Three-Pronged Responses

There is a three-pronged response and/or progression to just about every need or identified objective in tennis.  Here are 10 quick, easy-to-remember three-pronged (coaching) responses to situations and needs encountered every day on the court.

Objective #1 (Doubles):

Get a difficult serve back in play.

Three-Pronged Response:

  1. Have your partner fall back
  2. Lob
  3. Chip

Objective #2 (Singles/Doubles):

Finish the point quickly (in three or fewer shots).

Three-Pronged Progression:

  1. Serve (return)
  2. Close
  3. Volley

Objective #3 (Singles):

Extend the length of the rally.

Three-Pronged Response:

  1. Hit high over the net
  2. Hit cross court
  3. Hit for depth

Objective #9 (Singles/Doubles):

Reduce your need to cover the court (particularly when injured and/or fatigued).

Three-Pronged Response:

  1. Play on or inside the baseline to reduce court angles.
  2. Close into the net whenever possible.
  3. Take balls on the rise and/or before the bounce.

Objective #5 (Singles):

Expose or break down your opponent’s backhand.

Three-Pronged Response:

  1. Hit out wide to the forehand to open up a hitting window or lane to the backhand.
  2. Relentlessly hit to the backhand whenever closing and/or attacking.
  3. Mix things up when hitting to your opponent’s backhand. Disrupt rhythm by varying pace, height, depth and spin.

Objective #6 (Singles):

Disrupt the rhythm of your opponent with your serve.

Three-Pronged Response:

  1. Hit at the body
  2. Hit down the middle with depth
  3. Hit short and out wide (at an angle)

Objective #7 (Singles/Doubles):

Take time away from your opponent.

Three-Pronged Response:

  1. Play close to the baseline
  2. Take the ball on the rise
  3. Close in response to anything hit short

Objective #8 (Singles):

Take away your opponent’s angles or opportunity to open up the court.

Three-Pronged Response:

  1. Hit down the middle with depth.
  2. Serve at the body
  3. Hit behind your opponent. (Direct the ball to side of the court you hit to with your previous shot.)

Objective #9 (Singles):

Keep your opponent pinned back at the baseline.

Three-Pronged Response:

  1. Hit high over the net with depth.
  2. Hit a heavy ball that penetrates the court.
  3. Be the first to strike and attack.

Objective #10 (Singles):

Make your opponent run (particularly if your opponent lacks mobility).

Three-Pronged Response:

  1. Work the four corners or target areas (particularly with offsetting diagonals). Keep the ball out of the middle of the court.
  2. Open up the court with angles.
  3. Hit short and deep. Draw your opponent in and then back.

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