Placement to Power not Power to Placement
Forum | E-mail
I have said it many times, "Who doesn't like to
hit the ball hard"? However, what fun is it to hit the ball hard
only to consistently miss the court by a considerable margin? Well,
I can answer that question for you, it is no fun at all!
When I first started playing tennis I liked to
try to hit the ball hard landing maybe only half of my shots in
the court. Then I got hooked up with a larger group/league of players
who were considerably more experienced. They were very consistent
players and because of my tendency to place importance on power
instead of placement, consistency was not my strong point. Why they
let me come back the following week, I will never know. They would
just move me around the court with good placement and wait for me
to hit the error. After a couple of weeks of losing my matches I
had to step back and look at what I was doing wrong, I was going
for too much power off of my shots and not enough control. So I
decided to try their game of placement and control. I slowed my
shots down and worked on placement. Within a few weeks I was keeping
up, within a few months I was winning. What I had done was concentrate
on my placement and as I got more confident with my placement I
started hitting the ball harder as I got better.
It is much easier to develop power after you have
developed placement as opposed to developing placement after you
have developed power. In other words, once you develop placement
your power will follow. You will get stronger on the court, your
strokes will be more fluid and your confidence will build. Eventually
you will start hitting the ball harder and harder. It may be so
slight that you do not even notice it, but your opponents will.
I feel that placement and consistency are far more
important than power. If you cannot hit the ball in the court where
you want, in key situations, your game will suffer. More times than
not I will defeat an opponent who goes for too much on his/her shots
and hits a lot of unforced errors rather than a player who moves
me around on the court wisely and waits for me to hit the error.
Hitting without good placement is sloppy tennis and will get you
in trouble against the better players.
If you are a power player who likes to hit the
ball hard and does not care where the ball lands, take heed! Slow
down, learn proper placement and technique, and let your power follow.
Eventually you will get to the point where you can hit the ball
as hard as you like and you will be able to aim the ball as well
as keep it in the court with much better success. By being able
to combine these techniques, you will dictate more points and be
in control of more matches, making you a much better tennis player.
Let's take a look at some of the key advantages of being able to
place your shots.
1. Better shot selection
2. Easier to wear your opponent down
3. Higher percentage of passing shots
4. Pulling your opponent off of the court
5. More dictation of points
6. Less unforced errors
7. Attacking your opponent's weaker side.
8. More matches won!
Please do not think these tips refer to just your
ground strokes; serves, volleys and overheads also fall into this
category. Serves may be a little different in theory, I know a lot
of players who just hit it hard and do not aim the ball and still
are successful. However, the players who can aim and hit the serve
hard do even better!
In architecture some argue that the form of a building
comes before the function, and some argue that function comes before
form. That is an argument that will go on until the end of time.
However, we are not designing a building, here we are designing
tennis players. For this subject matter there is no argument, you
must work on your placement first and let your power follow. In
the end you will be a much better tennis player for taking the time
to learn placement in lieu of power and let the power naturally
follow after you have developed good placement of your shots.
Good Luck on the Court!