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Don’t Let The Ball Play You

Rafael Nadal hitting backhand volley

Strategy & Tactics

Don’t Let The Ball Play You

Key elements to aggressive, offensive play is movement and footwork. It’s important to set up for your shot early, and to get to your opponent’s shots quickly, allowing you to take control of the point. Recognizing when your opponent hits a short shot and moving to it early will help you get to the ball when it’s closer to the net and sitting higher in the air will make it easier for you to attack.

Take charge and step into your shots. Moving to the ball and stepping into the court with your weight behind your shot will help you hit harder shots and earlier, which will cut down the reaction time of your opponents tremendously. The mistake many players make is that they stay behind the baseline, waiting for the ball come to them. Sure it allows for that player to wind up and (hopefully) rip a solid groundie, but it also gives their opponent more time to recover from hitting their shot. If you can step inside the baseline to hit your shot you will be cutting down your opponent’s reaction and recovery time, and hopefully setting yourself up for good offensive shot.

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For you serve-and-volleyers, the quicker you can get to the net, the closer you will be to the net to hit your first volley – and the closer to the net you are, the easier it is to hit an offensive volley. The same applies to those already at the net. If you see your opponent has hit a slow moving ball, you should move to the ball as quickly as you can – not just sideways, but forward as well. Close the net and hit your volley, and remember – the closer you are to the net, the higher up the ball will be, and the better angle you’ll have for a put away.

WATCH: Here's A Simple Visual Tip To Help You Lob Offensively

Moving to your opponent’s shots quickly will help you take control of the points. Being lazy and not moving to shorter and slower hit shots by your opponent will help lower your chances of hitting better shots that can dominate your opponent. DON’T LET THE BALL PLAY YOU. Recognize your offensive opportunities early and take control!

4.5 USTA rated/open champion level tennis player, vegan, fitness freak, animal lover, and smart ass who firmly believes that champagne is anathema for all ills. Right now I'm either up to my eyeballs in paint swatches and fabric samples, or kicking some butt on a tennis court (hopefully the latter).

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