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checking the position of the opponent

Published: 25 Aug 2005 - 12:17 by syeali

Updated: 24 Sep 2008 - 12:21

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Is there a way to see where the opponent is before you stroke. I have recently started to do that but it seems difficult. Any input will be appreciated.

Syed Ali

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From rippa rit - 13 Mar 2006 - 21:55

hi eyeali - looks like I did not answer your question - hope it is not stale news now.  Anyway -
  • Point 2 - "Never look at the ball by trying to glance over your shoulder."  To see a black speck out the corner of your eye does not help anticipate what is happening with the opponent, or what is going to happen when they hit the ball, eg direction, speed, etc.  So turn so you can see exactly what is going on, by moving your body around, even if that means getting out of the way too, so you can have a good look.. This helps you prepare much earlier.
  • Point 3 - "Do not face the front wall while the opponent is behind you getting prepared to return the ball." Same thing as in point 2 above - it is imperative to keep your eye on the ball at all times, and do not lose sight of it no matter where on the court it is.  Turn your body, move your feet, watch for any clues possible that might assist knowing what the opponent is going to do with the ball, eg the height of the ball when struck, the position of the opponent in relation to the front wall, the length of the swing, the angle of the racket face.  All of these things are essential factors when preparing to recover the opponent's shot.
Hope that makes sense now.

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From syeali - 29 Aug 2005 - 05:17

Thank you very much for a detailed answer, however, can you elaborate on pt 2 & 3.

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From rippa rit - 26 Aug 2005 - 09:05

Hi Syeali - There are a few golden rules that will help knowing where you opponent is on the court. These hints below are related to court movement, which in turn is about knowing where your opponent is on the court. Here they are:-
1. Watch the ball at all times.
2. Never look at the ball by trying to glance over your shoulder.
3. Do not face the front wall while the opponent is behind you getting prepared to return the ball.
4. While the opponent is recovering the ball -
...travel (move), so your feet and body are always positioning to either get out of the way, get into a better position to return the ball, get a full view of the stroke (swing) and position of the opponent. This will also help prevent getting hit by the ball or racket.
5. While you are returning the ball (especially in the front of the court) -
....move into position turning your body and feet side on giving a side view of 3 corners of the court (at least 2 corners) which will help determine the best place to return the ball, eg long or short. During actual play it may only be possible to see a glimpse of the opponent's body or shoes, but that at least tells you where they are standing on the court in relation to your positioning.
6. Ghosting practice, and plenty of it, will help court movement heaps, and develop fluent movement. Top players sort of glide around the court without lots of jerking, and that is because they are aware of their opponent's movement and prepare early.

How do you set up some ghosting? Put 4 balls on the floor of the court, about 1 metre from the corners, and move about the court, firstly without your racket and concentrate on your feet, and then when you get the idea, with your racket and swing, as if it was a rally. Try to position your body giving a view of as much of the court as possible (at least 2 of the corners where the balls are sitting on the floor.
By visualising the targets on the front wall it will help position the feet, so you actually can visualise hitting a particular shot. Marking the front wall with targets can help as well.

Does this make sense? Give it a try. It will seem very awkward at first, but just keep trying, and let me know how you get on. Gradually the movement to the ball should get smoother.

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