You've heard the expression chip and charge and if you
watched last years U.S. Open you saw winner Patrick Rafter
doing it at its best. But is it the shot for you and how
could you use it? Learning a new shot or strategy could be
the extra kick to give your game a boost and throw off that
pesky opponent. It's a great strategy that lets you get to
the net quickly and put pressure on your opponent to hit a
good lob or passing shot. Sound like a shot just for the
pros? It actually can be very simple.
I think chip shots (slice) are best hit using a
continental grip. If you are thinking of using this
aggressive play you are probably familiar with the slight
neutral turn to the continental grip. When your opponent
hits that shallow second serve, you move in, take a shorter
backswing with a slightly open racquet face, and with a
downward motion behind but through the ball. I would
recommend you start slightly farther back to receive than
you usually do so that you can get a moving start forward.
If you ever watched Stefan Edberg you noticed how far back
he stood yet he almost always was able to move into the
return. You want to keep the momentum going so you can get
to the net quickly.
You need to make sure to meet the ball well out in
front so that you can get a good low shot and force
the incoming server to hit up on his/her first volley.
Be sure and turn sideways to the net and try to keep your
non-racquet hand on the throat of the racquet until
contact. Then let it fall behind you as you move in.
Once you get that ball low and at his/her feet, the high
volley you will get should be a piece of cake. If you are
playing doubles, this would be a great time for your partner
to make a move toward the middle to pick off that expected
Chipping or slicing the ball can be a great way to
negate that big serve of your opponent. A short backswing
can help you use the power of your opponent to your favor
and the slight spin can help keep the ball low. You might
experience a few pop up returns until you get the feel for
how open your racquet face angle needs to be -- but with a
little practice you'll get the hang of it. Practice will
keep you from having a chopping stroke or hitting late with
an open racquet face.
So remember these basics:
- Use a continental grip
- Stand to receive so that you have room to still move
- Hit slightly behind and below the ball to get underspin
on the ball
- Make contact out in front of the body
- Continue moving through the shot.
Try these tips and you'll be chipping and charging in no