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Hitting Deep for Success
By:  Scott Baker | Tennis4you  | Tennis Forum  | E-mail

Do your opponents always find ways to attack your ground strokes and put you on the defensive end of every point?  If so you may need to ask yourself if you are hitting your ground strokes deep enough in the court.  Hitting short ground strokes will allow your opponent to easily take control of the points.  Hitting the ball deep in the court will keep your opponent pinned on the baseline and make it harder for them to hit winners and/or attack the your shots.

There are a lot of advantages to hitting your ground strokes deep.  You can draw an error from your opponent, force a short return and overall be in more control of the points.  It is considerably harder for your opponent to adjust his/her footwork and swing to hit balls that are hit deeper in the court.  Your opponent will also have a tougher time hitting with pace if you keep your shots deep.  It will not be nearly as easy for your opponent to lean into their shot and put power into it if you hit the ball deep.  However, the better your opponent the better they will be able to quickly adjust and handle the deeper shots you hit.

Watch the pros and see how deep they continually hit the ball deep in the court.  A good rule of thumb is to aim inside the baseline about 5-6 feet to give you some margin for error.  When you hit deep you are increasing the chances that you will get a short ball in return that you may be able to attack.  The shorter the ball, the easier it will be to attack, plain and simple.  Hitting any ground stroke inside your opponent's service line (unless you are going for a short angled winner) is bad news.  Your opponent can now step up, lean into the ball and hit an approach shot or pound the ball in and wait to pound yet another groundstroke keeping you 100% on the defense and constantly on the move.

When I play my matches I keep a rule of thumb for myself as someone who likes to be at the net.  Any ball that my opponent hits that lands before the service line I hit an approach shot and come to the net.  When my opponent hits deep it keeps me back on the baseline hitting ground strokes when I would much rather be at the net.  Hitting short will only allow your opponent to start to attack.  Practice keeping your ground strokes deep.  I find that a lot of players will substitute a hard hit shot that lands in the middle of the court for a ball hit deep in the court.  Hitting a short ball with that power will only allow your opponent to step into the ball and return it with more power.  Work on your depth first and then start to add power.

Good Luck on the Court!
Scott Baker
Tennis4you.com