Classy Tennis Lesson

February 24, 2012

NOTE – You might want to maximize this video (watch in full-screen mode) because my shirt might look a bit funky on a smaller screen. Good ol’ Moire Effect.

  • Marat

    Thank you Will, it’s amazing lesson.

  • http://www.fuzzyyellowballs.com/ Will Hamilton

    Thanks Marat!

  • http://twitter.com/jazz77l Jazz77L

    Hi Will, do you have a video where you are filming real rec players and then show us what they did wrong in a match ? and then after having given some tips see another match and check the improvement ?

  • http://twitter.com/jazz77l Jazz77L

    Hi Will, do you have a video where you are filming real rec players and then show us what they did wrong in a match ? and then after having given some tips see another match and check the improvement ?

  • http://twitter.com/jazz77l Jazz77L

    Hi Will, do you have a video where you are filming real rec players and then show us what they did wrong in a match ? and then after having given some tips see another match and check the improvement ?

  • http://www.fuzzyyellowballs.com/ Will Hamilton

    Haven’t done that yet but that’s a good suggestion.  But have filmed rec players hitting and then compared them to the pros to show you what the big differences are and how rec players can close the gap.

  • Loops

    Great thanks Will.  Please can I have help on court positioning when expecting a short angled leftie serve to the ad court? I’m right handed.  If I move to far in I can be caught out when serve goes down the middle.  At present I’m inexperienced in reading where the serve might go.

  • Loops

    Great thanks Will.  Please can I have help on court positioning when expecting a short angled leftie serve to the ad court? I’m right handed.  If I move to far in I can be caught out when serve goes down the middle.  At present I’m inexperienced in reading where the serve might go.

  • Geranz

    Will I find it difficult to think about all this on court but will be more diligent in attempting to inject that analysis into my game. Thanks for your analysis.
    Gary Ranz :-{}

  • Geranz

    Will I find it difficult to think about all this on court but will be more diligent in attempting to inject that analysis into my game. Thanks for your analysis.
    Gary Ranz :-{}

  • Scott

    Great information. I’m not as mindful of this as I should be. Thanks!

  • Scott

    Great information. I’m not as mindful of this as I should be. Thanks!

  • Micah

    Good stuff… based on the drawing, Djokovic hit all of his groundies from the net. :-P

  • Micah

    Good stuff… based on the drawing, Djokovic hit all of his groundies from the net. :-P

  • Micah

    Good stuff… based on the drawing, Djokovic hit all of his groundies from the net. :-P

  • Stefmail2

    definitely modern tennis ! After that 6h final at the Aussie any smart player will go up in the court to avoid such marathon and probably win more consistently a match against those player…but they are great passer so will see ;-) I personaly tend to go forward step in the court now when I used to stay 3feet behing the past years, so I’m with you on this one. thanks

  • Stefmail2

    definitely modern tennis ! After that 6h final at the Aussie any smart player will go up in the court to avoid such marathon and probably win more consistently a match against those player…but they are great passer so will see ;-) I personaly tend to go forward step in the court now when I used to stay 3feet behing the past years, so I’m with you on this one. thanks

  • doubles

    Will,
    Great video as always. I have a doubles court positioning question.  Suppose you have a much weaker partner (often happens in mixed, but could be in mens as well). If you are at the net with your partner, the opponent will feel the pressure equally from both of you and ALWAYS hit to your partner, but if you stay back, that shot FEELS safer for the opponent to hit to you and you may be able to do more there.  Thoughts?

  • Rsp1

    Very useful! I always tend to hang back at that allows me to hit high quality shots. However, that doesn’t always translate into points won. When I think about it, I do seem to win more points when I am closer to the net, despite not always hitting as well. So, I’ll take this lesson and try to push forward more at every opportunity. Thanks!

  • Glenn C. Frazier, Sr.

    Thanks Will, that gave me some good things to think about and try out the next time I’m on the court. Keep up the great work. You’re much appreciated.

  • Glenn C. Frazier, Sr.

    Thanks Will, that gave me some good things to think about and try out the next time I’m on the court. Keep up the great work. You’re much appreciated.

  • BillD

    Nice instruction Will. Too often weekend warriors just go out and try to hit good shots without helping ourselves with smart court position.

  • BillD

    Nice instruction Will. Too often weekend warriors just go out and try to hit good shots without helping ourselves with smart court position.

  • Danny

    I’ve figured out how to put the pressure on at net during doubles by the poach/fake poach strategy but during my last singles match I was wondering what I could do to create more pressure. This video was a good reminder that it can be done in singles as well. 

  • Stmrenard

    I have not problem coming to net. The problem I have is when I’m at net on the Ad side and my partner gets involved in cross court rally with the opponent, but the ball is SO high (over my reach), I can’t get in there to poach. What can I do to STOP this ridiculous “lob rally”?!

  • Freeholdw99

    very good lesson

  • Bernie

    Will–very nicely explained.  
    As a tennis professional (40 years) I was more concerned with technique and tactics and the big picture.As a high school tennis coach (4 seasons of boys & girls teams) most of the players are seasonal players.  So, there is a limited time to get players ready for competition.  I have found the fastest way for improvement of the seasonal player is to: 1) strokes (assuming they can start a point with the serve and not double fault)- improve their volley & overhead and 2) improve footwork & court positioning.  As you pointed out, both singles & doubles are very much influenced by CP & QoS.  Well, in high school match play, that doubles point is sometimes the big point to win the match.

  • Rhroney

    move to the net…..even if on occasion you get nailed with a passing shot or have to run down a lob

    good reminder!

  • Rhroney

    your hanging back seems like you are giving your opponent two options: 1) hit to weaker opponent at the net or 2) hit to stronger opponent in a weaker position….my humble suggestion is for the storgnest player to command a little more court giving your opponent a smaller window of opportunity against your weaker teammate.

  • Dbeamer_93013

    Going forward seems to automatic.  Where does “letting the ball tell you what to do”, come in?  Also, does going forward mean just to the service line?
    Thanks

  • Topspinwilly

    Why not play 6 feet back from the net. The opponent sounds like he can’t hit a hard topspin to your feet. I think he would be vulnerable to your poach and you would have time to take a step to the net if he hit  a lower shot. Seems you would have more fun and take the lob game away from him.

  • Ivy

    Ditto on having visuals to back up this great lesson. I have also found that I come up to net in singles or doubles, the opponents easily lobs over our heads.

  • Ivy

    Ditto on having visuals to back up this great lesson. I have also found that I come up to net in singles or doubles, the opponents easily lobs over our heads.

  • chibi

    Hi Will, would you include your “target” as part of the quality of shot or is it a separate discussion?

  • chibi

    Hi Will, would you include your “target” as part of the quality of shot or is it a separate discussion?

  • Gdyna100

    Opponent position was ignored but I assume it was for abstraction sake.
    Very good analysis. When one is closer to the net shots must be considered to be wicker for sake of good percentage game.
    Win = F(FYB) which is complex  Win = CP * Q of Shot
    for FYB =  CP * Q of Shot

  • Giarcsacul

    I’m not sure I like the explanation on 4. It seems to me if you get better court position, your quality of shot may not be as good and still get away with the point. I would not want to decrease my quality of shot ever.

  • Giarcsacul

    I’m not sure I like the explanation on 4. It seems to me if you get better court position, your quality of shot may not be as good and still get away with the point. I would not want to decrease my quality of shot ever.

  • Paul

    Nicely done. It’s easy to follow the thinking, and it makes perfect sense. I will certainly have some of my students watch this. I have another version of CP that I stress. I compare it to blackjack—that is that for each court situation you find yourself in, there is a highest-percentage response.  In blackjack, you look at your cards, you look at the dealer’s up card, and you make a decision based on getting the best odds you can. In doubles, you look at the position of the ball on your opponents’ side, the position of your opponents themselves, the quality of your shot to them, and you must then make a decision about your best CP for the response. I like to say that at the recreational level, you can win as many points with correct CP as you can with increased QoS. Chosing the highest percentage of CP based on the above criteria does one of two things: it either forces your opponents to hit a lower percentage shot (because your CP is covering the highest percentage shots) or, if they hit a high percentage shot, they hit the ball right to you. So I try to make my students recognize the highest percentage reply for each court situation. They then cover the highest percentage positions, and make the opponent beat them with lower percentage shots. Just like blackjack, a small change in odds to your favor can have big results.

  • Gideon

    Loved it, thanks for the tip.

  • Gideon

    Loved it, thanks for the tip.

  • Paul

    Nicely done. It’s easy to follow the thinking, and it makes perfect sense. I will certainly have some of my students watch this. I have another version of CP that I stress. I compare it to blackjack—that is that for each court situation you find yourself in, there is a highest-percentage response.  In blackjack, you look at your cards, you look at the dealer’s up card, and you make a decision based on getting the best odds you can. In doubles, you look at the position of the ball on your opponents’ side, the position of your opponents themselves, the quality of your shot to them, and you must then make a decision about your best CP for the response. I like to say that at the recreational level, you can win as many points with correct CP as you can with increased QoS. Chosing the highest percentage of CP based on the above criteria does one of two things: it either forces your opponents to hit a lower percentage shot (because your CP is covering the highest percentage shots) or, if they hit a high percentage shot, they hit the ball right to you. So I try to make my students recognize the highest percentage reply for each court situation. They then cover the highest percentage positions, and make the opponent beat them with lower percentage shots. Just like blackjack, a small change in odds to your favor can have big results.

  • Kat

    As a high school tennis coach, many of my players are beginners and are afraid to come up to the net, or they don’t trust  their net work yet.

  • DeWitt Thomson

    Will,
    Thanks so much for your insightful lessons.Keep up the great work and enjoy your PTR exposure. You’re an ICON now!
    DeWitt

  • http://www.fuzzyyellowballs.com/ Will Hamilton

    Hey -

    Not advocating purposely decreasing the quality of your shotmaking.  Rather, just demonstrating the relationship between QoS and court positioning in terms of the pressure you exert on your opponent.

  • http://www.fuzzyyellowballs.com/ Will Hamilton

    The target factors into it but I glossed over a lot of stuff to keep the video short and to the point.

  • http://www.fuzzyyellowballs.com/ Will Hamilton

    Hi Bernie,

    Thanks for chiming in.  Ya the doubles point can be huge.  It was in college as well – we won a lot of 4 – 3 matches with the doubles point making the difference.

  • Rob

    Will,
    Excellent instruction. Really demonstrates how one can somewhat neutralize one’s opponent’s strengths through court position.

    Rob

  • John

    Will:
       This was quite helpful to relate the court position to quality of shot making. Your breakdown of the relationship with the 4 court positions makes sense for singles/doubles. I know that getting to the net in doubles is the goal, but in practice I don’t achieve this since as often.
       Using the dry board to visualize your points was useful. Thanks very much. John

  • Eka

    Thanks Will!  I am a doubles player and I do like to come to the net.  However, the first volley I feel is the most difficult shot to get when coming to the net.  Your video really will make me think about my first shot to make it deep and strong so that hopefully the ball gets popped up and then I can put it away.  As always your video’s make me think about the next shot!  

  • Theresa

    I started playing tennis 5 years ago and have progressed rapidly with lots of play. I’m playing singles and doubles and now a 4.0. However, I’m getting confused about when to come to the service line? after serve and after return of serve.
    One player tells me to come 95% serve and volley. Another player says to return serve and get to the net! but lately I’ve been getting hit in the feet on my way up. Is it wrong to stay back and be patient, maybe hit one or two forehands and then transition in? Is there a rule?
    Thanks for your feedback.

  • Stmrenard

    Thanks, I’ll give it a go. I love the net and as soon as I start my “put away” shots at the net – all the high deep balls start going to my partner. I feel like I can’t “get in there”!! I have an important match tomorrow. I will keep your advice in mind and see how it goes. Thanks again!

  • Harry

    Will,
       In doubles the sum might be better than the parts. ie: two good players with great court positioning should always beat two great players with only good court positioning. 
       Your instructional series is really great.
                                                                                           

  • http://www.soundclick.com/thomastrotter Tom

    I thought it was an informative video.  You made the inverse relationship between court position and necessary quality of shotmaking quite clear.

    I’ve lost lots of matches to players who don’t have as good a serve or strokes, or the variety, as me (just my opinion of course) but who consistently work to get better court position.   I’ve never been too concerned about match scores, just whether I was satisfied with my shotmaking.  However, winning is a bit more fun than losing, so I hope to implement what I’m learning here in future matches.

    Thanks for the video.

  • http://www.soundclick.com/thomastrotter Tom

     I don’t know about the rules or principles.  That’s why I’m watching these videos.  But I think if you look at videos of McEnroe and Connors it might help.  These guys are among the court position monsters of all time, and I think it’s probably a big reason why they won as much as they did.

  • Rspenclev

    Excellent, but please help us w/ specifics of where and when to come in.

  • Anthonyfiguera

    Hey Will, My comment is mainly from a placement on court you didn’t mention which is mid court or even no man’s land  Seems to me like the quality of my position is pretty good but it also seems like I have to hit a higher quality shot to take my advantage. (or else I could put myself in a quick disadvantage.) Could you please share a video on stategy or placement for an approach shot and maybe what kinds off shots work best? Thanks
    Hope you enjoyed your meal
    Antwan

  • HeavyD506

    Will! Nice perspective re D/N/O!
    The relationship of QoS & CP is a nice simple concept that surely impacts DNO.

    I really like the proposition that CP is the easiest way to improve your game? Though I think Fitness is neck & neck with CP.

    PS: Nice shirt!

  • Anonymous

    Great concepts here.  I’m in the early stages of learning the game that being able to apply these lessons consistently is difficult.  It’s too easy for me to get caught up in playing a point physically that I zone out mentally.  However it is progressing a bit at a time.  This is great stuff for me to learn.  Thanks!

  • Anonymous

    interesting notes on QOS being affected by court positioning. 

  • Will Shane

    I have a partner who generally is reluctant to move forward when I do to take control of the net.  Our CP is not balanced.
    What do you recommend.

  • Erik

    Thank you Will for explaining so clearly.  If I can just remember when I step on the court tomorrow.

  • Harry Hudson

    Will I am constantly trying to get some of the older doubles player to move to the net for an advantage and I think your explanation of CP and QoS will help me to explain to them why they need to do this!!!
    Harry

  • Derek

    Will, thank you for this lesson on QoS and CP. Definitely it’s something I’m mindful of everytime I step on the court and play tennis. But for me, I also need to work on the fitness aspect to allow my body to execute the CP and thus QoS, if not I won’t last that long. :-)

  • Kathleen

    Thanks, Will, nice job on CP and use of drawings. My coaches never taught this way but did stress going to the net as much as possible (serve & volley) and to stay out of “no man’s land”. Sometimes your opponent’s play dictates when to serve & volley too. If my opponent is a great lobber, I don’t like to go to net as much but think it should be a part of every game. Boring to watch marathon baseline hitters waiting for someone to make a mistake! I’m still puzzled why Roger didn’t play “his’ net game against Rafa last match and stayed back on the baseline so much. I guess the shots coming at him were too fast and forceful that day. It’s always frustrating when you can’t play your style of tennis. The lesson was great! Excited for more!

  • Ken Yadon

    Just a thought on doubles court position with beginners and intermediates at rec. level.  If the server has little or no significant pace on their serve then rushing the net after a weak serve will almost guarantee a lob return.  The slower service pace might require a change of tactics if the return team continues to successfully lob the returns.  Coaching at the HS level sees this scenario all to often.  We preach one thing about holding net court, but often have to require a weak server to hold his baseline position until a more favorable shot allows him to move to the net.

  • Victoria

    Wow Will I really like your new look, very smart and classy! Also, like the new hairdo.  Lastly, your info on court position, quality of shot and pressure level was very informative.

  • John

    Wil,  You have presented quite clearly a great cognitive concept and tool.  This reinforces what I have know to be a big personal fault in my missing offensive stratergy.  I will focus harder on CP.  Thanks!  John

  • Zoomie1424

    Interesting analysis. Thanks for the insights.

  • Zoomie1424

    Interesting analysis. Thanks for the insights.

  • Milwaukee Slim

    If they get lobbed a lot either they need to be better at moving to get in position to hit an overhead and or they are getting too close to the net without a good split step. With that slow serve its easier to lob and its easy with the extra time for the server to get too close. Fortunately for me during my high school carrier my overhead was my best shot.  I wanted them to lob and worked at how I moved back and anticipated the lob.  I spend a lot of time with my kids on lob coverage and they started banging most lobs back. It stopped some of the lobbing if not they win anyway getting to put overheads away.  They now  have confidence first that they can efficiently run it down and that it is a positive offensive situation

  • Lehai0609

    You enlightened me!

  • Dkangan

     I have been in that situation a lot with players who have been playing for years and have a manner of play that is sort of their ‘tennis identity’, and you couldn’t move them with an atom bomb. These players usually also want to play ‘their side’ of the court while you play ‘yours’. I also have played paired with a guy who has excellent strokes and very good control, but who has gotten a little older and does not move around as much. I think the answer is still court position.
    When they serve/return, take your up position about half way/three-quarters deep in the box and about a step closer to center than the line. From there you can get to most anything. When you serve/return move up to about 2/3 depth in the box and a step or so toward the center, from where you can move up and over for put aways or step back for lobs. That is, think about where he is, and where you need to be to cover the rest of the court. If you don’t come up too close you can cover the court and your partner
    will like the winners you hit more than he likes whining about you being
    up there.

  • Dkangan

     My opinion, all 2 cents worth, is that I would prefer to see what the pros do well, to have that image in my mind, rather than what other plunkers like me do wrong.

  • Joe

    Have to say as a tennis player and a maths teacher, I really appreciate the way you deliver your analysis.  I even used your analysis on Djokovic overcoming Federer in the US Open to demonstrate the use of statistics with my A-Level students here in England.

  • Garrett

    Hey Will,

    You look like my 85 year old grandfather who lived during the dust bowl. Bring back the Nintendo shirts, or maybe something with dinosaurs.

    You have 24 hours 

  • Ron O

    Excellent discussion of court position vs quality of shot. The chorus of lessons telling us to get off the baseline now has more reason. I would love to see I lesson on the psychological impact on our opponent as we move to net as well.

  • Ilyklop

    Thank you that was really a good way of explaining it.  I do not feel as confident at the net and it is hard to get my partner to move up also.  She will move up but when she misses wants to move back.

  • http://www.fuzzyyellowballs.com/ Will Hamilton

    Hi – Ya it’s certainly frustrating when you move in and miss an easy volley.  But that shouldn’t discourage you or your partner.  Ultimately, getting comfortable moving forward and learning to volley consistently will win you the most points / matches.

  • http://www.fuzzyyellowballs.com/ Will Hamilton

    Hi Ron.  You raise an important point.  Your opponent will feel a TON of pressure to hit high-quality shots if he knows you’ll move in on any short ball.

  • http://www.fuzzyyellowballs.com/ Will Hamilton

    I’ll be 85 in 55 years… I’m just getting some practice in =)

  • http://www.fuzzyyellowballs.com/ Will Hamilton

    Happy to help =)

  • http://www.fuzzyyellowballs.com/ Will Hamilton

    You’re welcome!

  • http://www.fuzzyyellowballs.com/ Will Hamilton

    Hi Joe!  Thanks for sharing that.  That’s really cool =)  I’m dyslexic so I ran those numbers several times to make sure everything was right and I wasn’t making a fool of myself on camera!

  • http://www.fuzzyyellowballs.com/ Will Hamilton

    Glad this helped John.  Please keep me in the loop about your results.

  • http://www.fuzzyyellowballs.com/ Will Hamilton

    Thanks Victoria!

  • http://www.fuzzyyellowballs.com/ Will Hamilton

    Thanks for both points.  Ken, you’re right that many HS teams will lob as the default shot.  And MS is also right that the way to solve that problem is develop a dependable overhead & combine it with some anticipation.

  • http://www.fuzzyyellowballs.com/ Will Hamilton

    Thanks Kathleen!  Was talking w/ the Bryan Bros @ the Aussie after the Federer – Nadal match and they said that Rafa’s ball is really tough to read and judge because of the spin.  So Federer is in a difficult position, even if Rafa is hitting passing shots from 10 feet behind the baseline. That said, I thought Roger looked flat-footed at times.  He kind of just watched the passing shot go by.  IMO, he should have at least guessed – picked a side – when Rafa attempted a pass.

  • Bob C.

    I like the new look; looks sharp with jeans. Nothing against T-shirts, though.

    Yes, Tennis Ninja! Anyone remember that? A rich trove of lore it is. In fact, the volume of excellent instruction you’ve produced is a wonderful thing, as Yann would say.

    Incidentally, I wonder how many rec players could say, without looking, whether the forecourt (net to service line) or back court (service line to base
     line) is the longer?

  • http://www.fuzzyyellowballs.com/ Will Hamilton

    Ya, fitness is pretty darn important =)

  • http://www.fuzzyyellowballs.com/ Will Hamilton

    Happy to help Harry!

  • http://www.fuzzyyellowballs.com/ Will Hamilton

    Cool Erik, let me know how it goes.

  • http://www.fuzzyyellowballs.com/ Will Hamilton

    Good, practical advice – adapt the best you can to the situation.  And ya, winning will trump any potential irritation on the part of your partner =)

  • http://www.fuzzyyellowballs.com/ Will Hamilton

    Thx!

  • http://www.fuzzyyellowballs.com/ Will Hamilton

    Thanks HeavyD.  Yes, fitness is huge as well.  15 – 30 minutes of exercise a day will make a huge impact on your game.  I’ve been doing Pilates for the last five months and the flexibility and strength I’ve gained is awesome.  Incidentally, Pilates was first recommended to me by Mike Bryan last summer.  Said it was great for his game, and I think he’s a pretty good person to listen to on the subject =)

  • Klausmuller

    Hi, Great!  One of my frequent mistakes, I think, is to put too much pace into the shot when I am in the offence, forecourt, position of the court – and thereby miss the shot by hitting the net or throwing ot outside the court.

    All the best,

    Klaus

     

  • Steve Perryman

    Will, I think you don’t evaluate where you are with respect to “DNO” during the point … you just know it and respond by executing a play.
    Surely the plays you have “burned” into your neural system are responses to your “DNO” status and are executed almost entirely at a subconscious level; the “analysis/evaluation” then being done between points?
    Maybe post-match analysis would then identify which plays you need to strengthen against a specific opponent?
    Great vids!

  • http://twitter.com/karenewool Karen Elizabeth

    Will is cute. 

  • Jcroidis

    Thanks for the tip. 

  • kate5778b

    You’re right about QofS, if my shot is bobbins, I can actually get back to centre but the return is generally where I have come from.

    I try not standing too far back from the baseline, but one particular player can do amazing topspin, I’m jumping up to return them – then I move back to give myself more room and then he does a drop shot over the net – so then  I  move into the net to intercept…….then he lobs me, laughing all the while.

  • kate5778b

    You’re right about QofS, if my shot is bobbins, I can actually get back to centre but the return is generally where I have come from.

    I try not standing too far back from the baseline, but one particular player can do amazing topspin, I’m jumping up to return them – then I move back to give myself more room and then he does a drop shot over the net – so then  I  move into the net to intercept…….then he lobs me, laughing all the while.

  • kate5778b

    You’re right about QofS, if my shot is bobbins, I can actually get back to centre but the return is generally where I have come from.

    I try not standing too far back from the baseline, but one particular player can do amazing topspin, I’m jumping up to return them – then I move back to give myself more room and then he does a drop shot over the net – so then  I  move into the net to intercept…….then he lobs me, laughing all the while.

  • Mestengo Hidalgo

    Very good presentation and analysis. It’s been awhile since you have posted something of this quality.

    Do you find it interesting that you are encouraging moving forward and net play for singles after all the “knowledgeable” sages that declared the net dead for singles for the past 10 years? 

  • Tenniswarrrior61

    Like your videos.  I have a question though that no one seems to address.  What if you are playing(doubles) I am a 4.0 player playing with a 3.0 player.  My opponents are 4.0 and 3.5.  Getting to the net may not make sense here. The 3.0 player will not go to the net.  At the net he is not quit good enough to hit volleys from the 4.0 player and gets pounded.  Here I play two back and go to the net together.   This actually happens a lot during league play, RR drop ins etc.  This situation will happen to me this Wednesday on my Men’s Doubles League.  I moved down to a lower level court because of a back injury and couldn’t play very well.  The 3.0 player is essentially a target for the 3.5 and 4.0 players.  

    What are your thoughts on playing in a group that is not at the same level(doubles)?  

  • Stefanos

    perfect video,thank you so much

  • Achanks

    Hi Will
    I play regularly with a friend who is incredible consistent.  He just gets the ball back into play, round about mid court on my side, not much pressure, ball floats a bit etc.  I am not as consistent so after I move forward in my CP to try to put more pressure, hopeful of an eventual volley to put the ball away.  But 9 out of 10 times, I make a mistake in doing so and lose the point.

    What is your advice?  I am thinking of trying to improve my forehand a bit more to try to put more pressure in QOS and moving forward in CP to try to put the ball away. (need to improve in QOS for my volleys as well!!)  If I rally with him (say up to 15 shots!!) I tend to lose because he is incredibly consistent in getting the ball back.  Advice? 

  • Markleychilds

    good stuff.  am sending to my usta team mates.  thanks.

  • Mediterraneanblue2010

    I love this. Are you a former math teacher?!!

  • asb

    totally agree, but when I try playing from nearer the baseline with guys bigger and older than me with heavier Top Spin, I need to jump and most often than not end up giving them short balls. At 13 how do I imply this.

  • asb

    totally agree, but when I try playing from nearer the baseline with guys bigger and older than me with heavier Top Spin, I need to jump and most often than not end up giving them short balls. At 13 how do I imply this.

  • Penny kuhn

    Thanks very much! Very helpful to think of the trade offs between position and shot quality, appreciate it.

  • Cleek58

    Will love your stuff, I coach H.S. level and use your video’s and strategy to teach my athletes all the time

  • Johnfumaster

    Lately, I’ve been moving forward to the net more when I’m playing doubles, however, I tend to get caught out by doing so, either sidelined, or the opponents hits the ball at me and the ball lands near my feet, making it a very difficult half volley.  As you can imagine, that’s quite frustrating.  I’ll continue trying to time my moves a little bit better though.  Anything you’d like to add?

  • Jules

    good tips

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_EXKZZDAND3YOKRVIPTW7II3VEA John

    I think it would be useful to make a mention of the Wardlaw directionals here as to where good court positioning is. Hitting it to 3, to a rec players backhand puts your opponent in Neutral or Defense. 

    On the other hand, if you miss your target by 2 feet to the left 2 feet inside the baseline, then you’ve put your opponent into an offensive position. He can hit a forehand back at your backhand(which most rec players hate) or take an inside shot and pull it down the line. 

    I don’t have stats, but I’d say that Graf and Federer generated more winners off that shot to 3 where the opponent fails to drive it deep enough and/or wide enough and opened up the forehand.

  • Kcats33

    Good Tips.  I have been moving forward when playing doubles from the baseline and it has made a big difference.  It has been easier to win games.

  • John

    Thanks.  Your videos on strategy have made me a much better rec player.  Unfortunately, my usual competitor has been improving, as well.  My level of play has dramatically improved, but my number of wins have not.  lol  Keep sending videos.

  • Betty

    Great lesson as usual.  I am still a little confused about DNO.  Say if I got to 4, but since I do not own quality shots, Does that means I should still play defensively?  So unless one can produce QoS, one cannot play offensive games?  What are the characteristics of a quality shot?  My opponents are always beating me in matches and I try to play deep and hard, but that does not always work. I do not know why their shots are better than mine because I do not know how to recognize them so I am not prepared to counter them.  What are your thoughts.

    Betty

  • Stavroula

    Ich kongratuliere Sie fuer Ihr IQ.Thanks again, for your super advice.

  • http://www.fuzzyyellowballs.com/ Will Hamilton

    Doh!  You’ll get ‘em sooner or later! =)

  • http://www.fuzzyyellowballs.com/ Will Hamilton

    Hi Betty,

    Pretty broad question you’ve asked – can’t really answer in detail here… could spend hours on that subject!

    But here’s the video in a nutshell.  Even without a high QoS you can play offensive if you position yourself well and gain superior court positioning over your opponent.  Remember, DNO is a combination of QoS and CP, so you can emphasize one or the other (or both) to gain the advantage.

    Hope that helps!

    - Will

  • http://www.fuzzyyellowballs.com/ Will Hamilton

    Hi John -

    Didn’t mention Wardlaw Directionals here but they do play a role in the theory I laid out – DIRs are one of the reasons that your court positioning gets worse as you get closer to the sideline.  Your opponent potentially gains QoS advantages (inside groundstrokes) and could exploit your court positioning (the open court) on the subsequent shot.

    - Will

  • http://www.fuzzyyellowballs.com/ Will Hamilton

    Cool glad to help!

  • http://www.fuzzyyellowballs.com/ Will Hamilton

    No prob glad I could provide a nice conceptual framework

  • http://www.fuzzyyellowballs.com/ Will Hamilton

    That’s the tough thing about court positioning – sometimes you can’t always hit from where you want.  I’d either take the ball earlier, when it’s shoulder high, or back up.

  • http://www.fuzzyyellowballs.com/ Will Hamilton

    No, I’m actually dyslexic haha.  Math is definitely not my strong suit.  I have to review lessons like these several times to make sure everything adds up, so to speak =)

  • http://www.fuzzyyellowballs.com/ Will Hamilton

    Cool thanks!

  • http://www.fuzzyyellowballs.com/ Will Hamilton

    Cool thanks!

  • http://www.fuzzyyellowballs.com/ Will Hamilton

    Thanks.  I think moving forward at the recreational level regularly is very viable, but on the pro tour it’s a little bit different.  The strings have allowed those guys to generate so much spin that they can hit ridiculous passing shots and get the ball to dip on command.  Tough in singles to defend the whole court against that.  In doubles it’s obviously possible – just ask the Bryan Bros =)

  • http://www.fuzzyyellowballs.com/ Will Hamilton

    Thanks.  I think moving forward at the recreational level regularly is very viable, but on the pro tour it’s a little bit different.  The strings have allowed those guys to generate so much spin that they can hit ridiculous passing shots and get the ball to dip on command.  Tough in singles to defend the whole court against that.  In doubles it’s obviously possible – just ask the Bryan Bros =)

  • http://www.fuzzyyellowballs.com/ Will Hamilton

    No simple answer here – you have to pick and choose your spots.  As a general rule I would keep moving forward, but if there’s a particular shot your partner doesn’t have or you’re getting beat regularly in a particular situation then I’d make an adjustment.  Really have to “survey the battlefield” and make an in-game call.

  • http://www.fuzzyyellowballs.com/ Will Hamilton

    No simple answer here – you have to pick and choose your spots.  As a general rule I would keep moving forward, but if there’s a particular shot your partner doesn’t have or you’re getting beat regularly in a particular situation then I’d make an adjustment.  Really have to “survey the battlefield” and make an in-game call.

  • http://www.fuzzyyellowballs.com/ Will Hamilton

    Hit a drop shot to his backhand and come to net behind it.  Chances are, if the drop shot is decent, he’ll pop something up and you’ll have an easy volley to the open court.  If he starts anticipating the drop shot and moves forward a bit, show the drop shot (continental grip, etc.) but then push the ball deep into a corner.  He won’t be able to get to that if he’s moving forward.

    Let me know how it goes!

  • http://www.fuzzyyellowballs.com/ Will Hamilton

    Hit a drop shot to his backhand and come to net behind it.  Chances are, if the drop shot is decent, he’ll pop something up and you’ll have an easy volley to the open court.  If he starts anticipating the drop shot and moves forward a bit, show the drop shot (continental grip, etc.) but then push the ball deep into a corner.  He won’t be able to get to that if he’s moving forward.

    Let me know how it goes!

  • http://www.fuzzyyellowballs.com/ Will Hamilton

    Haha he doesn’t sound very nice =)  You have to keep your opponent deep – don’t let him move forward and get a positional advantage over you!  He won’t be able to drop shot effectively if you keep him behind the baseline.

  • http://www.fuzzyyellowballs.com/ Will Hamilton

    Haha he doesn’t sound very nice =)  You have to keep your opponent deep – don’t let him move forward and get a positional advantage over you!  He won’t be able to drop shot effectively if you keep him behind the baseline.

  • http://www.fuzzyyellowballs.com/ Will Hamilton

    Hi Steve -

    Ya of course.  You’re nothing doing any deep thinking during a point.  But it’s important to create these conceptual frameworks so you know why stuff works and why other stuff doesn’t.

    - Will

  • http://www.fuzzyyellowballs.com/ Will Hamilton

    Hi Steve -

    Ya of course.  You’re nothing doing any deep thinking during a point.  But it’s important to create these conceptual frameworks so you know why stuff works and why other stuff doesn’t.

    - Will

  • http://www.fuzzyyellowballs.com/ Will Hamilton

    Thanks Antwan.  Dinner was good!  Will see what I can do about an approach shot video!

  • http://www.fuzzyyellowballs.com/ Will Hamilton

    Hi Tom.  Thanks for the comments.  Please let me know how this information affects your results!

  • Don Rehage

    Just reviewed your “Court Pisitioning” video, I found it very good for my play as a Rec player.  I have been trying to apply this to my game and find it has helped a great deal.  My question is, How do you compensate for an opponent who always lobs and is very good at hitting within two feet of the baseline?? 

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/53VRP2ECIW2DGLYYPCG5Z6AYHQ robert a

     I can give you my experience from being in that situation and how I soaled it. When I did not over commit, and took a position maybe 2/3 or 3/4 deep in the service box two things happened. I was able to get back quicker to play the lobs, and the opponents had more pressure on them to make a really good lob. Since I was deeper, they tended to hit even deeper = a lot of their lobs went out.
    But you also need to think about how to play balls that make them move a couple of steps so that they cannot just settle under the ball with good timing and bomb away — more angle, drops, low slices away from them.

  • Jkohn

    too much talking and theory

  • Ladyfish

    Too much of you! Step aside and let us see people playing tennis. Take 1/3 the time to tell us the point and spend 2/3 of the time showing us people playing tennis that demonstrate your premise. You talk talk talk and take way too long to say things. Your videos are too much of looking at you. I keep trying as I like what you say but the delivery is torture! (sorry but you say you want feedback)

  • Tristanvantol

    i realy understand what youre saying and it helps to play my gameplay better because of the pressure i can remane thanks

  • Yaurassh2000

    great explaining gonna try putting all that in my game great point

  • Kdick

    I LOVE this video… I am currently playing on 3 teams (2 dbls 1 singles) at 3.0/3.5 level… It makes such sense..(the light bulb went off!) as to why i keep losing games in Singles… even though I might have better QoS than my opponent… my CP is always off so i am on D much of the time… I realize when i play aggressive (usually when I am down)… I come to the net more and that is when I start winning points… Plus, I find sometimes I play in “super safe mode” from the baseline which applies no pressure… I have been trying to figure out a “strategy”…. but really I need to understand my CP and work on getting to the net  and understanding the angles and simple court geometry…in both singles and doubles… THX!

  • Kim

     And i also figured out From the DNO… I try to go from D to O and make winners too often… which is poor shot choices and they typically go into the net or the angle is too wide because i rush the shot.

  • Diane

    Very helpful!  And, Will, that’s some shirt!

  • Coach

    Too many value judgments my son…proper defense is to be valued as much as strong offense.  You might consider discussing how the shot selection changes as a function of distance from ideal position “P” to maintain equilibrium, as well as court position as a function of time elimination/conservation.  This would provide your viewing audience with a better context for this fine discussion, in my opinion.

    Also need to critique your volley technique, but will do at another time.  Should employ the golf club principle in your volley discussion.

  • Anonymous

    What’s the golf club principle?

  • Tenis en Francia

    Thank you for the video. I am not as happy as usually.
    I think it is not dificult to understand the inverse relationship between DNO and QoS but you have to start by knowing why one position is better than another. Is easy when you just compare the midle with one side of the court but it is really dificult to know when you are comparing the net with the baseline, especially because you almost never really hit your groundstrokes when you are positioned at the net. When you say that maybe you will hit a volley or something I think it will be always.
    This just to tell you that for me the best court positioning beyond the geometric theory will be in recrational tennis most of the time in the capacity of the player of hit a good shot.

  • Tenis en Francia

    Inverse realitonship between CP and QoS

  • Elkindiaz

    Great video. Would love to hear your thoughts on how to prepare (footwork) to defend the baseline position and move into the court. How to recognize or look for, anticipate to take advantage of a better court position, thanks

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/53VRP2ECIW2DGLYYPCG5Z6AYHQ robert a

     Let me just jump in here. In addition to some footwork videos on FYB, Will and another excellent teaching pro made two videos a couple of years back called Modern Tennis Footwork. One consisted of comprehensive instruction in footwork and the follow up offered some cooperative practice drills. Those contain pretty much anything you need to know.

  • Keenaj

    AMZING VIDEO !!!!!!!!!! just 2 gud

  • Michael

    I usually play about three feet behind
    the baseline, which I know is really bad court positioning, but I don’t anticipate
    the opponents ball very well so I need the extra time. Is there any way I can
    improve anticipation of the opponents shot?

  • Ben

    I luv you dude

  • Johnny mac

    Rather long winded William. Keep it simple! Johnny Mac

  • Johnny mac

    Yada yada yada!

  • Johnny mac

    Off to my tennis lesson this Sunday morning. Johnny Mac on center court. Happy tennis. A little less talk and alot more action. Johnny mac

  • Anonymous

    Johnny. Dude. It strikes me as peculiar that you not only spend the time to watch instruction that you appear not to like, but also to originate not two, but three comments, one of which is outright insulting. Especially odd in that the instruction is free to viewers, who are equally free not to watch it. And then we think about the goofy screen name and the big “center court” talk, and what is the picture? Certainly not the profile of someone who can.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Craig-Berry/1139857787 Craig Berry

    I’m disappointed that you don’t wear the goofy t-shirts to dinner with your family.

  • http://www.tennisstrategies.net/tennis-strategies/video-classy-tennis-lesson.html VIDEO: Classy Tennis Lesson | Tennis Strategies

    [...] great passer so will see I personaly tend to go forward step … … Read this article: VIDEO: Classy Tennis Lesson ← Baseball Hitting—Bat Speed Will Determine Your Success! by Larry [...]

  • http://www.facebook.com/daphnadillia Daphna Ausburn

    I shared this with a few friends and posted to the facebook…I also mentioned to my friend Lauren that ..”This guy is so passionate about the game of tennis. I am amazed by his dedication and insight.”

    Thank you !

  • Sean Cullen

    I liked the video. Touches on something we all need to be reminded of every once in a while. Enjoy your dinner. Let us know what you had. -Sean

  • Pat Cee

    Hi Will. Nice shirt but the tees are also good. I have taken the bryan bros course and also the Brent Abel course. i mostly play doubles. I have found that maybe I have missinterpreted DNO in an instance that burns me. I always thought that when I hit a really deep shot that I should move in to net but I do tend to get lobbed even if I do not run in too much it either gets shot over my bh or over my partners head. So maybe a deep shot is neutral not offense and it will necessitate a lob from the opponent so I need to step in but not toooooo much. So, I am starting to think the DNO but I think sometimes what I say is O is maybe N.
    thanks for all the good work

  • monkey

    You look so serious I like the silly shirts:)
    I have the most troubles with my overhead

  • Steve

    thanks for the simplified analysis. Now let’s see if I can apply it. What you’re saying is intuitive, but having the cognitive side of my brain understand it helps. When playing tennis however that is not the dominant side — so I think I’ll still need some experience.

  • Randy

    McEnroe had cp mastered-always moving forward, creating pace and much better angles. Jimmy Conners also- take the ball early creating pressure.
    Loved that era. Randy

  • Anonymous

    Dinner in that? Not a black tie event then. More of a takeaway.

  • Anonymous

    Great video. Like other rec players I am comfortable playing deep fast shots to corners from the baseline but always struggle against the veritable pusher who chases down very ball and uses my pace to get the ball back either deep and flat or lobs me.

    After a few losses on such points, I end up back at the baseline. Bit stuck.

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