Baab and I went to the Tennis courts the other day. I am trying to get him started in the game. As I started thinking of the basic basics of the game, some thoughts crystallized. Let’s see if I can get these basic ducks – or basics ducks – in a row!
– when you are in a rally, the easiest opportunity you get to hit the ball is when it is at its highest point after bouncing, because at this point, it is stationary, if only for a fraction of a second. That makes it easiest to hit, assuming that you have already run to where the ball is and positioned yourself such that the ball is at a ‘sweet spot’ distance from you.
– conversely, when in a rally, the toughest opportunity you get to hit the ball is either before it has bounced or immediately after it has bounced. Though these are tough shots to complete/master, if you get the ability to hit these shots, you have the chance of hitting outright winners because a) the opponent is not expecting the ball to come back so fast and b) even if he/she is expecting it to come back fast, he/she has not got the time to race around to defend the entire court.
– finally, if you are really caught out of position, don’t ever forget that you still have a chance to make that return until the ball hits the ground for the second time. What this means is that if you have not yet given up on the rally, and have the legs to get you to the ball, you can still scoop it over the net as long as it is still a couple of inches off the ground.
– after each shot, make sure you come back to the centre of the court (at wherever depth of position you are comfortable with, i.e., either near the net, or deep in the court, or behind the baseline). If you do this, you save yourself the trouble of running more than half the width of the court (because you have already covered part of this distance).