The foundation of sound tactical play is knowing one's limits. This
can be accomplished by honestly assessing one's game. But
understanding one's limits is only half the foundation. A player must
be willing to play within those limits once they have been
However, good tactics don't mean one should play conservatively or
timidly all the time. A player must learn to play up to one's limits
as well. When there is an opportunity to play aggressively (go for
it!) and hit with authority - do so. Just as it is tactically sound
to play consistently, it also is sound to play forcefully when the
opportunity presents itself.
Jim Courier and Andre Agassi are aggressive baseliners with
relatively weak volleys, so their singles stretegy is based on a
powerful groundstroke game. Their groundstrokes give them the widest
range of options.
They have defined clearly the strengths of their games and use them
while avoiding the weaker aspects.
There are strategic limits to various shots. For example:
A serve without spin hurts the margin of error, which leads to
double faults, or a doomsday second serve.
Topspin shots are low percentage approach shots (unless they are
clean winners), as are very poor percentage volleys, or no-percentage drop
Slice groundstrokes are low percentage passing shots.
A player's weaknesses must be worked on to widen their strategic
options. The limits of one's stoke mechanics restrict the variety of
strategic options, but adding new strokes to your repertoire can
widen those options.
- Adding topspin to groundstrokes allows more effective passing shots
and topspin lobs.
- Underspin or slice adds safety to groundstrokes allowing the player
to hit deeper and produces a more effective approach shot.