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Thanks a lot both of you. Very good answers I must say. Now for vollying. Though there are no thumb rules as everything is situational, isn't it better to volley left of centre towards the guy at the deuce court as it will be safe and on his backhand. It could be towards his feet if he is near to the net or deep volley if he is near the base line. Rather than hit in the centre which can be picked by the guy at the advantage court using the forehand. I am asking this also because angular volleys towards the gallery tends to go out when the ball is too fast or a slightly more angle and things like that.
Don't think about it too much. There is no "for sure" answer on this. If I tell you that you need to hit into the net player, you may come up against a phenomenal volleyer who can handle your shots and then you will panic. Instead, practice volleying crosscourt, down the middle, and down the line to targets. Put a cone or a marker of some sort on the court where you are trying to volley and practice hitting your volleys there. Also, do not stand in the middle of the court and volley. Actually start a little behind the service line and practice moving in exactly as you would when you are playing doubles. Too many players have come to me having worked with club pros, etc. and they stand dormant in the middle of the court and right on top of the net and expect to develop a good volley. No way. The first thing I do with players is get them used to volleying from areas they feel uncomfortable with. Mainly, the service line area. The first volley is rarely hit right on top of the net. Usually never. Practice real world situations and work on volleying and hitting to a target. It may be uncomfortable at first, but you will get better at it. Always shade over from the center service line. You will rarely ever place yourself dead on that line in a match, so why practice standing there in practice? Good Luck!
Originally Posted by Hiren
Volleys are situational for sure.
But a good guideline...when in doubt, volley just deeper than the service line, as low as you can control, but clear of the netman.
Let the netman poach on that low volley if he wants. Don't worry about him. You ball should be about shin high to him, and if he wants to poach that, let him.
When you get a putaway volley, or basically anything higher than hip high, you can go DTL into the alley, hard up the center still aiming just deeper than the service line, hard CC and short angle, or aggressively right AT the baseliner. You can also go hip pocket to the netman, but usually preplanned to his backhand side as opposed to his forehand side. Dead center is good.
In most 4 man volley exchanges, low and up the middle until you get a high ball to crush.
Thanks a lot, both of you.
While I was playing today, I was thinking about good anticipation. I know that early preparation implies taking the racquet back before the ball crosses the net and getting into position before the ball bounces but still sometimes one is not able to get into position in time. Can you please add something on good anticipation?
Your team hits low to their feet. You should get ready to poach the highball return, but respect his lob volley.
Your team throws up something chest high to the netman.... you should get your racket slightly lower and expect a hard volley to your feet, usually up the middle, so cheat there as he hits his volley.
Your buddy serves super wide. Expect a short angle CC return, something you cannot really poach on. Expect a DTL return, something you have to watch for as a netman. Expect a lob, you cover everything that lands 8' or more inside the baseline. You cannot cover lobs that land 2' from the baseline, that's your serving partner's ball and his fault.
Your buddy serves up the middle. You can cheat 1.5 steps almost to the middle, but be ready for a DTL ball. You want to move towards the middle to pressure the returner, but still respect his DTL return
Your partner shortlobs. Turn your back and walk towards your baseline.
Thanks LeeD. I was talking about general anticipation- looking at the opponent's racquet face and things like that. Thanks for being so specific.
I am asking this becasue in the ultimate anaylsis, everything is interconnected. My footwork is not good. I have been advised to skip, to sprint drills and do the split step when the opponent hits the ball. Anything apart from that? Any nutrition tip for the body to be less stiff. I have a couple of banannas about half an hour-40 mins before playing.
Well, you know the general tendencies of the players. Guys who it hard with topspin tend to want to do that over and over again.
Guys with defensive minded games add lobs to their repetoire.
A closed stance generally means hitting a solid low shot.
An openstance generally precedes a lob.
But in doubles, you just don't have the time to stare at the guy hitting the ball, so you have to develop natural "answers" to each particular problem, then be able to change it up when it's not working.
You have to be more specific talking about anticipation, as it's a complicated subject and more art form than mechanical.
Thanks LeeD. One thing that caught my mind in recent days is agility. Though I am 44, there are players older than me who are more agile. One would also like to be on light on one's feet till as long as possible. Can you suggest something here as it is my weakness.
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I think agility is way overrated, up to maybe 5.0 levels.
Better to hit the first forcing shot, make the other guy show his agility skills, and use your experience and knowhow to cover his return.
If he hits the first forcing shot, better to counter with a ball that makes him awkward, or scramble, to return your ball.
Agility just means the other guy is controlling the puppet strings, and you have to improvise, run, fetch, get, just to stay in the point.
By the way, I'm 61 now, and most consider my agility skills equal to any 40 year old athlete, almost as good as some current 5.5 Div1 players. Almost, not quite, as they can hit a faster top speed and still stop.
I'd much rather be known for my superior ball striking skills. Unfortunately, I'm not.
Good point when saying take control early, but the agility drills do help. It is inevitable that an opponent of your level will try to attack the ball as well and the more agile you are, the better chance of you hitting an offensive shot back. Being agile will also help you get into position to hit better shots. Division 1 college players are good in their own sense, but when it comes to the tour, they are many steps below nowadays. When James Blake turned pro after winning the Division 1 singles title, he came to Saddlebrook. I found it quite easy to run him around and get him out of position. He would become frustrated and then start going for shots that he couldn't make and he would lose. I started trying to hit the ball too hard too quickly and paint the lines out of frustration. As his agility, strength, and speed improved, so did his ability to think under pressure and his game really began to climb. In the game of tennis, it is better to be consistently good that occassionally great. Agility drills are very important and can help you get over a plateau and they definitely help you become a better player. I am a rated 6.5 player NTRP at 37 years old which means I have to play Open tournaments when I play. Without my speed, agility, and strength, I am a much lesser player. It's the little things you do off the court in training that make you become a better player on it.
Originally Posted by LeeD
Agree that agility takes you farther for your hitting levels, for sure.
But maybe OP is not better than 4.0 doubles, based on some of his questions. At that level, and doubles, better to hit good shots than worry about getting fit and agile when you have a job, a family, some responsibility, and still trying to play tennis. Ain't enough time in a day.
32 odd years ago, I played two ProQ's. One lasted into the fourth round, the other lost in the 5th. Both to guys who became top 50 the following year. I got all my wins due to superior changing of direction and speed. I lost both round due to lack of pure hitting prowess. I'd rather have the firepower, knowing I already had the speed and direction changes under my belt.
That does make sense, but still, the quicker you become and the better your balance becomes, the more likely you will be able to get into postion to hit that power shot. I had a mother come up with her kid and she was thinking about putting him in the academy. She hyped alot about how hard he hit the ball and how great he was. She asked me to set him up with one of the better players we had. I put him up against a mid-level junior we had from Mexico. About 45 minutes later, my player came up and had beaten the kid 6-0, 6-0. Had I put him up against Timothy Neilly or Alex Ferron, it might have been a twenty minute match. I can assure you that Ashley Harkleroad would have beaten him unmercifully. The moral is that you can't lack in either department these days. You need to train in both areas. Working on your strokes and adding power and working on your quickness, balance, and speed. If you really want to get good, you do what you have to do. Even 10minutes of agility drills a day helps more than none, but you have to be intense about it. If you have pains and injuries, do them on grass or clay courts. As a professional coach, I push anyone that wants to get better. I see a 3.0 player and know exactly what they need to do to get them to a 4.5 level if their body and age will permit it. I also must admit, that I work 99.9% of the time with athletes who want a bare minimum of a full college scholarship or a chance at the professional tour, so forgive me if I go drill sargeant on you when I talk about this stuff. I don't always think recreationally.........
Originally Posted by LeeD
Thanks, both of you. What Tennisking mentioned reminded me of what one Indian player, Vijay Amritraj said in his autobiography. Vijay said that while his mother had talented arms, his father had agile legs and together, they would have made a great Tennis player. Jokes apart, no matter how talented the arms are, they are useless unless you are able to reach the ball and so both are important. If you know of any special links of agility drills for Tennis, do let me know. That apart, I have experienced that if you eat early the previous evenings(7 pm steamed vegetables), it makes you feel light and energetic the next morning if you have to play by 6.30-7am. One can have a couple of glasses of lukewarm water early morning to remove toxins. I also add turmeric powder in the water to minimize stiffness. Anything on this account?
I think you'll find every different person needs a different plan of attack to prepare for physical sports.
For me, sometimes eating a LOT of carbos, or slow digesting food, helps me calm down and play my best.
OTOH, for sports like motocross and football, where I can't control the pace of the action, it's better to be quick and light on my feet.
I lost a NorCal fencing competition by eating two hamburgers during lunch, undefeated in 9 matches till then, then losing to the eventual Champion twice by being slow and lethargic. Of course, even after eating the burgers, I beat 7 other guys the second half of the day.
Lately, I find being to quick and active is just as bad as being too slow and lethargic. So it's a difficult balance to achieve. Interest can be there, but if the body just doesn't want to move correctly, maybe the mind is key after all, and everyone has biorythums of good and bad days.
I had a kid who was a very good player who had taken a couple of months off because he was a senior in high school and was in the process of graduating. He then came back and had two weeks to prepare for the Southern Closed tournament which has some solid competition. He trained hard for two weeks and we got him on an oatmeal breakfast with some fruit,etc. It really worked well. The oatmeal settled his stomach and kept him full and he had plenty of energy. I have to say, it made such an impression on him and myself, I try to get my players to eat oatmeal before their matches. The fiber keeps the glycemic levels at a good spot and your stomach doesn't feel queezy from fats, grease, or milk which seems to bother some people in the morning. Oatmeal is an A-1 choice for athletes. My player lost 6-4 in the 3rd set in the final. He played 7 total matches and his energy level was high for every match and he was always mentally alert. I really attribute it to him eating well all week because he felt good the entire week and he really only trained for two weeks to get ready for the tournament. As for agility drills, get on youtube and search for them. There should be plenty with good instructions on them.......
Originally Posted by LeeD