Your most successful style/ strategy for wins in tennis?

Discussion in 'Tennis Tips/Instruction' started by Power Player, Nov 30, 2012.

  1. Power Player

    Power Player Talk Tennis Guru

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    The more I have drilled my footwork, the more prep time I have and the better my strokes have gotten. I played a flatter hitting guy last night where I was able to hit deep shots CC and DTL safely. They were bouncing about a foot or so in the baseline on average and I was getting confident enough to place the ball closer to the lines. I have played and hit with this guy many times, and this was the most lopsided play in my favor to date.

    It felt like I finally had evolved from the high trajectory- pin them back with topspin - force short balls style that I had played before. I find that better players see that style so much that it does not phase them. It is more like the Rafa defensive style that can wear you down, especially if your opponent knows how to take them early. I have gone more to the Djoker style of attacking with lower trajectory and more precise placement. Obviously none of us are on that level of play, but at least this provides a good visual.

    This was one guy, but the more I have adapted this style, the better I have been playing. I play guys from 4.0 to 5.0 since my clubs set me up with different players.

    What works for you?
     
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  2. r2473

    r2473 Legend

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    I use your old style

    ....and better players pound the hell out of me (just like you say).
     
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  3. Power Player

    Power Player Talk Tennis Guru

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    Are you back on the courts and healed up?
     
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  4. r2473

    r2473 Legend

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    Ya, I'd say I'm back to normal.

    While I was healing I ran a ton of miles. I can "moonball" for hours now :)
     
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  5. Power Player

    Power Player Talk Tennis Guru

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    Nice..defensive tennis. I know and appreciate this style :)
     
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  6. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    I can lose badly with almost any style, but my least effective losing style is when I concentrate within, hit my shots loose and flowing, hit the first forcing shot, and flow around the court, rather than lumber around the courts.
    Now this doesn't always have to be about winning, but rather, playing well or playing badly.
     
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  7. PhrygianDominant

    PhrygianDominant Hall of Fame

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    Fun Thread, ok I'll bite.

    I am enamoured and obsessed with power and attacking. However, I win more when I focus on placement and play from the baseline, within myself. I wanted to be an all courter and hit winners all the time, but I am built more like a baseliner. I do better when I am channeling Agassi, Nalbandian, and Ferrero(Tactical Baseline) than some of my other favorites such as Federer and Haas(baseline/allcourt...attacking baseline?) , Soderling (Powermonger), or Gonzalez and Blake (Hit that Forehand!....Again! Again!!!!).
     
    Last edited: Nov 30, 2012
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  8. NLBwell

    NLBwell Legend

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    When I actually was a good player, playing open level, my game consisted primarily of serving and not having the ball come back. On retrun of serve, I would be being aggressive on the serve return and hope I could win 4 out of 6 points at least once out of 6 return games.

    Kind of an Ivo Karlovic plan.
     
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  9. lodeen

    lodeen New User

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    PP, that guy you played is good at the baseline handling medium paced balls, but when he is faced with heavy paced balls, his game will start to collapse. I played him a few times in matches and all I do is overpower him from the baseline with heavy topspin left and right.

    But this style does not work for me against all players so I change my style according to my opponents. Although my fav is baseline bashing.

    Btw, the Mad Doc & I went over to chat with that sexy legs woman after she was done with her league match. It helps to have a cute dog to break the ice! lol
     
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  10. Power Player

    Power Player Talk Tennis Guru

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    nice! how did it go? she was freaking hot in that outfit
     
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  11. bad_call

    bad_call Legend

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    ^ and here i'm taking a little time off to let the elbow heal, hence stuck in the brew house. :mrgreen:
     
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  12. mikeler

    mikeler G.O.A.T.

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    The thread question is:

    Your most successful style/ strategy for wins in tennis?

    I think the biggest thing I've learned over the years is not to be stubborn. People would say "If you play your game, it won't matter what the other guy does". Unfortunately, playing casual tennis you are not going to be grooved every single match. So start out with your "A" game and see what happens. If you have to hit some shorter balls, come to net more, float a few slices, throw up some moon balls then so be it. I'm not married to any 1 strategy except winning.

    Most players prefer pace. It's amazing how you can drill balls at guys and it comes back even harder. Throw up a puffer and all of a sudden the other guy can look lost out there.
     
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  13. Power Player

    Power Player Talk Tennis Guru

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    You are right. Those slow balls expose poor footwork and balance. You can pound the ball and get away with bad footwork sometimes. I have played a guy who eats up pace with slice and no pace balls. Only recently have I been able to punish him enough for it to where he will stop no pacing.
     
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  14. ATP100

    ATP100 Professional

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    This is the reason I teach start out with "B" game against strangers.
    Let's see what we are up against.
     
    #14
  15. y11971alex

    y11971alex New User

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    Against other 3.5 players, I think S&V is the best tactic as most people (in my community) overhit severely (so that judgment is no issue) and a pass is not a concern at all. If you anticipate well the lob and get the first volley in then you're set. Unless, of course, you play another S&V player.

    I particularly prize my lob for its dependability yards behind the baseline. I don't attempt a pass at a ball beyond the service line unless it's a wrong-foot pass.
     
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  16. mikeler

    mikeler G.O.A.T.

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    I like the way you think!
     
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  17. Ballinbob

    Ballinbob Hall of Fame

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    My strategy for winning is hitting heavy topspin cross court repeatedly. If my opponent decides to go DTL, I redirect it CC . If I get a short ball I'll hit DTL for a winner. basically, just play the percentages

    I keep it simple haha. It's not a very exciting style of play but it works
     
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  18. Hi I'm Ray

    Hi I'm Ray Hall of Fame

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    I vary my game and shots depending on the opponent, from being mostly on the attack, to staying agressive but consistent and waiting for errors, or go from a mostly baseline game to volleying. What works against one player, another may eat up. I try to prevent them from using their strengths and I go after their weak points.

    Some things don't change though, such as no one does well against smart targets.
     
    Last edited: Nov 30, 2012
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  19. Avles

    Avles Hall of Fame

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    At this point my most successful strategy seems to be this:

    -slice slice slice
    -retrieve everything
    -bring opponent forward with low slices (not quite drop shots)
    -come to net and challenge opponent to pass or lob (hoping for the pass attempt)
    -throw up moonballs to reset point when inevitably pushed off court by aggressive groundstrokes
    -avoid DFs
    -chip/block returns, either high and deep or short and low
    -if possible, receive second serves from well inside the baseline to pressure opponent and encourage DF

    Basically, be annoying.

    This seems to work pretty well at my level (3.5ish), particularly against impatient or slower opponents. Against stronger players who are hitting their targets, I start to feel like a punching bag.
     
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  20. TomT

    TomT Hall of Fame

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    Post some vids. I would love to see your game, and feel sure that I could learn something.

    As for your question, well, check out my sig. :) I actually do play 4.0 and above players from time to time. The warmup usually goes quite well. After that it's pretty much downhill for me. :)

    Recently played a solid 4.0 guy. Actually won a couple of games, and I think I made him work a bit in a few other games. How did I win the games I won? Hard first serves went in, was hitting some really hard, slightly undercut driving approach shots that were clearing the net by inches, landing deep and skidding real low, and didn't screw up the volleys. :) But of course I can't do that consistently on most points.

    Should have made some vids of that match, but didn't anticipate playing as well as I did. As it turned out my level of play was elevated by my opponent's level of play. In the end we were both pleased with the result. Me, because I thought I played pretty well, and him because he won pretty decisively. The old stuff seems to be steadily, but slowly, coming back.
     
    Last edited: Nov 30, 2012
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  21. sansaephanh

    sansaephanh Professional

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    win? whats that?
     
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  22. Rock Strongo

    Rock Strongo Legend

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    Hit massive. If that doesn't work, hit even harder. That's probably why I don't win anything!
     
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  23. TimothyO

    TimothyO Hall of Fame

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    Well said!

    At low and mid level trying to blast an opponent off the court on every shot mostly results in balls coming back and you donating pts with UE eventually.

    I find the following works well:

    Consistency: first goal...get the ball over the net deep cross court...do nothing else at low to mid level and against most impatient males who try to emulate Nadal you'll win

    Variety: Show them different speeds, spins, and placement...don't let them develop any rythm...trying to blast every shot only makes them happy

    Precise Placement: this is how you get a lot of high percentage winners at this level...keep the shot low below the net with no pace making your opponent run to return it...he'll usually flub it or cough up a floater while off balance on the run

    Patient Pace: be patient and go for the big winners only on true opportunity balls in your strike zone and with your opponent out of position or off balance...otherwise you're incurring needless risk and serving as a ball machine for hitting practice...don't delude youself into thinking you're an ATP player! Do this with patience and you'll look a lot better than you really are thus demoralizing the opponent

    In short, be a consistent pusher/retriever hitting deep cross court, serve up junk balls with great variety to generate UEs from opponent, and reserve your offensive big shots for high percentage situations to break your opponent's spirit while reducing your own UEs. Win ugly! :)
     
    Last edited: Dec 1, 2012
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  24. djinni999

    djinni999 New User

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    the question, on a deeper level, is actually meaningless. the best style for winning is the style you can actually play. no one plays their style in order to lose.
    that said, there is a hierarchy of playing styles. ranging from pushing to all-court. if you are, say, an all-courter you will win most easily playing this style, regardless of your opponent; provided that mentally and physically you are at a high enough performance level with respect to your capacity.
    if you can only pull off counter-punching, then this will be the most effective style for winning, simply because you can't play a style that is above this in the hierarchy; similarly, why play the pusher game in this example? you will not win more easily or at all.
    taking offensive initiative is great. it's what works best in tennis and many other sports. but if you are not good at it then it will be detrimental due to the risks, percentages, inconsistencies, etc.

    what is more interesting and profound is the issue of how to play when confronted with adverse circumstances: poor form, lack of practice, match practice, particular shots that seem to have abandoned you, etc. coupled with the attributes of the opponent you are facing. then an all-courter may achieve bigger gains by reverting to, say, counter-punching. but this shift can only work in one direction - downwards; ie, it is highly unrealistic for a pusher to attempt serve and volley : ) , the poor fellow is hopeless, there is no lower style he can fall back on.
     
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  25. Power Player

    Power Player Talk Tennis Guru

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    I dont think the question is meaningless if you are talking rec tennis. I feel like certain styles may yield better results at the 4.0 and up level. This is the area when pushing gets harder to do and you have to start hitting out and setting that shot up more.

    For example, attacking the backhand works at a lot of levels, and i do that myself, but relying on mistakes from the opponent and trying to open up the court more with angles is when things get a little deeper. If you hit heavy looping spin it gives time back to the opponent as opposed to risking a little more, hitting lower trajectory balls.
     
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  26. Ballinbob

    Ballinbob Hall of Fame

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    But why take the risk? Heavy looping topspin is not easy to attack at all IMO unless it is short. Hitting heavy spin CC is a very safe shot and difficult to attack which is why its a very popular style of play. Also if use 5623's smart targets and hit some sharper CC with your topspin, not only will you not miss as much, you'll run your opponent into the ground

    Tennis is a percentages game. It's all about the percentages
     
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  27. Power Player

    Power Player Talk Tennis Guru

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    Like i said in my first post, it matters the level you are playing at. What you are describing does not work as well the better guys you play. Its just not that simple any more to loop spin unless you are in amazing shape and an constantly hit very heavy looping shots for 2 hours. Id rather mix it in a little and vary trajectories.

    Also the smart targets are great spots to hit at, and are the places i am putting the ball as well many times. A great way to attack those areas are with lower trajectories because you take away time and put the ball in a challenging spot.

    Finally the increased risk does not mean i am hitting at top speed. It is not high risk, it is just a little increased to apply more pressure.

    Just hitting crosscourt is safe, and i do it sometimes, but if you can expand to inside out on the other side, and hit your fh and bh dtl as well, you gain a big advantage in rec tennis. A solid dtl backhand is a game changer.
     
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  28. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Kinda depends who you're playing and his level compared to yours.
    Playing a superior player AND baseliner, you will LOSE every CC exchange.
    Playing a superior player and net charger, you will win most exchanges.
    Playing an inferior player.....
    And usually, my backhand against YOUR forehand, me lefty, me lose.
     
    #28
  29. vil

    vil Semi-Pro

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    It's hard to answer in one sentence, because different opponents means different winning tactics. But if I was to summarize it somehow what worked for me, there were always two major advantages that helped me to beat even better players. I was always super fit and I could run the balls for hours and never felt tired. I've done some long distance running in the past even one ultramarathon. It's amazing what fitness does to you. Not only you can run but your eye contact with the ball, anticipation and concentration level improves big time.
    The other thing is, I'm a lefty.
    I'm a bit older now not as fit as I used to be but I'm doing OK. My game has changed a bit and from a defence to offence player, I became a bit of all rounder trying to shorten points whenever I can.
     
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  30. Power Player

    Power Player Talk Tennis Guru

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    Very legit styles that work though. Being really fit gives you the confidence to hit safer and extend a point longer each time. I have gotten in much better shape as well, and i also really like what atp 100 said. Come out and play a B game and just see if the guy can attack those balls before you start bashing.
     
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  31. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Post 22...
    It's strange, but I've tried the strategy of hitting hard, then harder...
    I almost always lose the match.
    Most times, I win more points that way, but lose the match still.
    So what is more important? Match or individual points?
     
    #31
  32. Ballinbob

    Ballinbob Hall of Fame

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    The cross court strategy is winning me 75% of my matches at the 4.5 level, so it definitely is a viable strategy at higher levels. I am a pretty fit guy which helps I guess, as hitting those types of shots is tiring.

    You are right about mixing it up and your also right that a good BH DTL is a game changer, but unless the DTL is a really good one, you will be in trouble because its pretty easy to redirect it CC and put you on the run.

    Vil has a good point about fitness too, I agree

    In the end, its whatever works for YOU really
     
    #32
  33. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Geez, I'd hate the give up the net advantage of being 6'3" tall and quick/fast with young eyes and reflexes.
    Just wasted on a baseliner game.
    That's like being 6'3", but not pummelling your opponent's with a big effective serve.
     
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  34. vil

    vil Semi-Pro

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    It's always tempting to get into the race "who can hit harder forehand" at the exchange. I was trying to force myself not falling into that trap and just kept hitting with moderate pace and hit the hard one only on my terms and viable situation.
     
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  35. Ballinbob

    Ballinbob Hall of Fame

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    Haha that is still part of my game I need to work on. Transitioning to the net is not my forte. I pretty much just hit a big kick serve as a first serve and then rely on my groundstrokes.

    My net game itself I feel is okay-ish actually, but my approach shots need work. I understand I'm supposed to slice DTL then follow it in and cover the DTL pass, but I feel clumsy moving forward and for some reason I feel the need to do too much with the first volley. I do want to be able to finish more points at the net though, thats a goal of mine for these next 2 months
     
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  36. Ballinbob

    Ballinbob Hall of Fame

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    SO many people fall for that trap. Just focus on depth and placement and the rest will come.
     
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  37. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Don't you usually get a high, floating deep return after you serve? That would be how most 4.5's would handle returning a top of the head high kicker serve.
    That ball is signature material for you coming to net and pummelling the first volley into a corner for a clean winner.
    And yes, lots of very good players have problems moving forwards into the transition all court game. Guys like Querry, Isner, DelPo, Berdyck, all look a little out of sorts moving in behind approach shots, as did Roddick.
    Just another avenue to explore on your way to 5.5.
     
    #37
  38. vil

    vil Semi-Pro

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    Some people just have that inborn intuition, without explaining, they know when and how to approach the net at the right time. For me, transition was always on the menu in a kind of kamikadze style:) It was always do or die. Yet, I know players that can do it more naturally than I can. I can hit volley from both wings no problem but just to be in the right moment and the position for it, is a bit of an art. Can you teach me that?....I don't think so :) It's like trying to teach old dog to walk backwards.
     
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  39. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    From you vids, you approach straight up the middle, same spin and pace as your groundies to groove your partner to hit a great passing shot.
    Should be better if you changed the spin and speed, hit to a open corner deep, and then move to service line position to await the reply.
     
    #39
  40. vil

    vil Semi-Pro

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    Yeah, I know what you mean but that's when I feel like a sitting duck at times The other
    day I played a guy (a friend of mine) who used to be top junior and was in the same squad with Pat Rafter. This guy hasn't played tennis for a few years but about 2 years ago he got the bug and started playing again. He is younger than me but plays doubles competitively. (pity I can't have him as a hitting partner more often) I had a hit with him and boy didn't he improve from the last time I played him. His shots were so accurate and penetrating that I had to work really hard to create some winning chances. It feels very intense, playing somebody like that. So needless to say, if I just poked the ball in the corner and come to the service line I would get passed. The volley has to have some velocity to cause any harm against players like this. Anything they can get their hands on it, you are in trouble.
     
    #40
  41. 2ManyAces

    2ManyAces Rookie

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    I tend to take the ball early with high trajectory topspin balls into the corners. I just rally it out until I get a short ball, then rip it and come to net.

    defense is easier for me but offense will help me win more.
     
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  42. Power Player

    Power Player Talk Tennis Guru

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    Here you go - this is just some hitting practice with a friend and my strokes.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ottAYQ0BABY


    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aMkB-gjq_4Q
     
    #42
  43. vil

    vil Semi-Pro

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    Nice hitting mate,:) I like your forehand, looks effortlessly dangerous.
     
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  44. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Can't wait for the match play vids, to show alley to alley, and short court coverages and hitting.
     
    #44
  45. Power Player

    Power Player Talk Tennis Guru

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    Thanks! Its coming along rather decently now. Always has been my main stroke. My backhand has a little hitch I need to work on.

    Same here. We have some real nice rallies in match play. Especially on har-tru, which makes his shots even tougher to get on top of.
     
    #45
  46. Djoker91

    Djoker91 Rookie

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    Hitting flat and on the rise, but with enough restraint to keep it in and place it. Approach shots are much better. Volley away the winner at net. Rinse and repeat. Pretty soon confidence grows, as the match goes on further, I hit clean winners from baseline.
     
    #46
  47. TheCheese

    TheCheese Professional

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    Really interesting tactic. I like it.
     
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  48. TomT

    TomT Hall of Fame

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    Thanks much for the vids PP. Now I know what you're talking about. Very nice, fluid modern strokes. Especially forehand. Great movement and preparation. Yes, I can definitely learn from this. Whether I would ever be able to hit like you do is doubtful. Ok, pretty much impossible -- but still a good example. You're very strong.

    I got the impression from reading some of your posts that you were older than you seem in the vids. How old?

    Anyway, yes, I would have to say that your strokes are better than anybody I hit with or have played against, except maybe one or two guys.

    A pleasure to watch. Post more vids PP. You're really good and I bet lots of people here can learn by your example and what you have to say about how you play and how you learned it. :) Thanks.

    And of course, my usual solicitation, please, everybody post more vids. :)
     
    Last edited: Dec 2, 2012
    #48
  49. anubis

    anubis Hall of Fame

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    For me, my biggest bump in win/loss records happened when I finally figured out my own "magic combination" of the proper equipment: racquet, strings and tension. Once I was able to keep the ball in play more often, that allowed me to move the ball around more on the court. In the past, I could never hit more than 2 balls in a row during a match. I'd have 40+ UE's per singles match.

    now that I'm using the right equipment, I have 10 to 15 per match. I haven't changed the way that I play. My forehand/backhand and serve are all the same.
     
    #49
  50. kiteboard

    kiteboard Hall of Fame

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    Listen to this guy. The voice of reason. Why do you think every pro is so focused on exactly what he just typed?
     
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