I am Speedy Gonzalez ... but not when there is a ball near me

I think I am rather fast. I would be a good contester at 100 m and 200 m field track sprint. On the very short distance I am pretty fast as well. When one plays a ball which lands short I can almost always hit it back. When I stand in one corner and have to return a ball in the other corner I just do it.

However I completely fail when I have to put myself properly in front of the ball. I am always too late. For example when I am standing a few feet behind the baseline (the middle) and my opponent hits a solid ball in my body I seem not be able to make enough space for a good hit.

I am really fast without a ball but when there is one near me I am really slow. Why?
 
I think I am rather fast. I would be a good contester at 100 m and 200 m field track sprint. On the very short distance I am pretty fast as well. When one plays a ball which lands short I can almost always hit it back. When I stand in one corner and have to return a ball in the other corner I just do it.

However I completely fail when I have to put myself properly in front of the ball. I am always too late. For example when I am standing a few feet behind the baseline (the middle) and my opponent hits a solid ball in my body I seem not be able to make enough space for a good hit.

I am really fast without a ball but when there is one near me I am really slow. Why?
Because you're much better at moving toward something than away from it [this is fairly common]. You're just going to have to practice this.

Brent Abel is of the opinion that insufficient spacing is the #1 problem of rec players.
 

meltphace 6

Hall of Fame
Anticipation of ball trajectory (and its influences like pace of ball, amount of spin, launch angle, wind...) could be better. Probably.

Played with a 78 y/o today who usually only plays with noobs that rather spray the ball and therefore often gets a pretty good view of the trajectory from the side view. My goal was for him to be able to return as many balls as possible. He anticipated balls hit directly back to his ready position the worst and therefore my goal was to force him for lateral change of position without getting him exhausted to much.
 

esgee48

G.O.A.T.
Good footwork is needed if balls are hit directly towards you or away from you. The sequence of steps are slightly different. Away from you, you push off towards the ball. Directly towards you, take a quick hop to left or right depending on which side is preferred side. The hop to side gives you the perspective needed to judge the pace and spin correctly. If you have ever played outfield, this is the same problem they face when a ball is hit directly at them.
 
I think I am rather fast. I would be a good contester at 100 m and 200 m field track sprint. On the very short distance I am pretty fast as well. When one plays a ball which lands short I can almost always hit it back. When I stand in one corner and have to return a ball in the other corner I just do it.

However I completely fail when I have to put myself properly in front of the ball. I am always too late. For example when I am standing a few feet behind the baseline (the middle) and my opponent hits a solid ball in my body I seem not be able to make enough space for a good hit.

I am really fast without a ball but when there is one near me I am really slow. Why?
 

mcs1970

Hall of Fame
Running and side stepping are two different movements. I used to have the same issue, though I handle it much better now. Can run down balls that folks think they've hit for winners but then get tied up with weaker balls hit straight at me.

The biggest issue in my case is just mindlessly watching the ball when it is hit directly towards me. There is ample time for the brain to take over and tell you to side step to give you enough room to hit either a forehand or a backhand. The tip that helps me (when I am not lazy enough to forget it) is that as soon as the opposing shot starts approaching the net, is to constantly ask myself what the best angle I need to take to play my shot. So instead of thinking about the next shot to play, actively think how your feet should be moving to help you hit that next shot. I think very few of us actively think feet first or what our feet should do. It's not just anticipation. You can can anticipate well and still choose poor angles/have poor footwork. Actively think what your feet need to do to give you the easiest possible path to the ball, even if it's just a side step. There's a reason why you see even players slower than you who are in the right position all the time, whereas your superior speed is not as consistent an advantage as it should be. This tip has helped me out a lot (though it's a constant battle to not fall back into my pattern of mindlessly watching the ball), even though there are other technical things for my movement that I can be doing much better such as as a split step after every shot.
 

LeeD

Bionic Poster
Kinda like playing dudes who are 6'8" tall. They reach everything hit away from them. So, you learn to hit within their wingspan on important points, while hitting normally away from them when just sustaining rallies.
Most player's do either reaching wide, or defending their body. Try both.
 

Fintft

Legend
Footwork.

Look up "Carioca step," and watch the first slow-mo FH from this video a few hundred times.


That's neat and I would add early preparation, by taking the racquet back with two hands and elbowing someone behind you to create space.
 
You need hand feeds to redefine your spacing.
It will take at least 5 lessons for it to start working.
It will take you months to make it permanent.
Are you willing to do the work?
Watching videos does jack ****
 
You need hand feeds to redefine your spacing.
It will take at least 5 lessons for it to start working.
It will take you months to make it permanent.
Are you willing to do the work?
Watching videos does jack ****
Well yes I am prepared to work, I play for free with a tennis-mate of mine. We are both of the same level. I can practice some things when we play.
 
You need hand feeds to redefine your spacing.
It will take at least 5 lessons for it to start working.
It will take you months to make it permanent.
Are you willing to do the work?
Watching videos does jack ****
Watching videos can be very helpful, especially if you can watch someone doing it well and compare to you not doing it well. Awareness is the first step.

ONLY watching videos probably won't accomplish much; of course you have to practice.
 
D

Deleted member 23235

Guest
Because you're much better at moving toward something than away from it [this is fairly common]. You're just going to have to practice this.

Brent Abel is of the opinion that insufficient spacing is the #1 problem of rec players.
+1
also it's harder to judge (speed/spin/trajectory) an object coming directly at you, vs. tangentially from your position (i think it's related to parallax, but don't recall for sure)

regarding movement... i've spent alot of time, just drop feeding a ball in front of me (ie. chest facing net), and getting the footwork down when moving to hit a bh or fh.
 

Bender

G.O.A.T.
Because you're much better at moving toward something than away from it [this is fairly common]. You're just going to have to practice this.

Brent Abel is of the opinion that insufficient spacing is the #1 problem of rec players.
I may have French blood in me that I am not aware of, because I'm pretty good at running away from things.
 
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