A big issue across almost all age groups in junior tennis!
Since tennis is played, most of the times, with both players positioned behind the baseline and the pace of the ball is still relatively low compared with professionals/seniors tennis players, it becomes very hard to make damage to the opponent. This process can be made easier by understanding the basic components of every shot selection we make when thinking about the game tactically.
The perfect blend
In all shot selection processes we make throughout a tennis match, there are 3 major components that need to be analyzed while executing the shot:
- The most common when thinking about hitting the ball, even though it is very useful to had force to our shots in order to produce more damage potential, this usually comes at the cost of loosing control/precision in the shot we selected. Reason why it is wise to blend it with the following two
-Shot placement is maybe the most worked component by coaches, once the basic technical skills are acquired by the player. The focus becomes to refine the stroke to a point where the player has gained such control that he/she can place the shot wherever he/she desires to. The down side of this component is the negative ratio between winners and lost of points that happen due to the lack of margin from the limits of the court
- Very often neglected, but as valuable as the previous two, taking time away from our opponent is indeed part of the process of shot selection. Reducing the amount of time they have to prepare their next stroke is a very efficient way of affecting their decision making process and their technical capacity. This can be done by either being closer to our opponent or by choosing the shortest way to the ball we are going to hit next. Just like the other two components, taking time away from our opponent has the downside of having our time to react for our next shot also shortened
In conclusion, when in attacking situation, we want to blend this 3 components into the shot we are doing. The best attacking player is the one that understand how to adjust the blend to the specific tactical situation they are in, there will be tactical situations where power over time and placement will give you the most chances of making damage and sometimes where one of the others must prevail in order to reach maximum damage to your opponent.