What's your personal key to hitting attacking approach shots?

Discussion in 'Tennis Tips/Instruction' started by HunterST, Oct 6, 2012.

  1. HunterST

    HunterST Hall of Fame

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    I try to hit short balls as approach shots. Usually, however, they end up being mid paced shots that the opponent can hit fairly well or lob off of.

    So, what works for you? How do you hit approach shots off of short balls so you usually end up with an easy put away?
     
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  2. Bergboy123

    Bergboy123 Semi-Pro

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    This is my question right now too :\

    I'm coming to realize that, at least for now, my baseline game alone won't win me matches. My forehand just can't do it. So I find myself going to the net more and more often in the past few months.

    My net game is pretty darn good. But my approach shots suck, and I set myself up for failure more times in a match than I care to remember.

    I'd love to hear some answers as well. For me personally, if I try to topspin them I end up hitting mid pace and annoyingly right down the middle. I can't hit those corners :( So I try slicing a lot more and that's ok, but then they can always get there. I want a topspin approach!
     
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  3. 5263

    5263 G.O.A.T.

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    #1 is to be a little picky about choosing the one to attack.
    If you can hang half good in rallys, you should get a couple to pick from.
    *just cause you hit it aggressive does not mean you have to follow in every time...
    sometimes back out to reset like nadal.
    1A... generally pick higher balls near that bounce on the T.
    they give you the best options
    #2 is generally hit to the smart target away from your opponent which should
    get him on the move...which gives you time to move to good rec area for volley
    smart target gives some room for error so you can be aggressive with spin & pace.
    #3 be clear how you will handle...slice or TS
    I tend to slice the lower ones and TS the higher ones, but mix it some
    #4 cover line first, and be ready to cut off the cross ct unless you know what
    he will do...then cover what you know.
     
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  4. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Better placement with your slice approach.
    Go deep to within 3' of the baseline, less than that from the sidelines.
    If you hit topspin, the distance from the sidelines is more important.
     
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  5. Limpinhitter

    Limpinhitter Legend

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    On a short/weak ball there are two scenarios: (1) If the ball is a high sitter, it is a high percentage play to go for a winner into the open court. (2) If it's low, and you have to lift it above the net, going for a winner (other than a drop shot which is a good option on a low short ball), is a low percentage play because it's too difficult to hit up over the net, and get the ball back down inside the court, with enough pace to be a winner.

    Rather, on low short balls you should hit an approach shot dtl deep within 5 feet of the corner, and position yourself at net so that you take away a dtl pass attempt and force your opponent to go for a cross court pass or lob. He only has a small window to get the ball by you cross court and keep the ball inside the sideline. Further, by hitting the ball deep, within 5 feet of the corner, the opponent is attempting to pass you from behind the baseline, giving you more time to catch up to any pass attempts. Those percentages favor you. For every successful pass, he'll hit at least one UE and one shot you can volley away. A cross court approach shot is a tactical error because you have left yourself open to be passed on either side, the open side, and behind you as you scramble to cover the open side.

    Hope that helps.
     
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  6. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    5 and 5 get's you past 3.5, that's all. After that, 3x3 is needed to maybe strong 4.5, then one of the numbers need to go down to 2's.
     
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  7. HunterST

    HunterST Hall of Fame

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    Thanks, guys. I guess basically it comes down to I need to practice getting those slice approaches deep. Mine are too shallow to really be rough, I believe.

    Also, what about those shots that are just slightly short, where you're maybe a foot inside the baseline. Are those potential approach shots, or do you make the opponent pay for them in some other way?
     
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  8. firepanda

    firepanda Professional

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    I tend to put a touch more topspin on my approaches and hit to my opponents backhand, which is usually crosscourt for me. Not too wide though, or I'm too easy to pass. The idea is that my net game can hold up by itself at the level I play. By using more spin, it becomes harder for my opponent to do anything funny with the ball.

    I have no idea if this actually works though, I'm just in the habit of doing it.

    As for short balls, I don't do anything with them, just try to put them back in deep. It's too easy to overhit them, when, in reality, they are uncomfortably low and too deep to be really attackable. Other people will have better advice; I just like to mess about on the baseline usually.
     
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  9. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    What one person considers a easy approach shot might just be a defensive putback for another, or a winner attempt for someone else.
    Depends what you like to do, what you can do, and what the situation is.
    If you're stretched wide shallower than baseilne, it's not the best idea to run full speed wide, hit an approach, and change direction to run to service line positioning...lotsa running.
     
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  10. 5263

    5263 G.O.A.T.

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    I would tend not to approach from that far back except off hitting a high
    bouncer to his Bh...followed by a sneak approach.

    I often use shorter, firm, skidding approaches...
    usually to the smart target away from my opponent.
    On one near my Bh line, I will use the smart target dtl and it is tough for them
    to pass on that low soft ball...if they get there.
    Don't say this can't work unless you blame it on your ability to skid a slice,
    cause I play higher opponents than you and do it regularly.
     
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  11. mr_fro2000

    mr_fro2000 Rookie

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    I think you may have answered your own question:p

    As you stated, an approach shot is an attempt to set yourself up for an easy put away (or an aggressive move that forces the opponents hand). Hitting a mid-paced shot that they can hit fairly well is not how this is accomplished!

    Personally I take 2 approaches (hehehe) to my approach shot... 1 is an 'almost winner'... where im ground stroking and I realize the opponent will have trouble sending it back... I'll sneak up to the net.

    The other approach is more deliberate... in these cases, the shot is typically a slice, which i think is very underrated. If you can agressively slice (with pace, and skid), you can open up a world of options on an approach. Slice is easier to disguise placement, depth and pace. You can approach w/ a biting cross court slice or a drop shot or a lesser-pace deep approach. If your opponent does not know what you are going to do, you can really set yourself up for a weak reply or an easy-to-put-away strong reply.
     
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  12. fuzz nation

    fuzz nation Legend

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    There you go. My appreciation for the deep approach shot came from watching a pure serve and volleyer play against a strong baseliner in a hard court match on TV a few years ago. Whenever the S&V'er placed his approach shot no more than two or three feet from the baseline, he went to the net in the driver's seat and the point was in his pocket. Any shorter with the approach shot and he was toast - it was like clockwork. Even off a chip-and-charge return of serve (2nd serve), that net rusher had to tuck his approach just inside the baseline to neutralize his opponent.

    Building the instincts for moving in behind one short ball or another takes a little time. I'd bet that as you get better with it, you'll notice that you script the next shot or two when you start to follow the "right" short ball to the net, since you'll have a feel for where you want to place your approach (and your opponent) to create the opening.

    Keep in mind with a topspin approach is that it can sit up and give the other guy a good crack at a solid passing shot. Even if a slice doesn't travel so fast, it can often force opponents to hit up. That means that they're less likely to be able to tee off and you'll be better established up front. If a topspin approach can force him (her?) to scramble, that's certainly a good thing.

    Also, I'm not much of a drop shot proponent other than the occasional drop volley, but I've also come to appreciate an approach that's a soft low slice shot that lands short in the opponent's court. Not always the right shot, but if it stays down and forces them to scramble forward to shovel it up, you'll be approaching for a free lunch if you're already on your way to the net. Maybe better in doubles than singles, but this approach can be a good option, too.
     
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  13. Nellie

    Nellie Hall of Fame

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    Depth is good - but that is only part of the equation when you are hitting approaches

    I am mostly a serve and volley player, and this is what I work on -

    1) recognize the height of the ball you are receiving, and play accordingly -

    a) ball is high (above the net) - whack it for an attempted winner - move closer to the net (1/2 way between the service line and the net) because any return will be defensive

    b) ball is low (i.e., you will need to lift the ball over the net) - push it back deep, and preferably away from the opponent. Don't move too close to the net (1/3 between the service line and the net) because you opponent will likely hit a good shot on this

    c) Ball is about net level keep the approach shot low and slow by applying heavy slice if possible. Depth here is less important than placement because you want to control the point by making your opponent hit a return that they need to lift over the net but keep the ball in the court. I like going down the line and following close the net (half way in the service box, cheating to cover the down line return).

    2) you got to get ready (bounce step) before the opponent hits, even if you are in a bad position. Too many players run through the service box trying to get toward the net. Then, you have no chance of reacting to the passing shot even if it is pretty close to the middle.
     
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  14. AnotherTennisProdigy

    AnotherTennisProdigy Professional

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    Hey, if you get the chance to rip it don't be afraid to! Remember, you have to put plenty of topspin to keep your approach in. By mastering topspin on the approach shot it will allow you to put more pace on the ball without worrying about the ball going long.
     
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  15. Larrysümmers

    Larrysümmers Hall of Fame

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    i like to hit hard topspin approach shots. i like to make sure that my approach is dtl and that hes CC making him run for it and with me running up the line guarding against CC passing shots
     
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  16. pvaudio

    pvaudio Legend

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    Simplest advice that makes all of the difference: keep your body low, and your head still. The moment you look up or don't stay low, you'll end up running through the ball or hitting over the top of it and into the net. In other words: finish your approach shot before you finish approaching. I personally like to use the "skip" step.
     
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  17. LuckyR

    LuckyR Legend

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    An approach shot needs a little "something". That can be severe angle, depth, lowness/shortness, pace whathaveyou.

    Which is best in a given situation will depend on your competition, for example: if you are playing a Modern power baseliner, a slice with lots of spin and not much pace will bring him out of his prefered spot on the court and make him hit a ball way out of his preferred strike zone. A Classic stroking all courter will jump forwards and hit a dipping passing shot with side spin away from you off of the same shot.
     
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