Approach shot catch-22

HunterST

Hall of Fame
I seem to get a lot of short balls to my backhand side. I usually end up hitting a bh slice up the line for an approach shot, because AS are always supposed to go dtl, right? I have some problems with this, though.

1. A DTL approach from the BH side goes to my opponent's forehand. That makes it easier for most players to hit a pass or good lob.

2. It's tough to really hit a pressing shot in this situation. DTL is always more risky from either side. Trying to really go for it on a DTL backhand seems risky.

The other option is to go cross court which solves the above two problems, but opens up the court for the opponent.


What do you net rushers do?
 

Nevarin

New User
a slice approach shot is actually a pretty good idea, IF you can keep it low. you will have more time to position yourself for the finishing volley and your opponent has to hit it up.

a backhand drive down the line from this position is a tough shot but with practise I am certain you will be able to consistently pull it off. just don't feel the need to overhit, awesome power is not needed, placement is key for this shot.

if your opponent is at the centre of the baseline you can go for a short topspin backhand winner, but that's relatively low percentage. if you have a good topspin backhand it can be a good play, but it will highly depend on your consistency.

sry for my bad english^^
 

skiracer55

Hall of Fame
Um...

I seem to get a lot of short balls to my backhand side. I usually end up hitting a bh slice up the line for an approach shot, because AS are always supposed to go dtl, right? I have some problems with this, though.

1. A DTL approach from the BH side goes to my opponent's forehand. That makes it easier for most players to hit a pass or good lob.

2. It's tough to really hit a pressing shot in this situation. DTL is always more risky from either side. Trying to really go for it on a DTL backhand seems risky.

The other option is to go cross court which solves the above two problems, but opens up the court for the opponent.


What do you net rushers do?

...a DTL backhand slice is fine, you just need to cover the obvious pass...which is back down the line...but be ready to move.

One thing you can try is short slice DTL...if your opponent isn't ready to move forward, you might get a gopher ball you can knock off.

Cross-court isn't a bad option, especially if your opponent starts looking for the DTL slice backhand. I'd usually make it a low, wide slice in this case unless I have enough time and space to go over it...
 

goran_ace

Hall of Fame
I seem to get a lot of short balls to my backhand side. I usually end up hitting a bh slice up the line for an approach shot, because AS are always supposed to go dtl, right?

I don't believe in the rule that approach shots should always be down the line. To me it's a matter of matchups - what shots can you hit, verus what can your oponent hit. If your opponent has a weak backhand, then even if you come in a cross court approach, if you give him a low skidder he may not have that shot to be able to pass you DTL before you can get up there to cover. Also, in the modern game you might see someone run around that backhand and approach off a hard inside out forehand (again this tactic pressures the opponent's backhand side).
 

goran_ace

Hall of Fame
Also, if you do want to drive that backhand, remember with the short ball you don't have as much court to work with and you'll need a lot of topspin to bring it down insdie the baseline. Going crosscourt gives you a little more length.

I'm not saying the always approach DTL rule is complete bunk, I'm just saying that if you keep going DTL to his FH and he's making you pay, think about your other options.
 

TimeSpiral

Professional
I seem to get a lot of short balls to my backhand side. I usually end up hitting a bh slice up the line for an approach shot, because AS are always supposed to go dtl, right? I have some problems with this, though.

1. A DTL approach from the BH side goes to my opponent's forehand. That makes it easier for most players to hit a pass or good lob.

2. It's tough to really hit a pressing shot in this situation. DTL is always more risky from either side. Trying to really go for it on a DTL backhand seems risky.

The other option is to go cross court which solves the above two problems, but opens up the court for the opponent.


What do you net rushers do?

What level of play is this?

If it's a short ball, then you're being drawn in whether you like it or not. I'm not sure I would call that an approach shot, but the dilemma is the same.

The percentage shot, if it's a short-ish ball to your BH, is CC. If you're standing at the service line hitting the short ball, go BH TS DTL. Sure it won't be as low, but it should be moving faster and force your opponent to hit a FH OTR. Make him cross his body and go CC. It's a tough pass.

You should also consider taking the inside out FH position if you're getting short balls to the ad court. Play the inside in FH DTL and really apply a ton of pressure. If it's not quite short enough, keep hitting IO FH until you get the sitter, then finish with whatever you want.
 

TimeSpiral

Professional
I don't believe in the rule that approach shots should always be down the line. To me it's a matter of matchups - what shots can you hit, verus what can your oponent hit. If your opponent has a weak backhand, then even if you come in a cross court approach, if you give him a low skidder he may not have that shot to be able to pass you DTL before you can get up there to cover. Also, in the modern game you might see someone run around that backhand and approach off a hard inside out forehand (again this tactic pressures the opponent's backhand side).

The rule is more about keeping the ball in front of you on an approach, eliminating one of the two passes. Approaching CC leaves the CC and DTL pass open and has the potential of catching you in the middle, unable to cover either pass.

After the first few sets though you should be changing your shot selection strategy to your opponent. Maybe your opponent has no BH DTL. You can CC approach his BH all day in that case.
 

Power Player

Bionic Poster
If you can run around it for a forehand, you can do so much more with that ball. If not, DTL slice is never a bad thing. Its still a tough shot for the other player to hit since they will be running and lunging.
 

NLBwell

Legend
All things being equal, the correct shot is slice down the line. Of course, things aren't always equal. If your slice down the line is a powderpuff and you can hit a big crosscourt shot, go crosscourt. If the guy likes hitting ankle-high forehands (for a righty) and passing you cross-court, you probably want to do something else. If his backhand is really weak and can't pass you even though you aren't in good position, go that way. If the opponent can't move forward well, hit a short ball.
Practice, practice, practice the slice down the line until you are really good at it, but be willing to try other things if that isn't working.
 

SystemicAnomaly

Bionic Poster
... Cross-court isn't a bad option, especially if your opponent starts looking for the DTL slice backhand. I'd usually make it a low, wide slice in this case unless I have enough time and space to go over it...

When the pros hit the x-court approach, they very quickly move to that o0ther side and then split step. When you are at the net and have hit to one of the corners, you should be on the same side of the center line as your shot. Obviously, if you hit your shot to the middle, then you would set up in the middle.
 

boramiNYC

Hall of Fame
keep the DTL slice approach but try to avoid a fast slice which takes time away for you to react. instead make it soft, accurate, low, and heavily spun. Then the opponent will have to generate his own power for the pass and a low heavy slice is never easy to hit a good pass on. and you'll have more time to react as well for easy put away or another forcing shot. DTL is esp effective against SW and W fh's but CC slice with disguise with a good anticipation on your part would be good to mix up to keep your opponent honest.
 

5263

G.O.A.T.
...a DTL backhand slice is fine, you just need to cover the obvious pass...which is back down the line...but be ready to move.

One thing you can try is short slice DTL...if your opponent isn't ready to move forward, you might get a gopher ball you can knock off.

Cross-court isn't a bad option, especially if your opponent starts looking for the DTL slice backhand. I'd usually make it a low, wide slice in this case unless I have enough time and space to go over it...

I like what ski says above with a couple more comments I'll add...

This is why I call it a transition ball, as you can transition to net OR maybe on
some, you can transition back to baseline with a well placed cross court shot.
Approach shot makes it seem you are more looked in to follow to net.

Look at taking the ones that come to your Bh....but closer to center (not real
close to your sideline)...look to take them crosscourt to their Bh.. as you have
a better time of it moving over to cover ....especially if your crosscourt gets
them on the move to cover. If they are moving...you have more time to move
as well!

Also, really like the above in bold for when you do go DTL, as this is part of the
Smart Target approach, since a short, soft, low skidder helps you to cut off the angle,
especially if you can get pretty close to net. Remember, the closer you are to HIS
contact, the wider his angle must be to get by you. Very hard to do if he must hit up
and create all the power.
 
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LeeD

Bionic Poster
DTL approach is correct 8 out of 10 times.
NOT 100% of the time.
If you cannot hit a sliced approach within 3' of the baseline, you WILL lose almost half those points.
Don't hit a shot you don't own.
 

skiracer55

Hall of Fame
Well, yeah...

When the pros hit the x-court approach, they very quickly move to that o0ther side and then split step. When you are at the net and have hit to one of the corners, you should be on the same side of the center line as your shot. Obviously, if you hit your shot to the middle, then you would set up in the middle.

..."follow the ball" is pretty much de rigeur when you're at the net...
 

wihamilton

Hall of Fame
I seem to get a lot of short balls to my backhand side. I usually end up hitting a bh slice up the line for an approach shot, because AS are always supposed to go dtl, right? I have some problems with this, though.

1. A DTL approach from the BH side goes to my opponent's forehand. That makes it easier for most players to hit a pass or good lob.

2. It's tough to really hit a pressing shot in this situation. DTL is always more risky from either side. Trying to really go for it on a DTL backhand seems risky.

The other option is to go cross court which solves the above two problems, but opens up the court for the opponent.


What do you net rushers do?

Pat Rafter told me he almost always approaches to someone's backhand... doesn't matter if he's hitting cross court. Just harder for your opponent to pass you off of that wing.

Food for thought... though you're exposing court by approaching CC, you're also forcing someone to hit the most difficult shot possible to put the ball into that open space...

... changing the direction of the ball, hitting over the high part of the net, if your opponent is a smidge late the ball will be wide, if he's a smidge early he's hit the ball back to you (and if you're right handed this will be a forehand volley, which is typically the easier volley at the recreational level) for a cinch volley into the open court...

... so he basically needs to be like Goldilocks... "just right." Not going to happen very often at the recreational level. Heck, worked for Pat and he's the former #1 player in the world and a 2-time US Open champion.

Also, your BH slice is going to stay low, and we all know how much recreational players struggle with low backhands, especially if you leave it a little short and force them to move forward to get it.

So I think this play is a winner.

- Will
 

HunterST

Hall of Fame
Pat Rafter told me he almost always approaches to someone's backhand... doesn't matter if he's hitting cross court. Just harder for your opponent to pass you off of that wing.

Food for thought... though you're exposing court by approaching CC, you're also forcing someone to hit the most difficult shot possible to put the ball into that open space...

... changing the direction of the ball, hitting over the high part of the net, if your opponent is a smidge late the ball will be wide, if he's a smidge early he's hit the ball back to you (and if you're right handed this will be a forehand volley, which is typically the easier volley at the recreational level) for a cinch volley into the open court...

... so he basically needs to be like Goldilocks... "just right." Not going to happen very often at the recreational level. Heck, worked for Pat and he's the former #1 player in the world and a 2-time US Open champion.

Also, your BH slice is going to stay low, and we all know how much recreational players struggle with low backhands, especially if you leave it a little short and force them to move forward to get it.

So I think this play is a winner.

- Will

Wow! It's great to hear what a master of net play like Rafter would say. It kind of confirms what I was thinking about going to the weaker wing. Plus, I feel like I can get a more forceful shot going XC from inside the court than by going DTL.

I'll definitely give this play a try!
 

5263

G.O.A.T.
Food for thought... though you're exposing court by approaching CC, you're also forcing someone to hit the most difficult shot possible to put the ball into that open space...

... changing the direction of the ball, hitting over the high part of the net, if your opponent is a smidge late the ball will be wide, if he's a smidge early he's hit the ball back to you (and if you're right handed this will be a forehand volley, which is typically the easier volley at the recreational level) for a cinch volley into the open court...
So I think this play is a winner.

- Will

Especially if you don't go too wide with the CC, but if you go out real wide &
they can track it down, they can still hit sort of mildly CC and still get to that
DTL corner pretty easily. By keeping the CC to the Bh a bit more centered,
it makes it tougher, as Wil says, to hit the good pass DTL.
Good point Wil
 

Larrysümmers

Hall of Fame
hm well you could slice dtl to their FH, like you said you do now, anticipate the CC shot, take that shot dtl to their bh and come to net.
 

5263

G.O.A.T.
Wow! It's great to hear what a master of net play like Rafter would say. It kind of confirms what I was thinking about going to the weaker wing. Plus, I feel like I can get a more forceful shot going XC from inside the court than by going DTL.

I'll definitely give this play a try!

Also you might find it easier to make that slice skid more nasty with the CC.
 

PhrygianDominant

Hall of Fame
Wow! It's great to hear what a master of net play like Rafter would say. It kind of confirms what I was thinking about going to the weaker wing. Plus, I feel like I can get a more forceful shot going XC from inside the court than by going DTL.

I'll definitely give this play a try!

I agree with Will, although my opinion doesn't hold as much weight. I just try to slice the ball deep and low to my opponents backhand. If I pull that off and split step, then I am happy. My opponent now has the tougher job.
 

Shroud

G.O.A.T.
Some good thoughts in this thread.

I like what Rafter said.

Though I dont remember seeing anyone talk about the TYPE of slice.

For me, there is a backhand slice and there is a backhand slice approach. they are different shots. The backhand slice mostly has all slice. The backhand approach down the line has a major component of side spin and some slice, so the shot stays low AND skids away from the forehand. This is much harder to return and creates a weaker shot.

Same thing but reversed when using a forehand slice DTL...slides away from the backhand.

been hitting that way for years

Here is a vid that kind of describes it

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y34FPBhwsZ0
Talking righty of course.
 

LeeD

Bionic Poster
Backhand approach is definetely NOT the same as a defensive 1hbh slice.

The approach is hit mostly DTL because the net is high, the court short, so your approach that clears the net goes DEEP into the corner, first and foremost.
The spin is more important than the speed of the shot, since the backspin forces the ball to skid and stay low, and hopefully hop away from the opponent's body.
The shot is usually hit with the body leaning forwards, closed stance, and the body moving forwards.....to get to net, of course, and to get to the short ball.
Most defensive 1hbh slices are hit off a deep shot, so there is no forward movement, just a backspin shot to extend the point.
Approach intent is to END the point on the following shot.
 

TimeSpiral

Professional
Some good thoughts in this thread.

I like what Rafter said.

Though I dont remember seeing anyone talk about the TYPE of slice.

For me, there is a backhand slice and there is a backhand slice approach. they are different shots. The backhand slice mostly has all slice. The backhand approach down the line has a major component of side spin and some slice, so the shot stays low AND skids away from the forehand. This is much harder to return and creates a weaker shot.

Same thing but reversed when using a forehand slice DTL...slides away from the backhand.

been hitting that way for years

Here is a vid that kind of describes it

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y34FPBhwsZ0
Talking righty of course.

Slice is not a type of spin. Just sayin' :twisted:
 

Shroud

G.O.A.T.
Approach intent is to END the point on the following shot.

Come on Lee. What, no chess game? No extending points to break down someones game? No grinding it out?

Oh the horror.:shock: How can anyone call that tennis:confused:

Its a good point you raise. Hitting it way out in front is a must and helps with the sidespin.
 

Nellie

Hall of Fame
You should not have a hard set rule. With the approach, put the ball where you think the opponent will be on the defensive. I play serve and volley most of the time, and I am generally aiming the approach away from the opponent so that they need to hit running passing shots off of a low, skidding ball with little pace. There are opponents, however, who don't hit well from one side (or hit great from a side). Of course you should aim appropriately. Similarly, there are opponents who hit better on the run, and then I will approach down the middle to reduce angles.

By the way, you really cannot hit the cross-court approach much more forcefully than the down-the-line. Although you are hitting over the lower center of the net and get a couple of extra feet of distance cross-court, the slice will carry the ball deep even without much pace. If you go for too much, the opponent may return the ball before your are set and when you are too far from net (no mans land). If you can go for a winner (ball is high), then of course you can whack it.
 

LeeD

Bionic Poster
It never was easy, not even in the days of wood rackets.
Another reason the CC approach doesn't work as well is that the court is much longer, and slices don't travel fast. The low net is a detriment, as you might slice too low, and your approach shot goes short, giving your opponent an easy 3 options, since he's now inside his baseline.
But overall, you do not go DTL on EVERY approach, only until your effectiveness becomes compromised. Then you change your losing strategy.
 
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