Tennis Tactics: Good Defense Leads to Strong Offense
To play really good tennis, it is best to have a nice mixture of defensive, offensive, and sometimes neutral tactics. In the end it comes down to shot judgment.
For example, if you are stretched out wide and put into a difficult receiving position as the opponent covers the net, do you try for the aggressive one-in a-thousand shot that may win the point outright, or do you send up a lob and, at worst, restart the point?
If you have worked to set up a point, and in return get a sitter, do you just keep it in play hoping the opponent will make an error, or do you drive the ball into the open court?
If the answers seem obvious, then you probably play a combination of defensive and offensive, yourself — when the times are right. You need a nice blend of the two.
There are a ton of different offensive tennis styles, such as serve volley, baseline blaster, transitional tennis, etc. The key is to find which one fits you best, and learn how you can use them to win points on a consistent basis.
Defensive tennis is equally important. While many club players might be attached to their offensive style, no one can refute that a strong defense can help win matches. Defensive tennis may seem like you don’t need as much skill to pull off, but that’s not true. In some ways it takes more skill to have soft hands, shot anticipation, and knowledge of where to be on the court. In some ways, good defense is a more cerebral way of playing doubles.
The saying goes that doubles is more about placement than power. So even if you don’t hit winners, it doesn’t mean that you aren’t forcing your opponents to come up with tough shots. Depending on the opponents, hitting the ball back in such a way that it cannot be attacked as easily is often the better tactic. Once you force a bad shot, you can go on the offensive and put the point to bed in your favor.
There’s nothing wrong in being an offensive player, but make sure you have a solid defense, and are able to play offensive consistently. Now, go and get ‘em!