Help with slow pace balls

#1
TT,

I've finally gotten a chance to play league/ladder ball, and I'm having a great time. However, I seem to be really struggling with opponents who hit with little to no pace. I'm either not bringing my racket up high enough, or not putting enough spin on balls and they're going long. Does anyone have some videos or tips for those balls with little pace and spin?

Thanks
 
#2
It was probably an old issue of Tennis magazine where I found a tip that's stuck with me for years. The fundamental thought is to avoid trying to add any more than 5% pace to any ball (aside from a high sitter up near the net).

Regular rally balls with moderate pace will somewhat scoot through the court and fly into our hitting zone. All we have to do is execute a decent stroke with good timing and much of the energy in our own shots there comes from redirecting the ball in the other direction.

If that ball isn't scooting through the court though, it leaves us susceptible to getting stuck waiting for it to come to us. When it doesn't, we might stretch or scoop at that slow ball too much and lose our best contact point, proper swing path, etc. Be aware and on the lookout for this slower ball so that you don't overcook it with too big of a swing and also keep your feet shuffling so that a "stall ball" doesn't bait you into reaching for it too much.
 
#4
biggest issue i had/have with slow/no pace balls/sitters, is not hitting through the ball..
normally, we're so used to hitting fast-ish balls that come to us... no need to move much, just plant and swing... for intermediates, they many even exaggerate the winshield wiper motion (ie. not follow all the way through to the target).
but when you get a no pace ball, which is also usually short, you need to hit through the ball, which usually means hitting while moving my body forward through the contact.

this is at least one reason why pushers are successful... ie. they force you to move forward to the ball, when folks are typically good at moving laterally.

[edit] it's also why i suggest everyone spend some time doing dead ball feeds tossed say 10ft above you, so you can get used to:
a) moving forward
b) timing a ball dropping vertically through strikezone
c) extend through and weight moving forward through contact
 
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#5
If you're playing against a pusher hitting with very predictable spin and pace, then maybe you can try throwing in more drop shots. Drop shots should be a lot easier to execute against constantly slow pace balls.
 
#6
If you're playing against a pusher hitting with very predictable spin and pace, then maybe you can try throwing in more drop shots. Drop shots should be a lot easier to execute against constantly slow pace balls.
problem with hitting drop shots, is that after the first one, it'll get anticipated....
you need to back it up with the ability to put away the short ball.
once i realize you're having trouble putting away the short ball (eg. as the OP is saying), i'll just play close to the baseline, and wait for the putaway-mistake,.. or have time to reach all but the best droppers.
also, for me, consistent droppers are tough... ie. not a shot that it practiced regularly.
 

dimkin

Professional
#7
timing is also an issue on those slow pace balls ... when you are grooved for a certain ratio of fwd speed and vertical speed (of normal ground strokes) when a ball comes (call it a semi-deep lob) with a lot of height (and little fwd speed) it's so tough to time it ... actually both if you try to take it off the bounce or if you let it drop ... which in itself is hard as it may bounce really high and take you enough off the court ... I often find that it's easier for me to take a forehand in the air (for a swinging volley)
(less so on the backhand) than to let it bounce . . .
 
#8
biggest issue i had/have with slow/no pace balls/sitters, is not hitting through the ball..
normally, we're so used to hitting fast-ish balls that come to us... no need to move much, just plant and swing... for intermediates, they many even exaggerate the winshield wiper motion (ie. not follow all the way through to the target).
but when you get a no pace ball, which is also usually short, you need to hit through the ball, which usually means hitting while moving my body forward through the contact.

this is at least one reason why pushers are successful... ie. they force you to move forward to the ball, when folks are typically good at moving laterally.

I think this is my biggest issue. When I get a slow ball that isn't "perfectly" in my wheel house it's like I want to cradle it and just push the ball over, resulting in the ball going long, instead of loosening my arm and letting the racket do the work.
 
#9
I think this is my biggest issue. When I get a slow ball that isn't "perfectly" in my wheel house it's like I want to cradle it and just push the ball over, resulting in the ball going long, instead of loosening my arm and letting the racket do the work.
Another tip.... if i'm making contact with a ball that inside the court (say at the service line), but below the net, i'll modify my backswing so it's shorter (still with a full follow through)... and exaggerate the topspin... this is an issue for alot of people that don't have good topspin mechanics...
 

zalive

Hall of Fame
#10
TT,

I've finally gotten a chance to play league/ladder ball, and I'm having a great time. However, I seem to be really struggling with opponents who hit with little to no pace. I'm either not bringing my racket up high enough, or not putting enough spin on balls and they're going long. Does anyone have some videos or tips for those balls with little pace and spin?

Thanks
I'll take a wild guess: what's the tipical height of those slow balls that you hit (and have trouble of getting in)?

If these are high balls you have typically trouble with, then error might be that you either don't apply correct swing path (it should be horizontal for high balls) or you don't lift racquet's face mainly, but instead you try to lift the whole racquet like you want to get it to a similar position as when hitting lower balls. The result will be that your ball will clear the net much higher than it should be, so no wonder if it goes long.

And yes, you should bring your racquet's head high enough in preparation, in this case. If you don't do this you'll be swinging up instead of horizontally.
 
#11
I'll take a wild guess: what's the tipical height of those slow balls that you hit (and have trouble of getting in)?

If these are high balls you have typically trouble with, then error might be that you either don't apply correct swing path (it should be horizontal for high balls) or you don't lift racquet's face mainly, but instead you try to lift the whole racquet like you want to get it to a similar position as when hitting lower balls. The result will be that your ball will clear the net much higher than it should be, so no wonder if it goes long.

And yes, you should bring your racquet's head high enough in preparation, in this case. If you don't do this you'll be swinging up instead of horizontally.
If I remember correctly from last night, most of them are low balls, as they don't have a lot of spin to kick up in the court. But that is a good point about balls being high, which I can definitely see that I do.
 
#12
If I remember correctly from last night, most of them are low balls, as they don't have a lot of spin to kick up in the court. But that is a good point about balls being high, which I can definitely see that I do.
If the balls are really low and closer to the net (eg. knee level or below) then you pretty much have to slice it back. If they're low but not extremely low then you just have to use less drive and more topspin, aim for a moderate height depending on how far you are from the net and get it deep enough with some margin, so at the very least you aren't getting punished on your approach.
 
#13
Footwork. Lots of it. And anticipation. Know quickly where the ball will land and how it will bounce and get in position quickly (and if the bounce could be iffy, be light on your feet and ready to adjust your positioning instantly after the ball bounces if it has a funny bounce).

And hit through the ball at moderate (not high) pace with spin for control. Alternatively, spin the crap out of the ball. Although one method is going to take way more energy than the other. Can you guess which? (The second one.) With whichever method you go with, just make sure your emphasis is on placement rather than how hard or how much spin you put on the ball. Neither is highly likely to end the point outright but are unlikely to miss if done properly. The way you punish slow balls is to make them run by placing the ball well (deep and to the side). As you get better, you put some pace so that they have to run faster. As you get better than that, you put even more pace and end the point if they aren't fast enough. As you get better than that, you're basically Roger Federer and you've hit a winner.
 
C

Chadillac

Guest
#14
Your falling for the decline trick.

There are three stages.

On the rise, at the peak (lightest spot) and on the decline off the bounce. Each ball needs a different type of stroke.

Focus on rolling the ball more against weak opponents. If you hit through the ball on the decline it always goes deep.

Clay courters do this crap, hit the ball short so you see it on the decline. Shots landing inside the service box, while hardcourters are closer to the baseline.
 

zalive

Hall of Fame
#15
@rectoralex : wild guess was not right then lol, but nevermind :)
Against lower balls, what helps me is keeping my knees bent and aiming to clear the net lower, which is especially important if ball is shorter. But it makes it easier to clear the net lower too when you're closer to the net.
 
#16
Welcome to my world, playing at a low level I have seen everything slow pace weird spin ball known. So here is my my maybe not so useful advice.

1)Tennis is not a competition to see who can hit the ball hardest. If I play a big hitter the first thing I do junkball them, if they can't handle it, happy days. I will win with ease just by prodding the ball back.

2)Often people who slowball like pace, they can deflect it back, sit on the baseline. I play several people who hit and serve short. I use to try and blast it past them till I realised they loved pace and just deflected it. They hated it when I hit an angled drop shot that pulled them into the net. They either didn't reach it or did nothing with it if they did.

3)Move forward, I use to panic on the slowball, because I thought I had to hit a winner, especially if it pulled me forward from the baseline. Now I hit it as an approach shot, using the volley to finish the point.

4)Come to the net, especially if you're playing a dropshotter style player. Serve volley on some points, it will force the slowballer to go for more on the return just in case.

5) Construct the rally, placing the ball is more important than pace. If your opponent has a weaker wing, aim for that. Always keep them moving, it is harder to hit a ball on the run.

6)Practice, if you can't consistently get a slow ball back, you need to practice more.

7)If you really get fedup, forget it is a match and go for a winner off every ball. This can be fun, it works about one time in three for me, but it is satisfying to completely blow a pusher off the court when it does work. Probably not a great idea in a league mind, you will lose allot of matches.
 

zalive

Hall of Fame
#17
I like zaph's advices :)

If you attack the net my advice is not to go too deep, stay close to the service line, since it's likely that junkballer will try to volley you much more than he will blast a passing shot. You can deal with lobs successfully from the service line and you can get to any ball which is not hit with pace. If you're good with overheads and can volley a bit it's usually good enough to break the game of anyones who tries just to push, bunt back, junk ball, moon ball, lob, dink...
 

Nellie

Hall of Fame
#18
No-pace balls are super easy to practice - just toss up a ball in front of you and hit it on the bounce (give it a little height so you have time to move and hit). This allows you to practice the footwork for moving forward and into the ball and also to get use to having to apply the pace/spin. I particularly like to do this on my backhand side because my two-hander does not have a lot of finesse and this drill forces me to feel the ball/ keep it on the strings.
 

dimkin

Professional
#19
No-pace balls are super easy to practice - just toss up a ball in front of you and hit it on the bounce (give it a little height so you have time to move and hit). This allows you to practice the footwork for moving forward and into the ball and also to get use to having to apply the pace/spin. I particularly like to do this on my backhand side because my two-hander does not have a lot of finesse and this drill forces me to feel the ball/ keep it on the strings.
Not sure they are so easy to practice - I tend to time self feeds very well ... they don't challenge the footwork and it's tough to give yourself say underspin on the toss . . .
 

anubis

Hall of Fame
#20
TT,

I've finally gotten a chance to play league/ladder ball, and I'm having a great time. However, I seem to be really struggling with opponents who hit with little to no pace. I'm either not bringing my racket up high enough, or not putting enough spin on balls and they're going long. Does anyone have some videos or tips for those balls with little pace and spin?

Thanks
you have answered one part of your question by admitting that you're not putting enough spin on the ball. If you were able to control the amount of spin, then you could in theory hit the ball however hard you want and it will land in.

Therefore, that is the answer: simply hit with more spin.

how, how do you accomplish this? the first thing I'd try is to always catch the racquet with your left hand over your left shoulder when you're finished with the stroke. The theory behind it is, it is simply impossible to hit a completely flat forehand if you're catching the racquet with your left hand over your left shoulder. however, it is very easy to hit a flat ball if you're finishing over your left elbow, or as low as your left hip.

Practice that. Should be pretty easy for you to practice on your own with drop-feeds. Just drop the ball in front of you and hit it. obviously the ball has 0 pace on it, so if you can hit a pretty hard ball with lots of spin from a drop volley, then you can do the same with a low pace ball coming at you.

the nice thing is, the habit works equally as well against fast paced balls: you seriously didn't think I was going to suggest to only use a lot of top spin on low paced balls, did you? :)
 
#21
Not sure they are so easy to practice - I tend to time self feeds very well ... they don't challenge the footwork and it's tough to give yourself say underspin on the toss . . .
how do you self feed?
when i don't have anyone to play with, and i'm fiending to play, i self feed.
I'll stand by the sideline, and toss a ball high in the air to the opposite corner...
I'll toss over my head to force me to back pedal.
I'll toss way out by the service line,
etc... key is that you have to force yourself to move to the ball (>5 steps)... if you're just feeding in front of you within 1 or 2 steps, that's a waste (unless you're beginner just learning the stroke).
I find this very challenging every time. basically i'm trying to simulate spanish style of feeding
 
#22
The key to playing against slow hitters is to move your feet more and be more precise with your racquet work. Problem that lot of people have with slow hitters is that they don't move enough to create energy and opportunity.
 
#23
As some have mentioned, it starts with footwork! Nothing good can happen if you do not get yourself in a good position to hit the ball. So that is the first thing that needs to happen. You want to get set up so the ball is in your strike zone. Of course, there will be a lot of variance in regards to ball height ... But the premise is always the same... Move your feet and get into the best spot to strike the ball.

Past this, you actually need a good stroke. I hit with topspin. You should be able to swing fast, heavy topspin to drive the ball into the corner. If your technique is poor, you will not be able to hit a strong "proper" shot. Period. No pace junk balls require solid strokes to add your own pace, spin and placement. If you have any aspirations of playing over 4.0, then you will need to work to develop the technique needed to hit "well" and crush those junk balls! It is fun when it starts happening!

I had the same problem as you described. What I decided to do was seek out those junk ballers. Not hard to find them.. Many 3.5 zone players play with an unorthodox technique. Especially the older players who have been junk balling for 40 years! They are really good at it! They can keep the ball in play ... Chip here, chop there, slice dice, lob, etc etc. I knew my technique was flawed when those kind of players beat me. Bit I refused to play "that" game. For me blocking the ball back, chipping and slicing all day ... No fun. I enjoy hitting a strong topspin shot ... A well struck ball.

Well, I kept at it. Mind you, I moved to Florida... Year round tennis. I have been playing the pushers for three years straight! I finally improved enough to really crush those balls. Btw, I am 50 now. And hitting better than ever.

In sum, no shortcuts. Work on your technique. Those consistent pushers will beat you until your learn consistency. Consistency with a well struck ball is the goal. And for me is the most fun.

Ps. When you do hit with 4.5 or better players, you will find that rhythm that is really fun. No way to enjoy that until you get your technique where it needs to be. Which means you need to commit to trying to hit the ball properly, and never ever resort to the blocking, pushing, poor technique way of playing. (unless that style of play makes you happy!)
 
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#24
As a lot of posters have already rightly said good footwork to the ball when it's shorter and lower pace. Means that you will have recover & split well after every shot in case the next is short. You'll need to hit more top spin to keep it in the court but you will have to lower your net clearance as well to avoid hitting long. A rally ball from the base will have a greater net clearance. Follow the ball into net to finish the point or pressure an error. Be ready for overheads. Against this sort of player looking to go forward positively sends a message that short junk will treated accordingly.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 
#26
Generating pace is hard and it is easy to make errors, I concentrate on just getting it back deep with topspin not putting too much pace on it. I'm sure better players can hammer them but I'm not there yet.
 
#28
I was terrible with slow / spinless / short replies from opponents, and the thing that helped me mostly get over that is swinging faster with less hammering on the ball. I eliminate the punch I use from the baseline to get depth and instead just spin the hell out of it with a faster, wristier, more timing-based swing. It does take much more careful timing than my usual shot, though.

Most people tend to muscle the ball too much and would benefit from more racket head speed in general.
 
#29
I was terrible with slow / spinless / short replies from opponents, and the thing that helped me mostly get over that is swinging faster with less hammering on the ball. I eliminate the punch I use from the baseline to get depth and instead just spin the hell out of it with a faster, wristier, more timing-based swing. It does take much more careful timing than my usual shot, though.
I am the master at framing the ball when I try this!
 
#30
I am the master at framing the ball when I try this!
I hit it sort of like a wristy serve return. I eliminate a lot of the backswing / arm elements that I would normally have hitting from the baseline and focus on making good contact.

I think of the running forward into the ball as generating almost the same amount of power as twisting / using arm from the baseline. So all I need to do is make good contact and get lots of wristy spin to bring it into the court.

It could also be thought of almost like a volley, adding wrist for spin right as I connect with the ball.

Hope that helps!
 

Zodd

Hall of Fame
#31
TT,

I've finally gotten a chance to play league/ladder ball, and I'm having a great time. However, I seem to be really struggling with opponents who hit with little to no pace. I'm either not bringing my racket up high enough, or not putting enough spin on balls and they're going long. Does anyone have some videos or tips for those balls with little pace and spin?

Thanks
Most posters above have nailed it pretty good. First I wonder if the type of low pace shots you face in the matches would also bother you in practice? If not then it's to a large extent mental which is what i have struggled with in the past when facing opponents like that. The extremely slow pace makes you hesitant and tense which in turn hinders your footwork and overall technique and timing, worst case scenario basically your whole game starts to fall apart

For me the following is what I keep in mind:

Mentally

1. Keep reminding yourself to relax and not hesitate, neither on serve or during points

Technique wise

2. Footwork - keeping this up at all times will make it easier to do 3

3. Commit to each and every shot and swing through contact on every type of shot like you would in practice

Best of luck OP!
 

dimkin

Professional
#33
Most posters above have nailed it pretty good. First I wonder if the type of low pace shots you face in the matches would also bother you in practice? If not then it's to a large extent mental which is what i have struggled with in the past when facing opponents like that. The extremely slow pace makes you hesitant and tense which in turn hinders your footwork and overall technique and timing, worst case scenario basically your whole game starts to fall apart

For me the following is what I keep in mind:

Mentally

1. Keep reminding yourself to relax and not hesitate, neither on serve or during points

Technique wise

2. Footwork - keeping this up at all times will make it easier to do 3

3. Commit to each and every shot and swing through contact on every type of shot like you would in practice

Best of luck OP!
I keep repeating myself in the games - TRUST YOUR SWING!!!
 

mucat

Hall of Fame
#34
No-pace balls are super easy to practice - just toss up a ball in front of you and hit it on the bounce (give it a little height so you have time to move and hit). This allows you to practice the footwork for moving forward and into the ball and also to get use to having to apply the pace/spin. I particularly like to do this on my backhand side because my two-hander does not have a lot of finesse and this drill forces me to feel the ball/ keep it on the strings.
I does the same thing. Throw the ball up high in a general area, run to it and nail the sucker. I think I usually take a few steps back while it is in the air, after the ball bounced I move to it and hit. And there are many variety of ways, sometimes I will not move back if I want to practice high balls.

One tip I can give is do not over-hit, don't kill it. Use your normal swing speed, not faster, not slower, sometimes just your normal groundstrokes will do. You will hit harder as you practice more and got better.
 
#35
Your falling for the decline trick.

There are three stages.

On the rise, at the peak (lightest spot) and on the decline off the bounce. Each ball needs a different type of stroke.

Focus on rolling the ball more against weak opponents. If you hit through the ball on the decline it always goes deep.

Clay courters do this crap, hit the ball short so you see it on the decline. Shots landing inside the service box, while hardcourters are closer to the baseline.
I think this is a very good insight. It is easy to drive a pusher's ball long, then you begin to get tight and worry about UEs and start pushing yourself.

It is largely a matter of technique. My hitting partner is a 5.5 and he can nail these slow balls for clean winners almost like clockwork. The ranked juniors I see training practice putting these away all the time.
 
#36
Some of my regular practice partners have periods when they hit slower balls but they're often pretty deep. Since this is just practice, my usualy response is to hit a heavy topspin groundstroke that's pretty high though it doesn't necessarily have a lot of pace on it. I adopted the approach that Murray takes on balls that are short or look like they might be short. He moves in with his weight on his back foot in preparation for the shot. If it's a normal ball or a little shorter, then he can just shift his weight to the front foot a bit faster through his stroke. If it's quite a bit shorter (less pace or more slice than expected), then he takes a little hop towards the ball and then hits his stroke.

If you want to hit with more topspin, get down and under the ball and use your legs and arm(s) to lift.

I use a really powerful racquet so I can use a short backswing and stroke and it makes it easier to make adjustments late if I have to.

The slow balls often give you enough time to run around your backhand so that's one thing to take advantage of. You need good footwork to execute on that.
 
#37
This is a very old thread. But if someone stumbles upon this here's some help.

Stand in between service line and base line. Hit the ball up slightly above where you normally toss adding slice to your shot so the ball moves towards the baseline after bounce. Wait for the ball to drop after the bounce and hit it. Try variation of pace and angles. This drill should get you comfortable with hitting slow pace balls.

Put targets and focus on getting 10 balls(100%) on the target and then move to other targets to complete the drill. If you miss your target your count goes back to 0. It's that simple.
 

ChaelAZ

Hall of Fame
#38
I seem to be really struggling with opponents who hit with little to no pace.
For me it is always letting my footwork slow down or stop because somehow mentally it matches the pace of the shot - so slow balls equates to slow movement. So my biggest tip is to keep the feet moving. Not overly hopping or such, but active. One way I do this is when someone is pushing I have time to get back behind the ball an extra step then time my adjustment steps to move forward into every ball. this keep me from setting too early too. I also work to keep balls lower on my returns and ground stroke because in most cases it seem to get me a short ball back often enough for put-away shots, or at least something more aggressive.
 
#39
Many good posts above already pointed out about some really good points like hitting through the ball, moving the body forward, footwork, anticipation, spin, not trying to overhit etc.

But I have not seen anyone mention about one important thing. Patience, and point building. When you see those slow balls, the first reaction for an inexperienced players is "hei it is my chance for a outright winner". But in fact your opponent has tons of recovery time, and if you are not a huge level up than your opponent, your chances for a clean winner is very low. So why go for an no-reward/huge-risk shot? Build the point. How difficult is for you to push the opponent to a corner, in a couple of shots, via nice and steady shots, just let him hit the ball back a few times, but with purpose of gaining court position. Then the court will open up for you to finish the point, without making a huge cut at the ball.

When the ball is slow, the opponent has tons of recovery time, and so you are really working with a shorter court on his side. And if you try to hit fast without any purpose, your side of the court widens (because you have less time to recover if the opponent redirects). So assuming same level of play, you are playing highrisk/norward trying to blast through. So it is time to build the point, knowing that you can win the point with normal strokes, by opening up the court. Once you are relaxed (since you are not making that many mistakes anymore), the pace/punch will come naturally on those shots.

struggling with opponents who hit with little to no pace
 

WarrenMP

Professional
#40
Here was a tip that I used to improve on slow balls. It is best just to through a ball out high in front of you. Using your foot work, chase down the ball and try to hit a decent shot. The lesson is to get you to move in on the ball instead of waiting for the ball to come to you. A lot of miss hits are due to slow footwork.
 

Traffic

Hall of Fame
#41
If I remember correctly from last night, most of them are low balls, as they don't have a lot of spin to kick up in the court. But that is a good point about balls being high, which I can definitely see that I do.
I think short balls that don't bounce is a tough ball to return.
Our natural instinct is to take this opportunity to nail the ball back with pace and put pressure on your opponent. But what you don't realize is it may call for a defensive shot. It's short, so I have to move forward and will probably not be in the best position. It's low, so will be difficult to get under the ball to lift it with topspin to clear the net.

If you just take a regular swing at the ball, you will either hit into the net or it will go long. You are much closer to the net, yet you have to clear it. So the ball has to come up. There is now less distance to the opposite baseline than when you were at net so you need a way to bring the ball back down. If you can hit a buggy whip shot where you lift the ball and put a ton of spin on it, it's pretty effective for getting the ball over the net and then dipping back down. otherwise go for a slice.
 
#42
OP,

You simply haven't played enough or your level has not advanced.

Don't just play with the regular guys (those can be boring to me). Play more with old men, women, newbies, anyone. And play with betting. Give them odds in their favor that they can't refuse. This is deceivingly difficult.

You'll fortify your mental strength as well as your tennis skills against all sorts of shots, player types.

That's what I do. I play great! :) One of the benefits of being a flexible and friendly player. Last weekend I gave a young woman 5 games in advance that she thought no way in hell she could lose. It's only one game or 4 simple points for her to achieve to win the bet. Well, I got a free lunch.
 

FiReFTW

Hall of Fame
#43
I think short balls that don't bounce is a tough ball to return.
Our natural instinct is to take this opportunity to nail the ball back with pace and put pressure on your opponent. But what you don't realize is it may call for a defensive shot. It's short, so I have to move forward and will probably not be in the best position. It's low, so will be difficult to get under the ball to lift it with topspin to clear the net.

If you just take a regular swing at the ball, you will either hit into the net or it will go long. You are much closer to the net, yet you have to clear it. So the ball has to come up. There is now less distance to the opposite baseline than when you were at net so you need a way to bring the ball back down. If you can hit a buggy whip shot where you lift the ball and put a ton of spin on it, it's pretty effective for getting the ball over the net and then dipping back down. otherwise go for a slice.
Those balls are easy to hit somewhat aggressive if only you drop the racquet tip bellow the ball.
And your finish should be bellow the shoulder, lol buggy whip, ur not trying to get massive height on this shot, just to clear the net and be aggressive.
 
#44
B
biggest issue i had/have with slow/no pace balls/sitters, is not hitting through the ball..
normally, we're so used to hitting fast-ish balls that come to us... no need to move much, just plant and swing... for intermediates, they many even exaggerate the winshield wiper motion (ie. not follow all the way through to the target).
but when you get a no pace ball, which is also usually short, you need to hit through the ball, which usually means hitting while moving my body forward through the contact.

this is at least one reason why pushers are successful... ie. they force you to move forward to the ball, when folks are typically good at moving laterally.

[edit] it's also why i suggest everyone spend some time doing dead ball feeds tossed say 10ft above you, so you can get used to:
a) moving forward
b) timing a ball dropping vertically through strikezone
c) extend through and weight moving forward through contact
But what about the split steps or just moving constantly while waiting for the opponent to hit their slow ball? I think one of the biggest problems of playing against slow players is also stabding still/watching the opponent while waiting for them to hit.
 
#45
timing is also an issue on those slow pace balls ... when you are grooved for a certain ratio of fwd speed and vertical speed (of normal ground strokes) when a ball comes (call it a semi-deep lob) with a lot of height (and little fwd speed) it's so tough to time it ... actually both if you try to take it off the bounce or if you let it drop ... which in itself is hard as it may bounce really high and take you enough off the court ... I often find that it's easier for me to take a forehand in the air (for a swinging volley)
(less so on the backhand) than to let it bounce . . .
But, what if they bounce really high in the mid-court?
 
#46
If the balls are really low and closer to the net (eg. knee level or below) then you pretty much have to slice it back. If they're low but not extremely low then you just have to use less drive and more topspin, aim for a moderate height depending on how far you are from the net and get it deep enough with some margin, so at the very least you aren't getting punished on your approach.
Why slice if closer to net, but swinging up the racket like spin motion when further from it?
 
#47
This is a Great Video. People who lose against pushers usually have bad footwork. Against decent pace that is not exposed because the ball comes into their strike zone automatically when lateral distance is good but the pushed ball bounces straight up so you have to take those extra little steps forward. Most rec players are terrible at forward, back movement even more so than at lateral movement.

Then the rec player compensates by swinging harder, misses and complains he lost due to the opponents bad tennis.

Against the pusher always try to take two little steps extra and then hit a decently placed groundy.
 
#48
Footwork. Lots of it. And anticipation. Know quickly where the ball will land and how it will bounce and get in position quickly (and if the bounce could be iffy, be light on your feet and ready to adjust your positioning instantly after the ball bounces if it has a funny bounce).

And hit through the ball at moderate (not high) pace with spin for control. Alternatively, spin the crap out of the ball. Although one method is going to take way more energy than the other. Can you guess which? (The second one.) With whichever method you go with, just make sure your emphasis is on placement rather than how hard or how much spin you put on the ball. Neither is highly likely to end the point outright but are unlikely to miss if done properly. The way you punish slow balls is to make them run by placing the ball well (deep and to the side). As you get better, you put some pace so that they have to run faster. As you get better than that, you put even more pace and end the point if they aren't fast enough. As you get better than that, you're basically Roger Federer and you've hit a winner.
But, what about running into the ball (short, slow) too much? I mean when approaching such balls, shall we move closer, stop, and push with feet, or hit as already moving? And what if they catch you off guard and hit a passing shot? So, shall we move right back to the baseline, or just wait at the net?
 
#49
Your falling for the decline trick.

There are three stages.

On the rise, at the peak (lightest spot) and on the decline off the bounce. Each ball needs a different type of stroke.

Focus on rolling the ball more against weak opponents. If you hit through the ball on the decline it always goes deep.

Clay courters do this crap, hit the ball short so you see it on the decline. Shots landing inside the service box, while hardcourters are closer to the baseline.
But it is also hard to return the balls at the peak especially if they are slow paced but very high bouncing mid-court balls, which usually tend to go higher than you(unexpectedly). How and when should the ball be returned?
 
#50
For me it is always letting my footwork slow down or stop because somehow mentally it matches the pace of the shot - so slow balls equates to slow movement. So my biggest tip is to keep the feet moving. Not overly hopping or such, but active. One way I do this is when someone is pushing I have time to get back behind the ball an extra step then time my adjustment steps to move forward into every ball. this keep me from setting too early too. I also work to keep balls lower on my returns and ground stroke because in most cases it seem to get me a short ball back often enough for put-away shots, or at least something more aggressive.
I didn't underdtand your footwork strategy. Do you take the ball in front you body or do you move aside ?
 
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