How to make the transition to hitting on the rise

Discussion in 'Tennis Tips/Instruction' started by topspin, Mar 20, 2004.

  1. topspin

    topspin Semi-Pro

    Feb 18, 2004
    I've been playing for years and tend to hit the ball at it's highest point if possible and I'm just not used to moving up and taking the ball on the rise. Tonight I played with a 16 year old girl for the 2nd time this month. The first time we played I won 6-1 since she couldn't handle the serve. But her groundstrokes were really solid and she's excellent at taking the ball on the rise.

    Tonight she was handling my serve a lot better and her groundstrokes were just awesome, so smooth and precise, she won 6-1.

    Her game has made me realize that if I'm going to progress to the next level, I will need to start taking the ball on the rise and be a lot more aggresive.

    So what should I be doing out there to make the transition? What are the technical steps I should be working on?
  2. Eric Matuszewski

    Eric Matuszewski Rookie

    Feb 19, 2004
    Great question,
    a player who takes balls early has alot of advantages, it's smart to try to make this adjustment.

    First get used to hitting with shorter backswings. Watching some slow motion Agassi is the best model I know of for this.

    Get your preparations simpler and simpler (I like to say simpler rather than shorter just because I see people do some really crazy complicated stuff that I usually think they should scrap).

    Then start "crowding" the bounce. Get close to the bounce and smack it! Start going side to side when you play and you'll be suprised how much more pressured your opponents are.

    When no-body wants to play you anymore because you make everyone run too hard, just remember you asked for it. ha ha

    Best Wishes,
    Eric Matuszewski
  3. Bungalo Bill

    Bungalo Bill G.O.A.T.

    Feb 19, 2004
    As Eric said,

    "Then start "crowding" the bounce. Get close to the bounce and smack it! Start going side to side when you play and you'll be suprised how much more pressured your opponents are. "

    This is very important and is also the stage that most players shy away from. this takes guts to try and practice this as much as you can even though you will probably fail a lot in the beginning. It simply takes a commitment to practice it and incorporate it in match situations.

    The backswing is key, as is the angle of the racquet face. The racquet face ideally should be tilted a tad downward and definitely not more then flat. Simple physics will tell you this as well.

    Use the ball speed to assist in power. Just take a relaxed swing through where you believe the contact point is. This is where the Inner Game of Tennis book excels. Dont over think, just swing through. If you miss, try it again.

    Also, be careful to practice keeping your head down with your eyes focused on the contact point, if it lifts up to soon this will increase your chances to error. Agassi is a great model to look at for this kind of hit.
  4. Frank Silbermann

    Frank Silbermann Professional

    Feb 24, 2004
    If you have a backboard you can alternate high shots with rising-ball shots. Hit the high shot to set up the deep bounce that you can take on the rise and drive through. Then when it comes back, hit it high again.

    I found it easier to hit on the rise when I went to a heavier racquet. The heavier the racquet the more forgiveness on miss-hits, and the slower the swing. The slower the swing, the easier the timing. The disadvantage was that I could no longer hit heavy topspin.
  5. topspin

    topspin Semi-Pro

    Feb 18, 2004
    Thanks guys for the tips. I got to try them out tonight and have the following observations:

    - You really got to anticipate the shot well and move quickly to the bounce. So you need to be in really good shape and quick on your feet and be paying close attention to the ball as soon as it leaves the opponents racquet so you can get moving right away.

    - At first I was missing and the ball did fly way out of control a couple of times or hit the bottom of the net. The angle of the racquet was causing this. I was either aiming the face too up or too down. Also, taking the eyes off the contact will cause errors as mentioned above.

    - Once I got everything going right (short back swing, keep eyes on contact point, swing through), things went really well. I was trying this before my match so I really didn't have too much time to practice it. During the match, I tried to stick to what works for me but I did try to bring in this new weapon a few times.

    - After my match, I did a lot of hitting and things really started to fall into place. I was hitting the ball so cleanly and the sound of the ball on my racquet was resonating beautifully.

    - Taking the ball on the rise is not something you will be able to do all the time. If you're not able to get in position properly, you're better off waiting. It's a shot that you execute when you know exactly what you want to do and where you want to place the ball. If you are looking to see where your opponent is moving so you can hit behind them, then you will need to wait as long as you can before swinging. I notice the pros doing this as well.

    - Hitting on the rise is a really nice skill to have and knowing how and when to use it can really pay big dividends on your game. That will be very clear once you get out there and practice it. I know I will be working on it the whole summer and I bet anyone that hasn't seen me hit since last year will notice big changes right away if I can master it.

    Thanks again for the excellent tips. At first I was worried I was going to get a lot of technical stuff to think about; but the tips are simple and straightforward and easy to remember. Will keep you posted on how things go tomorrow night.
    Chan Suri likes this.
  6. @wright

    @wright Hall of Fame

    Feb 19, 2004
    Sounds like you got it Topspin! The commitment to take the ball early is demanding and really changes your mindset of hitting the ball. You have to want the ball instead of being tentative. It is every bit effective as people say it is, especially if you can hit angles.

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