What should you look at during rally?

Discussion in 'Tennis Tips/Instruction' started by pondus, Oct 8, 2011.

  1. pondus

    pondus Rookie

    Oct 19, 2008

    Here's the situation; I'm in a co-operative rally, two 3.5 NTRP players, lots of mis-hits, bad timing, never really sure where the ball is going even though both players are aiming down the middle. In order for me to better anticipate where the squirrily shots will land (sometimes very low and short, sometimes big deep floaters, sometimes in the corner, and 50% of the time down the middle to intended target), what should i be looking at after I'm done hitting my own shot back?

    1. Keep my eyes on the ball going back over the net.
    2. Look at where the opposing player makes contact ( i can't seem to tell when he is early or late, it's all happeing too fast).
    3. Look at the angle of the ball coming off the opponents racquet face (happening so fast can barely tell)
    4. Other suggestions

    My technique is good, but way too often I'm SURPRISED by the ball that lands on my side of the net... HELP!


    Peder :)
  2. r2473

    r2473 G.O.A.T.

    Aug 14, 2006
    Keep your eye on the hot chicks in the stands.
  3. rkelley

    rkelley Hall of Fame

    Sep 28, 2010
    The most basic thing is looking at the ball, especially as it comes off your opponents racquet. The first thing I try to react to is which side of my body it's coming to. Then how close the ball is to the top of the net. The closer the ball is to the top of the net, the more I'll start to come in a bit because the shot's likely to be short.

    How much and what type of spin. One place where I get caught off guard sometimes is when someone comes across a higher ball with a big cut and puts some side spin on it along with the topspin. The ball will kick to the side a bit - enough to affect my shot. I should be looking at the height the ball is hit by my opponent. Those side spin shots will happen on high and low balls. Shots around the waist will be pure top spin.

    There's a lot of information you can glean about a shot by and some reasonable anticipation as you get into this more. Did you nail your shot into a corner - and especially do you see your opponent angling back away from the baseline. If you do then it's going to be hard to pull that shot cross court. The shot is also likely to be weak. You can cheat in a step and toward the DTL side in this case (you can even approach on this ball even if you weren't intending to approach before you hit it).
  4. Off The Wall

    Off The Wall Semi-Pro

    Jun 11, 2007
    The first thing to be aware of is this: is the opponent's shot going short? It's bad to be surprised by a short ball. Watch for signs, like a small backswing. Listen for the sound of the strike. Can you distinguish between a hard drive and a spin. Or the amount of spin. A mishit? Do you know spins as they are being prepared for? These are things you can watch for while watching others play.
  5. snowpuppy

    snowpuppy Semi-Pro

    Aug 5, 2004
    It sounds like you are just suffering from bad footwork. The issue of timing aside, most of the problem leading to mishits are due to footwork because the adjustment to the ball is just not there.

    You might think your technique is good when swing in front of the mirror or crushing powderpuff feeds. But once you have to run around the court and/or receiving junk from the other 3.5 crazy mishits, how good you think your technique is goes out the window. Just try recording yourself (if you have a highspeed camera even better.)

    Also you should not be surprised at any balls coming back at you especially if your partner is mishitting. Smashes can turn into dropshots, groundstrokes turned into lobs, balls spining the side, jumping up, curling back, all this can happen with or without intension. Get it in your head that any ball can come back at any pace, any spin, any location from any opponent be it a 5.0 or a 2.0 will certainly be a starting point.
  6. Maui19

    Maui19 Hall of Fame

    Sep 18, 2010
    No hot chicks here. We only have the occasional warm chick.

    What now?
  7. Djlpenguin

    Djlpenguin Rookie

    Mar 30, 2010
  8. dennis10is

    dennis10is Banned

    Jun 19, 2005
    Long Island, NY
    I look at myself. I bring a full length mirror to the court and look at myself while I rally. I'm so beautiful, I can't keep my eyes off myself.
  9. TennisCJC

    TennisCJC Legend

    Apr 20, 2010
    Try working on footwork. Do you recover to center of possible returns? Do you split step as opponents hits? Do you follow approach shots to same side of center line?

    A split step as your opponent makes contact is key on all strokes including the service return. It helps you get centered and ready to push off in any direction L, R, forward, or backward.

    When at baseline, the center of possible returns is the opposite side of your shot's landing spot. When at net, the center of possible returns is same side as you shot's landing spot.

    For example, you hit cross court to the L deep corner with your baseline shot. The center of your opponents possible returns is a couple of feet to the R of the center mark along your baseline. Your opponent can go up the line to your L or sharp cross court to your R. More room on your R so shift to R of center mark.

    When you go to net, it is the opposite. You hit approach shot to R corner of opponents court. Try to get 1/2 way between service line and net, and about 2-3 feet to the R side on the center service line. This puts you in the center of your opposites possible angles. Try to move forward on diagonal to cut off volleys.

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