The following article is by guest contributor, Steve Woods of Swingitbig. He created this website to help new and old tennis players to learn more about tennis.
The net is one of the most avoided positions in tennis. In this lesson we will explore a few simple ways to increase the effectiveness of your net game. Your three tactical weapons are enhanced by your presence at the net. To make the strategies even more effective you may use only the best tennis racquet for intermediate players.
Angle is increased, the ability to reach the ball above the height of the net and hit it with power is enhanced and the opponent’s reaction time is shortened.
Despite the intellectual knowledge that the chances of ending the point are greater from a net position, many developing players elect to stay on the baseline because it permits more reaction time. When this happens, they’re not spending enough time practicing volleys relative to the amount spent hitting groundstrokes.
Soon, weak volleys provide a valid reason to avoid the net altogether. Let’s assume you’ve made up your mind to come to the net and learn to endpoints. The plan is to come in and make your opponent’s court seem as large as possible.
In singles, this is simple… approach to the weaker side and volley to the other (maximizing your angle). Keep your approach low and as deep as possible. The idea is to make your approach shot effective but not try to end the point with it.Notice trends in your opponents reply.
They have only three options in avoiding your upcoming volley: to your right, left, or over your head. Most players have a habitual reply they use 80% of the time and almost 100% of the time on big points. Figure out what it is. This knowledge will help keep pressure on them to challenge your volley.
Once you prove to have an effective volley, your opponent will err in a desperate attempt to make strong passing shots. All successful shots begin with a target and the volley is no exception. The target for your volley will be the opposite side of your opponent’s court from where you approached.
Aim far enough away to be effective but not so close to the line that you compromise your margin for error.Begin your volley technique by using a short motion. Keeping your hands in front of you, place your racket face in the path of the incoming ball and use a simple motion to block the ball to the open court.
Accuracy is key to your success so start out with the emphasis on accuracy rather than power. This places the pressure on your opponent to pass you. The last thing they want to do is move from corner to corner point after point with very little reaction time to cover your angles.In summary, the net is nothing to be feared.
All high-level players have learned to approach and volley successfully. Be smart in your tactical intentions and keep your volley as simple as possible. A strong net presence will win points that can’t be won from the baseline.