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DRIVE STRATEGY
HOME > TIPS > BEGINNER TIPS >DRIVE STRATEGY
Mike Cochrane
05-24-2004

The drive strategy is a very essential part of platform tennis. Placement is EVERYTHING. You must know when, where, and how to drive at your opponents. When all these factors are in place, you will have a successful drive. The drive strategy goes hand in hand with the lob strategy and a good lob will allow for a good drive opportunity.

First – When to drive?

Patience is paramount. If you are not patient in your shot selection, the success rate of your drives will be low. The most important aspect of the selection of shots to drive is finding the right time to drive. Your lobbing strategy will play an important role in determining when to drive. When lobbing to your opponents at net, be sure to get your lobs high and deep. When you have your opponents hitting their overheads from deep in the court towards their baseline, they will be hard pressed to get back to net. There a few things to look for when looking for the right drive opportunity:

- Look for a short overhead from your opponents.
- Look for a forehand (or whichever is your strongest driving groundstroke)
- Look for your opponents to be out of position off the net.

When these factors all come in to play, the drive will have a higher percentage of success.

Second – Where to drive?

Knowing where to drive the ball, when the opportunity presents itself, is essential. The best place for your drive strategy will be at the person that is out of position off the net. This will give you a better chance of making them hit a difficult low volley. It is also very important during warm-up to look at how your opponents volley. If they are tennis players then they will tend to hit more forehand volleys than is prudent. Around eighty-five percent (85%) of your volleys should be backhand volleys. Therefore, your strategy should also entail driving at your opponents’ forehands at net.

Determine if your opponents are positioned correctly at the net. In the photos, you see the players in both correct and incorrect positions at net. If your opponents are standing at the net incorrectly (as if they were playing tennis), then there is room to drive both down the line and up the middle where there are holes in “the wall” (signified by GREEN arrows). These green arrows show us that these are good spots to drive the ball at our opponents. In the other photo, we see that the two players at net are in good position as they form “the wall” and are ready for a drive. These red arrows show that the middle and down the line are covered and would be inadvisable to drive.

Third – How to drive?

We talk about how to drive as part of your strategy in relation to your position on the court. You should not be driving a ball at your opponents if you are standing in the brown portion of the court. Look to drive your best groundstroke.

Groundstroke tip -- Shorten up your back swing and follow through over the top-half of the ball to keep it low.

In Summary – you should be patient in your shot selection and look for a short overhead by your opponents to move in on and drive – preferably low and at your opponents forehand volley or the person who is out of position off the net.

It’s not just a Volkswagen tag line - Drivers Wanted.

 

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