10 Ways to Win a Point

Although there are nine specific ways to lose a point according to the ITF Rules of Tennis, the focus is better directed to the number of ways you can win versus lose a point. There are a number of ways to win a point beyond the obvious of hitting the ball over the net into the court so that your opponent can’t get it back. Included are ten strategic ways to win a point (some of which based on your inclination and skills may be more fun and “doable” than others).

  1. Keep the ball in play. Be and patient and consistent and hit the ball over the net more than times than your opponent. Hit with high margin (cross court and high net clearance).
  2. Attack the short ball. Look for opportunities to step inside the baseline to attack short balls hit by your opponent. When you attack, direct your shot to one of four target areas (two deep corners and two angle corners).
  3. Mix it up. Mix up the spin, depth, height, pace and direction of shots to disrupt the rhythm of your opponent.
  4. Serve and volley (and serve return and volley). Follow your serves and/or serve returns into the net. Apply relentless pressure. Give your opponent less time to respond.
  5. Use cross-court/down-the-line directional patterns to open up the court. Maintain the direction of the ball, hitting cross court and with depth (particularly when pressured and running wide to retrieve a shot) until you get a weaker response from your opponent. Make your opponent pay for hitting a weaker shot by redirecting the ball with a down-the-line drive. Another option is to reply with a cross-court angle.
  6. Use your serve as a weapon. Have a purpose for every serve. Mix up the spin, pace and direction of your serves to make it difficult for your opponent to “get into the point”.
  7. Be mentally tough. Be positive. Don’t give an inch. Be focused on your objectives. Don’t betray yourself with negative thoughts and body language. It is very often the small things that make the difference.
  8. Draw your opponent in. Draw your opponent into the net with drop shots and angles and then counter with passing shots, drives at the feet and/or body of your opponent and well-placed lobs over the reach of your opponent.
  9. Exploit your opponent’s weakness. Don’t play to your opponent’s strengths. As an example, if your opponent lacks fitness, try to extend the length of the rally and make your opponent hit more shots. If your opponent is weak off one side (i.e. the backhand side), create and look for opportunities to hit to this side particularly during important points. If your opponent likes to hit with pace, take pace off the ball with underspin.
  10. Have fun. Enjoy the process of constructing a point and competing. You will experience more success if you enjoy what you do.

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