approach shot placement

Acegame

New User
As a baseliner, a while ago i made the decision to rush the net more. Play serve and volley regularly and just approach the net during rallies. This to take more control of the points and practice my volley's (my volley technique is fine, but because i so rarely go to the net I'm not comfortable there and often miss easy volley's). It's like i'm playing a different game now. I get in all kinds of different situations. A lot of fun i must say and i think it makes me a better player.

An interesting thing i found out about the placement of the approach and i was wondering if other people have experienced the same. To me it seems that the best placement is in the middle between the sideline and the center mark (right or left doesn't matter). If i have enough time to get to the net and position myself just right or left (depends what side of the court i hit my approach) of the center serviceline I almost never get passed. My approach doesn't even have to be that fast as long as it has reasonable depth. Also hitting it cross court or down the line doesn't matter as long as you're able to get in position in time.

A DTL passing shot will be very difficult since the opponent can't hit it the ball straight (that's pretty much in the hitting zone of the netplayer). To pass DTL he has to hit with a bit of an angle and if the ball is too long it will be outside the line. Almost impossible, so that side is covered. Now you only have to worry about the cc passing shot, which will also be difficult due to the small angle and the fact that you'll be anticipating that shot. Now i'm not an experienced volleyer, but 9/10 i get my racket on it (when i don't get lobbed ofc).

I've been watching some tennis on youtube with a special eye on the approach and it seems to underline my theory. The pro's have somewhat more succes due to their abilities, but it's still the best choice i think. Was wondering what you guys think.
 

IowaGuy

Hall of Fame
If your intent is to cut off angles for the passing shot, then why wouldn't just right down the center be the best approach?

One advantage of an approach shot that is closer to a sideline (allowing of course for a little margin for error), is that it opens up the court more for a put-away volley. It does, however, give the opponent better angles for the passing shot, so there is a tradeoff there. Kind of like S&V wide versus S&V down the T.

Food for thought...
 

MajesticMoose

Hall of Fame
Against 4.5s and 5.0s, an approach shot that's in between the center hash and sideline is going to be right in the wheel house whether it's a BH or FH. They'll gobble that up and rip it past you. Your best bet is to try and approach down the lines with slice or even deep topspin.
 

Dan R

Semi-Pro
Against 4.5s and 5.0s, an approach shot that's in between the center hash and sideline is going to be right in the wheel house whether it's a BH or FH. They'll gobble that up and rip it past you. Your best bet is to try and approach down the lines with slice or even deep topspin.
I agree. In general there's 4 spots to target, and one big spot to avoid. The target is usually the sideline Ts, or the deep corners. You're not trying to hit the line but just safely into these spots. You want to avoid hitting a ball in the center of court, that isn't really short or really deep. Otherwise you get wheelhoused as @MajesticMoose says, or lobbed. Which spot you pick depends on the circumstances. At least that's been my experience.

You can go straight at someone but you have to get it at their feet or keep it really low so they are handcuffed.
 
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MajesticMoose

Hall of Fame
Yeah if you're going to approach right at them, a deep low bouncing slice right at their toes will force them to back pedal and try to desperately hit up on the ball putting them in a terrible position and if they get it back it'll be a super weak reply then you can just do whatever you want with the next shot to win the point.
 
Against 4.5s and 5.0s, an approach shot that's in between the center hash and sideline is going to be right in the wheel house whether it's a BH or FH. They'll gobble that up and rip it past you. Your best bet is to try and approach down the lines with slice or even deep topspin.
I'm a 4.5 and have used the middle approach successfully many times. it's especially effective against:

- flat hitters who have trouble generating the angle+spin necessary [of course, they could slam it right at you, a la Lendl]
- people who hit better when moving [they tend to have problems when the ball comes straight at them]

No one said the approach had to sit up and be deep enough to get into their wheelhouse. A low slice that forces them to step inside the BL and hit more up can be very effective, even at 4.5. It doesn't work so well against 5.0s because their ground game is simply better than my net game.

That's not to say I only use the middle approach; of course I go DTL. i usually avoid CC because then I have to move a lot further to get into proper position.

I'm working on putting more depth and TS on my approaches.
 
As a baseliner, a while ago i made the decision to rush the net more. Play serve and volley regularly and just approach the net during rallies. This to take more control of the points and practice my volley's (my volley technique is fine, but because i so rarely go to the net I'm not comfortable there and often miss easy volley's). It's like i'm playing a different game now. I get in all kinds of different situations. A lot of fun i must say and i think it makes me a better player.
Good choice! It expands your horizons and can be a heck of a lot of fun.

One nit pick: attacking the net doesn't necessarily allow me more control of the points. What it does is forces my opponent to make a decision whereas if I stayed on the BL, he doesn't have to. And certain types of opponents fold under such pressure allowing easy points. Others, of course, do better with a target. You'll be able to distinguish the two.

An interesting thing i found out about the placement of the approach and i was wondering if other people have experienced the same. To me it seems that the best placement is in the middle between the sideline and the center mark (right or left doesn't matter). If i have enough time to get to the net and position myself just right or left (depends what side of the court i hit my approach) of the center serviceline I almost never get passed. My approach doesn't even have to be that fast as long as it has reasonable depth. Also hitting it cross court or down the line doesn't matter as long as you're able to get in position in time.

A DTL passing shot will be very difficult since the opponent can't hit it the ball straight (that's pretty much in the hitting zone of the netplayer). To pass DTL he has to hit with a bit of an angle and if the ball is too long it will be outside the line. Almost impossible, so that side is covered. Now you only have to worry about the cc passing shot, which will also be difficult due to the small angle and the fact that you'll be anticipating that shot. Now i'm not an experienced volleyer, but 9/10 i get my racket on it (when i don't get lobbed ofc).

I've been watching some tennis on youtube with a special eye on the approach and it seems to underline my theory. The pro's have somewhat more succes due to their abilities, but it's still the best choice i think. Was wondering what you guys think.
I think a middle approach is sound and under-rated. The only suggestion is to mostly avoid the CC because you have to move further to get into good net position. It's worth doing occasionally to keep them honest but it's not my mainstay. The exception is when such a CC approach attacks their weakness and that shot is significantly weaker than their other wing.
 

FiReFTW

Legend
Um, you could say the same thing about any tactic. It's a matter of context and knowing the enemy.
Well but aproach shot should be difficult enough for opponent to be hitting a hard shot, if you hit in their strikezone any good player will punish you, better not even aproach.

I can get away with it against weaker players but not against good ones.
 

Acegame

New User
If your intent is to cut off angles for the passing shot, then why wouldn't just right down the center be the best approach?
When you hit an approach down the center, the opponent can go either way and its a guessing game. If you hit it more right or left from the center hash, one side is almost impossible to pass and you can anticipate on the cc passing shot which is still in good reach due to the small angle. Also if you hit an approach thats very close to the sideline it's much easier for the opponent to hit a DTL passing shot or a cc passing shot angle wise.

Against 4.5s and 5.0s, an approach shot that's in between the center hash and sideline is going to be right in the wheel house whether it's a BH or FH.
I'm not saying to hit it right in their hitting zone. Of course you need to set the point up well. And assuming the approach has the right pace and depth. If you hit a DTL approach and the opponent is there allready it will not work either. Though i understand that its tougher to reach a DTL passing shot. But really, keep an eye on it during pro matches. You'll see its very effective. Even at that level.

Good choice! It expands your horizons and can be a heck of a lot of fun.
So much fun! I've never played so much during the winter months haha. Can't wait to get on the court. The rush of succesfully serve and volley or approach the net is great :giggle:
 
When you hit an approach down the center, the opponent can go either way and its a guessing game.
But that's no different than if you approached DTL or CC: the opponent can still go either way.

The question isn't whether the opponent could go either way, it's how well does he go in either direction based on the angles available and how do you position yourself to get ready.

A DTM approach means minimal angle for my opponent. He could paint the sideline in either direction but my first assumption will be that he can't do that consistently; if he can, then I have to change my approach [pun intended]. The mere fact that he has a middle ball does not automatically mean I'm going to get passed.

Just because I hit a middle approach doesn't mean I'm going to resort to guessing, unless I hit a sitter. But then I'll have to guess no matter where I hit my approach.

And, as I wrote previously, flat ball hitters find it more difficult to generate the TS necessary to hit the extreme angles so these are the opponents against whom the DTM approach works best.

If you hit it more right or left from the center hash, one side is almost impossible to pass and you can anticipate on the cc passing shot which is still in good reach due to the small angle. Also if you hit an approach thats very close to the sideline it's much easier for the opponent to hit a DTL passing shot or a cc passing shot angle wise.
I disagree: it's not almost impossible to pass. Approaching DTL or CC merely changes the angles available vs DTM. What I have to do is then adjust my lateral position so I can equally cover both possibilities [shaded by what I know of his tendencies and capabilities].

If I approach DTL, I don't have to move laterally that much to get to a neutral position [which is why I avoid approaching CC for the most part]. If my opponent is at the sideline, I will position myself a few feet from the centerline towards the side where the ball is. Now I can cover the line and CC. In my experience, that "wide open" CC passer is a lot harder to hit consistently than appears. I'll give them a bit more CC and let them try.

The bottom line is that there are tradeoffs to all approaches [location, depth, and spin] and becoming a better net attacker means learning how to incorporate all of them based on what's working for you and what's uncomfortable for your opponent.
 
Well but aproach shot should be difficult enough for opponent to be hitting a hard shot, if you hit in their strikezone any good player will punish you, better not even aproach.

I can get away with it against weaker players but not against good ones.
Fair enough. Just because I approach DTM, though, does not mean the ball will easily be in their strike zone. If I can hit a low, skidding slice, that might challenge them enough to cause errors. It's not so much a matter of whether my opponent is a good player so much as what is his level relative to me and how well does he deal with that particular shot: he might be a level above me but be uncomfortable with that particular scenario.
 

FiReFTW

Legend
Fair enough. Just because I approach DTM, though, does not mean the ball will easily be in their strike zone. If I can hit a low, skidding slice, that might challenge them enough to cause errors. It's not so much a matter of whether my opponent is a good player so much as what is his level relative to me and how well does he deal with that particular shot: he might be a level above me but be uncomfortable with that particular scenario.
Yes thats a good option, if you hit a very low skidding slice its extremely tough to hit a good passing shot or good shot in general, you have to be a very good player to do that.. but then again, its not easy to hit a low skidding slice, you have to be good to hit it also :laughing:
 
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Deleted member 23235

Guest
not sure what level OP is but when I s&v and when I go against good s&v’ers, I find the best approach is anything deep...

i typically target 4 locations,... fh on the run, bh on the run, body and intentionally short (not a dropper)

a well hit body approach is really effective, and depending on the footwork of the opponent, can be more challenging than a bh/fh on the run... main con is that if you “miss” you give them a “sitter” where they don’t have to move and just do a unit turn.

side note, when you go body and jam them, you can almost guarantee that it can only go cc, or lob.

I also prefer underspin approaches since it forces the baseliner to hit up, as well as give me more time to close the net (avoid shoelace volleys). don't underestimate the power of forcing someone to move, and then bend for a knee high approach shot. i do a coop approach/baseline/net drill... and it's amazing how many folks miss being able to drive the "easy" deep low skidding approach (even when they don't have to move) - so against those guys, you can almost guarantee they will just lob.

aside from body approaches... at the 4.5 level I tend to do 3 to the bh (ideally make him move and get low), and 1 to the fh, to keep him guessing so he can’t cheat

go short if your deep approach is consistent and they are starting to take a step off the baseline to give themselves more time.

my $0.02


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 
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Yes thats a good option, if you hit a very low skidding slice its extremely tough to hit a good passing shot or good shot in general, you have to be a very good player to do that.. but then again, its not easy to hit a low skidding slice, you have to be good to hit it also :laughing:
You don't have to hit a great shot to win the point; often, a functional one does the job.

Keeping that in mind, I try not to over-reach for great shots, especially against better players because then I'm just beating myself. At least give them a chance to make an error or sub-optimal shot. I'm not saying that's necessarily going to happen but if I overdo it, I won't ever find out.
 

FiReFTW

Legend
not sure what level OP is but when I s&v and when I go against good s&v’ers, I find the best approach is anything deep...

i typically target 4 locations,... fh on the run, bh on the run, body and intentionally short (not a dropper)

a well hit body approach is really effective, and depending on the footwork of the opponent, can be more challenging than a bh/fh on the run... main con is that if you “miss” you give them a “sitter” where they don’t have to move and just do a unit turn.

side note, when you go body and jam them, you can almost guarantee that it can only go cc, or lob.

I also prefer underspin approaches since it forces the baseliner to hit up, as well as give me more time to close the net (avoid shoelace volleys)

aside from body approaches... at the 4.5 level I tend to do 3 to the bh (ideally make him move and get low), and 1 to the fh, to keep him guessing so he can’t cheat

go short if your deep approach is consistent and they are starting to take a step off the baseline to give themselves more time.

my $0.02


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
I thought you always S&V?
 
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Deleted member 23235

Guest
I thought you always S&V?
lol, because you saw the one vid of me and shroud hitting (where agreed to play a practice set where we forced each other to s&v - because he didn't have his normal racquet and couldn't hit a groundie that day)...
nah, i'm usually and aggressive baseliner that likes to finish at the net.

i know how to hit topspin from the baseline, damnit! :p
 

fuzz nation

G.O.A.T.
I'm a 4.5 and have used the middle approach successfully many times. it's especially effective against:

- flat hitters who have trouble generating the angle+spin necessary [of course, they could slam it right at you, a la Lendl]
- people who hit better when moving [they tend to have problems when the ball comes straight at them]

No one said the approach had to sit up and be deep enough to get into their wheelhouse. A low slice that forces them to step inside the BL and hit more up can be very effective, even at 4.5. It doesn't work so well against 5.0s because their ground game is simply better than my net game.

That's not to say I only use the middle approach; of course I go DTL. i usually avoid CC because then I have to move a lot further to get into proper position.

I'm working on putting more depth and TS on my approaches.
That semi-short and low skidding ball is probably my favorite approach shot for doubles for a lot of aspects. When a confident baseliner is forced to lunge forward and shovel the ball up, it's usually impossible for that player to do anything remarkable with that shot. It's also pretty easy for me to feather this low shot away from the partner up at the net with accuracy.

I think that I'm less prone to using the low, short skidder in a singles setting though, because an opponent is typically forced to hit a lob and that can be more neutralizing in this situation without a doubles partner next to me.
 
That semi-short and low skidding ball is probably my favorite approach shot for doubles for a lot of aspects. When a confident baseliner is forced to lunge forward and shovel the ball up, it's usually impossible for that player to do anything remarkable with that shot. It's also pretty easy for me to feather this low shot away from the partner up at the net with accuracy.
Agreed. I use this against guys who can pummel passing shots in their strike zone. They're still pretty good even when moving forward but their effectiveness drops.

I think that I'm less prone to using the low, short skidder in a singles setting though, because an opponent is typically forced to hit a lob and that can be more neutralizing in this situation without a doubles partner next to me.
My obvious response: work on your OHs! :p

I welcome the lob because it means the point is now on my racquet and my opponent has given up trying to pass me. I'm totally satisfied with that [I may not be totally satisfied with my OH but that's a different story].
 

FiReFTW

Legend
lol, because you saw the one vid of me and shroud hitting (where agreed to play a practice set where we forced each other to s&v - because he didn't have his normal racquet and couldn't hit a groundie that day)...
nah, i'm usually and aggressive baseliner that likes to finish at the net.

i know how to hit topspin from the baseline, damnit! :p
Oh... i see, I guess thats worse for me since my passing shots are one of the better things in my game :-D
 

fuzz nation

G.O.A.T.
As a baseliner, a while ago i made the decision to rush the net more. Play serve and volley regularly and just approach the net during rallies. This to take more control of the points and practice my volley's (my volley technique is fine, but because i so rarely go to the net I'm not comfortable there and often miss easy volley's). It's like i'm playing a different game now. I get in all kinds of different situations. A lot of fun i must say and i think it makes me a better player.

An interesting thing i found out about the placement of the approach and i was wondering if other people have experienced the same. To me it seems that the best placement is in the middle between the sideline and the center mark (right or left doesn't matter). If i have enough time to get to the net and position myself just right or left (depends what side of the court i hit my approach) of the center serviceline I almost never get passed. My approach doesn't even have to be that fast as long as it has reasonable depth. Also hitting it cross court or down the line doesn't matter as long as you're able to get in position in time.

A DTL passing shot will be very difficult since the opponent can't hit it the ball straight (that's pretty much in the hitting zone of the netplayer). To pass DTL he has to hit with a bit of an angle and if the ball is too long it will be outside the line. Almost impossible, so that side is covered. Now you only have to worry about the cc passing shot, which will also be difficult due to the small angle and the fact that you'll be anticipating that shot. Now i'm not an experienced volleyer, but 9/10 i get my racket on it (when i don't get lobbed ofc).

I've been watching some tennis on youtube with a special eye on the approach and it seems to underline my theory. The pro's have somewhat more succes due to their abilities, but it's still the best choice i think. Was wondering what you guys think.
Nice!!!

I'll try to resist yammering out an entire novel here, but I'm digging that you're enjoying the attacking-the-net mode of play. If your baseline ability isn't better than what an opponent can do, you need this dimension in your game to create chances for you to earn more points.

A few years ago when the US Open was on TV, two guys were playing a singles match. One player was a tough baseliner, but the other was pretty much a S&V heavy - maybe Wes Moodie who was from I think the UK. He rushed the net behind most of his serves, but he also attacked whenever he had a short ball that let him step inside the baseline. This was real tooth-and-nail grinder of a match and I don't even remember who won, but the individual points gave me the most illuminating contrast between good approach shots and crummy ones that I've ever seen.

The instant that the net-rusher's approach shot landed in the opponent's court, the point was almost always decided based on the depth of the approach shot regardless of whether it landed near the middle of the baseline or out near a sideline. With the approach shot tucked in within 12"-18" of the baseline, the attacker cleaned up. Whenever the ball was left around four feet or more short of the baseline, the other guy could pick a spot and make the net rusher lunge and scramble or just watch the passing shot fly past him.

This match reinforced a truth of attacking the net; your opponent can't hurt you as easily when he (or she) has to hit from further away from you. Depth is a crucial priority for many effective approaches. You get more time to react.

I think that approaching DTL or CC does matter... when it matters. Whenever we rush the net, we need to get forward and set up as fast as we can. Approaching DTL means approaching straight ahead - less ground to cover than when we approach CC. Plus, even if we approach DTL and don't make it all the way to the ideal net position in time for the next shot, we still have a DTL reply closed off while we're moving forward. That counts for a lot when we're approaching with a tight margin of success against a tough opponent. But if a short ball pulls us way inside the baseline, that's when it's a lot easier to hit an approach and quickly cross the gap. More options to work with, right?

I'll check back, but it's time for lunch...
 

fuzz nation

G.O.A.T.
Agreed. I use this against guys who can pummel passing shots in their strike zone. They're still pretty good even when moving forward but their effectiveness drops.



My obvious response: work on your OHs! :p

I welcome the lob because it means the point is now on my racquet and my opponent has given up trying to pass me. I'm totally satisfied with that [I may not be totally satisfied with my OH but that's a different story].
Good call!! I'm cozy enough with hitting overheads, but I think that many singles opponents can generally lob into a bigger target because I'm not at the net with a partner. In doubs when I hit the short skidding approach shot and the cross-court opponent scoops it up, my doubs partner already has the straight ahead reply covered. If I don't over-commit and move forward too far behind that approach, I can also easily cover a lob that gets behind my partner.

When I'm rushing the net in singles, I think there's a little more urgency to get forward because I'm closing down the angles by myself (both DTL and CC). Together with a doubs partner, we can take away a few strong options, but not so much when I'm alone in a singes setting. So I think that this is where the target for a deep lob can be a little easier for a singles opponent to find.
 
When I'm rushing the net in singles, I think there's a little more urgency to get forward because I'm closing down the angles by myself (both DTL and CC). Together with a doubs partner, we can take away a few strong options, but not so much when I'm alone in a singes setting. So I think that this is where the target for a deep lob can be a little easier for a singles opponent to find.
Well, first off, it's good that you recognize the difference between doubles and singles. Some aren't that aware.

I'd describe it as a balancing act with a fulcrum that moves: against some opponents, you can get closer to the net without fear because they lack the lob gene. Against others, you have to be more conservative because they usually lob. And it also varies within a match: they may start with one strategy and switch gears later.

Bottom line is that if my opponent can place lobs consistently within 5' of the BL, my OH better be on that day or else I'll have to stop coming to the net.
 

Acegame

New User
I was watching a couple of video's of Craig O Shannessy, a famous tenniscoach who is very much into statistics and facts. In the video below he actually says something that underlines my theory (at 2m25). Check it out:

 

zalive

Hall of Fame
If going for corners or the angles you have to make sure your opponents gets late to the ball.
If he nevertheless gets early to the ball your chances are not good because you opened the court for him. So if your approach won't be good enough it's better you played anything else instead.
So it all depends on your ability to make a killer approach. Or your percentages. If it's not likely you'll make such a quality approach, IMO it's better to aim anywhere from the middle to where the OP suggested, because it's much easier to cover the court.
As for depth, you can either make it deep if possible, or if not, let's make it short and low bounce so your opponent again can't do whatever he wants. And the best, if possible, make it to his feet if he's inside court or hugging the baseline.
As for aiming the middle, one can make it deep, kill the pace, but what I fear the most from a good deep approach shots (placed closer to the middle of court) is a good lob. Because you need to close the net down to cut the angles and to have an easier volley, however that makes you more vulnerable to lobbing.

When I approach the net, what I like the most is the opportunity to put my racquet behind the ball. No matter which approach shot I make the aim is to make it such to maximize this opportunity.
 

Acegame

New User
I agree that in the end it all comes down to the quality of the approach shot. But i think you'll be more likely to hit a good approach when you aim for just right of the middle. Also you'll be more likely to get your racket behind the ball when it comes back because of the lack of angle.
 

zalive

Hall of Fame
I'm a 4.5 and have used the middle approach successfully many times. it's especially effective against:

- flat hitters who have trouble generating the angle+spin necessary [of course, they could slam it right at you, a la Lendl]
- people who hit better when moving [they tend to have problems when the ball comes straight at them]

No one said the approach had to sit up and be deep enough to get into their wheelhouse. A low slice that forces them to step inside the BL and hit more up can be very effective, even at 4.5. It doesn't work so well against 5.0s because their ground game is simply better than my net game.

That's not to say I only use the middle approach; of course I go DTL. i usually avoid CC because then I have to move a lot further to get into proper position.

I'm working on putting more depth and TS on my approaches.
How close to the net do you usually approach the net?
Also, what about the pace? Slice/topspin/flat choices?

I find the ideal position depends a lot on your opponent. If I successfully challenge him to try to pass me (or try to murder me with sheer pace lol), and especially if he likes low, fast, flat bullets, then I want to get really close to the net. On the other hand when you deal against a good lobber or a player who usually hits a ball with a higher trajectory, then staying behind might give you better options. The thing is...there's no unique approach which works the best. It depends on a situation and your opponents skill and choices, where you actually try to either make him play what you want/expect him to play, or where you can anticipate his choice with decent % and make sure you take a good position for expected option. It's like a mind game.

I even see many pro players coming really close to the net when they anticipate their opponent will go for the passing shot instead of lobbing. It's a worthwhile risk whenever you have a good % in anticipating what your opponent is likely to do. So if this works even at highest level of tennis...as for the shots to the middle, it's less usual choice at pro levels, but it's natural: those guys are usually able to create insane angles from whatever spot of the court, proveded they have enough time to set up, and they usually can generate huge pace no matter how much you scrub the pace from your approach shot (if this is a decision). But IMO in rec tennis approach down the middle should be more effective than in pro tennis no matter which level - simply because ball placement ability is not compareable.
 
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Deleted member 23235

Guest
If your intent is to cut off angles for the passing shot, then why wouldn't just right down the center be the best approach?

One advantage of an approach shot that is closer to a sideline (allowing of course for a little margin for error), is that it opens up the court more for a put-away volley. It does, however, give the opponent better angles for the passing shot, so there is a tradeoff there. Kind of like S&V wide versus S&V down the T.

Food for thought...
for me, when going to the bh side, because i want to elim the possibility of them running around the bh
 
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Deleted member 23235

Guest
Against 4.5s and 5.0s, an approach shot that's in between the center hash and sideline is going to be right in the wheel house whether it's a BH or FH. They'll gobble that up and rip it past you. Your best bet is to try and approach down the lines with slice or even deep topspin.
presuming we're attacking the height of their contact zone, a decent approach will stay low, and land deep... so not quite in the wheel house... if it lands short, yeah, it's a sitter.
that said at 4.5+, if you leave anything short, and sitting up, they'll run it down too.
IMO, if you're approaching with deep topspin (attacking their time) you better have them on the run... and it better be very deep, because it's alot easier to hit a passing shot (or lob) off a topspin ball.
i'll typically approach with top, if say i get a sitter, and can blast it (or i have them on the run)
but i'll approach with slice, if say it's a neutral ball that i can't crush, maybe a little bit short/low (ie. they accidently/intentionally hit a short slice tempting to draw me in)... so i'll choose to slice to a) make time for myself to come in b) keep it low/deep forcing them to work to hit up (fighting height, and the spin that tends to bounce down)
 
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Deleted member 23235

Guest
I agree that in the end it all comes down to the quality of the approach shot. But i think you'll be more likely to hit a good approach when you aim for just right of the middle. Also you'll be more likely to get your racket behind the ball when it comes back because of the lack of angle.
definitely something to test... especially if you can consistently hit a deep approach down the middle.
when i play better players, hitting down the middle can be a liability because they are not always giving me a ball that i can hit an amazing approach... so that middle ball, now becomes a sitter.
when going nearer the sidelines, sometimes that not-so-perfect approach is still ok since they also have to move to hit it...
so depends. but approaching near both sidelines, middle, and very short, are all tactics that should be probed.
 
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Deleted member 23235

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another thing to consider OP... not sure what level you are... but at 4.5 i almost never go for passing shot off the first ball..
typically i got for a 2-shot passing combo...
first "pass" is typically low at their feet, make them reach if i can, but definitely a makeable volley
then i actually go for a pass/lob.

so while you elim the angle for me to pass on the first shot, you also elim the angle to put the ball away on my first pass attempt

not necessarily a bad thing... point is that every shot selection has a pro/con... but that's when it's fun, it becomes a cat/mouse game of guessing/probing for weaknesses (ie. opponent may not have a weak volley per se, but might have poor shot selection/precision off the second or third volley they have to make)
 

zalive

Hall of Fame
another thing to consider OP... not sure what level you are... but at 4.5 i almost never go for passing shot off the first ball..
typically i got for a 2-shot passing combo...
first "pass" is typically low at their feet, make them reach if i can, but definitely a makeable volley
then i actually go for a pass/lob.
That's great tactics if you play against the opponent who doesn't have a habit to approach really close to the net.

Considering some alternate approaches...I was considering practicing some more loopy, high arced passing shots with some correct/decent pace on them (as much as I can get) aiming to land deep, because they do put the netman in an awkward position even when they can put a racquet behind.
What do you think about such?

I noticed such work well even at highest level if they're not directed straight at the netman, because they can half lob them, and even when they put a racquet on such it's hard to volley them well because of combination of ball hight, trajectory and pace. Yet such are seldom practiced at ATP level...choice is usually the sheer pace plus making it out of reach, rather than such a trajectory...
 
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That's great tactics if you play against the opponent who doesn't have a habit to approach really close to the net.

Considering some alternate approaches...I was considering practicing some more loopy, high arced passing shots with some correct/decent pace on them (as much as I can get) aiming to land deep, because they do put the netman in an awkward position even when they can put a racquet behind.
What do you think about such?

I noticed such work well even at highest level if they're not directed straight at the netman, because they can half lob them, and even when they put a racquet on such it's hard to volley them well because of combination of ball hight, trajectory and pace. Yet such are seldom practiced at ATP level...choice is usually the sheer pace plus making it out of reach, rather than such a trajectory...
unless i just fed them a sitter by the service line, usually folks are near the service line (give or take 1ft), by the time they have to hit their first volley, so plenty of room to "hit at their feet".

i've done the high loop pass (and had it done to me), but imo, unless it's perfect, it can quickly become a putaway volley/OH... a higher % shot IMO is just to dip it low (let them hit it, but make them reach doing so).... for me that shot has a bit more leeway for mistakes (or 2nd/3rd/etc.. chance passing shot)
 

zalive

Hall of Fame
unless i just fed them a sitter by the service line, usually folks are near the service line (give or take 1ft), by the time they have to hit their first volley, so plenty of room to "hit at their feet".

i've done the high loop pass (and had it done to me), but imo, unless it's perfect, it can quickly become a putaway volley/OH... a higher % shot IMO is just to dip it low (let them hit it, but make them reach doing so).... for me that shot has a bit more leeway for mistakes (or 2nd/3rd/etc.. chance passing shot)
I understand. Well that's a bit of forcing the net approach in my book, unless done really intelligently or as a surprise tactics lol. Approaching the net should usually be done when you hit inside of the court, or standing at the baseline.

When you do a loopy passing shot, it must never be above netman's head. If he has to make it to the left/right he won't have time to set up for the OH as he's not positioned. And there should be enough pace so he can't.
That was my idea of such passing shot. It is a passing shot rather than aiming it at the netman, only uses the trajectory instead of sheer pace. But you have to put the energy behind it to get the combination of loop and enough pace.
Of course, you can miss the placement so it does go above opponent's head and make it reachable for the OH, but then it's a completely missed shot (to what you actually intended), not just less perfect.
 
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Dragy

Hall of Fame
I understand. Well that's a bit of forcing the net approach in my book, unless done really intelligently or as a surprise tactics lol. Approaching the net should usually be done when you hit inside of the court, or standing at the baseline.

When you do a loopy passing shot, it must never be above netman's head. If he has to make it to the left/right he won't have time to set up for the OH as he's not positioned. And there should be enough pace so he can't.
That was my idea of such passing shot. It is a passing shot rather than aiming it at the netman, only uses the trajectory instead of sheer pace. But you have to put the energy behind it to get the combination of loop and enough pace.
Of course, you can miss the placement so it does go above opponent's head and make it reachable for the OH, but then it's a completely missed shot (to what you actually intended), not just less perfect.
Do you mean semi-lob height looping? Cause the great thing with passing shots is you actually don't need to hit deep, which allows you to focus on direction if it's a clear pass, or on the dipping spin, if it's intended to never miss wide and give opponent an awkward low volley. High looping shot is challenging in terms of being slow vs risk of hitting wide/long.
 

zalive

Hall of Fame
Do you mean semi-lob height looping? Cause the great thing with passing shots is you actually don't need to hit deep, which allows you to focus on direction if it's a clear pass, or on the dipping spin, if it's intended to never miss wide and give opponent an awkward low volley. High looping shot is challenging in terms of being slow vs risk of hitting wide/long.
Any passing shot is challenging unless it was a really bad decision approach. The better the approach shot was, the more challenging it is. You have to have a specific weapon to make it easier.
So if your weapon is a hard hit passing shot and you have the ability to hit it in a given situation with good % and decent chance to win that point, it's a no brainer.
However a loopy approach shot requires bit of working on this particular weapon. Yes, it has to have a certain combination of arc height, pace and placement to make it work. And all this requires setting up, which requires having enough time to set up. But that's the case with any passing shot, you want to hit hard you also need to set up.
Anyway, it may be a semi-lob, or some lower trajectory but struck harder with more pace on it.

The high, looping down-the-line forehand passing shot is the second-most underutilized shot in tennis.
Which would be the first one? The lob?
I play on red clay, people here love lob whenever you don't get much incoming pace on the approach shot.
 
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how high do you aim for?
About 10 feet over the net and landing near baseline is usually ideal - enough pace so that it is impossible for netman to move 10 feet to his left and then reach vertically. But slow and deliberate so that you have better accuracy than trying to rip it. The problem with a low passing shot is that it has to be faster to be effective - if it’s a dipper hit with similar pace to the shot I described, a skilled netman will be able to reach it easier, while the highball pass is more likely to be a clean pass.
 

Dragy

Hall of Fame
Any passing shot is challenging unless it was a really bad decision approach. The better the approach shot was, the more challenging it is. You have to have a specific weapon to make it easier.
So if your weapon is a hard hit passing shot and you have the ability to hit it in a given situation with good % and decent chance to win that point, it's a no brainer.
However this requires bit of working on this weapon. Yes, it has to have a certain combination of arc height, pace and placement to make it work. And all this requires setting up, which requires having enough time to set up. But that's the case with any passing shot, you want to hit hard you also need to set up.
Anyway, it may be a semi-lob, or some lower trajectory but struck harder with more pace on it.
Any passing shot is challenging - yes, and no :laughing: Any passing shot situation puts pressure on the baseline player, but actually neither of us is a cyborg and acts his best calculated decisions. So I'm with @nytennisaddict here intending my first "passer" to be a hard volley rather than mandatory clean pass. So most of the time it's a CC dipper, and better if hit as early as possible.
In the meantime I don't say your high looper is bad or more risky, just indicated what challenges I see.
 
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About 10 feet over the net and landing near baseline is usually ideal - enough pace so that it is impossible for netman to move 10 feet to his left and then reach vertically. But slow and deliberate so that you have better accuracy than trying to rip it. The problem with a low passing shot is that it has to be faster to be effective - if it’s a dipper hit with similar pace to the shot I described, a skilled netman will be able to reach it easier, while the highball pass is more likely to be a clean pass.
will have to play with this... never intentionally tried this... usually ended up being a lob that i hit too low. could be that i don't have the touch to do it well/consistently.
i typical go to swinging fast with topspin to dip it, expect them to volley it, then pass on the next shot.
 

zalive

Hall of Fame
About 10 feet over the net and landing near baseline is usually ideal - enough pace so that it is impossible for netman to move 10 feet to his left and then reach vertically. But slow and deliberate so that you have better accuracy than trying to rip it. The problem with a low passing shot is that it has to be faster to be effective - if it’s a dipper hit with similar pace to the shot I described, a skilled netman will be able to reach it easier, while the highball pass is more likely to be a clean pass.
Even if the netman reaches such a passing shot it's a diagonal reach and the ball cleared the net high and it's already dipping down - you can't block it, it's hard to take it in front of you, how do you effectively volley such without lot of volleying skill? It's a bigger challenge to volley...
 
Which would be the first one?
The high, loopy forehand down-the-line moonball approach shot of course!

This shot is most effective when hit from way 10 feet behind the baseline - makes it easier to use gravity as weapon. As soon as you see your opponent take that first step backward (signaling that he will not play your moonball on the rise), you can start your net attack and know you already are ahead in the point.
 

zalive

Hall of Fame
Any passing shot is challenging - yes, and no :laughing: Any passing shot situation puts pressure on the baseline player, but actually neither of us is a cyborg and acts his best calculated decisions. So I'm with @nytennisaddict here intending my first "passer" to be a hard volley rather than mandatory clean pass. So most of the time it's a CC dipper, and better if hit as early as possible.
In the meantime I don't say your high looper is bad or more risky, just indicated what challenges I see.
I hit against guys which often approach close to the net whenever they get the chance. You can't easily place a dipper against such because from the position they take they are able to make a step or two and literally touch the net. I love dippers otherwise. When they succeed to come to the net that close I must be clever on the passing shot because it's the placement which is the key, not the pace.
 
will have to play with this... never intentionally tried this... usually ended up being a lob that i hit too low. could be that i don't have the touch to do it well/consistently.
i typical go to swinging fast with topspin to dip it, expect them to volley it, then pass on the next shot.
In my case, the high deep loopy ball 10-12 feet high is my regular rally forehand, so it means I can go for a high percentage passing shot winner without having to do anything different than usual with my mechanics.
 

Dragy

Hall of Fame
I hit against guys which often approach close to the net whenever they get the chance. You can't easily place a dipper against such because from the position they take they are able to make a step or two and literally touch the net. I love dippers otherwise. When they succeed to come to the net that close I must be clever on the passing shot because it's the placement which is the key, not the pace.
First of all, it's a pity if they were hitting their approach from such a short ball they managed to get that close to net - I must have hit a bad ball on a previous shot. Then, a lob is an easy pick against a net hugger. Not that easy from a low slice though - as well as high looper-passer, I believe. Heater into the body is another option, if close enough.
 

zalive

Hall of Fame
First of all, it's a pity if they were hitting their approach from such a short ball they managed to get that close to net - I must have hit a bad ball on a previous shot. Then, a lob is an easy pick against a net hugger. Not that easy from a low slice though - as well as high looper-passer, I believe. Heater into the body is another option, if close enough.
Well weaker/shorter balls every while, either provoked with good attacks or from mishits. Besides, approach shots need not be fast - there's a slice option, but also what travelerjam mentions, a loopy deep ball which doesn't have to have a huge pace - gives you some time to approach the net. Anyway me and my crowd are 4.0 and the best of my hitting opponents were 4.5's, let's say. But I guess similar things apply, with a lower level you expect every aspect and shot is bit worse in average. But weaker balls happen at every level, so...neither of us play s&v. we mainly attack the net when opportunity arises, or after a successful good attack, as the element of surprise...no one of us did it at all cost. But even if we played this as a part of a gameplan, it was more likely attacking with slice on a BH side. Few guys did that to me occasionally, my BH lob is not as consistent against a decent slice so it made actually sense.
 
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