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maintaining a repertoire of shots

Published: 11 Dec 2009 - 13:19 by mike

Updated: 12 Dec 2009 - 11:44

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All players have their favourite shots in certain situations, some will have an affinity for a deceptive trickle boast, others for an accurate straight volley drop.

I'm interested in how big a repertoire of these shots a player can realistically have. In my experience shots require maintenance. A strength now could become a weakness if neglected. At various times boasts, lobs and forehand drops have each fluctuated between great and terrible in my own game.

So my question is, apart from the basic shots (serve, straight and cross court drive, defensive boast) how big a bag of tricks should we be aiming for?

And from a shot selection perspective, can having too many options be a problem (causing indecision)?

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From mike - 12 Dec 2009 - 11:44

Thanks guys. I guess the repertoire needs to be wide enough to shift or apply pressure at any time.

With a limited range of shots we become predictible which takes a lot of pressure off the opponent as they know in advance where to go.

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From Adz - 11 Dec 2009 - 22:06


I've always strived to be able to play a good shot to any of the four corners from anywhere on the court. Now this needs to be adapatble depending on opponent and body position, but if you always try to work off what the best shot to each corner is at any point then I have found it helps to develop a very strong array of shots. So basically drops, lobs, boasts and much more are all regularly used in my game play.

Now practise is essential to maintain accuracy and consistency, and I regularly stand on court and play the same shot for a long time, sometime with these shots being more than a little strange (like a cross-court sliced dropshot whilst facing the back wall that goes in the nick!!). But once you have the accuracy and the confidence to pull these off in a match then suddenly anything can seem possible once you've worked your opponent enough (I usually go for the more risky shots in the 3rd / 4th game).

Sometimes you can really catch your opponent out with something they don't come across very often (if ever before!).


My one rule I always tell students is:

"When my legs have tired and I can no longer run, if I can still hit a rolling nick then I've got a puncher's chance!!"





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From rippa rit - 11 Dec 2009 - 21:57

Mike - that is a good question and something that bothers players where they just play their whole repetoire without much thought for the tactical use of the shot at that particular time. My advice is to always practice a shot solo to groove it in, and then follow up with a routine that sets up the shot under the right circumstances.  Really there are not that many options for shots under each particular circumstance, but the main thing is to play the shot at the right time so that shot puts the most pressure on the opponent. 

I think you need all the shots in your game eventually, even though you may not use them that often.  That is what makes them so good though.  Basics are really to get the opponent on the defensive and then use those shots, eg volley drop, volley boast, reverse boast, drop, lob, nick. When you train set up the routine around some shot that you needed during play, and just did not know what to do, and in the cool light of day you can work out the best possible option under those circumstances, eg reply to a boast is a drop or cross court lob; only drop shot when the opponent is held behind, etc.  Often when an opponent gives you a hard time it is just the lack of a good shot that will change the whole game around, eg you return serve, opponent mostly steps across and cuts it off into the front corner? You must change the return to prevent that happening; always have alternatives so you have more choices.  If the opponent starts to read your play, you must change. In the case of the return of serve you have 4 or 5 choices and it must not be a choice that plays down the wall the opponent is stepping into and volleying; once you counter an opponent's play the whole game can turn-around. The idea of practising a shot too is to make it sit down tightly, and not just hit it and it sits up and looks at you - find tune the shots with heaps of repetition.



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