How are you supposed hit from mid-court?

Discussion in 'Tennis Tips/Instruction' started by New Daddy, May 27, 2007.

  1. New Daddy

    New Daddy Rookie

    May 14, 2007
    I started receiving tennis lessons about three months ago and had the first game of my life with a friend yesterday. Although it was fun, a real game (albeit between two novices) was a lot different from hitting balls fed by my coach.

    The most stark difference was that, unlike during lessons, balls from my opponent almost always landed midcourt. I think it was because the opponent was afraid of overhitting the ball and didn't give it a full swing (actually I had the same problem). Since I had to strike back from mid court, I couldn't give a full stroke either, because my full stroke from the mid court would have sent the ball out of bounds. However, a half-swing from the midcourt, which was what I did, resulted in very weak strokes, unlike the strong strokes that I was beginning to get the hang of during lessons.

    What would have been the proper way to strike from mid court? Do you have to resort to heavier top spin to give the stroke the same strength while remainnig within the bounds?
    Last edited: May 27, 2007
  2. newbiett

    newbiett Rookie

    Oct 10, 2006
    the most important thing for mid-court shots is that you control the direction of it and don't overhit. you can do it by shorten the swing, reduce swing speed, or add more spin on it. spin is especially important for those the low-bounce mid-court balls, since hitting through the ball is difficult. if you do a fulll swing, you just need to catch a thin piece of the ball to send it over the net. shortened swing indeed makes weaker strokes, but that's ok as long as you send the ball with enough pace to where you intend.

    you can practice mid-court shots yourself by standing near the service line.

    watch federer's mid-court shots. he adds spin but maintains full stroke and full swing speed. most famous killer shots in the business.
  3. OrangeOne

    OrangeOne Legend

    May 31, 2006
    A few things:

    1. Welcome to the game!
    2. I find it odd that you've had coaching for 3 months and never really played a game. I'm a coach, and as soon as people can hit the ball I'll have them playing against me towards the end of the lesson, many coaches will do this so that students receive 'tennis' experience, and not just 'tennis shot hitting' experience...
    3. Well-done on noticing the difference between a mid-court ball and a full-depth ball. I personally believe the first part of the secret is to always make the differentiation, be consciously aware you're hitting a mid-court ball.

    Then you make the decision - and the decision can include backing off a little and just go for depth (you'll get the hang of measuring the shot right, and maybe you can approach the net here too), to hit an angle, to hit with (as you guess) much more topspin, or perhaps to hit a dropshot, or other options too.

    I tend to disagree with this... I don't think 'dropping a ball and hitting it' (if that's what you were suggesting) is useful practice as it's so different to a normal shot.
  4. dave333

    dave333 Hall of Fame

    Aug 24, 2006
    Until you really start playing really good players, you just need to focus on taking a full stroke but putting large amounts of spin so it will really jump up and give trouble.
  5. Mahboob Khan

    Mahboob Khan Hall of Fame

    Feb 20, 2004
    From the mid-court, you should use the insideout and inside in combinations (first ball to your righty's opponent BH corner, the second ball to his FH corner).

    From the mid-court, if you use the swing which you use from the baseline, the ball will go out because you have already left half court behind. Thus, you should modify your swing:

    -- Backswing normal high

    -- Point of contact at highest point possible (do not allow the ball to descend)

    -- As you hit through, pronate your wrist-forearm and bring the ball down in the court (in other words right amount of pressing-lifting).

    -- If done correctly, the racket will finish below the level of your left shoulder.

    Watch the Pros. How they hit from the mid-court. The French Open is on.
  6. zapvor

    zapvor G.O.A.T.

    Jul 27, 2006
    tennis courts
    oh this is the best. when the ball lands short, you just run up there and rip the winner. except you are a beginner. so run up, and hit the same shot as you would if you were at the baseline. do not slow down your swing. however,make sure you put more topspin on the ball so it will still land in. the other thing you can do is hit a dropshot, but i dont know if you learned it yet.
  7. Oxford

    Oxford Rookie

    Aug 27, 2006
    Carlsbad California
    I choke up on my grip to lessen the power and try to mellow out after charging up to the ball so I am no too excited about nailing a weak ball. Then aim for a good angle on the open court and try to snap/topspin it over the net.

    Also I will sometimes do a forehand slice with strong back spin and kinda chop down on the ball and dink it into the far side of the service box. It takes practice but it is a great point getter.

    You WILL need to have your coach or some one send you a few hundred balls as you sort out your skill on this but it is important knowledge and skill to have because alot of beginners will be sending you these kind of shots. You can turn them into points easily and win alot of games at this stage :)
  8. Fedace

    Fedace Banned

    Dec 10, 2006
    San Diego, CA
    Can anyone answer this question ? why is it so tough to hit a ball that is hit with heavy slice and short from the midcourt area ? Most often players will hit into the net.
  9. LarougeNY

    LarougeNY Professional

    Nov 5, 2006
    It is a difficult shot to get back, sometimes people would try to do too much and mess up, other times it would be too difficult of a shot to get back.
  10. zapvor

    zapvor G.O.A.T.

    Jul 27, 2006
    tennis courts
    uh...i think its just tough for you. you hit a low slice to me i am going winner on you. i have much more trouble taking a ball on teh rise with topspin.
  11. x Southpaw x

    x Southpaw x Semi-Pro

    Jul 4, 2005
    Oh my god, I totally feel you, in fact that's probably my hardest shot to hit. I feel like I had to hit a decently good shot deep otherwise I'm going to get passed way too easily. And again and again I keep doing too much and overhitting it even though I crank in 90% topspin.. which makes the shot loop a great arc but fall long.

    It's the shot the requires the most mastery of touch and depth for me. I probably do a lot better slicing or hitting a dropshot of it.
  12. FiveO

    FiveO Hall of Fame

    Feb 18, 2005
    Generally, problems arise for the following reasons depending on the penetration of the shot:

    On a hard, knifing slice in the mid-court your opponent has:

    1) shortened the potential ball flight of your shot, and

    2) placed the net in the path of your shot by:

    a) forcing you to make contact at a point below net height

    b) amplified by the fact that by being closer to the net, the net is "more" of a barrier in that your shot has to leave on a steeper incline to clear it.

    So you are forced to hit up more steeply AND you have less court length to hit into before over-hitting the baseline.

    On no pace slice that stops and sits up the problems are all self induced. Problems with these shots stem from poor footwork, poor preparation, poor balance and failing to take the ball at its optimally highest point.
  13. l_gonzalez

    l_gonzalez Professional

    Mar 31, 2007
    Because most people don't move up to the ball, they just kinda stand there waiting for the ball and then stretch out to hit it. Most important thing is to react quickly, move up to the ball, and when you hit the shot make sure you STAY LOW!
  14. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

    Aug 31, 2006
    To the OP, I feel your pain. When you first start learning, you hit most shots from the baseline so you can get the mechanics. Then suddenly you're in a match and you get a short ball. You hit the same stroke you've paid a pro to teach you, and it puts a dent in the back fence.

    I'm working on the midcourt game, and the most helpful thing my pro said was that the closer you are to the net, the more compact your swing. Baseline = big 'ol backswing. Volley = no backswing. Midcourt = very little backswing. [edit: to clarify, the swing still has your usual racquet head speed and proper finish. It ain't a push or a dink.]

    Also, you absolutely must get under the ball as much as possible, which requires you to bend your knees. You'll be applying more topspin if you still swing low to high with a good finish.

    I think you can practice by throwing balls up in the air at midcourt and then running up to them and hitting. No, it's not as good as having someone hit to you, but it's better than nothing. It will get you into the habit doing this mini-swing, though.

    Oh, and the other thing that has helped was to let the ball drop a bit rather than taking it at its maximum height. Now, this is a total rookie way to handle a mid-court ball, as better players would never let the ball drop and give their opponents time to recover. For me, letting it drop into my strike zone allows me to hit a better approach shot to the corner than trying to hit a ball higher than my strike zone. I hope to learn to hit the high approach shot someday, but not today.

    Just another noob's observations. Good luck!!!
    Last edited: May 28, 2007
  15. smoothtennis

    smoothtennis Hall of Fame

    May 8, 2007
    Fort Worth, TX
    I win a LOT of points doing this to others, and I think I can tell you why.

    1. First sin, they hit a short ball, so they are already in trouble.
    2. Although it looks soft, these midcourt slices are killers in taking away time in three aspects:
    a. Pathway - No topsin, so the ball takes a straighter path.
    b. Linear distance- I am already halfway into the court, that is less time they will have to see the ball coming off the court once it lands.
    c. Height - The ball stays low, so they have to bend down (takes more time)
    3. A slice is easy for some people to hit very accurately, so the opponent is going to be out of position immediately (more time lost).
    4. As someone mentioned, most people never get there fully and get set and low to hit it back well.

    When I see this shot hit to me, it is far and away - a much more difficult shot to return than a hard topspin shot to the same spot. I have to get down, down, down, usually while on the run, and somehow stay balanced when I strike the ball. A tall order for most.

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