Playing Without Walls

While watching some of my friends play Senior Doubles during the recent Chargers Tournament, I sat next to the young trainer from the sponsoring college. He had an interesting observation …

He said, “When I watch the college team play, they don’t hit with all the great ANGLES that these guys do. The college kids play like there are walls on the sidelines of the court and just try to only bang the ball straight ahead.”

As I continued to watch, I could see all the angles my senior friends were, in fact, using to win points. They came on return of serve, volleys, and even overheads.

So while I still believe the smartest play is to hit down the middle, we shouldn’t play “like there are walls on the sides of the court either.”

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4 thoughts on “Playing Without Walls

  1. Great observation, but it kind of begs the question of why the older players hit with so much more angle than the young studs. It seems fairly obvious, though. On the one hand, if you are regularly hitting ground strokes at around 80 mph + the laws of physics simply don’t allow you to hit with so much angle; the ball needs the maximum length of the court to have a chance actually to drop in. (This is certainly the reason why modern players have developed, and regularly use, the so-called “windshield wiper” forehand, which we old farts can only marvel at unless we make the concerted effort to change our swings to develop the same stroke.). On the other hand, the old guys have all learned from so many years of playing that the dimensions of the tennis court can best be exploited by pulling opponents wide and away from their comfort zone in the middle of the court. (Drop shots followed by lobs are another way to do it.). Hitting ground strokes regularly at less than 50-60 mph also lends itself nicely to this style of play, as well as the recognition that one’s opponent’s legs and fitness are not what they used to be and there is a physical limit to which even the most in shape opponent can be dragged outside the court before he will be unable to recover in time to get to the next ball. It just goes to show that, even with all of the equipment improvements that now allow the young studs to hit so hard, there is still a lot of room in this wonderful game for different styles of play to be successful. As usual, a great post George. Very thought provoking.

  2. very interesting–I realize that with my limited mobility I try to hit very precisely, at sharp angles with narrow to non-existant margins for error. Risky business but the only way I can hang in there, especially in singles.

  3. There is no doubt that great volleying and angle shots can keep us old guys in the game. Most of us can compete with the hard and fast ball!!

    Dick – and you are The Master of the angle volley! george

  4. Very interesting observation and indeed why I love the sport of tennis so much. Seems to me whatever your ability, age or skill, its a great way to be outside, getting exercise and enjoy the miracle of life.

    Christine – especially in beautiful Hawaii! george

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