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Three must have winners from the front of court ?

Published: 23 Oct 2006 - 08:34 by Viper

Updated: 24 Sep 2008 - 16:09

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In order of importance.

You have forced a weak shot from your oponent and you stand balanced with the ball off the wall and in the front of the court, your oponent is behind you.

All things being equal what are the 3 stock winners you should employ in this situation, in order of importance please.

I am not after driving the ball to the back to continue the rally but rather I am in a position to hit a winner so I should go for it.


I ask because in some recent matches I have been in this position a lot and not put the point away.


I try to :

1. Soft drop into front corners.

2. Cross court soft drop

3. Shape for soft drop then a low reverse boast.

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From vitty - 24 Oct 2006 - 05:17

In situation as described I usually play drop shot  into the nick (or I TRY to hit it into the nick :)) but in a way that the opponent has to go around me and therefore he has to make more 1-2 steps to reach the ball. On my level (B), if you hit the drop shot OK, it´s a 90% winner.

Regarding ball placement before myself - therefore my opponent hasn´t "direct path to the ball" - I asked friend of mine (he´s about 35th place in my country). He said that this is OK and obvious "punishment" for the opponent who played a weak shot.

Also variation on this situation - I pretend to play hard (high backswing) backhand drive or crosscourt and then I play crosscourt drop shot. Works too, but because of high backswing the error rate is a bit higher.

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From BizarreCo - 23 Oct 2006 - 23:01

Although this might "technically" be against the rules, I'd suggest positioning your body so that you obscure your opponents view of the ball. Now hold until the last possible moment before playing your shot. This will usually force your opponent into making a move forward (or at least put them in a position which is difficult to move quickly from). It's kind of like playing a game of cards where you're trying to get them to show their hand before you play yours.

Now all you have to do is play the ball away from where they're moving. 9/10 a fast opponent will be ready to scramble to recover the drop shots (if you give them enough time). So playing a shot drop quickly will catch them out. If they recover faster than you can play your shot then this hold idea works really well. A fast opponent tends to move quickly and will actually give you a tell before you play your shot if you hold just long enough.

Sometimes it's better to work an opponent into weaker and weaker positions even though you're already in position to play a winner. These "working" shots force your opponent to expel more and more energy, and even though they don't win you this point, they might win you one in 15 mins time when your opponent starts to tire.

I was in a similar position in my last match where I was playing a very good shot player who recovered the ball reasonably well when I tried to put it away. The first game went on for ages with the rallies being very long and stretching for us both. Towards the end of the game I just kept the ball tight to the walls and made him move from corner to corner as fast I could manage. He won the game in the end, but tired himself out in the process. I was able to take the next 3 games very easily due to him being too tired to retrieve.

I guess this type of thinking says that if an opponent can reach a drop from the back of the court, then:

  1. It isn't a very tight drop!
  2. He/She hasn't been worked hard enough
  3. You're playing the drop at the wrong time and/or position


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From Viper - 23 Oct 2006 - 10:12

Thanks Rita

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From rippa rit - 23 Oct 2006 - 09:59   -   Updated: 23 Oct 2006 - 10:06

Viper - my comments from what I can understand from your description:

1. Do not hit a drop shot if your opponent has recovered and is standing behind you.
2. Hit a drop shot into the side wall nick if the opponent is hanging back or slow to recover position.
3. The height of the shot  that you are going to hit (or at the time you are ready to strike it) will depend what would be the most appropriate, if the ball is high, try a cross court nick, or volley drop (as that will get away quickly too) not giving the opponent much time.
4. If your opponent rushes up behind you (and depending how close to the wall the shot is) and is waiting for a drop, flick it up high into the back corner.
5. If your previous shot was short, maybe look like you are hitting a drop or short shot, and delay a bit, and then hit a hard low cross court.

Viper - if you go on court, put a marker (racket) where your opponent may be at the time of a return being struck, then go place the ball in the position you would be expecting to return the ball holding the ball at the appropriate height as well.  If you are stretched out, stand in that stretched position; if you are early in position, take up that stance. Once you see the variables it is usually very obvious which reply/options would be the most obvious.
When your opponent is out of position it is important to execute the shot asap.
A lot of what you are talking about too depends on the opponent's craft, speed, as well as court movement.

A ball landing within the inner court (a court drawn using the service boxes as the boundary) would require a different approach to say, a ball landing within the outer court (the boundary between the service box and the side wall).

Use your body well and position your feet well when returning balls that land in the inner court area to keep your opponent from crowding or intimidating your play.

Try it out.  Take a read of decision making.

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Very nice perceptions

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