How To Avoid Playing Short Balls Under Pressure

How To Avoid Playing Short Balls Under Pressure

When I am under pressure I return the ball short as if somehow I was paralysed.

This is not the norm but occurs more frequently with my backhand.

How can I overcome it?

The most probable cause for freezing is again the lack of decision. Perhaps you are not clear on what to do under pressure.

I assume that under pressure you mean that you are in a defensive position – far behind the baseline or out of the court or on the run.

The general defensive strategy is to play the ball cross court and slow enough so that you can recover back to the middle of possible shots of your opponent.

Another common strategy is to play down the middle and take away good angles of attack from your opponent.

If you stick to these two strategies in 90% of the time when you are under pressure, you’ll do the best you can to neutralize your opponent’s attacking position.

Another reason why you may return too short is because you are afraid to miss. You need to realistically evaluate whether playing short balls and never missing is better than playing deep shots and occasionally missing.

If you play short (and never miss) your opponent can attack you again and there is a high chance that they will eventually win the point.

If you play deep (and miss occasionally too long), you’ll give your opponent some free points when you miss. But when your shot lands in you’ll neutralize your opponent and you’ll have better chances of winning the point.

Which one of these two strategies works better depends on you and your opponent’s skills.

Note that in high level tennis (ATP, WTA) the players almost always choose the latter strategy – play deep and occasionally miss.

When you mention missing mostly with your backhand, it means that you probably don’t trust your shot and just push the ball instead of swinging freely.

What you need to ask your self is whether this works. Is not trusting your shot working well for you? No? Well, then don’t do it. 😉

Stop not-trusting your shot and swing freely. You have nothing to lose since your previous approach of not trusting the shot does not work.

Try trusting it. You can say:”Ok, I am going to hit freely now as if my backhand is really good.”

See what happens and then you’ll be able to make a conscious choice how to approach shots on your backhand side.

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This entry was posted on Friday, November 2nd, 2007 at 11:12 pm and is filed under Tennis Strategy. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

One Response to “How To Avoid Playing Short Balls Under Pressure”
Alfee Says:
May 13th, 2009 at 1:43 pm
Great suggestions. Yesterday I played and under pressure I hit cross court for several winners with both my forehand and backhand. Something I rarely did against this opponent and others. One of the thoughts I inculcated was, “Hey, he’s charging the net; he’s on the offensive and has the court advantage…” So, I just stayed low, didn’t focus on my opponent, but rather, kept looking at the ball. As soon as I did this, the pressure to hit under pressure subsided. Federer does this so well by not only keeping his head down, but actually looking behind him after he makes contact with the ball.