Recently I had a student that has an excellent lob but wanted
to become better at the net. The more and more we worked on
coming in the better she got and gained a tremendous
amount of confidence in her volleys and overheads. She
basically had been a counter puncher her whole career and
decided it was time to take a little more control with the
points. I thought we had made great progress and her scores
had been much better. Then she ran into the same type player
she had been a couple of months earlier - a steady counter
puncher that hangs around the baseline. If this happens to
you, there are a few things you can do to combat that style.
The player that just lobs the ball without putting very
much pace on it can be very frustrating. The first
thing you have to do is realize that using that style of
play doesn't mean they have an inferior game. You have to
concentrate on control rather than overhitting, which is
often what happens against this type of player. The next
thing you have to realize is that if lobbing is not your cup
of tea then don't get in many lob exchanges with someone who
is better at it than you are!
So how do we not overhit and get to the net against this
type of player? One way that I thinks works well is to hit
the ball deep to the player (their backhand if possible) and
move in to take an approach volley. The approach volley
allows you to get to the net without having to let the ball
bounce and move you back. You will be taking the ball at
mid-court and you will need to remember that depth is very
important on the approach volley.
Hopefully if you have hit your opponent a deep shot you can
get your opponent on their back foot and that will make your
volley even easier. Now if they hit a lob you will be in
position to hopefully hit an aggressive put away overhead
rather than lobbing again from the baseline.
The next time you play that pesky pusher try using the
approach volley. You might find that this shot will allow you
to be more offensive and put the counter puncher on the run!