Approach Lessons for Advanced Players
The approach shot is one of the most important aspects of a tennis players’ game, and as you develop to an advanced level, it becomes a big factor in determining whether you win the point. The keyword in the previous sentence is ‘win’ and as an advanced player, you are aiming to win the point, not simply to stay in the point and hope not to lose it. Using approach lessons for advanced players will allow you to win the point.
Approach shots are commonly played on the forehand side, as this is the strongest part of most people’s game, especially when it comes to aggressive attacking tennis. However, when moving on to approach lessons for advanced players, we also need to consider the chance that an approach shot chance may present itself but on a volley as opposed to a standard forehand or backhand shot, after the ball has bounced.
This shot is often known as a swing volley and is very useful if your opponent has hit a high, looping shot towards the baseline. If you let this ball bounce, you can end up playing your shot from well behind the baseline and find yourself with very little room for maneuver. However, by not allowing the ball to bounce, you can play an attacking approach shot and that’s the key here. In a situation where your opponent has hit a deep, looping shot, do not allow the ball to bounce.
If you recognize early that your opponent has hit a floating shot, you can come in and meet it at shoulder height, inside the baseline. As you are used to meeting the ball around waist height for most shots, it’s important to ensure you contact the ball as close to shoulder height as possible for this shot. Ask a playing partner to float some balls over to you and stand a few feet inside the baseline, meeting the ball on the volley at shoulder height. The key here is to not allow the ball to drop towards your waist. This is another great time to get the camera out and film yourself playing the shot. Pause the footage at the point of contact and check your position. Are you meeting the ball at shoulder height?
When playing the swing volley approach shot, you need to hit the ball with as much power as possible, whilst maintaining control. A deep floated shot from your opponent, which is when you are going to employ the swing volley, will have very little pace on it as it drops and as this is an aggressive approach, you will need to swing hard to generate some power. If you find you are hitting your swing volley into the net but the footage shows you are meeting the ball at shoulder height it may be because you are not generating enough power.
Finally, when playing the swing volley for the first time, it is easier to play the shot crosscourt, rather than down the line. As with all approach lessons for advanced players, the technique and timing of the shot is not always easy, so start with the cross-court swing volley and as you become more comfortable with the shot, start hitting it to other areas of the court.
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