What is the best strategy resource for Point Construction?

HitItHarder

Semi-Pro
I am looking for a good source of information - like a book - on typical point construction in singles. Since I only started playing tennis as an adult, most of the professional instruction I have relates to fundamentals - not strategy.

My problem is that my shot selection tends to break down after the fourth or fifth shot of a rally, I start to resort to pushing and strategy goes out the window. I realize it is a composure problem -- meaning I lose mine -- the longer the point goes on. So I am looking for something to help me with the pros and cons of attacking the middle, cross court, dtl, topspin rollers verses slicing low, positioning myself to anticipate and cut off shots during my approach shot, etc.

I realize that experience is the ultimate answer, but I feel like sometimes I need to have a better strategic understanding of my options so I make better choices with my shot selection. Right now, when the points begin to stretch out I am either trying to end the point with an impatient low probability winner or I push with no game plan other than get the ball back and make them hit another shot.
 

Geezer Guy

Hall of Fame
I liked the book "Think To Win" by Allen Fox. It had some good tips about point construction and court geomitry that I hadn't thoght about before.

Brad Gilbert's "Winning Ugly" has some good tips also about match play. Not point construction in particular, but a lot of things about competitive tennis in general.
 

HitItHarder

Semi-Pro
I liked the book "Think To Win" by Allen Fox. It had some good tips about point construction and court geomitry that I hadn't thoght about before.

Brad Gilbert's "Winning Ugly" has some good tips also about match play. Not point construction in particular, but a lot of things about competitive tennis in general.

Thanks for the reply. I read "Winning Ugly" and it definately has some good tips in it about match play in general.

I am hoping I can find something with a little bit more on actual shot selection, strategy and constructing points. I will check out "Think to Win" as well. Thanks again.
 

Ripper014

Hall of Fame
I would say to watch some video of 70's and 80's matches... or some womens matches before the era of bashing balls as hard as you can.

I you pay attention you can learn a lot on point construction... of what you can do... and what you shouldn't do. Connors and McEnroe were some of my favorites to watch. Watching anyone that does not reply on pure power to win is a lesson in match management.

The other thing is you can actually see point construction in a match situation as oppose to people throwing out theory. Sometimes what is on paper does not translate to real life situations.
 
Last edited:

FuriousYellow

Professional
Wardlaw's book on Directionals is a very good resource.

For videos, the Bollitieri's Building Points and Tactics is very good as are the video series from Paul Annacone on strategies against specific-types of players.
 

xFullCourtTenniSx

Hall of Fame
Just go to practice, and make sure you can rally 100 balls in a row like it was routine.

Then when you go out to a match, you know you can easily rally with the other player for as long as it takes.

You need to develop confidence in your shots. That's all there is to it.
 

kiteboard

Banned
You don't need a strategy lesson/tip. You need to intend to swing freely on each shot. You become tense as the point lengthens. Your movement suffers. So your consistency suffers. Your arm becomes heavier and more rigid. Your mind locks up. Your shot selection goes out the window. So you slow down, get there late, and lock up. Your body clock stops running smoothly. You need an intention tune up, not a tactical one. Swing freely on your shots. Recover to the abdomen, with your hands and shoulders, the entire upper body relaxed at core after each shot. Keep your breath even, and exhale on each shot from the core abdomen. Recover smoothly and quickly and relaxed. Move smoothly and quickly to the next shot, relaxed. Read your opponents' next shot, watch his stick, not the ball. Don't go dtl unless it's an easy shot or your only option.
 

M Pillai

Rookie
I like the tip on watching old videos. Todays pro games at high level is fun to watch, but difficult too implement. So learn the strokes of super-natural top-10 pros of today. But learn the court movements, recovery, positioning, and directions based on your athletisism, and you might have to look beyond the super-natural pros.
 

Scuoteguazza

New User
I am reading The Game of Singles in Tennis by William Talbert and Bruce Old. It was published in 1977 and is out of print so it's available only through Amazon or Barnes and Noble used section. One of the authors charted (manually, before the day of computers) points to find patterns. The book has diagrams showing different ways to build a point and what happens if you build it incorrectly. The same authors also wrote a book on doubles which was first published in the mid-1950s. I've found useful info in both books. You might also want to check Craig O'Shannessy's Brain Games web site. He sells packages of information on singles and doubles based on his statistical analysis of matches.
 

Limpinhitter

G.O.A.T.
I am reading The Game of Singles in Tennis by William Talbert and Bruce Old. It was published in 1977 and is out of print so it's available only through Amazon or Barnes and Noble used section. One of the authors charted (manually, before the day of computers) points to find patterns. The book has diagrams showing different ways to build a point and what happens if you build it incorrectly. The same authors also wrote a book on doubles which was first published in the mid-1950s. I've found useful info in both books. You might also want to check Craig O'Shannessy's Brain Games web site. He sells packages of information on singles and doubles based on his statistical analysis of matches.
My copy is from 1962. The problem with that book is that it is based on "Big Game" tennis, not the modern backcourt game.
 
watch Martina Hingis' old matches. She was the best at constructing a point.
Agreed. She was a great example of someone who did just about everything competently, but nothing exceptionally (touch notwithstanding), so her M.O. back when she played singles was to figure out what her opponent was not so good at and force the game into that situation over and over again.

Also worth noting is how mundane (but effective) a lot of her tactics were. She hit a lot of high percentage shots, and generally made sure her opponent had to hit lower percentage shots - would do things like get in a pattern that she was more comfortable with than her opponent (crosscourt BH to BH, for example) and simply refuse to break that pattern forcing her opponent to hit either a weaker shot (feeding a conservative ball safely to Hingis' FH) or lower percentage shot (crushing a BH DTL for an attempted winner) to break up the play. A lot of people think of point construction as a complicated strategic chess match, but most of the time it's about hitting high percentage shots, setting up repeatable situations where you have an advantage, and having the discipline to do the same thing over and over again if it's working.
 

LeeD

Bionic Poster
Your strategy totally depends on your fitness, consistency, and power of shot.
No TWO player's use the same strategy that works the best for them, because everyone is slightly different.
Even DJ, and Murray, two similar player's, have different strengths and weaknesses, and need to have different playing strategies.
If you forced Milos to adopt David Ferrer's strategy, you might end up with a 6.0 level player.
And if you forced Ferrer to use Milos' strategy, you might end up with a 6.0 level player.
There are no shortcuts to success, as you well know.
 

M Pillai

Rookie
No TWO player's use the same strategy that works the best for them
Agreed. But there is a big difference in knowing nothing about the possible tactical patterns of play and knowing them, irrespective of whether you can implement it or not. Knowing the different commonly used tactics and patterns of play, and more importantly knowing "WHY" that pattern, and "WHY" the ball was hit that way instead of this way, takes you into different dimensions, and eventually you will learn to come up with your own patterns, which suits just you.
 

LeeD

Bionic Poster
Is it possible to be so clueless than you can play tennis for a month, and not have any strategy, shot selection, or tactics at all?
Do you NEED someone to tell you to hit to the open court?
Do you NEED someone to tell you not to hit to the opponent's strengths repeatedly?
Do you need someone to tell you to move a slow moving opponent, and hit behind a fast moving opponent?
Do you need someone to tell you to hit to the backhand to test it at the beginning of match's?
Do you need someone to tell you that if the opponent drops his racket and falls down, that you should put the ball into play, not going for a screaming winner?
ALL that should be ingrained by your 3rd year of tennis.
NONE of it matters if you're a 3.0 after 3 year's of tennis, because either you can make the shot, or you just have no clue.
 

Dartagnan64

G.O.A.T.
I am looking for a good source of information - like a book - on typical point construction in singles. Since I only started playing tennis as an adult, most of the professional instruction I have relates to fundamentals - not strategy.

My problem is that my shot selection tends to break down after the fourth or fifth shot of a rally, I start to resort to pushing and strategy goes out the window. I realize it is a composure problem -- meaning I lose mine -- the longer the point goes on. So I am looking for something to help me with the pros and cons of attacking the middle, cross court, dtl, topspin rollers verses slicing low, positioning myself to anticipate and cut off shots during my approach shot, etc.

I realize that experience is the ultimate answer, but I feel like sometimes I need to have a better strategic understanding of my options so I make better choices with my shot selection. Right now, when the points begin to stretch out I am either trying to end the point with an impatient low probability winner or I push with no game plan other than get the ball back and make them hit another shot.
Strategy tip #1:
1) Get better at shots 1-3 in a rally (70% of professional rallies last less than 4 shots). If you are losing long rallies, don't get in them. Learn how to effectively force points to end sooner.

2) Most matches at intermediate levels are won based on errors in stroke formation and not errors in strategy. If someone just learned to hit reliably to their opponents backhand, they would win a lot of matches.

3) Wardlaws directionals are a nice guide to hitting high percentage shots. If you stay in the high percentage zone and avoid too risky shots, you'll win a lot of matches.
 

hawk eye

Hall of Fame
I'd say play this game a lot. It's fun and way more realistic gameplay than any version of Topspin or Virtua tennis.

 

hawk eye

Hall of Fame
oh I remember when Lopez played Popsicle! Epic battle!!.. time for some Virtua Tennis
Yes, especially their Kuala Lumpur match shown above was one for the ages.

The epic first rally in the following clay court battle -how appropriate these days- already shows how one can force the opponent into an error by playing a ball deep down he middle, catching him ( (GMDP in this very case) off balance because he had to move back after hitting a cc ball too short and weak. Vintage Nole stuff of course.

 
Last edited:

hawk eye

Hall of Fame
Ran into this one at the TT fooball club topic of all places, so now you can hear it from someone else:


Doctor/Lawyer Red Devil, Wednesday at 11:16 PM Report
New

[Topspin is old but it's still your best option if you want to play some tennis without much hassle :p although its a bit ruined for average players like me, I can't beat anyone online to save my life. Poisoned Slice knows :p]

Tennis Elbow is the GOAT tennis game for me. Haven't bought the full version (some patches can be added) that will allow me to play online, but even with constant demo downloading it has been amazing. Less focus on the actual look of the tennis player, but the gameplay is the closest thing to perfection. With those patches the actual style of their hitting becomes even more realistic.

If you can dream it you can achieve it.
Limitations live only in our minds. But if we use our imaginations, our possibilities become limitless.
 

5263

G.O.A.T.
I am looking for a good source of information - like a book - on typical point construction in singles. Since I only started playing tennis as an adult, most of the professional instruction I have relates to fundamentals - not strategy.

My problem is that my shot selection tends to break down after the fourth or fifth shot of a rally, I start to resort to pushing and strategy goes out the window. I realize it is a composure problem -- meaning I lose mine -- the longer the point goes on. So I am looking for something to help me with the pros and cons of attacking the middle, cross court, dtl, topspin rollers verses slicing low, positioning myself to anticipate and cut off shots during my approach shot, etc.

I realize that experience is the ultimate answer, but I feel like sometimes I need to have a better strategic understanding of my options so I make better choices with my shot selection. Right now, when the points begin to stretch out I am either trying to end the point with an impatient low probability winner or I push with no game plan other than get the ball back and make them hit another shot.
Imo, this is one of the most simple guides to how to use the court, but is also strongly related to the way we see top pros play points.
http://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/showthread.php?t=413112&highlight=practice+for+Smarter+Targets
 
Top