You see both tennis pros and us club players sometimes “go for too much” or conversely “not do enough” with an opportunity. There is a time to be aggressive and a time to be conservative in shot selection and court target.
What Really Happened?
Years ago as I was just developing my tennis game, I used to have a weekly singles match against a local teaching pro, who would beat me just about every time we played. As I improved, I would get closer; but would leave his court thinking “he just made the shots at the end of the match.”
But in reality, he made those shots because, at the end of the match, I would get conservative and GIVE HIM THE OPPORTUNITY to make those shots. So, when do you put something extra on your shot and when do you get the ball back in play into a safe location? Here are four scenarios …
- Aggressive shot to a conservative location – This is Paul Annacone’s mantra… “On big points, hit an aggressive shot; but to a conservative (safe) location.” Hit it hard; but give yourself plenty of margin on where you are aiming the shot.
- Conservative shot to a conservative location – Let’s say you have your opponent way off the court and there is no way they are going to be able to get back as you are hitting a volley. So, just block that ball back into the open court.
But this is also the situation above, where I gave my opponent the opportunity to win the point by NOT being aggressive enough and just “putting the ball back in play in the middle of the court.”
- Conservative shot to an aggressive location – Again, you have the offense and your opponent is out of position; but coming back to where you want to hit the ball. I think it is OK to go closer to the line; but don’t overhit it. Just put it safely out of their reach.
- Aggressive shot to an aggressive location – You are up 40-0 and have your favorite shot “just sitting there” or your opponent is serving at 0-40 and pushes over a soft second serve. I say go for it and give that ball a ride … and possibly send your opponent a message.
What do YOU think … when to be aggressive and when to be conservative?
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