Court Dimensions and Physics

Here are ten situations and responses to better manage your court position and take advantage of court dimensions and physics.

  1. If playing a shot maker with more power and weapons, hit down the middle (preferably with depth) to eliminate angles and opportunities for your opponent to open up the court.
  2. If you’re having difficulty covering the court (either because of a prior or match-induced condition), play close to the baseline or just inside the baseline and work your way in to the service line. Playing on or inside the baseline reduces your court coverage requirements and the court area for your opponent to hit to.
  3. If forced out wide (particularly if required to hit on the run), respond by hitting cross court preferably with height and depth to buy time for recovery. Hitting cross court better positions you for the next shot and eliminates the opportunity for your opponent to hurt you with an angled redirection.
  4. Hit drop shots from inside the baseline (not from behind the baseline) for the best chance for success. Think of the time it takes to execute the shot and the time your opponent has to respond.  Hitting a drop shot from a deeper court position is more difficult to execute, gives your opponent more time to run down the shot and makes your job more difficult to defend if your opponent gets to the shot (particularly if the response is another drop shot).
  5. When hitting from behind the baseline, hit high and deep (either down the middle or cross court).  Don’t force a mistake by trying to go for too much.
  6. When hitting inside the baseline (particularly in response to a weaker shot), respond with a down-the-line redirection or cross-court angle. Hitting from a court position inside the baseline gives you the best opportunity to open up the court and put pressure on your opponent and in a risk-reward analysis, gives you the best chance for success.
  7. Hit hard for angles (and/or to the open court) when volleying close to the net. Hit for depth and location (to set up your next shot) when volleying from a deeper court position.
  8. Recognize what you have to work with in relation to the net. As an example, when volleying in response to a low ball dipping below the net (particularly if hit at your body), open and drag your racquet head across your body in an outside-in direction and aim for a down-the-line directed angle.  Keep the ball low (low net clearance) and use under and side spin to get the ball to stay down and bounce to the outside of the court. If you get a ball up in your strike zone, close with the shot and hit a drive volley (cross court or down-the-line) to the open court.
  9. When hitting overheads from inside the service line, flatten out your overhead and hit with “pop” and velocity. Aim for your opponent’s service line and look to hit the ball off the court in an angle.  When hitting overheads from deeper in the court, aim to a deeper court target and progressively use more spin as you are progressively forced back to hit from a deeper court position.
  10. Want to keep things simple? Aim every shot to clear the middle of the court (or the center strap as reference).  This simple focused tactic guarantees a high percentage response to every shot.

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