Maximise the serve! The serve does not just start the rally. It’s your opportunity to disrupt from the first shot. When you go to serve think: ‘How can I disrupt my opponent right now with my serve’? Use variations or serve to create uncertainly but most of all make sure this first shot has a clear purpose and leads onto the next shot which in turn adds the next layer of pressure.
Máximise the return! As with the serve this shot can set the tone for the rally. Played well, the return can put you in charge immediately. Use height, good width and medium to slow pace in order to get depth from the return. Also take chances to attack weak serves by going short straight away to catch the opponent off guard. Don’t play short too often as it will become predictable.
Play two straight lengths in a row which hit the back ball before even thinking about going short. This is more difficult than it sounds. We often hit one shot to the back wall but the next lands short. Get two successive deep lengths and you will feel the opponent deeper and get to the T easier.
Hunt volleys where possible. Volleying takes time away from the opponent and saves extra movement. Many people don’t volley because they feel the shot is not strong enough and the rally pace increases therefore losing time. Practice your volley and make it your asset. Used well this shot will enable you to dominate the middle of the court and see your opponent running in and out of the four corners.
Vary the pace. This is by far the biggest missing link for the majority of players. The misconception that hitting the ball harder is putting the opponent under pressure is so common. Dominating the rally means controlling the pace of the rally on your terms rather than reacting to the pace coming at you with random paces and shots.
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