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Friday, September 29, 2023

Why is hitting down the middle a good shot?

Guest Columnist

“Down the middle solves the riddle”.  If you take a doubles clinic with me you will often hear me recite these words.  Hitting in the middle of the court is a great shot in doubles for a variety of reasons.  It can cause confusion and a delayed reaction between partners because they are unsure whose ball it is.  From the baseline it is a high percentage shot because you are hitting over the lowest part of the net and in the middle of the court, so your chance of an unforced error is lower.  As the net player your highest percentage shot is a volley to the middle of the court.  The angle of this shot is very hard to cover unless your opponents follow the ball perfectly.  For example, if the returner hits the return to the opposing net player 8 out of 10 of their volleys should go down the middle and the other 2 can be angled off the court.  The key to being a successful tennis player is playing high percentage tennis.  I encourage you all to work on your ball placement next time you hit the court!

Who can call a double bounce?

Only the player or players on the side of the court hitting the ball can call a double bounce. You and/or your partner can only call the double bounce on yourselves. If you think your opponent did not get to the ball but they keep playing you must keep playing too. If you stop play to call a double bounce on your opponent and they disagree then you lose the point. The best option is to continue playing and at the end of the point ask them if they thought it double bounced. Again, it is their call so always keep playing until your opponent calls it on themselves.

Who can call a let?

Anyone on the court playing can call a let.

Can I take a serve out of the air?

No. The serve must bounce first. If you are serving and hit the receiver or the receiver’s partner with the ball before it bounces it is your point. Even if your serve would have been out.

Can I serve underhand?

Yes! As long as the ball is hit out of the air the serve can be hit many different ways.

What is a swinging volley? And when should I use it?

A swinging volley is one of the most aggressive shots in tennis, and is typically used when taking high loopy balls out of the air from the baseline. The swinging volley can be used as a great transition shot from the baseline to the net.  The swinging volley is basically a forehand that doesn’t bounce.  It should be hit low to high with a forehand grip usually above the waist and below the shoulders.  You still want to follow through like you are hitting a traditional forehand.  The swinging volley should be used to take time away from your opponent.  For example, if you hit a nice deep shot and your opponent is in trouble, and they lob the ball up to allow themselves more time, you should come forward and take the ball out of the air.  The swinging volley can also be helpful if your opponent has heavy topspin and is hitting shots that are bouncing over your head.  Instead of backing up and being extremely defensive, move forward and take it out of the air. The swinging volley can also be used as an alternative to an overhead if the sun is in your eyes or you have a shoulder injury.

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