Attack the Short Ball

To secure ourselves against defeat lies in our own hands, but the opportunity of defeating the enemy is provided by the enemy himself. -Sun Tzu

Many people starting out playing tennis do not understand that there are constant tactical decisions that have to be made during each point. In this post I wanted to discuss when to attack and be aggressive.

Ultimately the best time to attack during a rally is when your opponent hits a ball that lands inside the service box and bounces up softly such that you can adjust your position and hit it between waist and head height. At a higher height, you are able to be aggressive in hitting down on the ball. The closer you are to the net, the easier the attacking shot becomes, plus you are that much closer to the net where you can finish the point.

If you are standing on the baseline or further back, it is a low percentage play to try and attack. Your targets are smaller, your margin for error is less. Your opponent also has more time to react.

So during a rally you always want to identify – is the shot my opponent just hit something that I can move in and attack? If so, always attack. The moment they show weakness, you must attack and seize the opportunity to be the offensive player. Never hit a short ball timidly and then retreat back to the baseline. If you do this, you shall never truly beat your opponent.

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