3 places you’ll end up during a point -
FACT: Professional Players end up with 75% of unforced errors down the line.
Play 80% of the court – the invisible court… 2.5 feet in from base and sidelines. Hitting long is still in play and it’s frosting on the cake. Is painting the line necessary? Rarely.
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 minimum of 3 balls crosscourt to work the opponent into a situation where you can hit a high percentage down the line leave yourself some wiggle room – and insure 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 opponents 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 especially on a western opponent.
Backhand Captivity – “high topspin rollers” to their backhand corner work well against a slower opponent that struggles with the taking backhands high and lateral movement –when it’s time to finish them to the opposite side.
Slice backhand - hitting zones:
High balls – hit them cross court.
Low balls – easier to hit slice down the line and 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. You’ll open the court for an inside out forehand.
Rules are the same for both flat and slice backhand shots -
If you’re going to go down the line - make the shot.
Insure you don’t put yourself behind in the point – either because the opponent goes crosscourt or back down the line.
If you’re going to hit to the opponents backhand, always - 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.
A note on Pace and Penetration down the line:
Stay & hold the line you don't want to be beat crosscourt – make them hit down the line with the two P's.
When and where to hit approach shots :
Split the service line in half - if the approach ball is on the outside go down the line, if low go with slice, if high - go cross court with slice. Keep a low center of gravity and on your toes, be ready to move either way and finish the point. If ball is on the inside of go with standard flat approach short cross court and cover with a volley.
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”.
RULE on HALF VOLLEYS - ALL HALF VOLLEYS ALWAYS GO CROSS COURT. Move through the ball and close the racket face.
Try to NEVER slice a half volley, this will usually pop it up.
Remember when appropriate, fudge left and right of center. The center will always leave more room to cover, think percentages and probabilities.
Hips box out the server- allows for better movement and balance on return.
Go to the ball. Avoid sideways movement.
Restrict the backswing and step towards the ball.
It’s a one step shot if you move to the ball.Receiving 2nd to Ad side, think and plan for a surprise pull inside-in, down the line.