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The Tennis4You Workshop- "Reverse-Crosscourt Groundies AND Volleys"
By:  Kathy Krajco- Operation Doubles

The reverse-crosscourt shot is one of the least-practiced strokes in tennis. For a right-hander it's a forehand aimed off to the right or a backhand aimed off to the left. This shot is also nicknamed "hitting the other way," because it's like "hitting the other way" in baseball: Right-handed batters normally "pull" the ball toward left field; but when they hit "the other way," they hit toward right field.

As if two names aren't enough, the reverse-crosscourt shot is also called an "inside-out shot." That’s because the swing is an inside-to-out swing, beginning with the racquet's butt close to the body and ending with it slightly farther out to the side. As a result, the shot carries sidespin, which curves the ball outward. In contrast, crosscourt shots are usually hit with a more-or-less roundhouse swing and never carry sidespin.

To practice reverse-crosscourt forehands, you and your practice partner stand crosscourt from each other behind your backhand alleys and exchange forehands. Hit TO each other. Try to take everything forehand. Doubtless you'll get some practice running around backhands.

To practice reverse-crosscourt backhands, position behind your forehand alleys and hit only backhands TO each other.

Don't forget to practice the reverse-crosscourt volley. Leave your practice partner in the backcourt and come straight forward into the forecourt. S/he hits you reverse-crosscourt drives, you return reverse-crosscourt volleys. Generally, you want to keep the ball in play, but if you get an irresistible angle or a lob to smash, put the ball away.

The reverse crosscourt volley is a must for doubles players. That's because the name of the game is "volleying to the hole," and sometimes it's on the reverse-crosscourt side.

The reverse-crosscourt drive comes in handy, too. It's a boon to players with big forehands or weak backhands. When they get a backhand to hit crosscourt from the ad court, they can often step around the shot to hit it forehand. I do that so often I've played entire doubles matches in the ad court without hitting a backhand.

Learning this shot pays dividends. For one thing, it does wonders for your aim. Also, experience with this much straighter swing influences all the shots you hit on that side, eliminating flaws in your overall groundstrokes and volleys. It does wonders for early preparation, footwork, and weight transfer. It's a compact, steady, and powerful stroke that gives you excellent directional control. When I learned to hit inside-out forehands, it gave me a feel for the straightness or curvature of my swing. Then I could vary it at will. The next thing I knew, my forehand was a bona fide big shot.