Directionals question

Discussion in 'Tennis Tips/Instruction' started by HunterST, Dec 6, 2009.

  1. HunterST

    HunterST Hall of Fame

    Jun 12, 2009
    Alright so I started a thread asking for singles advice and I was told the wardlaw directionals are helpful. My question is where should I strive to be standing when utilizing these.

    Basically when I was hit shots that crossed my body and therefore required a cross court shot, I was standing standing to one side, not in the center. For example when my opponent and I were trading backhands that wardlaw said should be cross court I was standing towards the backhand side.

    Instead should I go over, hit the backhand cross court and then try to recover to the center of the court?
    Last edited: Dec 6, 2009
  2. CallOfBooty

    CallOfBooty Rookie

    Aug 25, 2009
    Nothing can explain the directionals better than a video that has an expert explaining it with a diagram.

    Do not skimp out on ANY of this video! If you truly want to understand directionals and shot selection in a simple way, this 10 minute video is the easiest way in doing so.
  3. 5263

    5263 G.O.A.T.

    Mar 31, 2008
    Near, but not quite to center.
  4. ms87

    ms87 Rookie

    May 21, 2009
    dont recover to the centre of the court, recover to the point that minimizes the sum of the squares of your opponent's available angles (adjusted for your opponents' tendencies, your weaker side, etc)
  5. SystemicAnomaly

    SystemicAnomaly G.O.A.T.

    Feb 25, 2006
    Stuck in the Matrix somewhere in Santa Clara CA
    For this discussion, I'll assume that we are talking about singles play.

    Your ideal recovery position, more often than not, will be somewhere other than the centre of the court. This is really independent of the Wardlaw directionals. Your recovery location will be primarily dictated by where you hit your (last) shot. If your last shot was hit up the middle of the court, then you should recover to the centre. If your shot went somewhere else (as it usually should), then your ideal recover location will most likely not be the centre.

    I can't imagine that most people will know what to make of this answer. Hopefully, I can make it a bit clearer. Your (theoretical) ideal recovery position will be a location that bisects your opponent's angle of possible returns (or most probable returns). If you are close to the baseline and you have hit a x-court shot then you would not need to recover all the way to the centre. If you bisect the angle of possible returns, then you would recover to a location that is something like a meter or so short of the center location.

    On the other hand, if you are close to the baseline and have hit down the line, then your theoretical ideal recovery position will be somewhat past the centre of the baseline (in order to bisect that angle of possible returns). Realistically, however, you may not be able to reach that ideal location when your opponent is hitting their response in this situation. In this case, you should try to reach that location but you should probably split-step before you actually get there. This split-step may very likely be close to the centre of the baseline in many situations where you have hit down the line.

    As ms87 indicates, the ideal recovery location (dictated by the geometry of the situation) would actually be adjusted for other factors such as opponent's tendencies, your own preferences, etc. This is a refinement of the idea of moving to the geometric centre (the middle of the angle of possible returns).

    If this still does not make sense, don't hesitate to say so.
  6. phoenicks

    phoenicks Professional

    Mar 5, 2008
    that is so regression, LOL:)
  7. athiker

    athiker Hall of Fame

    Dec 2, 2009
    Thank you, thank you, thank you. I watched that video and the next one in the series (plus a couple others nearby). They really explained things well and you can SEE what they mean via the video. I'll link to all 4 below, but the first 2 cover the basic idea well I think.

    I had read about directionals, high percentage tennis, etc. here and on various other sites and had gotten some of the concepts. Stuff like wait for a short ball, try to hit a "hurt" ball to approach behind instead of going for an outright winner, etc. but this really made a lot of sense to me. I never understood the "across my body" lingo change, don't change stuff, but this I understand and and is simple enough to remember in a match. I can understand court position better than thinking about something crossing my body. I don't know if this is true Wardlaw directionals or just basic tennis strategy, but its the clearest thing I've seen in my limited experience.

    Here are the two links:

    Video 1:

    Video 2:

    Video 3:

    Video 4:

    Here is my stripped down cliff note summary: Hit cross court until you get a short ball and then hit the approach shot down the line.

    Side Notes:

    *You want to hit your approach shot off a short ball.

    *Since angle typically begets angle, hitting groundstrokes cross court allows you to move the least amount of distance to bisect the opponent's likely field of return angle. You do not recover all the way to center each time, you shade to the cross court side. How much depends on how angled your shot was.

    *On an approach shot however, hitting cross court makes you run much further to cover the likely reply; therefore approach shots are to be hit DTL.

    *If you S&V and you don't make it in far enough to hit a winning open court volley, treat it as an approach shot, and hit it DTL.

    *If your opponent insists on changing your cross court rally shots to DTL (and doesn't approach) then by hitting cross court yourself you will run him to death and keep him on the defensive. This can set up and open court winner, a "hit behind" him winner or produce a short ball approach shot opportunity.

    *If you do hit a defensive shot DTL (instead of cross court), make sure you loop it to give yourself time to recover to the best position.

    *On center rally balls you can decide whether to hit to opponent's forehand or backhand and thus start a fh/fh rally or bh/bh rally. Choose the one that has given you the most success in the match.

    *Its even okay to hit an approach shot off a short center ball either to a weak wing or even occasionally straight ahead.

    *All these extra notes really flow off the main statement above...hit cross court until you get a short ball and then hit that ball down the line.

    ***Did I get the gist of this correct? !

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