Changing direction of your shot at the last moment

alex527

Semi-Pro
So just something I thought about while watching the Wawrinka match. Let's say you get a relatively short, slow ball-- one where it's a clean winner unless your opponent guesses right. My question is, is there an ideal way to position yourself to hitting the ball? I.e., setting yourself up to have best the chance of hitting either down the line vs cross court at the last second, depending on where you see your opponent guessing.

For example, in the case of a ball in the Ad side, is it easier to set up as if though you're going to commit to an inside-out shot but you want the option to go anywhere? To me it seems like you can more easily shorten the swing from that set-up to instead go down the line, vs the other way around.

So is there any optimal way of doing this, or am I overthinking it? Lol
 

Curious

Legend
So just something I thought about while watching the Wawrinka match. Let's say you get a relatively short, slow ball-- one where it's a clean winner unless your opponent guesses right. My question is, is there an ideal way to position yourself to hitting the ball? I.e., setting yourself up to have best the chance of hitting either down the line vs cross court at the last second, depending on where you see your opponent guessing.

For example, in the case of a ball in the Ad side, is it easier to set up as if though you're going to commit to an inside-out shot but you want the option to go anywhere? To me it seems like you can more easily shorten the swing from that set-up to instead go down the line, vs the other way around.

So is there any optimal way of doing this, or am I overthinking it? Lol
I guess there are two possibilities here. A “fake” backswing a little too early to see where the opponent is moving or a little late forward swing. I’m just speculating though.
 

Sir Weed

Professional
For example, in the case of a ball in the Ad side, is it easier to set up as if though you're going to commit to an inside-out shot but you want the option to go anywhere? To me it seems like you can more easily shorten the swing from that set-up to instead go down the line, vs the other way around.
cross court -> down the line -> inside out

If you go the other way round you won't be able to get behind the ball and therefore you'd have to improvise using something like a lasso forehand.

So what I do in this situation is

* set my body up for cc without making a decision yet what I'm going for
* use peripheral vision to try to see what my opponent is doing
* go for appropriate shot adjusting my position if I won't hit cc

IMO
 

Dragy

Hall of Fame
You want to hit unpredictable, disguised shot, or you want a pause to break the rhythm and see opponent try to guess?
If the former, you have the intention well before the shot, but hide it, like coiling big into neutral stance, yet uncoil early, rotate more, hook it CC. Or you set up more open, behind the ball, yet let it fly a tad more past you, and swing more outward, and delay racquet recoil a tad to fade the ball I/O.
If the latter, provoking the opponent to move early... you need a true sitter.
- Prepare higher and early, then drop lower when he expects you to start forward swing, drop with the ball falling.
- Use your movement, redirect it to ether stay behind the ball a bit and hit CC, or push yourself a bit more past and away of the ball to hit I/O. Don’t prepare frozen with your feet.
- As you hit to open court behind the opponent who departed to the other side, hit it easy, guide with wrist or steep path, or kind of push to get right direction. Don’t bunt, but hit casually, with effort for finesse, not powers.
 

pencilcheck

Semi-Pro
It's all in the position, contact point and core rotation + timing. Give yourself some room then you should be able to at least switch direction last second.
 

34n

Semi-Pro
So just something I thought about while watching the Wawrinka match. Let's say you get a relatively short, slow ball-- one where it's a clean winner unless your opponent guesses right. My question is, is there an ideal way to position yourself to hitting the ball? I.e., setting yourself up to have best the chance of hitting either down the line vs cross court at the last second, depending on where you see your opponent guessing.
Everything is in your footwork.
This exact question is discussed here starting from 2:15

 

bostontennis

New User
i think it's overstating the disguise side. even 5.5 don't need to disguise much. all you need to do is train to decide hitting direction based on your opponent movement, and then execute your hitting without hesitation.
it's more complicated than simple inside out hitting. it adds two things on top: observe and decision, AND no hesitation.
 

Sir Weed

Professional
cross court -> down the line -> inside out

If you go the other way round you won't be able to get behind the ball and therefore you'd have to improvise using something like a lasso forehand.

So what I do in this situation is

* set my body up for cc without making a decision yet what I'm going for
* use peripheral vision to try to see what my opponent is doing
* go for appropriate shot adjusting my position if I won't hit cc

IMO
Addition re footwork: As I wrote I set up for cc (open stance), so if I go for inside out I do a cross over step (right foot in front of left foot; I'm right handed) in order to be able to hit from an open stance (open relative to shot direction). My consideration is that crossing over with right behind left implies having to hit from neutral stance without proper weight transfer into the shot.

Again, IMHO and the situation here is a dead ball somewhere in nowhere land.

It's an interesting topic regarding footwork.
 
Last edited:

golden chicken

Professional
My observation has been that players with faster, more modern, open stance strokes are naturally disguised when compared to the old school, linear, neutral stance strokes.

I think this is because the old school gives away the direction by moving the body in the target direction before contact, whereas the modern player merely has to adjust his timing so contact happens a little earlier or a little later using the same circular swing path.
 

IowaGuy

Hall of Fame
My observation has been that players with faster, more modern, open stance strokes are naturally disguised when compared to the old school, linear, neutral stance strokes.

I think this is because the old school gives away the direction by moving the body in the target direction before contact, whereas the modern player merely has to adjust his timing so contact happens a little earlier or a little later using the same circular swing path.
Didn’t Ken Rosewall often hit behind guys with his old-school BH, wrong-footing them?
 

ubercat

Semi-Pro
I m speculating. If you line up for an old school FH with your feet pointing towards the back hand corner you could always step out with your rear foot and now you are pointing straight up and down the court.
 

StringSnapper

Hall of Fame
So just something I thought about while watching the Wawrinka match. Let's say you get a relatively short, slow ball-- one where it's a clean winner unless your opponent guesses right. My question is, is there an ideal way to position yourself to hitting the ball? I.e., setting yourself up to have best the chance of hitting either down the line vs cross court at the last second, depending on where you see your opponent guessing.

For example, in the case of a ball in the Ad side, is it easier to set up as if though you're going to commit to an inside-out shot but you want the option to go anywhere? To me it seems like you can more easily shorten the swing from that set-up to instead go down the line, vs the other way around.

So is there any optimal way of doing this, or am I overthinking it? Lol
I think body positioning can give away how you hit it. I like to position myself to hit a forehand DTL and then hook it at the last moment using a lasso forehand (essentially allows you to hit later).

But I dont do this all the time you gotta stay phresh
 

heninfan99

Talk Tennis Guru
So just something I thought about while watching the Wawrinka match. Let's say you get a relatively short, slow ball-- one where it's a clean winner unless your opponent guesses right. My question is, is there an ideal way to position yourself to hitting the ball? I.e., setting yourself up to have best the chance of hitting either down the line vs cross court at the last second, depending on where you see your opponent guessing.

For example, in the case of a ball in the Ad side, is it easier to set up as if though you're going to commit to an inside-out shot but you want the option to go anywhere? To me it seems like you can more easily shorten the swing from that set-up to instead go down the line, vs the other way around.

So is there any optimal way of doing this, or am I overthinking it? Lol
There are two effective ways that come to mind.
1. Have a very open stance on most(not all) of your shots like Hugo Dellien who Nadal faced in the first round.
2. The ability to hide the ball, Hsieh Su-wei, Adrian Mannarino and Tomic do this well. How to do it is tricky. Preparing the racquet early seems to be key.
 
Top