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Hardscrabble Scramble
June 1996 Article

Hardscrabble Scramble Archive

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A Simple Game Plan

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Mike Whittington

Ever had one of those matches when you just couldn't figure out what to do? There are several basic game plans you can use when this happens and they range from hitting every ball to the opponent's backhand to lobbing right down the middle.

One of my favorites really falls more into the area of what not to do. When rallying with an opponent from the baseline, keep the ball going back to the direction from which it came. Make your opponent be the first to change directions. This is something to certainly keep in mind when your opponent pins you deep behind the baseline. You should probably only think of changing directions when your opponent gives you a short ball.

This little strategy applies to doubles as well. Assume you are at the baseline exchanging groundies with a crosscourt opponent while both partners are at the net. The smart player will continue to go crosscourt until he/she gets a shorter ball or decides to lob the ball over the net person. Changing directions and hitting the drive down the line would not be the wise decision when you are at the baseline and have a hungry net player awaiting your shot.

Sometimes it does pay off to simplify your game plan and let your opponent take the risky shots. Of course you will still want to look for the shorter shot to take control of the point.

Add a little patience to your game by using this simple plan you might find your opponents are beating themselves so you don't have to!

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This column is copyrighted by Mike Whittington, all rights reserved.

At the time at which he wrote this column, Mike Whittington was a USPTA pro in Fort Smith, Arkansas, where he served as director of tennis at the Hardscrabble Country Club.


 

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