Is hitting deep really that important?

Golden Retriever

Hall of Fame
When you are hitting deep are you actually making it easier for pushers to get to the ball? Are you not making use of the entire court to your advantage? Wouldn't a medium-paced sharp-angled short ball more deadly for pushers than a deep ball with a lot of pace?
 
You can't hit those sharp angels all the time... if you try to your consistency would go way down.
Deep shots are better because they are harder to attack, so keeping the ball deep is necessary when you are just getting the ball back in a neutral rally.
 

WBF

Hall of Fame
I realize that a deep, powerful ball is very hard to attack, and that people are taught that any decent player can take a short ball and simply hit a winner... But when I see professional matches with balls landing right at, behind, or slightly in front of the servive line for several balls in a row... It's a bit harder to take this seriously. Maybe they mean weak short balls.
 

WBF

Hall of Fame
You just have to consider that if you don't hit it deep, you better hit it with pace and/or heavy spin.
 

dave333

Hall of Fame
Pros put a ton of work and power into the ball.There is so much spin and pace they can afford to hit short.

Your average rec player doesn't put even close amounts of spin and pace, which is why you need to go deep In rally, contuningly dealing deep shots forces the other guy behind the baseline so he can't be aggressive (if he tries to be, he'll probably make a lot of UEs) and eventually, he'll either make an UE or give you a short ball which you can then take advantage of.
 

The Dolphin

Banned
you obviously haven't seen djokovic play then, the depth he get's on every shot is incredible, balls are frequently within one foot of the baseline, that's how he beat federer.
 

es-0

Rookie
When the pros hit it service line length, it has so much pace and spin on it that it is going to go deep pretty quickly.

So if you have the groundstrokes of a pro then you can afford to hit a little bit shorter.
 

ionutzakis

Semi-Pro
I think at recr level hitting deep is a risky strategy, you can't gauge your topspin everytime and the ball can easily sail long.

I think it's better to aim just a bit over the service line.
 

Andres

G.O.A.T.
There are other type of players than pushers, you know?

I was in the main page, I saw the title of the thread, and I automatically knew it was you who posted it.
 

Andres

G.O.A.T.
The deepest you hit, the better. You can pin your opponent to the baseline, or beyond the baseline, and that way, he has less and less chances to attack. The furthest the guy's standing, the less damage he can do when you're at the net.

But of course, Golden Retriever, you hate the net, so you can take this advice.

But think about this:

Short balls are to attack, deep balls are to defend.

By hitting deep and closer to the baseline everytime, you're reducing the other guy's chances to attack you
 

ionutzakis

Semi-Pro
... and significantly increase statistically your chances to hit out. Just go for the 1st half of the distance between service line and baseline, no need to aim for the 2nd half, too risky
 

WBF

Hall of Fame
ionutzakis: Doing this limits yourself to being a bad player. How will you improve if you're settling for only going for poor shots??? I could see if you have an important match, and you don't have the capabilities to hit confidently/consistently hit deep shots, but any other time you should be concentrating on building this consistency so you can use it when needed.

Would you rather have good stats at hitting a ball any decent player can destroy, or so-so stats for shots that can win you a point or prevent your opponent from hitting a winner?
 

ionutzakis

Semi-Pro
I agree in theory is much better to aim deep, but I say if you aim close to the baseline you'll lose many points than if you aim crosscourt in the 1st half of the distance between serv line and baseline.

But yes, in the long run it helps hitting deep.
 

AgassiFan12

New User
When you are hitting deep are you actually making it easier for pushers to get to the ball? Are you not making use of the entire court to your advantage? Wouldn't a medium-paced sharp-angled short ball more deadly for pushers than a deep ball with a lot of pace?
I agree with what you are saying. Against a pusher it is more prudent to use more of the court and get them out of their pushing comfort zone. Against solid all court player or a good agressive player the short, floating balls will get you into more trouble than if you hit solid deep balls.
 

ionutzakis

Semi-Pro
this reminds me of some pusher friend of mine that camps deep behind the baseline to retrieve my left/right shots and then gets upset when I give him some drop shot. WTF, he wants me to hit same way so he can get to all the balls?

What's up with this "drop shots are not real tennis"? I'm sure you heard that before.
 

origmarm

Hall of Fame
The deepest you hit, the better. You can pin your opponent to the baseline, or beyond the baseline, and that way, he has less and less chances to attack. The furthest the guy's standing, the less damage he can do when you're at the net.
Short balls are to attack, deep balls are to defend.

By hitting deep and closer to the baseline everytime, you're reducing the other guy's chances to attack you
I agree completely with this. I hit as deeply as possible to pin them into the back of the court and then try and attack their short balls either with angles or use them to come to the net.
 

mucat

Hall of Fame
One of the trick I do to create my deep groundstrokes is to adjust the tension of the string. I adjusted my string so my groundstrokes will go as deep as possible without going out. After I got the tension figure out, I can pretty much control the range (depth) of my groundstrokes. And I do paint the baseline a lot.
 
this reminds me of some pusher friend of mine that camps deep behind the baseline to retrieve my left/right shots and then gets upset when I give him some drop shot. WTF, he wants me to hit same way so he can get to all the balls?

What's up with this "drop shots are not real tennis"? I'm sure you heard that before.
What? Drop shots are not real tennis!! Neither are short angles, lobs, slices, soft topspins that land at someone's feet, underhanded serves or moonballs.

Tennis is: hitting hard, just inches over the net, right at a guy, maybe sometimes from corner to corner (that is considered variety in tennis). Volleying is for guys who can't play real tennis, by the way, and same with dubs.

Naturally, I'm kidding, but sadly, I see more and more 'competitive juniors' make eachother look pretty sharp by playing only the bashing style. You watch them and you're like, hmm, wow, those guys can pound!

But then they're not so impressive to actually play against. They tend to lose to complete/more experienced players who have a better understanding of contrast and the all-court game....who can pull and push them around with different stuff at the right times.
 

smoothtennis

Hall of Fame
Deep balls - should a key foundation of your basic rally ball strategy. There are many reasons, but a few key ones are:

1. It most definately reduces their chance to attack you or be offensive consistently.
2. It keeps the court position advantage in your favor, if they can't do the same back to you as well.
3. Your chances of getting weak or short ball, dramatically increase, if you not only hit deep, but make them take a few steps to get there.
4. They have to cover more court per rally returning deep balls...assuming you can move the ball from side to side at least some.

Against pushers? The kind that can't put away short balls or pass right? Hit soft chips inside the service line, THEN hit the next one DEEP crosscourt. Watch them not only run, but ran at a 45 degree angle 'backwards' into the court. Then hit deep to the other corner (maximum running distance for them), then hit that short chip again, repeat until they collapse.

You get the idea on pushers. Mix it up yes...but use the deep ball to grind 'em into the court over the course of the match.

Short balls against good players on purpose, as in your rally ball?.....good luck with that strategy against anybody beyond 3.5.
 

In D Zone

Hall of Fame
When you are hitting deep are you actually making it easier for pushers to get to the ball? Are you not making use of the entire court to your advantage? Wouldn't a medium-paced sharp-angled short ball more deadly for pushers than a deep ball with a lot of pace?
I agree with SMOOTHTENNIS!

Hitting angled shot is a good tactic but you must have strategy to employ it -time your shots (setting up the point).

For starters, will you be able to continually to hit medium-pace sharp angles short balls on both sides of the court? You are increasing your % of error, you are playing into the hands of the pusher.

The advantages of hitting deep:
- ball control : pin the pusher back to a corner, then change ball direction
- able move the ball side to side
- change the speed and spin of the ball; it hard to control the shot of a long ball that is spins out rather than a short angled shot; the opponent is player behind the ball (long balls), not in front of the ball (short angle)

You need to get the pusher on the run before your hit those sharp angled shots, otherwise, you are going to be the victim of your success. Pushers are good ball retrievers and they can hit soft control shots basically to push you around at their will.

One thing I learned when playing 3.5 and higher ranked players - don't feed them short balls just because.... hit it on purpose (pace) and be ready to do battle when you bring them closer to the net!
 

shindemac

Hall of Fame
I think for the most part, yes. At higher levels, it becomes more and more important. At lower levels, u can run across players that don't know how to take advantage of the short ball. Or they always overhit it or they have no net skills. Even then, it's usually not a good idea to purposely draw the guy into the net.
 

Steady Eddy

Legend
Against relatively weaker players all that is necessary is to hit it back alot. When you face better opponents you must do more than that, you must hit it deep. This increases the chance that it will go over the baseline, but it's a risk you must take. So you've got to learn to hit it near the baseline consistently. Some people say you need topspin for this. That isn't necessarily so, if you have good feel you can put it within a foot of the line, not many players will be able to hurt you from back there.

This doesn't mean that you shouldn't try dropshots. But against good players they can be risky. If your opponent can reach that short ball, he will likely put it away. So drop it when you want to end the point.

But you're right that by consistently hitting it deep you can be making it easy for your opponent. Esp. if you hit down the middle and deep. Then he isn't forced to run much at all. Hitting deep is more about defense than offense. But it's good defense. Think of being a hockey goalie. Wouldn't you rather face a shot from the red line than from 10 feet away? When baseball became too defensive, they moved the pitcher's mound back. You might play pat-ball, but if you can consistently keep it deep, you'll be able to defend against some very good players. (And they'll hate you for it. :) )
 

Rickson

G.O.A.T.
When you are hitting deep are you actually making it easier for pushers to get to the ball? Are you not making use of the entire court to your advantage? Wouldn't a medium-paced sharp-angled short ball more deadly for pushers than a deep ball with a lot of pace?
Hitting deep and with heavy pace is a deadly combination, but if you're hitting deep moonballs, you're entering the pusher's paradise. Hitting deep is important for volleyers because creating distance between you and your opponent gives you a better chance to get to the ball. A sitter that reaches the baseline gives your opponent a lot more options for passing so deep and with good pace is the key, not just deep.
 

Flootoo

Rookie
I've done three hitting sessions recently, and it seems like it's a big difference when you focus on deep shots.
Forget about speed, hitting deep allows you to focus on early preparation, movement, and exaggerating the follow-through. Result: more topspin. 3-4 metres above the net also means that on those rare occasions when I play doubles, I don't set up my partner for a smash in the face.

It seems the height/depth combo gives the ball pace, while the conscious focus on finishing adds topspin.
Has anyone else got any input/advice on this topic?
 

blablavla

G.O.A.T.
I've done three hitting sessions recently, and it seems like it's a big difference when you focus on deep shots.
Forget about speed, hitting deep allows you to focus on early preparation, movement, and exaggerating the follow-through. Result: more topspin. 3-4 metres above the net also means that on those rare occasions when I play doubles, I don't set up my partner for a smash in the face.

It seems the height/depth combo gives the ball pace, while the conscious focus on finishing adds topspin.
Has anyone else got any input/advice on this topic?
even Nadal doesn't hit 3-4 meters above the net.

if you really hit 3-4 meters above the net, those are probably lobs, so you actually set up your partner for an overhead, just the overhead won't be hit from the net, but from a bit behind / baseline.
 

Flootoo

Rookie
even Nadal doesn't hit 3-4 meters above the net.

if you really hit 3-4 meters above the net, those are probably lobs, so you actually set up your partner for an overhead, just the overhead won't be hit from the net, but from a bit behind / baseline.
I'll get out my measuring tape... luckily I'm too ****ty a player to meet anyone who can pull off an overhead from back there.
 

tlm

G.O.A.T.
you obviously haven't seen djokovic play then, the depth he get's on every shot is incredible, balls are frequently within one foot of the baseline, that's how he beat federer.
Not true the pros do not hit that many shots deep, this is a myth that will not die.
 

tlm

G.O.A.T.
The deepest you hit, the better. You can pin your opponent to the baseline, or beyond the baseline, and that way, he has less and less chances to attack. The furthest the guy's standing, the less damage he can do when you're at the net.

But of course, Golden Retriever, you hate the net, so you can take this advice.

But think about this:

Short balls are to attack, deep balls are to defend.

By hitting deep and closer to the baseline everytime, you're reducing the other guy's chances to attack you
You are also greatly increasing your chance of making errors by hitting deep.
 

MathGeek

Hall of Fame
Depends on the opponent. Against opponents who punish short balls, hitting deep is important.

But in real rec tennis, there are lots of opponents who can't punish short balls and who move side to side much better than forward and back. Variation in depth can frustrate these opponents and make them move more. If their conditioning is not the best, it works.
 

blablavla

G.O.A.T.
Not true the pros do not hit that many shots deep, this is a myth that will not die.
yes and no.
they of course hit as well short balls, but short balls are generally easier to attack.

and then, what the pros are "coughing" as short balls, is still not always a sitter.
 

tlm

G.O.A.T.
yes and no.
they of course hit as well short balls, but short balls are generally easier to attack.

and then, what the pros are "coughing" as short balls, is still not always a sitter.
Hitting weak short shots are not good, but as long as a player hits the ball with decent pace and spin and uses angles there is no problem with hitting shorter.
 

mnttlrg

Professional
When you are hitting deep are you actually making it easier for pushers to get to the ball? Are you not making use of the entire court to your advantage? Wouldn't a medium-paced sharp-angled short ball more deadly for pushers than a deep ball with a lot of pace?
Yes, but it's not always possible to hit.

If you watch Federer / Djokovic, they use a lot of short angle shots for a variety of purposes, including net approaches.
 

Rosstour

Legend
IMO depth may be overrated.

When I hit very deep consistently in a match, I feel good. It's definitely an accomplishment. But hitting short can be just as effective.
 

RyanRF

Professional
When you are hitting deep are you actually making it easier for pushers to get to the ball? Are you not making use of the entire court to your advantage? Wouldn't a medium-paced sharp-angled short ball more deadly for pushers than a deep ball with a lot of pace?
The answer can be found within your own question:

The deeper I hit the ball, the more difficult it is for my opponent to hit a sharp-angled shot against me.
 

5263

G.O.A.T.
I realize that a deep, powerful ball is very hard to attack, and that people are taught that any decent player can take a short ball and simply hit a winner... But when I see professional matches with balls landing right at, behind, or slightly in front of the servive line for several balls in a row... It's a bit harder to take this seriously. Maybe they mean weak short balls.
you hit the nail on the head here. A well struck ball on a good shot line does not require any particular depth and we can see that in any match.
 

5263

G.O.A.T.
The deepest you hit, the better. You can pin your opponent to the baseline, or beyond the baseline, and that way, he has less and less chances to attack. The furthest the guy's standing, the less damage he can do when you're at the net.

But of course, Golden Retriever, you hate the net, so you can take this advice.

But think about this:

Short balls are to attack, deep balls are to defend.

By hitting deep and closer to the baseline everytime, you're reducing the other guy's chances to attack you
and also increasing your odds of hitting long, as you have disregarded that tennis is a game of errors as you focus more on stopping winners by your opponent.
 
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socallefty

Legend
To get the advantage during the point, you have to either take away time from your opponent or open up space (and then take advantage of the open space). Hard body serves, hitting with a lot of pace, hitting deep returns right at the opponent are all examples of taking away time which can force short balls or errors. Serving wide, returning deep to corners, returning with short angles, drop shots, short slice angles, hitting deep to a corner, short/angled topspin to take an opponent off the court, hitting close to the sidelines etc. are all examples where you open up space and then can take advantage by hitting into the open space with the next shot.

If you hit deep to the corners, deep body serves, deep DTM on returns or deep groundstrokes with more pace than an opponent can easily handle, then it is a good strategy. Serve-and-volleyers hit deep down the middle and approach the net sometimes as it reduces the angles for passing shots - approaching deep to the corners is good too if you slice low or hit a high topspin ball. If an opponent cannot handle your heavy topspin, hitting deep and high to the weaker wing (usually BH) can be a good, repeatable strategy too.

If you just hit mediocre pace/spin shots deep in the middle of the court and don’t have a strategy to take advantage of it later in the point, it might not be a good idea against a consistent opponent with good shot tolerance - might be better to make them run laterally or up/down.
 

TennisCJC

Legend
In the beginning or at least the 1970s, depth was considered a critical part of tennis. Depth on groundstrokes was viewed as a primary objective even above power. Vic Braden stressed it in his book Tennis for the future published in the 1970s. He told a story of how he said to Billie Jean King that he thought you could beat 90% of the tennis players in the world by hitting deep (3' feet inside the baseline) and down the middle. Vic says Billie Jean King corrected him and said you could beat 95% of the players in the world with depth down the middle.

I personally think depth is still critically important. When you practicing or playing a match and your opponent leaves the ball bouncing near the service line, aren't you happy? I love to see my opponents shot bouncing 15 or so feet inside the baseline. In general I will have more time and don't have to necessarily hit the ball on the rise. If my opponents shot lands 5 feet or less from my baseline, then I don't have as much time and frequently have to take the ball on the rise. Also, deep high balls can bounce high making my shot even more dificult.

Some argue that it is OK to hit a little deeper than the service line IF you have enough pace and spin to still get good penetration through the court. I think that is the 2nd best approach behind hitting deep.

Hitting the short wide angle with topspin or slice is not a "bread and butter" shot, instead it is a situational shot. You shouldn't be trying the short wide angle unless your opponent's shot lands a little shorter but not so short that you struggle to get to it. If you can get to the shot comfortably AND make contact inside your court, then you can use the wide angles. It is too risky to try this against a deep ball or a shorter ball with a lot of pace.

3' from the baseline was Vic Braden's target but I think 6 feet or less will get the job done.
 

tlm

G.O.A.T.
In the beginning or at least the 1970s, depth was considered a critical part of tennis. Depth on groundstrokes was viewed as a primary objective even above power. Vic Braden stressed it in his book Tennis for the future published in the 1970s. He told a story of how he said to Billie Jean King that he thought you could beat 90% of the tennis players in the world by hitting deep (3' feet inside the baseline) and down the middle. Vic says Billie Jean King corrected him and said you could beat 95% of the players in the world with depth down the middle.

I personally think depth is still critically important. When you practicing or playing a match and your opponent leaves the ball bouncing near the service line, aren't you happy? I love to see my opponents shot bouncing 15 or so feet inside the baseline. In general I will have more time and don't have to necessarily hit the ball on the rise. If my opponents shot lands 5 feet or less from my baseline, then I don't have as much time and frequently have to take the ball on the rise. Also, deep high balls can bounce high making my shot even more dificult.

Some argue that it is OK to hit a little deeper than the service line IF you have enough pace and spin to still get good penetration through the court. I think that is the 2nd best approach behind hitting deep.

Hitting the short wide angle with topspin or slice is not a "bread and butter" shot, instead it is a situational shot. You shouldn't be trying the short wide angle unless your opponent's shot lands a little shorter but not so short that you struggle to get to it. If you can get to the shot comfortably AND make contact inside your court, then you can use the wide angles. It is too risky to try this against a deep ball or a shorter ball with a lot of pace.

3' from the baseline was Vic Braden's target but I think 6 feet or less will get the job done.

The majority of the pro’s shots land closer to the service line than they do to the baseline, look at any shot chart of a pro match and very few shots are close to the baseline.
 
The majority of the pro’s shots land closer to the service line than they do to the baseline, look at any shot chart of a pro match and very few shots are close to the baseline.
"Hitting deep" might be missing the point, which is to keep your opponent deep so he can't step in and easily attack. This can be accomplished by hitting deep but also with extra TS or a low, penetrating slice
 
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socallefty

Legend
When players played in the days of Vic Braden/BJ King with wood racquets and gut strings, most groundstrokes were flat shots and you needed to hit deep to keep the opponent back behind the baseline. With flat shots, it was harder to hit angles and again you had to hit approach shots and winners deep. With graphite racquets and poly strings, the amount of topspin has gone up tremendously. Now, you can hit a heavy ball with a lot of topspin that does not land too much past the service line and the ball has so much action that it keeps the opponent back especially if it is hit closer to the sidelines and not in the middle of the court. Also, it is possible to hit all kinds of short angles with heavy topspin to keep the ball still within the court and again you can hit winners and approach shots with angled shots more easily than 30 years ago before the adoption of poly strings.

So, I think hitting deep is less important in the last 20 years and you see that evolution in pro tennis on the ATP tour and even with college players. However, the WTA players still hit flatter and depth is more important there still.

However, now there is a premium on not hitting shots to the middle third of the court as players can generate angles to the corners easier even if it is a deep shot to the middle - the best players hit a lot of their crosscourt shots closer to the sidelines than in past decades. In the days of flat shots, opponents could not take advantage of a deep shot down the middle as they couldn't easily hit it into the corners as is possible to do now with poly strings and modern racquets.
 

Crocodile

Legend
The key to hitting deep and to be effective with it is to combine pace with spin and therefore height. By creating such shots you are forcing your opponent in to end range situations thereby disabling their opportunity to attack you, thereby giving you control of the point.
Its a method you can use to attack people without making too many unforced errors but instead more likely to force errors from your opponent,
 
Pleasure to watch.(y)
Love the movement, nice wide base, recovery and perfectly timed split step every time. Looks like a good example for 3Fs.:)
Except the "s": my spacing on the BH is often very scrunched. I don't know why: it's perfectly fine when I hit against the wall. :cool:
 
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