Strategy Tip: Forcing the Net

Strategy Tip: Forcing the Net
Whether you are playing Singles or Doubles, you have the advantage when you force or move in to the net. The laws of physics will agree with this strategy! Imagine yourself back at the baseline: do you have the same opportunities to place your ball on the other side; are the angles equally as opportunistic as at the net?
The simple image above demonstrates NO, as you close into the net, the tighter angles become available to you, therefore covering greater surface area of the court as well as greater precision- a clear advantage can be had at the net-a win-win probability.
Net play is an advantage but comes with responsibility. Working on your forehand and backhand volleys is a necessary step to winning with this strategy-after all, you still have to get the ball in! In addition, judge your opponent-if they are lobbing balls over your strategy, balance your baseline-net play to suit what you have observed about the balls coming back at you from the other side of the net. Finally, work on precision, creating those hard-to-get angles and hitting deep balls to your opponent back to the baseline gives them less reaction time from your return of their ball and keeps them from increasing the angles you may have to get. This fine tuning takes time but after all, practice makes perfect!
Moving into the net shows confidence, prowess and presses on the opponent to move back. Mentally, this strategy helps to dominate your opponent, placing them into a defensive role. Pete Sampras was a classic Serve & Volley player and this worked well for him. The reason this strategy works so well in doubles is because while one player aggressively manages the net, there is that other player ready for the lob. While this is true, a singles player need not tread lightly for this reason, the physical advantage remains in wait for the net player-just make sure you’re skills are up to the challenge! Andy Murray beat Roger Federer at the 2012 Olympics at the net-give it a shot!
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