Tennis Tip: The Approach Shot!
When you need a real friend, someone tried and true, you call them knowing you can enjoy your time with them and they can help to make you feel like yourself again. This friend is the approach shot! Reliable, strong, can see the situation from any angle, and fun. The approach shot can be taken on at any time when you’re feeling down in no man’s land. Why not open your eyes to the beauty of a good friend and call upon him/her with a fresh take.
The approach is an offensive shot that can be taken anywhere in the back court as long as you give yourself time and space to wind up and run! Now, don’t stop reading if you have a knee, leg or ankle injury-it doesn’t have to be a run to approach the net but does require forward motion to gain endurance. This shot is an opportunity to pounce on a short ball, speed up the tempo of the game and to close the net for a winner. Components to consider for the approach shot:
- Hit while in motion! You can find your balance and hit the shot while moving through the shot. You need this momentum to gain strength to power the stroke to push your opponent back and to continue moving in to command at the net. Take small steps up to the approach to stay in control.
- Prep your stroke by taking a concise back swing AS you are moving toward the short ball. This will prepare you for your shot in time for execution.
- Bend your knees! This will allow you to find your center of gravity and reach the shorter, lower to the ground, ball without awkwardly reaching with your racquet too far out of reach.
- Decide your angle. An approach shot hit longer or further into the backcourt allows you more time to approach the net and set up for your finishing volley or overhead. Cutting a more slender angle in the service boxes or in the back court might eliminate the need for a next shot but watch out-this doesn’t always work out, the approach is intended as an attack to warrant your opponent on the defensive and then use a finishing shot at the net to complete the point.
- Split-stop. Finish your approach shot with a nice follow-through AND split-stop when at the net (listen for the ball hitting their strings) to regain composure and balance for the next shot. Do your best to get to the middle T to cover passing shots on both sides. This is why you need to keep the momentum, you have a full court press to achieve!
This is an approach shot. This “friend” is here to help you regain control of the point, get sure footing to take care of the situation in a dominant role, as any friend would. The approach is NOT an outright winner. It is meant to land in (don’t go for too much!) and in a difficult spot for your opponent so you can get into position to hit the finishing winner. Rush that net to finish the point, even if you think you’ve hit a winning shot. Play smart, not crazy. A friend doesn’t win it for you, a friend helps YOU win. Try the approach more often to see if this friend is a keeper.
Hope to see you in the shop soon!