Here’s a quick recap from our clinic:
White Line Fever
One of the hardest lessons for players to learn is when to attack and when to defend. Too often, most players get frustrated and ‘pull the trigger’ way too early when the percentages are definitely NOT in their favour.
In golf, it’s relatively easy, you have specific clubs to suit your position on the course in relation to the hole. In tennis, there’s no such aid, there’s one racket, one or two players, and a court which is marked for ‘scoring’ NOT positioning.
To help players better understand this key principle, Rob marked up the court as shown below with a white line located between the service line and baselines:
NOTE the thin white line where Pam is standing in the middle pic. Typically when the ball bounces behind this line, you’re playing defensively because you have to hit the ball up and have very little angle to work the ball. As Rob pointed out, taller players have the advantage here and can extend the white line closer to the baseline.
When players can hit a rally ball around the thin white line, they are playing offensively — they can either ‘pull the trigger’ as Kirsten is prone to do or play an approach shot and become a threat in the volley position shown in the last pic. Now you have opened up the court to angles and sidelines. Just remember that you’re always trying to play your net partner into the game — the player closest to the net takes the ball. There is ‘no my side’ in dubs if you want to better manage the real estate.
It also follows that it’s a great strategy to keep your opponents behind the baseline as much as possible — ala Nadal! This is also why the lady lobbers do so well against the typical ‘hitter’ — “you’ve got to be kidding, this isn’t tennis”; oh but it is! And it’s smart tennis! Hitting a very slow high bouncing ball is perhaps the hardest shot in the book!!
Art of the Lob
We learned how to use the same technique we learned on the volley to hit a simple, high defensive lob to counteract both the lady lobbers and the net rushers.
Dubs Practice: We finished with our pairs ‘king of the hill’ drill to practice our White Line Fever.
Great to see a continuing steady improvement in our players. Since most players have well developed styles, with life long habits, these small interventions can help you get the most out of your game.
If you want some serious coaching to make some major changes, then please contact Scott or Michael directly.
We adjourned to the bar for the traditional post mortem drink, more questions and snacks. Good time was had by all. Denis will be back next week to join us.
Always happy to share the knowledge. Paraphrasing Dave, a little understanding goes a long way to helping you better enjoy your tennis.