The Six Playing Styles Described

Thanks for the kind comments, people. Glad you find this useful.

As to "best" ... there isn't one. Choose what fits your own natural abilities.

I am a HS Coach. I encourage my Single players to develop at least two styles to high levels of competence. So if Plan A doesn't work that day, they have a Plan B.

(By definition, if they are All-Court players, they can already do this.) I don't think Baseline / Counter Punching is "different enough" but If you can do either of those AND Attack the Net, those are different enough that give you Plan A and Plan B.

Baseline and Junk Ball is a good mix, too. (Honestly, most HS kids today have "natural tendencies" toward Baseline and Pusher. "Oh well...!")

1 - Attack the Net
2 - Baseline
3 - Counter Punching
4 - Junk-Ball
5 - All Court
6 - Pusher

- KK
 
What would you define a player like Younes El Aynaoui or Andy Murray? They both play primarily from the baseline and serve strongly, but they play with alot of different spins and placements. They go from all out attacking one point to mixing soft slices and deep topspin shots the next...
 
anyone can change tactics at anytime. I only see two styles of player. A guy who tanks and a guy who cheats...I expect a subtle mild form of one or the other from every opponent. Not to say I don't have decades worth of tactics for different players, I guess if you've played as much as I have you pay attention to different things though...
 
I actually try to *avoid* categorizing current Pros. Years ago I might have (erroneously) labeled ... Roger a S&V player ... Roddick a Big Serve / Big FH player ... Murray a ordinary Baseliner. All of these would have been wrong labels today; they've adapted their styles.

(I tell my HS boys to watch ... Fed and Murray any chance they get. They play the smartest tennis I see ... right now.)

- KK
 
I use lot of topspin ball that jump shoulder high to push opponent back and then combine it with dropshots. Should i be ashamed of my style of play, is it lame? Cause some people don`t enjoy playing me.
 
Here are the categories I use

1. Ace Machine: A huge serve with no other game to speak of. The only example I can think of is Ivo Karlovic.

2. Net Rusher: Likes to come in to the net. Rare nowadays.

3. Aggressive Baseliner: By far the most common type of player now. Hits hard.
Example: Williams sisters, indeed most other pros

4. Spin Master: Hits crazy, weird spin shots. Likes to mess with your head. Example: Fabrice Santoro.

5. Counter-Puncher: Very fast on court. Play defensive until they get an easy ball, then BAM! Smack it for a winner. Example: Gael Monfils

6. Pusher: No offensive game to speak of. Hits ball back with little technique and usually a slow pace, but utilizes different spins and super-accurate placement

7. All Court Player: Good everywhere on the court. Good footwork, good groundstrokes, good volleys, usually hits with topspin, sometimes slices to stay in the point, sometimes flat. Takes some risks, but not too many. Example: Federer

8. The Risk Taker: Inconsistent, either hits ridiculous winners or embarrassingly shanks or misses outright relatively easy balls. Double faults more common than other categories. Example: Simon Greul
 
I use lot of topspin ball that jump shoulder high to push opponent back and then combine it with dropshots. Should i be ashamed of my style of play, is it lame? Cause some people don`t enjoy playing me.
Do you win more than you lose? (Don't change.)

Do you lose more than you win? (Change ... or go take some lessons.)

- KK
 
there are only emotional styles at my level, any player can change physical tactics. I will beat you, not jut beat you but let your emotions and "you" beat yourself, overhitting yourself out of position and then screaming like a macho man as if you could have made those shots any other day.
You always yell, I always win.
 
Great sticky thread i have to say.
Very interesting. I would have to say im an all court player though. I like to keep my opponent guessing. One time ill rush the net the next time ill smash from the baseline.
 
Excellent!

That is one of my favorite posts ever! Very good breakdown of the player (and sub-player) types.

Junk Ball and pushers can be beat consistently, with the right weapons. Take away the pace they have to work with....and force them to produce pace with a quality shot by pressing in. Close all the way in on very low, biting slices and await the junk lob on everything else.

I have used this effectively with those types of players many times. Also, sneak into net behind moderate paced body serves and don't kill their weak returns...simply touch them into death angles....to **** them off! :)
 

Fay

Professional
well I think there are three:

baseliner
serve and volleyer
all court player

and many many players move between these styles

McEnroe is a true serve and volleyer ... I watched him in person last year and just about *every* first serve he went forward. Usually not on second serves.

What seems to be the problem nowadays is that when someone pulls someone off the court and give themselves the opportunity to go to the net, I see a lot of hesitation. Wasted opportunities because they don't trust their net play, don't know where to go, or who knows what. But easy for me to see sitting at home in front of the television and quite another to do on court with high stakes.

Commentators from years ago who played a lot of serve and volley are tearing their hair out when announcing.

When some of the top 10 players are beginning to lose and they have the presence of mind to go in on the first good opportunity, and they can play the net well, usually do much better than waiting on the baseline for their opponent to make a mistake or hit a short ball.

I cannot count the number of time I have seen top-level women players get a shortish ball and then *not* step in and punish their opponent with a blistering sharp angle.
 
I would opt to breakdown Attacking or Offensive vs. Defensive baseliners and then add the subs under those headings. I also think the sub-category, Heavy Topspin Baseliner needs to be added and perhaps to each. I feel that a Borg and now Nadal hit the ball so uniquely that it deserves its own label. While generally recognized as a devout defensive hitting-style, Borg and Nadal, raise it to a different level and in doing so present such a dilemna for opponents that it morphs into another attacking baseline sub-category. I recall Borg opponent's describing the experience of playing against his high bounding shots from the baseline as "feeling like I was combing my hair for two hours". I see Nadal presenting a very similar problem for the current crop. I also view this quasi-offensive baseline style as so different than the pure ball-striker (Agassi, Davenport) and big fh attackers (Lendl, Graf) that it qualifies as it's own thing.
QFT. Topspin is the flavor of the month, and there's a reason everyone is using it nowadays. Topspin is both offensive and defensive in that topspin is a very safe shot in that it will drop in play, but the height that it bounces with, the ability to hit the ball hard with topspin, and the fact that the ball speeds up so much after it bounces EASILY make up for the small difference in pace. It is 100% practical to hit 99% of balls in a rally with topspin and in that, combined with its increase in popularity, is deserving of its on category.
 
Question, might be a little off topic.

Doesn't any good player need to be able to change their style if they are losing? They can't continue with a losing strategy can they? So is it possible for a player to really be any of these styles because more than likely they are going to change it anyways depending on their opponent?

Or is this just me and that's my own style to change up my game?
Not everyone has to change their style. If you miss a couple shots from the baseline when you're going all or nothing, doesn't mean you should give up on it and play at the net all day, you have to do what got you where you are. With that being said, everyone can benefit from being able to play the court. But just because you can doesn't mean you should.
 
I know I probably haven't been playing long enough to have a "style" yet.

But, reading through them I think I fit into the Pusher/Retriever style so far ^^;;

I love the descriptions by the way, they're great!!! XD
 
Thanks for the feedback, people. I'm glad this is a provocative thread.



I like to keep my opponent guessing. One time ill rush the net the next time ill smash from the baseline.
I'd say I am an All-Courter-with-a-big-emphasis-on-Attack-the-Net.

What is your style on the "big" points? When it's Your Ad, what's the opponent most likely to see from you? (I think this answer reveals one's preferred style.)



That is one of my favorite posts ever! Very good breakdown of the player (and sub-player) types.

Junk Ball and pushers can be beat consistently, with the right weapons.
Thanks. And I agree with your presentation of the best way to handle those nasty Junk Ballers and Pushers.




Not everyone has to change their style. If you miss a couple shots from the baseline when you're going all or nothing, doesn't mean you should give up on it and play at the net all day, you have to do what got you where you are. With that being said, everyone can benefit from being able to play the court. But just because you can doesn't mean you should.
Yup. Kriese is fond of saying "you are the best in the world at YOUR style of play." (Assumes a player knows what "his style" is....)

Also, "match ups" can make things interesting. I've spent the last two years of my tennis life working on confidently *attacking* with my Returns of Serve. All because of a buddy whose S&V game matched up so well against me. (My Singles Return *was* the weakest part of my game.) I cannot wait to meet him on the court again...!




I know I probably haven't been playing long enough to have a "style" yet.

But, reading through them I think I fit into the Pusher/Retriever style so far ^^;;

I love the descriptions by the way, they're great!!! XD
You're also not "stuck" in a style. Experiment. Have fun!

- KK
 
Very nice job KK,

You beat me to the punch, I was about to post the game-styles as described in "Serious Tennis" when I saw this thread. (I knew I should have checked w/ you first).



These are much broader definitions. Here's how "Serious Tennis" breaks game-styles down:

1. All Courters (Federer, early Sampras, Hingis)

2. Attackers
2a) Big-Serve Attackers (Ivanisevic, Flipper, Roddick)
2b) Net Crushers (s&v/c&c) (Edberg, Navratilova, Rafter, later Sampras)

3. Attacking Baseliners
3a) Big-Forehand Baseliners (Lendl, Graf, early Agassi)
3b) Heavy Topspin Baseliners (Nadal, Mauresmo)
3c) Pure Ball-Strikers (Connors, Evert, Kafelnikov, Davenport, Pierce, later Agassi, Safin, Sharapova)

4. Defensive Baseliners
4a) Counterpunching Baseliners (Hewitt, Chang)
4b) Junkballers (Brasch, Santoro)
4c) Moonballers
*Doesn't exist on the pro-level as per the author.
some famous others.
king and young jimbo were snv ( practically everyone was back then); Mac was netrusher; Nasty, allcourt junker; Borg baseline counter; Soloman, Yaeger, mooners; Seles, aggrobase.
 
attacking with spin

QFT. Topspin is the flavor of the month, and there's a reason everyone is using it nowadays. Topspin is both offensive and defensive in that topspin is a very safe shot in that it will drop in play, but the height that it bounces with, the ability to hit the ball hard with topspin, and the fact that the ball speeds up so much after it bounces EASILY make up for the small difference in pace. It is 100% practical to hit 99% of balls in a rally with topspin and in that, combined with its increase in popularity, is deserving of its on category.
Borg said in his autobiography all he tried to do was hit in the middle w "crazy" TS. its an attack on your technique using spin. Its tougher to attack the spin, therefore counterpunching is more effective. Borg could do this forever.

Nadal did the same til he hurt his core. His rally shots do not explode crazily (and leftily!...) as before. That's the point of this type of game.

Technically a windshieldwiper motion causes a slight sideways hop as well as a fwd one A RH TS jumps into a RH FH - but a LH FH jumps away from RH FH. (check it out...) . This makes it diff to hit on the rise and dooms you to duke it out from the back.

I used to play this style (OS reaally helps:) and also against:cry: its draining psychologically to face.
 
all court game

You would fit the very definition of an All Court player.

- KK
Tilden, in Match Play and The Spin of The Ball, said an all-court player is one who can vary his game at will in direction, speed, depth and spin so as to give an opponent what he least likes. A sort of "consistent inconsistency"

In other words, according to Big Bill, if you can effectively adapt your game to anyone, you're an all-courter.
 
What is your style on the "big" points? When it's Your Ad, what's the opponent most likely to see from you? (I think this answer reveals one's preferred style.)
When its my Ad I would 1(slice serve down the middle or 2(if my serve is really on kick wide. Attack the net whether serve 1 or 2 because in the past 2-3 months my volleys and serve have gotten better. If its their Ad im going for the kick wide.
 
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Davis937

Professional
I'm curious ... but ... before everyone jumps all over me I have to confess that I didn't look at the complete thread ... my question: was wondering if we have a rough breakdown of the percentage of players (not counting pros) who play each of the different styles of play ... that would be interesting to me ... I'm thinking that the "all court" or "counter puncher" style players lead the pack ... what sayeth thou?
______________
"... I don't drink beer often ... but when I do, my friends ... I always drink Dos Seques."
(from The Most Interesting Man in the World)
 
There have been numerous threads addressing different playing styles. But they’ve pitted one style against another ... or deeply analyzed a particular style. Here, we’re going to define all the different styles of play in one location. (At least that’s my goal.)

1 - Define and categorize the styles of play.
2 - Identify some Pros who exemplify the styles in question.
3 - Be prepared to defend your opinion with some logic.

Let’s see if we can arrive at some level of agreement ... and keep the flaming to a minimum.

- KK
Kaptain Karl, this thread you started is one of the best ever. I'd love to discuss with you doing a video together. My personal e-mail is tennisoscar@aol.com
Happy New Year,
Oscar Wegner
TennisTeacher.com
 
Tilden, in Match Play and The Spin of The Ball, said an all-court player is one who can vary his game at will in direction, speed, depth and spin so as to give an opponent what he least likes. A sort of "consistent inconsistency"

In other words, according to Big Bill, if you can effectively adapt your game to anyone, you're an all-courter.
I'd say that's a good "short and sweet" description. (One of my all-time favorite tennis books, BTW.)



When its my Ad I would 1(slice serve down the middle or 2(if my serve is really on kick wide. Attack the net whether serve 1 or 2 because in the past 2-3 months my volleys and serve have gotten better. If its their Ad im going for the kick wide.
If I understood your post correctly, I'd say your preferred style is S&V ... when you are serving.



I'm curious ... but ... before everyone jumps all over me I have to confess that I didn't look at the complete thread ... my question: was wondering if we have a rough breakdown of the percentage of players (not counting pros) who play each of the different styles of play ... that would be interesting to me ... I'm thinking that the "all court" or "counter puncher" style players lead the pack ... what sayeth thou?
Just off the top of my head (and remembering the median NTRP is 3.0)....

1) Baseline
2) Pusher
3) Junk Baller
4) Counter Puncher
5) Attack the Net
6) All Courter

Many players I've met over the years *think* they are All Courters, when they are not even close. (An All Courter excels at any style.) Very few people can actually do that....




KK, how would you beat a 6a and 6b if you were a good 4.0 baseliner?
The key to your answer, IMO, is your premise. A "good 4.0 baseliner" ought to be able to handle either a (6a) Soft-Baller / Pusher or a (6b) Retriever / Pusher. But you'll need to be patient and play your Baseliner game.

Just be prepared to play 8-12 shots per point on average (versus 4-6 against your common opponent at 4.0). Let me know if you have specific questions about the matchup.



Kaptain Karl, this thread you started is one of the best ever. I'd love to discuss with you doing a video together. My personal e-mail is tennisoscar@aol.com
Happy New Year,
Oscar Wegner
TennisTeacher.com
Thanks, Oscar. I'll shoot you an e-mail.

- KK
 
The key to your answer, IMO, is your premise. A "good 4.0 baseliner" ought to be able to handle either a (6a) Soft-Baller / Pusher or a (6b) Retriever / Pusher. But you'll need to be patient and play your Baseliner game.

Just be prepared to play 8-12 shots per point on average (versus 4-6 against your common opponent at 4.0). Let me know if you have specific questions about the matchup.

- KK
I recently had a singles match against a 4.0 pusher who has slice forehands/backhands. He has shaky servers that don't give me much trouble. I was up 4-1 and ended up losing when I tried to play his pusher game (thinking it would mess his game up.) I thought about playing my game, keeping the balls deep and giving him the run, but it just seemed like he started adjusting. We have a best of 3 sets coming in a few weeks, so I'm still not sure if committing to my game will be enough to keep me from melting down when/if he ends up getting all those random free points that I'll probably give. I'm not very patient.
 
I'd say that's a good "short and sweet" description. (One of my all-time favorite tennis books, BTW.)



If I understood your post correctly, I'd say your preferred style is S&V ... when you are serving.



Just off the top of my head (and remembering the median NTRP is 3.0)....

1) Baseline
2) Pusher
3) Junk Baller
4) Counter Puncher
5) Attack the Net
6) All Courter

Many players I've met over the years *think* they are All Courters, when they are not even close. (An All Courter excels at any style.) Very few people can actually do that....




The key to your answer, IMO, is your premise. A "good 4.0 baseliner" ought to be able to handle either a (6a) Soft-Baller / Pusher or a (6b) Retriever / Pusher. But you'll need to be patient and play your Baseliner game.

Just be prepared to play 8-12 shots per point on average (versus 4-6 against your common opponent at 4.0). Let me know if you have specific questions about the matchup.



Thanks, Oscar. I'll shoot you an e-mail.

- KK

... thanks for the response, Kaptain ... I was thinking that probably "pushers" (... the bane of all players who like "to hit out") would be at the top of the list ... I was thinking that life would be a lot simpler without pushers ... I really need to get away from the notion that "classic strokes" and "style points" are important in tennis ... obviously, they are not ... as I have so rudely found out *smile* ... nice, thread Kaptain ... keep up the good work!
 
I recently had a singles match against a 4.0 pusher who has slice forehands/backhands. He has shaky servers that don't give me much trouble. I was up 4-1 and ended up losing when I tried to play his pusher game (thinking it would mess his game up.) I thought about playing my game, keeping the balls deep and giving him the run, but it just seemed like he started adjusting. We have a best of 3 sets coming in a few weeks, so I'm still not sure if committing to my game will be enough to keep me from melting down when/if he ends up getting all those random free points that I'll probably give. I'm not very patient.
That last sentence makes your match-up pretty tough. I have questions....

Is one of his slice ground strokes clearly stronger than the other (FH / BH)? Which one?

Does he run ... better / worse / the same ... vertically versus horizontally?

How is he at the net? And how is your drop-shot? Your passing shots?

Usually a poor server also has a poor overhead. How is your lob?

How are you at attacking (really forcing or getting a clean winner) off his serve?

How are you at taking advantage of a "short-ish" ball and driving it for the winner?

Can you "pin" a player deep behind one corner with 3 or 4 ground strokes to the same deep corner?

- KK
 
That last sentence makes your match-up pretty tough. I have questions....

Is one of his slice ground strokes clearly stronger than the other (FH / BH)? Which one?

Does he run ... better / worse / the same ... vertically versus horizontally?

How is he at the net? And how is your drop-shot? Your passing shots?

Usually a poor server also has a poor overhead. How is your lob?

How are you at attacking (really forcing or getting a clean winner) off his serve?

How are you at taking advantage of a "short-ish" ball and driving it for the winner?

Can you "pin" a player deep behind one corner with 3 or 4 ground strokes to the same deep corner?

- KK
He's clearly got a better bh slice. His fh is random, and I would compare it to Russian Roulette. :(

He's better side to side than going up and back.

He's better than me at the net, and my dropshots are HORRIBLE, but my disguise/passing shots are great against him and every other 4.0+ player I've encountered.

My lob is HORRIBLE.

My return game is improving, I'm learning how to control height/depth on the bh, and my fh is much deeper since I've improved my timing.

I don't really get short balls to put away, since I am always babysitting the baseline, so I'll have to say I'm 50/50 on that. It's mostly a comfort issue when coming to the net.. :(

Yes, I can def. do that with both sides. My concentration/discipline has improved, and so has my footwork/swingspeed. I'm no longer a victim of a full-on emotional meltdown.. only partly though at times.
 
Geez! You're not making this easy for "Coach KK." But I'll give you my best suggestions....

I'm rearranging your replies to help you see why I asked what I asked.

He's better side to side than going up and back.

He's better than me at the net, and my dropshots are HORRIBLE, but ....

My lob is HORRIBLE.
If you cannot drop/lob him with confidence, this tactic won't be helpful.

I don't really get short balls to put away, since I am always babysitting the baseline, so I'll have to say I'm 50/50 on that. It's mostly a comfort issue when coming to the net.. :(
For the future, I'd suggest you work on identifying when your shot will produce a weak/short reply ... quickly move in 4-6 steps (which for a classic baseliner means you have moved in behind the Service Line) ... and *pounce* on that short ball with a clearly forcing shot (which will produce an even weaker reply) or a winner.


He's clearly got a better bh slice. His fh is random, and I would compare it to Russian Roulette. :(

My return game is improving, I'm learning how to control height/depth on the bh, and my fh is much deeper since I've improved my timing.

... my disguise/passing shots are great against him and every other 4.0+ player I've encountered.

Yes, I can def. do that [pin him] with both sides. My concentration/discipline has improved, and so has my footwork/swingspeed. I'm no longer a victim of a full-on emotional meltdown.. only partly though at times
These data are helpful.

Build a game plan around your ability to pin him, your FH Return and your comfort with your passing shots. (I know that seems "wrong". Bear with me....)

With your FH Return and any time you get into a baseline exchange, PIN him into his BH corner with 3-4 driving shots. At least one of those ought to produce a weaker-than-normal reply with which you can "pretend" he's come to net and hit your passing shot toward the FH corner for a winner.

Here's the key, you impatient player, you.... If his "russian roulette" FH happens to "work" that time, you need to play a little psychological trick on yourself. Instead of groaning to yourself, "Oh, this point will never end!," treat his successful FH return as the start of a new point. Just pin him on the FH side and hit your passing/winner to his BH side when he gives you a ball you can pounce on.

Rinse and repeat.

Also, if you don't have a drop-shot you can count on, but you do have the ability to hit a short ground stroke which he will use as an approach shot ... then you have two tactical approaches which work toward your favor. Just pass the snot out of him whenever he tires of being pinned and tries to come to the net.

How's that...?

- KK
 
I’ve put a lot of thought into this. Here’s my best shot at this -- garnered from over thirty years of playing, teaching and coaching tennis. Tell me what you think.

I describe the styles of play with Major Categories ... and Subcategories. Some of these groupings may surprise you, but please read through it before you fight me. Of course, I’m open to different views ... so long as you can support them.

<Edit> I am removing the examples of Pro Players from my descriptions. I agree with those who have suggested this creates confusion, rather than clarity. (Look at Roddick: When I made this guide he played quite differently than he has the last two years. He's just one example of a Pro NOT being a "pure" example of a style anymore....) </Edit>

My Major Categories of Playing Style are:

1 - Attack the Net
2 - Baseline
3 - Counter Punching
4 - Junk-Ball
5 - All Court
6 - Pusher

1 - Attack the Net should be pretty self-explanatory. This player constantly presses, probes and exploits the slightest weaknesses they uncover. They push forward and try to finish the large majority of their points with winning volleys. They relentlessly pressure you to try and come up with your best passing shots or lobs. They put you on “constant defense.”

What I expect might ruffle some feathers is how I consider S&V to be a subcategory of Attack the Net. The more I thought about it, the more I like this manner of codifying the styles. (I’ve observed many players who S&V ... on “offense”. But when Receiving, they are baseliners. Maybe they lack confidence in their Returns, so the attacker becomes a more patient Baseliner....)

1 a. - Serve & Volley

1 b. - Chip & Charger

1 a & b ^^^ “ought” to be self-explanatory. If they are not, let’s get more detailed.

2 - Baseline is the most prevalent broad category of choice for the last 15 years. Almost all the WTA players are in this category -- as are most of the ATP’s clay courters and even several ATP pros preferring hard courts. These players stalk the baseline and rarely *choose* to come to net.

2 a. - Blasters, as Baseliners, may have a big serve and a big forehand ... or just a reliable serve with big ground strokes. Blasters pound the ball into the corners ... down the line ... inside out. They jerk you from one side to the other putting you in the position of constantly being on the defensive. Any ball is fair game for them to “go for broke.” Most points against Blasters are over in less than ten shots; usually from the Blaster’s winner ... or unforced error.

2 b. - Machine Baseliners are the steadiest opponents you’ll ever meet. They may not have any single stroke which is their “big weapon,” but they relentlessly hit with pace ... running you from one side to the other ... sometimes even prolonging the points to wear you down in the end. They don’t seem to miss. They don’t seem to tire. They demoralize you with their stamina.

2 c. - Soft-Baller Baseliners are tireless players with excellent footwork and anticipation. They always seem to be where they need to be to cut down your angles of attack. You cannot get them to engage you in a power exchange. They seem to absorb all the power of your shots and redirect it with good deep placement, but they won’t give you any pace to work with. You must always supply your own power. This player exhausts you ... physically and mentally.

2 d. - Retriever Baseliners are quick and tireless. He believes he can get any ball back and becomes a “human backboard.” They rely on your misses, rather than any one “money shot” of their own. Their strength is that while retrieving, they keep you pinned to your own baseline. They have good depth and uniformly good pace on their strokes. They just don’t seem to work the corners or angles the way most baseliners do. If you are playing the baseline game yourself, you are in for a long day against the Retriever.

This style rarely exists beyond the club level. In my area, most of the top HS Girls -- and many JV Boys -- play this “war of attrition” style.

3 - Counter Punching players are always looking for the opportunity to *instantly* switch from safe defensive tennis ... to ripping winners. They can “change gears” with a single shot. Their passing shots are “thread the needle” accurate against those playing Attack the Net. Their drop-shots and lobs are deadly. Counter Punchers can detect and exploit the baseliners’ inadvertent openings ... and end the point with one “high risk” down-the-line winner ... or fool you with a short-angle inside-out forehand winner.

Opponents playing both Attack the Net and Baseline tennis are fooled into thinking “He can’t keep that up the whole match.” When do these opponents realize their error? Unfortunately, when -- befuddled -- they are shaking hands at the net and congratulating the Counter Puncher on a 6-3, 6-3 victory.

4 - Junk Ball players can drive the “purists” among us into the Nut House. These players never allow you to get into a rhythm. They vary the height, depth, angles and quantity of spin so much your “strokes” fall apart ... right after your brain explodes. Junk Ballers seem never to be out of breath and play high-percentage tennis when it comes to “court position.” When you do manage to get them on the run, you learn they are also very quick on their feet.

4 a. - Spin Doctor players are the highest developed of the Junk Ballers. They stroke the ball with pace (when they wish) but also with crazy slices, side spins, topspins and some spins we don’t yet have names for. Spin Doctors keep you off-balance, wrong footed and clumsily compensating for their shots by altering your own strokes. They are serious threats to both players who Attack the Net and Baseliners.

Most players would rather have a root canal than play these guys. Their tennis seems as much “psychological warfare” as it is “real tennis” competition. While Spin Doctors’ opponents frequently “lose their cool” during matches, the Doctors themselves tend to be some of the most unflappable players you will encounter.

4 b. - Chop Shot-er Junk Ballers are found all over the Recreational and Club levels of tennis. These players have mastered the Chop Slice shot so well, they rarely bother hitting a flat or topspin shot. Chop Shot-ers can put their chopped slice deep, short, angled and lobbed. They are very good at “working the wind” with their chops and can run the 4.0 and below opponent into the ground with their accurate shooting.

Chop Shot-ers play very good “position” and rarely have to run for your silly attempts to blast them off the court. When you do succeed in running them, you sadly discover they are some of the quickest players afoot. They love it when you try to overpower them ... because they are masters at redirecting your power with their junk.

(A friend near the bottom of our ladder is 74 ... and proudly informs the 20- and 30-somethings on the ladder (after badly beating them) that the rest of us call him “Mr. Chop Shot.”)

5 - All Court players are able to adapt their games to give them the best advantage ... against any opponent’s style ... in any weather condition ... however and whenever needed. They can Soft-Ball the Baseline Blaster. They can Attack the Net against the Junk Baller. They find what works best against the Counter Puncher that day and dismantle *that* game. The All Courter can blow some Baseline Machines off the court with an Attack the Net style. They can exhaust the Serve & Volleyer with Counter Punching.

At the highest levels, the All Courter may choose to play directly into his opponent’s strength. (Bill Tilden was notorious for this tactic. When asked why he attacked the other guys’ strengths, his answer was, “That way, once I’ve broken him down, all he has to fall back on ... are his weaknesses.”)

All Courters tend to be able to change strategies and tactics “on a dime.” They may, within a set -- even within a point -- switch from one pattern to another. They can keep you off-balance ... and unhappy.

<See next post>

- KK
Just want to say that was a very interesting and enjoyable read. You should think about writing for tennis journals or magazines.
 
so.... can we say that the all rounders pwn all? Since they can adjust into playing various types of playstyles, btw If u all dont mind can u say what pwns what, like a cycle?


Ill say what I think ok?
Counterpunchers>S&V
S&V>Baseliners
Junk Ballers>Baseliners
Counterpunchers>Junkballers

Pusher depends on other players level right?
All Rounder>all
 
Is there such a thing as a pusher who is also friendly with the net? Cuz that's what I do...

I do usually just push it back, though I also frequently drop shot/lob/heavily slice, but I also approach the net lots, usually off a heavy slice. Mental toughness and speed are my best parts, which fits with pusher or counterpuncher I guess.
 
Wow, one of the most interesting and complete pieces of writing I have ever seen concerning tennis. Nice job!
Thanks!


so.... can we say that the all rounders pwn all? Since they can adjust into playing various types of playstyles, btw If u all dont mind can u say what pwns what, like a cycle?


Ill say what I think ok?
Counterpunchers>S&V
S&V>Baseliners
Junk Ballers>Baseliners
Counterpunchers>Junkballers

Pusher depends on other players level right?
All Rounder>all
"pwns?" Sorry, I don't speak your language.


Is there such a thing as a pusher who is also friendly with the net? Cuz that's what I do...

I do usually just push it back, though I also frequently drop shot/lob/heavily slice, but I also approach the net lots, usually off a heavy slice. Mental toughness and speed are my best parts, which fits with pusher or counterpuncher I guess.
You seem like a form of Junk Baller to me.

- KK
 

MixieP

Hall of Fame
Thanks for an interesting thread!

If one wants to spare one’s old body with its creaking joints and tender muscles, which of these playing styles would you recommend that one aspires to adopt?
 
From the perspective of a relative newcomer/late starter, this was a fantastic analysis.

There is a counter-puncher 30 plus years my senior, who makes me work pretty hard as he waits to zap a corner shot/winner. No top spin, and a modest serve, but he knows how to use the tools he has.

I don't mind though. He is largely responsible for motivating my ever deeper immersion into tennis obsession. Good friend too.

Thanks KK
 
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