As promised from my last post, I will be extrapolating on what I call the “inside targets.” Please refer to the images that I have included for a visual (Please forgive me in advanced, as you can see I am not exactly an artist.) The inside targets are illustrated with dotted blue lines. Anything within these boundaries can be considered an “inside target,” or a high percentage shot. An understanding of these targets will allow you to execute safe, but effective shots in singles or doubles.
In singles, rarely will you see professional tennis players stray outside the inside targets until they get the shot that they want. Only then will they MAYBE aim outside these targets.
At this point you are probably asking yourself something to the tune of,
“Well, if I always hit to the inside targets then I am hitting right to my opponent and they can do whatever they want with the ball…How will I ever finish the point!?!?”
Thus, bringing me to my main point – You can hit every single ball to the inside targets and still execute devastating shots. In my opinion they will be more devastating due to the fact that they are higher percentage shots, away from the lines.
Take a look at the video below.
Almost all of the shots in this rally are hit to the inside targets. However, both players are moving all over the court. This is because there are two targets that should always be considered when placing your shots. Where your ball lands (inside targets) and where the ball would take its second bounce, theoretically (let’s call this the termination target.) The angle at which the ball is taking in order to reach the termination target is very important. Notice how Djokovic finishes the point with a winner off of a ball that has a straight flight pattern from Nadals target to the termination target. This makes it easier for any player to create angles, especially if the ball is landing and exiting in the outside target zones.
Conclusion: The next time you go out and play, experiment with the inside targets and your termination targets and see how it affects your opponent. Also take a look at the two targets of your opponents’ shots and see how you can minimize them.
In doubles, the inside targets work a little bit differently. You will not see as many balls hit down the middle. Instead what you will want to think of is the doubles court being split into thirds. The one up one back doubles formation will cover these three DISTINCT gaps the best, which is why it is the most common. If you can get your opponents to move together or away from each other you will find yourself a gap. More on this later.
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- Carlos Bermudez Tennis