Tag Archives: tennis

SMT Quick Tip #3: Wrong-Footing Your Opponent

A very effective tactic used to wrong-foot your opponent is aiming the ball behind him. What does aiming the ball behind your opponent mean? It is when you aim the ball back to the same place where your opponent struck right before.

Remember that in tennis that after you strike the ball you have to recover and be ready to cover the higher percentage shot. This usually means you have to side-shuffle away from the place you just struck the ball at unless you hit the ball cross-court (since if you aim it CC, the return would be a CC back to you). So when is the most effective time to execute this tactic? The best time would be when your opponent hits a down-the-line shot because now he has to go and recover to the higher percentage shot leaning towards the other side.

When executed correctly, your opponent will be in trouble having to immediately change directions and cover more space. There will also be many cases where your opponent will be completely thrown off balance by your shot that he won’t be able to reach the ball in time, if executed perfectly. Maybe your opponent could be completely wrong-footed and stumble.

This tactic does not only apply to groundstroke exchanges. You can most definitely apply this to your net game as well – hit an approach shot and hit your first volley towards the same spot. This tactic is a must-add to your arsenal!

Check out this video (At 7:13) of Kei Nishikori incredibly displaying this tactic against Rafael Nadal!:

Also check out this video (At 1:53) of Tommy Haas demonstrate hitting the ball behind Roger Federer:

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SMT Quick Tip #1 – Good Anticipation & Judgement

(Skip to the point at 0:24 where Stanislas Wawrinka serves out wide)

Anticipation is key. As soon as you see (or know) that your shot will yield a weak or short reply, you must capitalize on it! For instance in this video, Wawrinka knew without a doubt that his cross-court backhand would force a short return, so he quickly approached the net and put the ball away.

Having good judgement and anticipation like this will make your game more efficient; you will always be one step ahead of your opponent!

Power On Our Groundstrokes

In today’s professional game, power in players’ strokes have become a paramount factor in determining their success/potential. Players are unable to apply pressure to their opponents without enough power. In fact, people who do not have enough power are the ones who are most likely to get pushed around. Being unable to produce power, hitting winners become more difficult and thus you end up having to rely only on your opponent’s errors in order to win points.

Power really adds another dimension to your game: being able to hit winners at will and applying enormous amounts of pressure onto your opponent at even unpredictable times – it just profoundly enhances your game and makes tennis less of a grind. However, of course, using power tends to strongly correlate with making errors but the benefits of possessing power greatly outweighs this con.

Take a look at Ferrer’s match with Djokovic at the Australian Open 2013 (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EN4Q2zu4oyY). Compared to Djokovic, Ferrer has no real fire power. What makes things worse is that his ball speed never really changes and that is the reason why having power is so important. With power comes a larger range of gauging your ball speed. What makes gauging ball speed so advantageous is that your play becomes more unpredictable and the opponent will always be on his/her toes. Ferrer is a clear example of how damaging it is not changing ball speeds. Just look at Djokovic! Producing winners left and right, Djokovic throughout the whole match was in such a smooth balance and a fantastic rhythm. What makes it an even worse of a nightmare for Ferrer is that Djokovic can willingly power up his shots. It is just clear that Ferrer is always at a huge disadvantage going up against Djokovic, and the rest of the top guys.

On the other hand, Djokovic masterfully demonstrates why power is an important asset to be at the very top of the game. With power – whenever he sees an opening during the rally – he can end the point right then and there. Many instances during this match Djokovic would be hitting his typical rally-ball and then out of nowhere he will inject a lot of pace into the ball. As a result,  Ferrer will be caught completely off-guard and be put on the defensive. This is something Ferrer can not do as well as others. However, his fitness and machine-like consistency makes up for it – enough to keep him in the top 10 for many years now.

Although having power is not absolutely necessary, it’s an important dimension that can make points less physically burdening instead of having to grind out points continuously.

[Tennis] Start Winning More #1

One of the most important things in tennis that will allow you to win more matches is depth on your ground strokes. Tennis is a game of taking advantage of openings and a huge opening indicator is the infamous short ball that lands on the service land. Once such a shot is noticed and taken advantage of, you are in a disadvantage. You gave your opponent the opportunity to change the momentum of the point and put it in his favor. You are now on the run and defense.

Hitting all your shorts with as much depth as consistently possible is what separates the great from the good. With depth, you give your opponent less room to attack, keeping the rally neutral until someone finally falls their ball short or goes for an aggressive shot from behind the baseline.

If you think about it, watch the matches that Rafael Nadal loses and wins against Djokovic. Whenever Nadal loses to Djokovic, he is usually outplayed in the depth game. The matches that Djokovic wins are those he was able to consistently put depth into his shots compared to Nadal. And when Nadal is getting his depth on his shots, he is an almost unstoppable force with the topspin he generates off his forehand.

Usually, the matches that Nadal loses are when he is unable to keep proper depth on his shots.

 

The Key to Directing the Ball!

Yes! It’s been established that the earlier you hit the ball the more cross court you will send your shot. On the other hand, the later you hit your shot, the ball will naturally go down the line.

While all of this is true, the technique of aiming is often overlooked and/or not known about.

Listen here, to key to effectively direct a ball with great spin and pace is to get the buttcap to point in the direction you want to aim the ball.

Check out my video on this topic for a more in depth explanation!