# Attacking a short ball

#### Curious

##### Legend
How short is short enough to be attacked for a sitter/floater?
Suppose you’re at the baseline or two feet behind it and rallying and you get a weak ball. How much inside the baseline should the ball land in order for you to definitely decide to attack?

#### J011yroger

##### Talk Tennis Guru
It doesn't matter where the ball lands. If I am set up with my feet I attack, if I am not set up with my feet, I don't.

J

#### FiReFTW

##### Legend
How short is short enough to be attacked for a sitter/floater?
Suppose you’re at the baseline or two feet behind it and rallying and you get a weak ball. How much inside the baseline should the ball land in order for you to definitely decide to attack?
Depends on your ability, pro players will attack even from the baseline if the ball has a high bounce, just take it on shoulder level and flatten it out.

##### G.O.A.T.
How short is short enough to be attacked for a sitter/floater?
Suppose you’re at the baseline or two feet behind it and rallying and you get a weak ball. How much inside the baseline should the ball land in order for you to definitely decide to attack?
Don't be constrained by absolutes; even if someone had the answer, it's not like you're going to stop play so you can measure exactly how far inside the BL you'll be. That's too rigid; too mechanical.

Instead, look at factors like how far inside the BL you'll be, your balance [being inside the BL but off-balance is not a good time to attack], the trajectory of the ball, how much spin there is, how comfortable you are with that particular type of ball, your opponent's positioning and balance, etc. The decision also influenced by how aggressive you are.

I've played against people who can hit winners from behind the BL and others where I dismiss the possibility.

#### FiReFTW

##### Legend
Don't be constrained by absolutes; even if someone had the answer, it's not like you're going to stop play so you can measure exactly how far inside the BL you'll be. That's too rigid; too mechanical.

Instead, look at factors like how far inside the BL you'll be, your balance [being inside the BL but off-balance is not a good time to attack], the trajectory of the ball, how much spin there is, how comfortable you are with that particular type of ball, your opponent's positioning and balance, etc. The decision also influenced by how aggressive you are.

I've played against people who can hit winners from behind the BL and others where I dismiss the possibility.
Great post!

#### Dragy

##### Hall of Fame
Look, you are absolutely comfortable to attack a ball just inside the baseline, being limited to single service box to hit to. Now, if you have full court to hit to, it comes down to how well set you are to pick the ball in the right spot in right time...
It’s just that being closer in technically improves your angles and cuts reaction time for opponent, which allows you to attack from not that balanced position, with not that good of a shot.

#### ptuanminh

##### Hall of Fame
If i get to the ball before it reaches the highest point, i am gonna whack the cr*p out of it.

#### xFullCourtTenniSx

##### Hall of Fame
How short is short enough to be attacked for a sitter/floater?
Suppose you’re at the baseline or two feet behind it and rallying and you get a weak ball. How much inside the baseline should the ball land in order for you to definitely decide to attack?
If you have time, go to a court and have someone feed you 10 balls each crosscourt to different depths. You hit them down the line and keep track of how many you make. If you aren't making 9+ out of 10, then it's not the right shot. Also keep track of how much are you trying to do. Are you trying to hurt your opponent or approach the net.

For most people, anything that lands inside the service box and/or they take 2+ steps inside the baseline to hit it, they should attack the ball by at the very least playing it up the line or hitting a wide angle.

The higher you go, the deeper players can attack from. My friend ran 6 winners in a row on me from the baseline.

##### G.O.A.T.
How short is short enough to be attacked for a sitter/floater?
Suppose you’re at the baseline or two feet behind it and rallying and you get a weak ball. How much inside the baseline should the ball land in order for you to definitely decide to attack?
The ball must be 4’ 5.8” inside of the baseline. Best to freeze time and get the tape measure out during the point to be sure.

#### xFullCourtTenniSx

##### Hall of Fame
The ball must be 4’ 5.8” inside of the baseline. Best to freeze time and get the tape measure out during the point to be sure.
Damn, I'm not good enough to play it so close to the baseline. I need it to be precisely 2.7182818284590452353602874713527 meters inside the baseline. Unfortunately, even if I freeze time, I don't own a measuring device with sufficient precision to determine if it's in the right spot or not.

##### G.O.A.T.
Damn, I'm not good enough to play it so close to the baseline. I need it to be precisely 2.7182818284590452353602874713527 meters inside the baseline. Unfortunately, even if I freeze time, I don't own a measuring device with sufficient precision to determine if it's in the right spot or not.
How naturally logarithmic of you.

#### xFullCourtTenniSx

##### Hall of Fame
How naturally logarithmic of you.
You don't know how much I love you right now.

##### G.O.A.T.

J
Perfect complement to my Pytha-green eggs and ham.

#### Curious

##### Legend
Short balls are no laughing matter!

##### G.O.A.T.
@J011yroger - BTW, you really made me stretch for that one. I'm quite proud of myself.

#### tonylg

##### Hall of Fame
Attacking short balls is so last century.

In the modern game with poly strings and slow courts, you don't attack short balls and come to the net. Rather, you move in, hit an angle cross court, then retreat back to the baseline. You repeat this 7 or 8 times until you are retreating from inside the service box. Then and only then, do you not retreat and take the massive risk that you may be called upon to hit a shoulder high volley into an open court, or worse still, an overhead smash.

##### Bionic Poster
how do you stop the smashing the short ball so hard it goes long ?? can you help ?

C

##### Guest
How short is short enough to be attacked for a sitter/floater?
Suppose you’re at the baseline or two feet behind it and rallying and you get a weak ball. How much inside the baseline should the ball land in order for you to definitely decide to attack?
Anything that lands around the service line. Aside from short angles of coarse

#### 34n

##### Semi-Pro
It doesn't matter where the ball lands. If I am set up with my feet I attack, if I am not set up with my feet, I don't.

J
That is actually very true. Your feet tell when to attack If you can make one or two good steps toward the ball you are poised to attack

#### IowaGuy

##### Hall of Fame
How short is short enough to be attacked for a sitter/floater?
Suppose you’re at the baseline or two feet behind it and rallying and you get a weak ball. How much inside the baseline should the ball land in order for you to definitely decide to attack?
If you feel that you are playing too passive and want to attack more, a good place to start IMHO is to force yourself to attack any ball that lands at or inside of the service line.

My HS coach used to make us play practice matches where we forfeited the point if we didn't attack (and come to net) any ball landing inside the service line. I think it's a good drill to encourage more aggressive tennis...

#### Curious

##### Legend
If you feel that you are playing too passive and want to attack more, a good place to start IMHO is to force yourself to attack any ball that lands at or inside of the service line.

My HS coach used to make us play practice matches where we forfeited the point if we didn't attack (and come to net) any ball landing inside the service line. I think it's a good drill to encourage more aggressive tennis...
Where the ball lands is maybe a little vague as some land on the service line but could be very fast or spinny which makes it harder to attack.
I struggle more with the slowish, pushed balls that land somewhere in the middle of no man’s land, there I’m undecided whether to attack or continue rallying. Maybe worthwhile clarifying what exactly attacking means, I guess there are two ways: go for sharp angle or deep and fast/spinny to force an error and stay back at around the baseline or approach to the net also.
Slow and sitter balls landing very close to the service line are easier in terms of decision making because you simply have only one good option: attack and charge the net. No man’s land is where I get confused.

#### Bender

##### G.O.A.T.
It doesn't matter where the ball lands. If I am set up with my feet I attack, if I am not set up with my feet, I don't.

J

#### xFullCourtTenniSx

##### Hall of Fame
how do you stop the smashing the short ball so hard it goes long ?? can you help ?
I hear this new discovery called topspin helps a lot. Not sure. Sounded pretty complicated to do so I gave up.

#### Wise one

##### Hall of Fame
Attacking short balls is so last century.

In the modern game with poly strings and slow courts, you don't attack short balls and come to the net. Rather, you move in, hit an angle cross court, then retreat back to the baseline. You repeat this 7 or 8 times until you are retreating from inside the service box. Then and only then, do you not retreat and take the massive risk that you may be called upon to hit a shoulder high volley into an open court, or worse still, an overhead smash.
Nope. The court is still the same, and the same tactics still work.

#### J011yroger

##### Talk Tennis Guru
Nope. The court is still the same, and the same tactics still work.
Oh, you two are going to get along famously.

J

#### Wise one

##### Hall of Fame
How short is short enough to be attacked for a sitter/floater?
Suppose you’re at the baseline or two feet behind it and rallying and you get a weak ball. How much inside the baseline should the ball land in order for you to definitely decide to attack?

If the ball lands within the middle 2/3 of the court, around the service line or closer, try to get it at the highest point of the bounce, but even if you can't, slice the ball straight in front of you and move in, then pause (split-step). If the ball lands near the side-line, try a sharp cross-court topspin or drop shot.

##### Bionic Poster
I hear this new discovery called topspin helps a lot. Not sure. Sounded pretty complicated to do so I gave up.
right like we didn't know that one. what I mean is if you come in at full speed, you hit a sitter even with topspin, if you don't hit hit in way front, it will still fly long. and if you put too much topspin then it becomes like sitter topspoin

C

##### Guest
you hit a sitter even with topspin
A true sitter is neither rising nor falling, at its peak of weightlessness. Why on earth would you choose topspin if its higher than the net?

#### FiReFTW

##### Legend
A true sitter is neither rising nor falling, at its peak of weightlessness. Why on earth would you choose topspin if its higher than the net?
If your technique is good then the ball always has decent topspin, but I agree that it makes no sense to pursue topspin in that scenario, you should hit through the ball from behind the ball and through or even down if your really close to the net.

##### Bionic Poster
A true sitter is neither rising nor falling, at its peak of weightlessness. Why on earth would you choose topspin if its higher than the net?
That is very good point. so you should hit it flat hard in front. but if your body is not in control because you are running in as fast as you can, you can hit this bit late, then it flys long

C

##### Guest
you are running in as fast as you can
You have to run fast to get to a sitter? Its like three steps

#### FiReFTW

##### Legend
You have to run fast to get to a sitter? Its like three steps
True but you still should rush to it as fast as possible and then use small adjustment steps, a big mistake from alot of players is they move too slow to the short balls and then they are not positioned well.

C

##### Guest
True but you still should rush to it as fast as possible and then use small adjustment steps, a big mistake from alot of players is they move too slow to the short balls and then they are not positioned well.
Lots of work. Possibilties to overrun and hit late, like Nos said. Better to be lazy, not get caught up in mood (calm attitude) and knock it off the tee. Gonna do it many times

We spend our effort on getting these types of shots, not get surprised when they occur, stick with the plan

#### sredna42

##### Hall of Fame
It doesn't matter where the ball lands. If I am set up with my feet I attack, if I am not set up with my feet, I don't.

J
couldn't you at least give him an answer in fathoms or furlongs or some other pirate measurement?

#### xFullCourtTenniSx

##### Hall of Fame
right like we didn't know that one. what I mean is if you come in at full speed, you hit a sitter even with topspin, if you don't hit hit in way front, it will still fly long. and if you put too much topspin then it becomes like sitter topspoin
I mean, your question answers itself. Just stop hitting the ball so hard that it goes long, OR use more topspin. If you don't like the fact that topspin sits up, then use underspin and stop pretending you have Del Potro's forehand.

The bottom line is you shouldn't be swinging so hard that you don't have control of the ball anymore. This is tennis, it's more akin to playing on the green in golf than being a batter in baseball.

Have you ever tried mini tennis? If you've done it properly while using full strokes and topspin, then you should have no issues with short balls. If your issue is getting to the ball in time, then learn to read the short ball faster and use appropriate crossover footwork to get to the ball in fewer steps.

##### Bionic Poster
I mean, your question answers itself. Just stop hitting the ball so hard that it goes long, OR use more topspin. If you don't like the fact that topspin sits up, then use underspin and stop pretending you have Del Potro's forehand.

The bottom line is you shouldn't be swinging so hard that you don't have control of the ball anymore. This is tennis, it's more akin to playing on the green in golf than being a batter in baseball.

Have you ever tried mini tennis? If you've done it properly while using full strokes and topspin, then you should have no issues with short balls. If your issue is getting to the ball in time, then learn to read the short ball faster and use appropriate crossover footwork to get to the ball in fewer steps.
if I hit it softer, our opponents will get to it and hit a passing shot

#### xFullCourtTenniSx

##### Hall of Fame
if I hit it softer, our opponents will get to it and hit a passing shot
And how's that a problem? One of the most common drills is approach shot into volley into overhead.

##### Bionic Poster
And how's that a problem? One of the most common drills is approach shot into volley into overhead.
if you are any good, all short balls shoudl be put away

#### Wise one

##### Hall of Fame
if you are any good, all short balls shoudl be put away
Nope. They are to be attacked, yielding a shot that can be put away.

Unbalance.....attack....kill

#### Wise one

##### Hall of Fame
I'll take "things losers say" for \$500 Alex.

J
And in other news, scientists have discovered that water is wet...

#### xFullCourtTenniSx

##### Hall of Fame
if you are any good, all short balls shoudl be put away
Then everyone must suck. Every serve must land inside the service line, yet the pros are unable to put the ball away with their return.

##### Bionic Poster
Then everyone must suck. Every serve must land inside the service line, yet the pros are unable to put the ball away with their return.
LOL. serve is completely different

#### ByeByePoly

##### G.O.A.T.
This is the true value of TTW ... a place to express one's inner smartass.

#### blablavla

##### Hall of Fame
if I hit it softer, our opponents will get to it and hit a passing shot
are you playing every time vs opponents of Federer, Djokovic, Nadal, Thiem caliber?

in the reality where I live, there is a bunch of opponents, vs whom hitting the ball at 70% of max swing is much better choice than trying to hit at 80-90% of my max swing.
and guess what, if I have to hit every ball as hard as I can, it means that I have little to no chance vs that opponent.

on a different note, yes, sure, hitting at 70% or 60% means that once a while my opponent will hit a passing shot, but usually I'll have a chance to volley.
and if I know that I can't volley, or I am playing vs someone who is so f***ing great at passing shots, then I might retreat back as opposed to attacking the net.

#### BounceHitBounceHit

##### Legend
It doesn't matter where the ball lands. If I am set up with my feet I attack, if I am not set up with my feet, I don't.

J
This!

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#### BounceHitBounceHit

##### Legend
If you feel that you are playing too passive and want to attack more, a good place to start IMHO is to force yourself to attack any ball that lands at or inside of the service line.

My HS coach used to make us play practice matches where we forfeited the point if we didn't attack (and come to net) any ball landing inside the service line. I think it's a good drill to encourage more aggressive tennis...
We did that drill too.....

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