It is real live tennis thinking as you live and breathe out every point trying to unlock your opponents game with the strategy and tactics of higher percentage play. It also means you will take on risk and press if you need too.

    The Directionals are really about knowing what ball is best to change directions on or attack to help you fulfill your matchup strategy. This does not mean you need to wait for the "best" ball to fulfill your matchup strategy. The Directionals are part of the fundamental tactics you need in your game plan and need to execute to win the point. It helps you see the BEST ball to live out your strategy. Again, this does not mean there aren't any good balls to change direction on or attack that fall outside of the Directionals because of "Wardlaw rule or law". If a ball comes over and it doesn't quite fit into the "BEST BALL" category of the Directionals, but you own the shot or is a shot you know you can hit, geeez, go for it! If you didn't, I would be rolling my eyes. The Directionals simply help you play smarter tennis.

    The Directionals should be used with matchup strategies, your strengths and weaknesses, shots you own, your conditioning, etc... They are a foundation to your game and the game of tennis.
     
    Last edited: Jul 21, 2009
    #5
  6. SourStraws

    SourStraws Rookie

    Joined:
    Nov 12, 2008
    Messages:
    327
    Good post, bill...Never thought of it that way...Thanks!

    S.S.
     
    #6
  7. Hrandyrko

    Hrandyrko Rookie

    Joined:
    Jun 10, 2009
    Messages:
    354
    Location:
    Long Island, New York
    Oh gosh Bill, thank you soooo much. I appreciate the help. I'm going to go outside right now and see what I can do with these tips. I've always wanted to see you answer one of my questions, lol. I was looking at some archives and your name was on every post! Even back in 2004! It's 2009 and you're still kickin' it. Long live Bungalo Bill!
     
    #7
  8. chris

    chris Rookie

    Joined:
    May 16, 2009
    Messages:
    169
    what are these wardlaw directional rules
     
    #8
  9. Djokovicfan4life

    Djokovicfan4life Legend

    Joined:
    Jan 24, 2008
    Messages:
    5,484
    Location:
    Stillwater, OK
    I smell a man crush.
     
    #9
  10. LuckyR

    LuckyR Legend

    Joined:
    Jun 2, 2006
    Messages:
    6,404
    Location:
    The Great NW

    I would put it this way, the Directionals are the geometric reality of the shape of the court and net. Having said that, it doesn't mean that you shouldn't hit to lower percentage parts of the court at various times for various reasons. Bill mentioned a number of those reasons.
     
    #10

Share This Page