What is the easiest way to beat a "LEFTY"?

Discussion in 'Tennis Tips/Instruction' started by RF, Aug 19, 2004.

  1. RF

    RF Guest

    I am playing a 3.0-3.5 lefty this weekend and would like some tips on this. The majority of the guys that I play against are right handed. My thoughts were to serve to his backhand and hit to the open court. I was told that most Left handed players are used to this because they play so many right handed players and he will be expecting this.
    What works?
  2. TwistServe

    TwistServe Guest

    Best way to beat a lefty if you're 3.0-3.5 is to get to 4.0-4.5..

    Beating a lefty is just like beating a righty: consistency and less errors than your opponent.

    Some players have better backhands than forehands, some have better forehands than backhands.. generalizing a strategy for a lefty isn't going to work.. but at 3.0 to 3.5 I dont think it really matters what you do, just get the ball back in play and don't be a pusher
  3. Bungalo Bill

    Bungalo Bill G.O.A.T.

    Feb 19, 2004
    Twist Serve has a point. Just take on a lefty like any other player with strengths and weaknesses. Once you get used to the different spin and effects, it really boils down to strategic matchups.

    At your level, I wouldn't worry about making your game plan complicated. Ninety percent of club players have weaker backhands then forehands.

    Since you are righthanded, it would be an ideal matchup to always try to get your forehand going to his backhand (almost playing one half of the court) and pound that strategy till it is rendered useless! Even on the serve, send all the serves to his backhand. Eight times out of ten, they will hit an error or hit a short ball for you to take control of the point or end the point with a winner.
  4. JohnThomas1

    JohnThomas1 Professional

    Apr 13, 2004
    Bill, i have particular trouble with their serves, they are never really where i think and the ball seems to skew of my strings a bit due no doubt to the opposite spin. I've tried moving in and i've tried moving back, moving back seemed ok but in doubles it is not an option. Any idea's?
  5. Eric Matuszewski

    Eric Matuszewski Rookie

    Feb 19, 2004
    At the 3.0-3.5 level (assuming he's not sandbagging) his backhand should still be the weaker stroke, so don't over think hitting more balls to that side just do it.

    Hooking your forehands over there should give him less chance to get on offense.

    Learn how to slice your serve short to that side. Many leftys build a tough game doing this to right handers, the matchup is just as hard for him as well.

    As for Return of serve...

    Try to figure out his spin in warm up or as soon as possible.

    Its likely at 3.0-3.5 that he sidespins it frequently.

    this ball would hook to your backhand (to your left).

    to your forehand it will tend to "Jam" you.

    whichever shot you are more comfortable with is the one which you should give him more of a target (oppening) to that side.

    this takes some of the guessing out of the return of serve. It also encourages him to take more of a risk which could pay off with double faults.

    This assumes that he doesn't have a cannon serve that can hit alot of aces. At (3.0-3.5) he probably doesn't "own" an ace machine. When he makes it he is only renting it (no reason to worry as faults are comming).
  6. Rickson

    Rickson G.O.A.T.

    Jun 16, 2004
    Look out for the ad side serve!
  7. kevhen

    kevhen Hall of Fame

    Feb 20, 2004
    Auckland, New Zealand
    Hit to the side he is weakest on, probably his backhand, or just hit up the middle and try to win with conistency. His forehand side might surprise you if you are used to playing righties since he may hit it harder than most righy's backhands. Also hit your passing shots and lobs to his backhand side (hit your forehand crosscourt and backhand up the line). His serve may spin and bounce to the left and away from your backhand but most 3.0-3.5's don't really put alot of spin on their serves. Play him like anyone else and just look for his weaknesses and go at them or just hit your normal shots.
  8. TennsDog

    TennsDog Hall of Fame

    Feb 26, 2004
    The best thing I would say to do is to hit slice serves wide in the deuce court. It works against anyone, but it is the backhand side of a lefty which naturally will have less reach than the forehand (as a righty would have in this situation). It is impossible to hit a slice serve going to a righty's backhand because of the movement of slice. The best you could do there is a twist serve. But all of the above comments make sense: just play your game, be wary of reverse spins, and use normal strategy.
  9. Bungalo Bill

    Bungalo Bill G.O.A.T.

    Feb 19, 2004
    Hard to say what the problem is. I can give you some suggestions. Some of the suggestions like "try and figure" out their serve during a warmup has some merit but in reality it is wishful thinking.

    I don't think I have ever figured out someones serve during a warmup. The serve is usually different during warmup and when they start the match and begin to crank it up it is quite a different story. Plus, constantly adjusting to different speeds during a match usually renders warmups virtually useless to gain any "insight" on someones serve and for that matter game. Most players don't let you see what they got until the match begins anyway. Also, watching someones serve has some merit but it is whole different matter trying to get your footwork right and put some strings on the ball!

    The lefty serve is trouble at any level. Your eyes are not used to picking up the pace and depth of the incoming ball that is curving and spinning differently. It is a fact of sports. Even in baseball, players have trouble with lefty pitchers or vice versa lefty batters. Professional tennis players before a match will go out and have a lefty sparring partner hit lefthanded serves from the service line to readjust from all the righties they have seen. This is so they are ready for their match against a lefthanded player later on. They know it is real difficult to learn or train their brain to adjust during a warmup minutes before a match.

    I have to get used to a lefties AND I AM A LEFTY!

    It is not that you can not hit a lefties serves or shots, it is you don't see them often. The lefty has an advantage right away during match play for that reason. When you play a lefty they have a clear advantage during a match until you get used to their shots because they see a lot of righties but you will only see a few lefties.

    The other problem I see with lefties is for some reason (beyond my knowledge and comprehension) lefties have this uncanny knack of hitting their serves with different outcomes of spin and speed without trying! It just comes off their racquets that way.

    My suggestion? Find a lefty with a decent serve and some decent spin serves, get his number, call him up, get a basket of 100 balls, and have him serve balls to you from the service line. That is the only way your going to learn to adjust to the different angles, pace and spin a lefty hits. Otherwise, just do your best and try to get used to it as the match goes on.
  10. fastdunn

    fastdunn Legend

    Feb 19, 2004
    For about 1 year or so, I hit with this group of 8 people
    3 times a week and 5 of them are lefties.
    I've got so used to lefties that I sometimes became awkward
    with righties. For example, I've served to the T at the ad court
    so many times that I almost forgot to how to serve wide.
    Returning lefty's serve still remains as tricky one as BB mentioned.
    One thing I'd like to ad to previous posts are that lefties'
    volleying angle are different. I seem to anticipate unconcsciously
    the possible volleying range when people come to net.
    But for a while, I didn't know why I had tougher time to
    return lefty's volley. Later I realized I need to cover
    slightly different range simply because they use backhand
    volley instead of FH and vice versa. Sound simple but it took
    me a while.....
  11. JohnThomas1

    JohnThomas1 Professional

    Apr 13, 2004
    Ahhh perfect clarity Bill. The only leftie i play much at all actually has the least challenging left serve i've ever seen, not much movement at all. The ball is always just left of where i think, jamming me on the forehand and hitting the top part of the strings on the backhand if not sometimes the frame. Practice is it, thanks :)
  12. dozu

    dozu Banned

    Feb 19, 2004
    like everything else, it just takes time to get used to. like posted above, most of the lefties still have the backhand as a weaker wing, which is true among the 2 lefties I play often, one used to be a 5.5, another one is a 4.5...... I s&v against them and I just continue to milk that cow (the weaker return from their backhand), both are 1hbh and use a slice/bunt return, and the percentage is on my side.

    during baseline rallies usually there is enough time to keep my clear head and hit to their bh side.

    The most common "oops" moment is at an emergency approach shot, or with a reflex volley, when I am trained to go to a righties bh by instinct, it's usually after the ball has left my string and I realize "oops" he is gonna rip his forehand pass and I am pretty much dead in the point. Took me about couple of month to only partially correct that problem.
  13. Jim Hendricks

    Jim Hendricks Rookie

    Feb 19, 2004
    When returning a lefties serve, set up a step and a half to two steps to the left of where you would normally set up.
  14. chipsdw

    chipsdw Guest

    Well I'm a lefty, and one tip is if you find he has a good spin serve, stand closer to the alley. That way he will be more reluctant to hit spin serves.

    And an interesting fact is that true leftys actually bat righty. Kind of odd, so watch out for that. (It made it pretty easy for me to learn backhand) And yes, lefties get a good amount of backhands. But if you don't make many errors you will do fine.
  15. Golden Retriever

    Golden Retriever Hall of Fame

    Apr 3, 2004
    I think the only real advantage a lefty has is the serve and the overhead. Otherwise a lefty is just a righty with a better backhand then the forehand (assuming the lefty has a better forehand then backhand.) So once you have returned his/her lefty serve there is nothing to worry about just play like he was a righty with a good backhand.
  16. Bungalo Bill

    Bungalo Bill G.O.A.T.

    Feb 19, 2004
    At club play and even higher level play (obvioiusly not 5.0 and up) sometimes take a set or two before the righty figures out he is hitting into the lefties forehand.

    I cant tell you how many times that has happened. The lefties greatest advantage is a righty not seeing them often. The other thing is to get used to the opposite spin. Your mind is not used to seeing balls come off the racquet like it is with a righty. For that extra split second of calculating, that could be enough to get you off balance and cause an error.

    If you play lefties more often you will get used to them.
  17. Stinkdyr

    Stinkdyr Professional

    Feb 20, 2004
    Neutralizing the Lefty

    Generally speaking, decent mid-level lefties have strong forehands and weak bh's and drive you nuts with kick serves wide to your bh in the ad court. If they are quick, they comp for the weak bh by running around it to hit their fave fh. I am a 4.5 righty and I often battle a lefty at my club of same skill for the #1 spot on our team. Here are some tips working for me so far:
    1. Since he loves to run around his bh, he tends to want to slide over as I serve so that he can hit his return with his fh. Soooooo, when I serve to the ad court, to keep him honest, I stand way over near the doubles alley. This forces him to stand closer to his alley in case I pound a flatty wide.......and his standing wide opens up the down the middle slice for me. Of course from that angle, I am not going to ace him up the middle, but so what? I just want him to ALLOW me to serve to his bh, then he can cough up his mediocre return and I can take control of the point.
    2. I really struggle against his topspin kick serve to my bh in my ad court. I find stepping in and hitting the massive Federer slice return angled sharply to his fh side works wonders.....unfortunately I am not Roger, so I can't execute it consistently. Dang, cuz it works beautifully! So I miss quite a bit trying to just slice it softly up the line to his bh. Be sure to keep your eyes GLUED to the ball on his serve due to the lefty spin that you are not adjusted to seeing. But I am still looking for the magic weapon off this side. Any ideas?
    3. In general, I use Brad Gilbert's WinUgly strategy of hitting to his strength if I can make him run wide for it, in order to open up his weak side, his bh, for me to attack. This is a 2-edged sword, cuz when I pop it up short instead of deep to his fh, he smacks it for a winner.
    4. One other tactic that works when used selectively, is to draw him to net with a low, short slice to his bh. Then instead of trying to lob or pass him.....I float a medium high soft semi-lob-passer up the line so he really has to stretch up to hit a mediocre defensive bh that I can attack on the next shot.

    But I have been losing to his speed lately, so I am looking for more, specific suggestions if you have any. Thx.

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