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CONSISTENT DRIVING
HOME > TIPS > INTERMEDIATE TIPS > CONSISTENT DRIVING
David Ohlmuller
05-20-2003
"When to be Offensive"

There are many keys to becoming a successful platform tennis player. One of the fundamentals that will enable you to becoming a better player is learning when to be offensive.

Times during a match when it is crucial to be offensive:

Return of Serve: When returning serve it is a MUST to drive. The one exception to this rule is when you are playing a match in inclement weather. The return of serve is essentially your only "free" shot in paddle against your opponents. IT IS CRITICAL NOT TO HIT THE BALL IN THE NET OFF THE RETURN OF SERVE. It is important to make the opposing team have to hit the first volley. I feel the first volley is the most difficult shot in platform tennis. It takes many years of practice to feel comfortable with making the first volley. That is why it is crucial never to return the serve into the net off the return.

The importance of hitting the return of serve over the net is two-fold:

1. The opposing team has to hit and make the first volley in order to continue the point.
2. At all levels from beginners to the finals of the Nationals, there are an inordinate amount of out balls that are played by the opposing team at the
net.

The next time when you are not playing your league match or you are able to watch the top players playing in a match, watch and you'll be amazed at how many out balls are being played at all levels of play.

It is important to develop an effective drive on balls that are volleyed short into your court. On balls that are volleyed short by the opposing team, it is important to maintain a short compact swing and not over hit the drive.

An analogy that is very helpful is the following:
Balls volleyed short in the green portion of the court think GO. Balls volleyed in the green that you will be hitting while in the red portion of the court, think STOP. In this scenario it is necessary to hit a lob and regroup and wait for your next opportunity to drive.

It is also important to be offensive when the opposing team is over hitting their overheads. In today's game, the screens and ball are livelier than they have ever been so there will be many opportunities to be offensive off the screens. The same thought process applies to these types of shots as well.

If the ball bounces off the screens into the green portion of the court
DRIVE THE BALL.
If the ball bounces off the screens and stays in the red behind the baseline
LOB THE BALL.

If you are driving the ball behind the baseline while in the red, you most likely will be off balance and are susceptible to being dropshotted on by your opponents.

 

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