Tuesday, May 19, 2009
Monday's Important Things : Placement
Part Three of "Building a Better Varsity Player"
Part One: SPIN
Part Two: CONSISTENCY
PLACEMENT = Highly successful varsity player
Examples from last year: Luke Hostetter, Jared Schwartzentruber
We began with good form and proper spin, we continued to learning to put the ball in the court consistent. The third step of developing as a varsity player is to gain the ability to place your shots where YOU want them in the court.
What does placement do for you? The most important thing that it does is give you the ability to move your opponent. In tennis, almost every level of player is adept at standing in one spot and hitting the ball back. In tennis lessons with first graders, you begin with students standing in a line and hitting the ball from where they are. And they can get pretty good at it. The difference, and difficulty, is when you make players adjust and hit on the move.
The best players in the game today make the majority of their mistakes when they are on the move, and that is true of high schoolers as well. In fact, you have the added push of impatience in high school players, which often influences them to try for incredible shots from compromising positions. Being able to move a player is the foundation of any singles game.
Obviously, it is important in doubles as well. Many times one player is stronger than the other and you want to direct play to the weaker opponent. This requires the ability to place the ball. Many times you need to avoid the net player by hitting crosscourt, or passing down the line. These skills require placement.
While consistency allows you to stay in points, placement allows you to be in control. When you can place the ball, then you can dictate the points. Want your opponent to hit backhands, then direct play to their backhand corner. Want your opponent to have to move, then take play from side to side, forehand to backhand. The ability to place the ball gives you the most control.
You can see the results of having that control. Jared went 19-3 at #2 singles, Luke went 15-7 at #1 singles. So, having three elements of the ladder can make you an extremely successful player. Before the week ends, I hope to put up the last element to be worked on.