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Cutting Down Your Opponent's Reaction Time
By:  Scott Baker | Tennis4you  | Tennis Forum  | E-mail

Have you ever watched a player hug the baseline while they are in the middle of a baseline rally?  Certain players like to be close to the baseline because it allows them to hit the ball on the rise and cut their opponent's recovery time down.  If you pull your opponent out of the court with a wide serve or groundstroke, and they get to the ball and hit it back they have to hustle to get to your next shot.  To give your opponent less time to get to your next shot you should take the ball early and hit the ball on the rise.  If you stand 3-4 feet behind the baseline to return the ball your opponent could be in a good position on the court before you even hit the ball.  Step up and stay close to or inside the baseline.  Fractions of a second can make the difference between you hitting a winner and you having to hit another shot.

Standing close to the baseline not only helps you when your opponent is out of position.  This court position simply cuts down your opponent's time everywhere on the court.  Whether they are at the net or on the baseline, your opponent will have less time to react after each of your shots.  This will put extra pressure on your opponent to hit a good shot and may force more errors from your opponent.  If your opponent is a slow mover this is a great strategy to employ.  If you are well behind the baseline to hit your shots the ball will be slower when it gets to your opponent and it allows your opponent more time to get to the ball and be more offensive.

The same reasoning is true for your volleys.  The closer you can get to the net to hit your shot the less time your opponent will have time to react.  Coming to the net to hit volleys is the ultimate way to rob your opponent of recovery time and it puts immense pressure on your opponent.

To hit the ball on the rise takes a lot of practice as it is not an easy task to accomplish.  Hitting the ball on the rise will take better coordination and will require you to act faster and takes complete concentration.  However, you will win more points and put more pressure on your opponents if you are able to do it.  Practice hitting the ball off of the rise and see how it can improve your game and make life for your opponent(s) less pleasant.

Good Luck on the Court!
Scott Baker