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.

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