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||EXPLORE THE TENNIS NET:
Watching Your Opponent's Racket
John Mills, USPTA
What you can learn by watching your opponent's racket:
- When your opponent is at the net, you can begin to anticipate whether the
shot is going to offensive or defensive by watching their racket. In general,
a low racket preparation will signify a low volley or a half-volley. Both
shots are very difficult and involve much "touch." When your opponent's racket
is in this position you should be moving forward to assume an offensive
position. Remember, they must "lift" these shots up over the net. You would
like to be in a position to hit their "up" ball "down," or to retrace a short
weak return. A high racket preparation from your opponent will signify a high
volley or an overhead. In either case, you should assume they are the offense
and you are the defense. You should be looking to either hold your position
in the case of a high volley or move back in case of an overhead if you are
near the net. If you are at the baseline, stay there and defend.
- When your opponent is on the baseline and you are at the net, you should
be watching to determine if their
- racket is drawing back - signifying a full groundstroke in the offensive
style - assume a defensive style.
- racket is dropping - signifying a lob - you should assume a defensive
position until you read the depth of the lob (on a short lob you will take the
offensive & on a deep lob you will assume the defense).
- racket is lifting up - signifying a chip or underspin. In this case,
assume the offensive - move in on the shot and don't let it float underneath
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This column is copyrighted by John Mills, all rights reserved.
John Mills currently teaches tennis at the University of Houston, Clear Lake campus. John Mills' experience includes four years as head pro at the Windemere Racquet & Swim Club, where he was responsible for organization of all tennis activities at the club. John also played college tennis at the University of Houston and has spent 20 years teaching tennis at the Memorial Park Tennis Center, the Pasadena Racquet Club, and as the head pro at the Bay Area Racquet Club.