Scott Baker | Tennis4you
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I watched a match recently on the ATP tour and
was very surprised at what I saw. I watched great baseline rallies
with both players moving each other around like pieces on a chessboard.
Whenever player "B" would hit a deep ball that he knew player "A"
would struggle to get back, Player "B" just stood on the baseline
and waited to see what would happen. Most times Player "A" would
somehow get the ball back and they would continue the rally. When
Player "A" would hit a deep ball that Player "B" would have a hard
time getting back, Player "A" would quickly rush to the net and
volley the weak return into the open court. One player was not afraid
to play the net, the other seemed terrified. Player "A" easily won
Great players are able to play from anywhere on
the court in any situation. Back when I played in high school you
could not get me to play the net if you tied a rope around my waist
and pulled me towards the net. Soon after high school I started
playing the net and became very comfortable with my volleys. I became
so comfortable that I now serve and volley most of the time. As
soon as I was more confident at the net my overall game play improved
immensely and I started beating people I never had beaten before.
My point is simple. If you are not comfortable
somewhere on the court then you need to work on that area until
you are comfortable. Do you dread playing at the net or being stuck
on the baseline hitting rallies? Both are a huge part of tennis,
and if your opponent sees that you are uncomfortable and weaker
in one area you can bet that those weaknesses will be exploited
by the better players!
Being able to play from all court positions allows
you to take advantage of several situations. If someone hits a drop
shot and you chase it down, you are now stuck at the net. If you're
net game lacks confidence and you are nervous and apprehensive about
hitting volleys the odds are not in your favor.
Another example is the short ball. When your opponent
hits a short ball it is an open door for you to attack. Hitting
a ground stroke and then back-peddling back to the baseline is not
a good option. Your best option is to continue to put the pressure
on your opponent and close into the net looking for volley put away.
Great players can comfortably play anywhere
on the court, just look at Roger Federer. Regardless where
he is on the court he has great confidence and several options.
Closing the door on your own opportunities by only being comfortable
playing certain situations limits your game and limits your
ability to win. Being able to take advantage of all situations
will take you to a whole new level. Be honest with yourself
and work on the weaker parts of your game and force yourself
to become an "all-court" player.
Good Luck on the Court!