of War ~~All can see the tactics whereby I conquer, but what none can see is the strategy out of which victory is evolved.
— Sun Tzu
Some Great Shot Combinations
One of the marks of an experienced tennis competitor
is thinking beyond the shot you are about to hit. Your odds of hitting a winner are far greater if you set yourself up for
it than if you try to create it spontaneously out of sheer shot-making brilliance.
Hit short enough to force your opponent to move ten or more feet forward into her court. When she fails to get back behind
her baseline, which most players at this level often do, simply hit the next ball deeper than her position and at least eight
feet to either side of her. As long as your opponent isn't good at putting away short balls, this is a fairly safe tactic,
and it can yield a ton of points.
your short ball low will make it even safer -- harder to put away.
Hit a high, deep topspin, preferably to your opponent's backhand side, that will kick above her shoulders. Most players can't
generate much pace on a ball above their shoulders on their backhand side, so you'll usually get a high, floating ball that's
easy to put away at the net. When your shot kicks especially high, your opponent will be looking up and to the side as she
hits the ball, so she often won't see you moving in to volley. With this "sneak volley," you can catch your opponent sending
what would have been a fairly safe shot (if you had stayed back) but is, instead, a perfect setup for your volley.
Hit to your opponent's "side pocket," the outside corner of the service box, then put the next ball away to the opposite side
or, as your opponent hurries back toward the center of the court, hit behind him (wrong-footing him). This is a classic shot
combination that can be started with a slice serve, a sharp crosscourt topspin groundstroke, or a delicately angled slice
groundstroke, usually a backhand. One hazard though: if your opponent gets to your widely angled shot in time to set up a
good reply, he'll be able to create an even sharper angle than you did, because of his wide position on the court.
* The drop-shot-then-lob combination is always fun,
but it takes considerable finesse to execute safely. If your drop shot is too deep or your lob too short, most opponents will
easily take the point, but you'll find some otherwise solid players who have a lot more trouble putting away short balls and/or
overheads than they should. When you practice drop shots, try to get them to bounce at least three times inside the service
line of your opponent's court. A good lob should land no more than four feet from your opponent's baseline,and against some
taller opponents, your margin might shrink to less than three feet.
* If you want to try a combination shot your opponent
might not have seen often or at all, the sidespin backhand approach shot should be fun. Hit a backhand combination of sidespin
and backspin as you start toward the net. Usually, your opponent won't be able to resist trying to see what you're doing as
you're coming in. With some of his attention diverted from the ball, he won't be quite ready for its sideways skid, and he'll
hit off center if at all, giving you either an easy volley or no need to volley.
Courage does not always roar. Sometimes, it is the quiet
voice at the end of the day saying, "I will try again tomorrow".