Setting Up Points
A smart tennis game is like a game of chess. You are playing at least two points ahead and setting up for the next shot.
The Test of a Good Player
Ask yourself the following questions to measure your progress toward becoming a good player.
- Covering the Court
- Hit the ball
- Control my shots
- Setting up the points
- Control my nerves
- Learn from my mistakes
- Intimidate my opponents
- Pressure my opponent
- Enjoy the battle
- Handle the outcome
Whenever you hit a ball in a game, you should have a plan in mind. For example, when serving in the deuce court, hit a serve wide to the left corner and follow it up with a shot to the right sideline. If they get it back, be ready to hit it to the left sideline. Another example is to hit a drop shot followed by a lob over your opponent’s head, which you follow to the net.
There are several patterns you should know so that when an opportunity presents itself, you can capitalize on it. If you practice these patterns, they will work more often in a game. Prepare faster.
Early preparation enables you to put your weight behind the your shot, keep your balance and maintain your form throughout the shot. It may even give you time to direct your shot instead of just hitting it back to your opponent. Tip Turn and move as soon as you see the ball come off your opponent’s racquet. This should give you time to stop and hit from a stationary position.
A good example of setting up the points early is how Jimmy Connors played the game. He did not have a big serve so he set up his shots.
The Jimmy Connors’ Game
The Serve and volley game is coming back in men’s professional singles. If you have been watching the Australian Open, you have seen it’s benefits through players such as Roanic and Federer. It is a new way to pressure your opponent and end points quicker. There are other ways to play the game. One of the most successful was played by Jimmy Connors. JC did not have a powerful serve. So he rarely served and charged the net. Instead he spun in his left handed serve and attacked any short ball and followed it into the net, hitting an approach shot, while putting pressure on his opponents.
He was especially good at breaking serve. He attacked the second serve and charged the net. The result was often an outright winner or an easy volley.
So remember to set up your points to get easy winners, which will frustrate your opponents.