What is more discouraging than working the point in singles till you finally get that short ball over the middleâ€¦ and you blow the shot? There are things we can do to correct that problem â€“ and cash in on the opportunity.
One thing many of us do is run somewhat casually to the shot, timing our arrival to the ball when it is time to hit it. But that doesnâ€™t really give enough time to get set up.
When I was in the Army (1967-68), we had a saying that they made us â€œHurry up, and wait.â€ That is exactly what I believe we should do on the short ball over the middle. I have this image of Andre Agassi seeing that short ball and running as hard as he could to get there (and grunting hard as he pushed himself). And then, he planted his feet and hit the putaway winner.
A saying in tennis is â€œyou need to have fast feet and slow hands.â€ Hurry to get to the ball; but then take your time swinging through the shot.
A drill I love to use for this is the Approach Shot Game:
- You start on the center of the baseline.
- Your practice partner feeds a ball underhanded, that bounces inside the service line (makes no difference in which box).
- You rush in to attack the ball and hit an approach shot (not going for a winner).
- And then you play out the point from there.
- First to seven points, win by two.