A lot of tennis players have difficulty understanding where you should stand on the court, and how to respond to certain shots. This is important because good shot selection will give you the greatest chances of winning points. Today I will give you a basic introduction on what shots are the most intelligent, and where you should be on the court. Before reading any further, please briefly take a look at the picture that I have attached, as I will be referencing it throughout this entire post.
I have split one end of the court into six different zones. Think about the three zones that extend from the baseline to the service line as the baseline zones, and the service line to the net as volley or net zones.
Red: If a ball lands in the red zone, you probably want to play more defensively. You will not want to come in off a ball that lands in this zone. Instead, simply recover to the middle of both possible angles of your shot.
Yellow: What you do here will depend on your style of play. If you are an aggressive player you might be able to move in on some of the shots landing in the yellow zone. On the other hand, if you lean towards being more defensive then you will mostly stay back on balls landing in this zone. What you want to look for in this zone is whether the ball is bouncing up “for you,” or bouncing “at you.” If it is a sitter, you will want to move in after it. If it is bouncing at you, stay back.
Green: If a ball bounces in the green zone, definitely follow it into the net. Keep in mind that this is not the “kill zone.” You will want to wound your opponent in this zone so you can remain at an advantage in terms of playing high percentage tennis. How far do you go in? That is a great question, especially since recreational players seem to just crash the net hard without ever stopping. The answer to this is, it depends. You will want to stop right before your opponent strikes the ball with a split step. Additionally, after hitting your wounding shot you will want to make sure you are covering the line first. Once again you are positioning yourself in between the two most probable angles.
Net Zones: (Always take the ball in the air if you can, as it takes time away from your opponent and it will probably be an easier volley for you.)
Red: If you hit a bad volley you will want to take a backwards split step into the red zone. Also take a look at which zone your shot landed in, and whether or not your opponent is taking their shot in their strike zone. If they’re moving forward, you will want to take a step back to give yourself more time to react.
Yellow: If you hit a decent volley and your opponents’ position seems to be neutral, you will want to stay in the yellow volley zone.
Green: This is the finishing zone. You’ll want to make sure you are not waiting for shots in this zone. Instead wait in the yellow zone and hunt for a floater from your opponent, THEN move forward. If you move forward for a put away, you will also want to make sure your not staying in the green zone (NEVER stay in the green zone.) You must make sure that you recover back to the neutral zone.
The next step:
Positioning and shot selection isn’t all about where your opponents hit the ball. It is also very important that you are aware of the zones in which your shots are landing in order to determine what your next move will be. The zones on your side of the net are the same for your opponent. For instance, if you hit a high hard and heavy ball into your opponents red zone – you are most likely to receive a green zone ball on your end of the court (*this is not always the case. *)
The inside & outside targets:
If you take a look at the image I attached there are two dotted blue lines extending across both ends of the court. These are outlining the inside and outside targets. The pros are constantly aware of these zones! Just watch a professional match and you will see what happens when a ball is hit in the inside targets vs. the outside targets. This will be discussed in my next post.
As always, feel free to ask any questions in the comment section below.
- Carlos Bermudez Tennis