Balance of Power

Here are 10 ways (areas of focus) to tip the balance of power in your favor.

  1. Command the net. All things being equal, you’re putting yourself in a good position if you’re the player getting to the net first (particularly if you’re closing in response to short balls). This is true for singles and definitely for doubles.
  2. Maintain a positioning advantage. When hitting groundstrokes, make an effort to play close to the baseline. Hit and take balls on or just inside the baseline and try to pin your opponent back well behind the baseline (giving you more time to hit your shots and creating more opportunities to redirect and hit angles).
  3. Get the serve return back in play. Get into the point and make your opponent(s) hit shots. Get 90% or more serve returns back into play.
  4. Eliminate unforced errors. Play percentages. Make no mistakes into the net or wide left/right of the sidelines. Hit high over the net and cross-court with your rally balls.
  5. Maintain a high first serve percentage. Target to get 75 – 85% of your first serves in play to apply pressure on your opponent(s), to better engage your partner, etc.
  6. Maintain a high shot threshold. Be prepared and comfortable hitting as many shots as necessary to win the point.
  7. Hit your targets. In singles, there are four basic targets (or target areas) that define almost all the major point patterns of play. The targets are the two deep corners and the two angle corners.  Likewise, there are three basic targets for the serve. Your skill in hitting these targets dictates your ability to stay in the point and to open up the court to finish or end the point.
  8. Control the pace of play. Establish and maintain a pace of play (to extent possible between points and changeovers) that best suits your style of play, level of fitness, personality, etc.
  9. Maintain composure and sense of purpose. Maintain your focus whether hot or cold, you’re winning or losing, playing well or not, etc.
  10. Be resolute. Be relentless and determined and never give up.

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