Ten Ways to Change Things Up and Add Variety to Your Game

Here are 10 ways to change things up and add variety to your game (to disrupt the rhythm of your opponent, change the course of a losing game and/or have more fun)

  1. Serve and volley – Follow your serve into the net to pick off an unsuspecting return (particularly effective if your opponent is content at blocking back his/her return).
  2. Chip and charge – Attack the net with slice (and sidespin) approach shots. Hit predominantly down the line and vary the angle and depth of your approach shots.  Work the point with short angled approach shots (e.g. Patrick Rafter) to change things up.
  3. Hug the baseline – Play close to the baseline to give your opponent less time to respond. Take balls early on the bounce (on the rise) and attack with an aggressive baseline style of play.
  4. Play further back behind the baseline – Play further back behind the baseline to give yourself more time to respond and set up for your shots. Play defensively and make your opponent hit more shots.
  5. Vary your serve return position – Play closer in to take time away from your opponent and to distort his/her depth perspective in relation to placement of the serve. Play further back to buy more time to hit the return.  Cheat more to your left or right (particularly on a second serve) to give yourself a better opportunity to hit your best return and to bait your opponent to hit to a location not to his/her preference.
  6. Vary your spin – Work the point with varying degrees of slice and topspin.
  7. Take pace off the ball – Take pace off the ball (with softer hands, backspin and/or higher net clearance). This tactic is particularly effective against big hitters.
  8. Hit high and deep – Elevate your shots with a high, loopy trajectory to pin your opponent back and raise the strike zone of your opponent. As a change, follow high, deep balls into the net (particularly after hitting a high and deep ball to the backhand of your opponent).
  9. Vary your serve location – Mix it up. Hit serves out wide, down to the middle T and at the body to disrupt the rhythm of your opponent.
  10. Drop shot and lob – Draw your opponent in with well disguised drop shots and push him/her back with well-placed lobs.

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