Posts Tagged ‘tennis tactics’
Hi Folks it’s Tom Antion here with another trick to keep our extra large bodies cool. It was 99 degrees here in Virginia Beach over the weekend with my car reading 105 when I got in to it. Just too hot for me to get in a good practice session.
I called my local club and I guess everyone else was at the beach because they had plenty of courts open mid day. I planned to simply take my ball machine and practice but Carolyn the lady that works there is always putting people together to hit so I left my ball machine in the car and hit with a nice guy named Narain.
This guy weighs less than half my weight and is probably 15 years younger than me. He’s a good hitter too, so I knew I’d be doing some serious running as we practiced groundstroke points for nearly two hours.
Here’s the trick.
Scope out carefully your local indoor courts. What you want to know is the best places where the usually lame A/C. units blow cold air on the indoor courts during the summer. I picked the side of the court that had the best A/C and found out the exact places on the court where the bulk of the cold air hit.
When picking up a ball or waiting for Narain to do so, (without making it too obvious), I would go to the spot on the back court where the cold air was hitting and breath very deeply. Using this technique I made it easily through a two hour pretty much continuous groundstroke practice session.
Do whatever it takes to give the best performance you can muster.
I was watching the Tennis Channel last night where David Ferrer was putting a whomping on Andy Murray in the Rome Clay court tournament going on now.
David was the proverbial “Wall”. Nothing got by him. He just kept sending balls back to Murray. By the end of the straight set match Murray looked like a rag doll and Murray is no slouch when it comes to conditioning.
I don’t expect the fatties on this blog to be able to last in the long rallies those two went at last night, but the point I want to make is that David just kept hitting the ball back…..nothing spectacular . . . . just one more ball for Murray to chase down and hit back.
Rallies for you that are only 5 balls long done consistently will most likely have many of your opponents “rag dolling” it in just a couple games.
OK. You know you need more time between points than your in shape opponent. You’re playing outdoors.
Choose the middle courts whenever possible. This automatically builds in lots of extra time as you retrieve balls that roll to the side of the court because there is no fence to stop them.
This works even better when no one else is playing on courts next to you because the ball could roll a couple courts down and no rule anywhere says you have to run to retrieve it.
An added benefit that admittedly is a little “gamesmenship” is that your in shape opponent is likely to get a little irritated with these “built in” delays. Irritated tennis players make mistakes. This is good for you.
Also, when they have to chase the ball on their side of the court, they most likely will run to retrieve it so that they make a point to you to hurry up. This just makes them breathe heavier and opponents breathing heavy make mistakes. This is good for you too.
I lost a one set match the other day to a guy who was about 5 years younger than me and weighed about 100 pounds less. He was clearly a better player and I wish I would have had another set against him, but we ran out of time.
My mistake was not knowing that we had a finite time on the court because the guy was physically deteriorating right before my eyes and I don’t think he would have made it through another set. AND if I had gotten him to three sets, I really think he would have just given up.
None of this was the point of this post. During the first set I was getting a really good percentage of first serves in and winning most of those points. When I did have to hit a second serve I gave him a very high bouncing top spin serve and he muffed the first couple of those. By that time we were 3/3.
Then, my first serve percentage went down and he caught on to my second serve and started clocking it for winners. Before I had the chance to hit him some low bouncing second serves, the set was over.
My other mistake here was that I did not test him on low bouncing second serves early in the match. I’m not sure if he would have handled them just as easily, but now I’ll never know because I didn’t test it early in the match.
As I look back, it was pretty easy for him to adapt to my relatively slow, high bouncing second serve. He just backed up, and easily took it in his wheelhouse. Had I been able to keep him guessing whether I was going to hit a low bouncing slice second serve or a high bouncing top spin serve he would not have been able to stay back to hit those easy second serve winners for fear of getting second serve aced with the low bouncing serves.
The point is, even if things seem to be going good (as in his muffed second serve returns), you should still test other shots not only to see how your opponent handles them, but to keep them guessing about what kind of shot you are going to hit.
When I first started playing tennis in my thirties I had the great fortune of having one of Vic Braden’s top instructors as my coach. Even though it was a different era of tennis, so much of what I learned still sticks with me today.
One of the main tips Vic always emphasized was that if you could consistently hit the ball down the middle within three feet of the baseline, you would most likely beat 90% of the people that are beating you now.
I’ve tried to do that most of the time I’ve played tennis and darned if Vic wasn’t right. I started beating people who used to beat me. I’ve even added a little “spin” to the same idea that makes hitting deep even more effective.
Vary your spin
Sometimes I’ll hit underspin. Sometimes I’ll hit flat. Sometimes I’ll hit regular topspin and sometimes I’ll hit heavy topspin. I’ll even lob out of nowhere for no reason at all. Doing this doesn’t allow the opponent to get into any kind of rythm. They never know what kind of spin you are going to hit at them and it keeps them off balance. Mix this idea with Vic’s depth idea and you will drive your opponents crazy.