I love playing tennis. It’s one of my favorite things to do. I can play everyday, and when weather and time permits I do just that. I also love to compete. I figure, if I have to do something, I might as well do it right.
I’ve been playing tennis for over five years now. I played one year on the high school varsity team and the rest in college rec clubs. I’ve grown a lot as a player, and I continue to grow as I play. Early on, I noticed that there were people that had better strokes than me, better racquets, and more training, but I could still even challenge or beat them. I wondered why I could do that. Then after some reflection i realized that I actually studied my opponents and changed my game to play against them.
You can do the same thing. Over the next few days I’ll be giving you some tips on how to play against the types of players that you’ll see on the court. The main thing to remember for all of these is to make your opponent beat you again and again with their worst stuff. Make them prove that the skills they have are enough to beat you.
Mr./Ms. Boom Boom
This is an explosive player. Their ground strokes are powerful and their serve can totally blow you off the map. Sometimes you’re scared to blink because if you do you’ll miss the ball.
A player like this can be very intimidating. But watch closely. You’ll notice, especially at the club level, that explosive players like this are incredibly streaky. If a rally goes beyond four shots, they begin to fall apart. Defense probably isn’t a strong suit, since they prefer to be the one forcing the action.
To play someone like this, give them room to hang themselves. Stand further back on the serve. Just get it back into play. And be sure to lunge for it no matter what. That will get into their head. When you get a second serve, attack. This will get into their head that they’ll either have to take something off the first serve and hit a duck, or run the risk of double faulting. This works because most players like this don’t have a middle ground. Either they hit bombs or sitting ducks at the club level.
Be sure to get alot of balls back. This will make the court that much smaller. By playing good defense you’re telling them that you have to hit a shot right on the line each time if you want a winner. You’ll get your opportunites to pounce. Just make sure that they have to work to hit every point. If they hit a streaming winner right past you, don’t get discouraged. It only gives them one point.
Slice and Dicer
This player loves to throw every spin in the book at you. Underspin, topspin, sidespin; you’ll see it all in a match with them.
The key with this type of player is to do get frustrated. They won’t be able to overpower you, but the spins will require you to maintain good footwork to get in the position needed to hit your shots.
Don’t fall into the trap of playing their game. Unless you can do it as well, stick to you own game. Get their shots back until they hit a lose one. Trust me, they will. At the club level, most can’t consistency hit slices with bite or drop shots that land inches from the net. But they’ll still try, and it’s very hard if someone is under pressure.
Throw some angles to throw them off. If you keep them off balance and moving around the court, they’ll have less time to set themselves and dig into the shots. Every time you get a weak shot, do something with it. It will force them to either hit better shots or go home.
Don’t overhit your shots. Have good depth, but don’t get anxious and start spraying balls everywhere. You’ll play into their hands that way.
Next: The Net Rusher and the Pusher