Hitting With Controlled Aggression

According to Merriam-Webster, AGGRESSION is “ a forceful action … especially when intended to dominate or master.” That is what we want to do in a tennis match, “dominate or master” our opponent; but unbridled aggression will get us in trouble.

In a singles tournament match vs. one of the top seeds, I was returning his second serve at 15-40 and “crushed” a forehand cross-court. The trouble is that it hit the top of the net and I lost the point – and then I lost the game and the critical service break.

Yes, we should be aggressive in a situation like that; but we should play with “controlled aggression.” Andre Agassi, in my opinion, was the master of hitting the ball just hard enough to really put pressure on his opponent; but not so hard as to make too many unforced errors.

If you think about “aggression” on a ten point scale… 1-3 is the pure “pusher,” who just dinks the ball back in play; and 9-10 are the guys who hit the ball about as hard as they reasonably can and really “crush” the ball. On this scale, I think Controlled Aggression is about a 6-7.

It is also really a tennis mindset: seeing the ball come over the net soft and short should send off alarm bells in your mind… “Here is a ball I can really attack!” But that attack should be made totally under control. And even if you don’t put the ball away for a winner, a good, aggressive stroke should put your opponent in a real defensive position; and the next shot should be even easier.

And if you should miss your first controlled aggression stroke, tell yourself, “That was the right play … keep going for it!” And you will.

Sharapova and Connors – One month ago, i gave this coaching relationship six months. Well, it just ended — after only one match together. (besides, it was a good excuse to run this picture again!). 🙂

If you are not on my “new posting alert email list” and want to be (I promise, no other uses of your email address!), just drop me a note at George@seniortennisandfitness.com