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Player to Player: Hitting Without Pace

July 22, 2013 01:58 PM
Have a question? Receive advice from your fellow players!
Real Tennis Players - Like You! - Asking For and Offering Advice on the Sport They Love 
Player to Player is USTA.com’s regular feature in which everyday tennis players are given a forum to ask advice on the sport they love – and their fellow players will dish out advice. We’ll post a number of the best responses we receive to our question.

Latest question from Liz: In many of my doubles matches, we win the first set pretty easily, but the second set is when the errors start to occur and we end up losing. Any advice?
Do you have any advice for Liz or a question of your own? Please share your thoughts by e-mailing Player@usta.com, and include your name and hometown for a chance to receive advice from your fellow players! 
Last question from Michelle: I have been playing tennis for about eight to nine months now. I do not have a hard time beating players hitting with pace and heavy topspin, yet I lose to a person who just taps the ball over. It's very frustrating to lose to someone whose ground strokes aren't nearly as good as yours. Does anyone have some advice?
From Blake K.: It's ALL about the footwork. The slower a ball comes at you, the more you need to properly position yourself to successfully return the ball. Returning a slow ball is 100 percent about action, as opposed to a fast-paced ball that is partly about reaction (which helps players avoid overthinking their shots). Move the feet, commit to a shotand execute! Beat the slow game by being mentally and physically prepared!
From Nikki K.: Pushers, the most difficult (mine especially) opponents ever. To play a pusher properly, your footwork is more important than ever. Faster feet, step into the ball, take it on the rise and follow the shot to the net. Playing a pusher often puts many of us out of our games mentally. The reason you miss is that you're overthinking, when you should be moving your feet more.
From Nicole A.: Patience and footwork are key to beating a player who barely taps the ball over. It is hard to put pace on a ball that has no pace to start with. Next time take your time, get set up and follow through with good topspin. Place the ball strategically and keep getting it back!
From Pranav K.: Dealing with pushers requires lots of patience. I'm an agressive baseliner, so when it comes to people giving me balls without pace, I tend to mess those up. The key is to not force pace on the ball but to guide it around the court. Make them move around and wait for a chance ball where you can attack and bring lots of pace and/or attack the net.
From Leann R.: Step in. Catch the ball on the rise off the bounce instead of letting an already slow ball drop.
From Janice W.: PATIENCE! Make sure that you don't overdo anything. When someone taps, the ball comes over slowly and you have to generate your OWN power. Don't go for winners all the time, concentrate more on placement or doing something interesting with the ball (e.g., topspin, slice). Try for winners when you're approaching the net. Attacking is all about power but sometimes it doesn't hurt to play with your brain and wait for your opponent to make the mistake first instead. Good luck!
From Sandy H.: Roll up on this person by approaching the net and hitting a volley. Don't camp out on the baseline.
*Please note that any advice given out in this forum should in no way be confused with actual medical advice. Before starting any new exercise regimen or treatment or altering your existing ones, we strongly urge you to consult with your regular physician.


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