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Many players think that they need to hit a passing shot with one stroke when their opponent approaches the net.  I for one can sometimes get all caught up in wanting to pass my opponent(s) with my first shot a lot of the time in this particular situation.  However, many times the approach shot or volley that is hit to us would be extremely tough to hit a winner from on our first shot.  This is when it is best remember the following phrase:  "It may take two shots (or more) to pass your opponent at the net". Remembering this phrase and abiding by it can help you to play smarter tennis and win more points.

You must be willing to construct the point such that it favors your passing shot.  If you think you only have a 20-25% chance of hitting a passing shot, do not go for the pass.  Instead make your opponent hit another shot and see what he/she does with the ball.  What your opponent does with the ball depends on what you give them to hit.  Obviously you do not want to float the ball right to them and give them and allow them to hit an easy winner.  Make your opponent change directions, force them to hit up and make them work for it.  If you hit a shot that lands at their feet they will have to hit the volley upwards, which might give you a more favorable chance for a passing shot rather than the approach shot they just executed so nicely.  In the end the primary goal is this: Force them to hit a less offensive shot than the last.

If you are successful in completing your goal now you have a better look at the ball and a better chance of hitting a more aggressive shot.  It takes patience and the willingness to construct a point to better favor your primary goal.  If you sell yourself short and go for the winner too early you will usually end up regretting your shot selection.  The worst thing you can do is to let them off with a free-bee and not even make them hit another ball to win the point.  If you cannot pass on the first shot, force another and another until you have a clean look at the ball, then go for the winner.

Good Luck on the Court!
Scott Baker
Tennis4you.com