If you think you can, should you hit on the rise on every ball?

Okay, as I've also previously posted here I have sort of a strategic dilemma as to what exactly do on match court. I feel I can hit the ball better than my opponents but the matches are still often tight or I can even lose them. I think in general this is due to my lack of real strategy on court, and also lack of any real attacking mentality. I think I need something radical new for my match playing.

I've previously hit many balls on the rise. Couple of years ago players even noted that they couldn't do much with my baseline half-volleys. Also, many years ago I once had a magical match where everything just felt so easy. Opponent was rushed all the time and I had no trouble moving the ball from side to side. And I didn't even hit that hard. After the match opponent said that he had no chance vs. me since I was hitting all his shots on the rise and he was always rushed. During the match I didn't realize that I was doing that but indeed after his comments I realized that I was standing inside the baseline basically for the whole match.

As of late though, I've upped pace significantly on my groundies, but also backed up further behind the baseline. Match results have been poor recently. All signs show that I have enough hand-eye to half volley or hit on the rise from the baseline. Simple question is, should I start doing that? If I stand inside baseline it's obvious that I can't hit the ball as hard but OTOH it opens up angles and takes time away from opponents. Your feelings, should a mere 3.0-3.5 try and practice for this advanced strategy of hitting on the rise on all balls or is it too much?
 

Pete Player

Hall of Fame
Unless, you get obsessed with hitting every ball on the rise, it would make sens to me. Touch late, and it will turn into disasterous agenda, if not able too adjust hitting at the apex or decent now and then.


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On pain meds - all contributed matter and anti-matter subject to disclaimer
 

TennisCJC

Legend
If you are a computer rate 3.0 to 3.5, then the last thing you need to do is attempt to hit all shots on the rise. work on fundamentals - hitting CC deep, identify and eliminate weaknesses, develop a good serve, work on net game.

I think good players prefer to take the ball at the peak or just after the peak, I only step in and take a ball on the rise when I must such as when a player has a high bouncing kick serve or they hit deep groundstrokes that require me to take it on the rise. I would never elect to hit a 1/2 volley from the baseline.
 

DNShade

Hall of Fame
It does depend on your level a bit. But if you are a decent player already then yes. At 3.0 - 3.5 probably other things to really focus on but learning to take the ball on the rise is always a good habit to start to learn.

Tennis is all about taking time away from your opponent - and not giving them the kind of ball they are comfortable with and want to hit. Hitting on the rise is a great way to take time away and it isn't the same timing most opponents are used to today. Most players get used to a certain rhythm and timing and expectation of the ball coming back to them and most players out there today tend to fall into an very similar predictable timing. Anything you can do to change that will be to your advantage.

As you said you might not be able to rip the ball quite as hard - but you don't need to. Use the incoming pace to your advantage. I try to take every ball on the rise taking every split second away from the person on the other side of the net. Incredibly effective and drives guys nuts.

McEnroe, Connors and Agassi all were masters of this. Jimmy would take it early and use the incoming pace to send it back hard and flat - Andre would just rip it right back at you - and John would take it so early that even though he never hit his groundies that hard they were back on you really quick.

It sounds like you have already had some experience and success with it so you might be natural with that style. So see if it really works for you.
 
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Pete Player

Hall of Fame
Computed rankings, and levels are nothing, but that. Calculated interpretitions of your tournament performance. One may still have a game, yet not established that in competition.

Player with abilities to hit a variety of shots and on the rise most of the time, will put people into trouble, even if the rankings would suggest the opposite.


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On pain meds - all contributed matter and anti-matter subject to disclaimer
 

ptuanminh

Hall of Fame
If you are 3.0-3.5, very likely what you call hitting the ball on the rise is just a block, using your opponent power. you won't go far with this kind of shot. nobody half volley from the baseline, its just junk
 

S&V-not_dead_yet

Talk Tennis Guru
You know your game better than anyone else; if it works, keep pursuing it, especially if your results went down when you changed.

Knowing nothing about your game, it's not a strategy I'd advise to anyone. Yes, Agassi was a master at it. But I don't know anyone that good.

The advantages are clear: maintaining court position and taking time away from your opponent. But it takes significantly better technique to consistently do it without piling up UEs. The best 4.5 singles players I know employ this strategy sparingly but it's not their main MO.
 
If you are 3.0-3.5, very likely what you call hitting the ball on the rise is just a block, using your opponent power. you won't go far with this kind of shot. nobody half volley from the baseline, its just junk
I used to swing 370g/375SW racquet and with it hitting on the rise was nothing. I might just have on tape one topspin half volley from the baseline. I'll see if I can find it.
 

5263

G.O.A.T.
No, you shouldn't hit everything on the rise, since some shot options are much better taken at the Apex and some shot types work way better on a falling ball.

Hitting everything on the rise is not only impossible, but would limit you from some of the best shots you can hit in tennis.
 
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TennisCJC

Legend
Computed rankings, and levels are nothing, but that. Calculated interpretitions of your tournament performance. One may still have a game, yet not established that in competition.

Player with abilities to hit a variety of shots and on the rise most of the time, will put people into trouble, even if the rankings would suggest the opposite.


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On pain meds - all contributed matter and anti-matter subject to disclaimer
Pete, I disagree. The guy says he is a 3.0 to 3.5 level. They means he would lose consistently to good 3.5 players. A real computer rated 3.5 player using has a lot of work to do on developing a well rounded game. I think from a common sense view point, it is far more likely that a lower level player has delusions of grandeur that they can take the ball consistently on the rise when in reality, they cannot hit 75% of their basic rally ball CC with pace and cannot step in and inject a bit of pace on a short ball. I think learning to cook up meat and potatoes tennis is far better and easier than trying to learn to cook a gourmet meal.
 

Bender

G.O.A.T.
Depends on the ball you want to achieve. On a standard rally ball, if the risks are not that much higher, then sure, take the ball on the rise if that is what's more comfortable. I do the same on my backhand side and never give ground on that wing, but I will step back on the forehand side. The rationale for this is that my backhand is flatter, generally more consistent, and tends to be better at absorbing and redirecting pace, whereas my forehand creates its own pace with fairly heavy spin.

The 'danger' of hitting every ball on the rise on both wings, other than the inherent lower margin for error, is that unless your ability to take time away from your opponent is suffocating all you're really doing is give your opponent a different but steady rhythm. The longer the match goes on the less likely it will take a toll on them, and the more it will take a toll on you, not to mention that hitting balls on the rise tends to narrow your ability to create angles.

Honestly, I would mix it up a bit--hit on the rise when the risk isn't too high and the opponent is already scrambling. Fall back if you are in a defensive position yourself, because when you take a ball earlier when you're extended, the only person being robbed of time is you, since you'll have less time to recover your court positioning.
 
D

Deleted member 23235

Guest
Okay, as I've also previously posted here I have sort of a strategic dilemma as to what exactly do on match court. I feel I can hit the ball better than my opponents but the matches are still often tight or I can even lose them. I think in general this is due to my lack of real strategy on court, and also lack of any real attacking mentality. I think I need something radical new for my match playing.

I've previously hit many balls on the rise. Couple of years ago players even noted that they couldn't do much with my baseline half-volleys. Also, many years ago I once had a magical match where everything just felt so easy. Opponent was rushed all the time and I had no trouble moving the ball from side to side. And I didn't even hit that hard. After the match opponent said that he had no chance vs. me since I was hitting all his shots on the rise and he was always rushed. During the match I didn't realize that I was doing that but indeed after his comments I realized that I was standing inside the baseline basically for the whole match.

As of late though, I've upped pace significantly on my groundies, but also backed up further behind the baseline. Match results have been poor recently. All signs show that I have enough hand-eye to half volley or hit on the rise from the baseline. Simple question is, should I start doing that? If I stand inside baseline it's obvious that I can't hit the ball as hard but OTOH it opens up angles and takes time away from opponents. Your feelings, should a mere 3.0-3.5 try and practice for this advanced strategy of hitting on the rise on all balls or is it too much?
one coach i've had (my fave) who played on the ATP... said i should never back up further than 1ft from the baseline... and just get used to taking balls on the rise (ala agassi, except my coach advocated going to net on every ball i can attack when i have 1 or especially both feet inside the baseline)
only recently been backing up because i'm taking a bigger cut (ie. loop is bigger) these days... and/or i'm playing bigger hitters (taking away my time)

IMO, yeah, you should practice hugging the baseline, getting used to hitting on the rise... just make sure you technique is correct (i've seen alot of folks take "shortcuts" with their technique to accomodate hitting on the rise... it's a shorter backswing (less/no loop), but full follow through, especially if your mindset/playstyle is:
* to attack the net
* not so mobile/physical - ie need to finish the point sooner
taking long windups from 5-6ft from behind the baseline, while effective, requires a really good physical base.

honestly, at 3.0-3.5... most balls "land short"... i can play a match while doing the "can't move behind the baseline drill"

BUT if you are sacraficing technique (are you taking lessons, a pro watching you play, videoing yourself, etc...), then do not try taking everything on the rise as a 3.0-3.5 (as i'm guessing your technique is not yet established)
 

atp2015

Hall of Fame
My read is that you have backed up to generate more pace. I'm not sure, if it's a good thing - by backing up you are expending more energy to have the same effect (you are further away, so need more pace).
I think you are giving up a bit too much - more angle for opponent and less for you. You might struggle to put away or take advantage of short replies because you are behind the baseline.
While it could be a tactical change up for a short duration, backing up further behind is not a great idea for offensive tennis. From my experience, at rec level, guys who are good at half-volleys, volleys and OH win more often than baseline bashers. IMO, if you are hitting more than 5 shots in a row from behind the baseline, you are in a long term losing position. I have made it a rule to limit baseline shots to 4 in a row - the 5th shot is either approach, drop shot or an attempt to hit a winner to some corner (unless it's a must win point to be in the set).
 

5263

G.O.A.T.
one coach i've had (my fave) who played on the ATP... said i should never back up further than 1ft from the baseline... and just get used to taking balls on the rise (ala agassi, except my coach advocated going to net on every ball i can attack when i have 1 or especially both feet inside the baseline)
only recently been backing up because i'm taking a bigger cut (ie. loop is bigger) these days... and/or i'm playing bigger hitters (taking away my time)

IMO, yeah, you should practice hugging the baseline, getting used to hitting on the rise...
Oh come on, you know there are lots of time you shouldn't be taking it on the rise...
 
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Deleted member 23235

Guest
Oh come on, you know there are lots of time you shouldn't be taking it on the rise...
my comment was more about long term growth/development, philosophy, mindset vs a specific point scenario

but yeah, definitely lots of time i'll be forced ot back up and abandon hitting on the rise.

side note: i see alot of guys at the 4.5 level, that have alot of trouble hitting on the rise, because they are so used to staying back and grinding... therefore never develop the tools to attack (or defend) better, needed against higher level competition. juniors on the otherhand... as soon as their strokes are developed are encouraged to experiement with hitting on the rise much more.
 
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