A few notes from a recent clinic that I observed on Singles Strategy and and Shot Patterns of Play
3 places you’ll end up during a point -
FACT : Professional Players - 75% unforced errors are down the line
Good time to discuss the 80% - where is it - what is it - quote Bjorn Borg - he played the 80% and when he missed and hit long or wide - he was still in the green - it was frosting on the cake rather than an unforced error.
Two rules about going down the line :
1 You have to make it.
2 You can’t get behind in the point.
If you’re going down the line:
Make a min of 3 balls cross court to work the opponent into a situation where you can hit a high percentage down the line.
Make sure you’re going to make the shot-
Insure that you don’t get behind or lose position on the crosscourt return
Follow your shot to the net-( follow the line of the ball to the opponets court ) this allows for the volley to cover the crosscourt and forces low percentage choices for your opponent.
Go to the forehand to get to the backhand – on a western opponent.
Slice backhand - hitting zones :
High balls – hit them cross court-
Low balls – easier to hit slice down the line – effective to hit to the players backhand in order to receive a forehand in return.
Slice backhand – works great because :
Stays low- works great against today’s western grips.
It goes away from the player – down the deuce sideline pulling the opponent off the court especially when receiving a low or mid line ball.
Good player drill for team.
CC Match Play ( control & condition ) Every unforced error – the player who commits the error has to run down the ball. Cuts down on over-hitting and will condition player to play with more control.
Rules are the same for both flat and slice backhand shots -
If you’re going to go down the line -
make sure you don’t put yourself behind in the point – either because the opponent goes crosscourt or back down the line
One more note about the opponent receiving a backhand - give them the two P’s Pace and Penetration
If you hit a huge forehand to the corner ( opponents backhand - ) hold your position on the corner – more than likely the ball is coming back to you
Pace and Penetration down the line- stay there hold the line – you don't want to be beat cross court – make them hit down the line with the two P's -
Approach Shots :
Thought Process about when and where to hit approach shots :
Split the service line in half - if the approach ball is on the outside of the TRAM line ( use masking tape to make TRAM lines - for demo ) - go down the line, if low with slice – if high go cross court slice . Keep low center of gravity on toes – ready to move either way and finish the point. - If ball is on the inside of TRAM line – go with standard flat approach short cross court and cover with volley.
Volley Patterns :
Extended TRAM LINES GREEN RED YELLOW - GREEN IS IN CORNER – RED IS NEXT THEN YELLOW MORE TO CENTER OF COURT-
Billy Jean King – was asked once – how did you deal with choking?
Her answer ( as it relates to being inside the service line to volley ) :
"When the ball is low – I keep it in front of me."
"When it’s high – I put it anywhere I want."
THINK ! When it’s up – you get to penetrate the court.
When it’s down – stay low and balanced – “2 volleys are better than one” demo – low volley or feed to player on the base line – receive the high ball and put it away.
Practice volleys – off the net. Only when finishing should a player practice all the way up at the net.
RULE on HALF VOLLEYS - ALL HALF VOLLEYS ALWAYS GO CROSS COURT. Because you move through the ball and close the racket face.
NEVER slice a half volley.
As coach - Volley drill – watch students feet when feeding- make them run down a ball that they cheat on- or guess on.
Discuss home-base - center baseline area - fudging and playing the percentages on recovery to home base
FUDGING- LEFT AND RIGHT OF CENTER – CENTER LEAVES TOO MUCH TO COVER.
Return Patterns :
HIPS DIRECTLY AT SERVER
GO TO THE BALL – NEVER GO SIDEWAYS
RESTRICTED BACKSWING AND STEP TOWARDS THE BALL
ITS A ONE STEP SHOT IF YOU GO TO THE BALL. -
RECEIVING 2nd SERVE TO AD SIDE – MAY BE ABLE TO PULL IT- DOWN THE LINE- IT’s A LOT LIKE POINT DEVELOPMENT –BUT PLAY IS OFF OF SERVE- and FOLLOW IT IN.