If you take a look at a professional tennis match today it shouldn’t take you long to notice the preferred style of play. Many pro player’s stand about a foot or two behind the baseline and bang huge ground strokes back in forth trying to create a opening. Within the baseline slugfest, the need or want to play the net can seems absent, or greatly under-used.
The net should not be viewed as hindrance, but rather, another sound strategy that can be used to win a tennis match. Here are 4 major reasons why a healthy knowledge of the net can be a huge asset:
- Wide angels: In order to best understand this attribute, you first have to understand the “V” concept. If a player stands on the center hash mark of the baseline, a V shaped angel can be imagined; this presumably, is the angle in which a player can play the ball safely. The V widen as one approaches the net allowing for greater use of angles.
- Control heavy power: As stated before, today’s player would prefer to out play their opponent from the baseline, one of the best ways to accomplish this is through the use of power. However, if your opponent has more power than you that day, you could be in trouble. The net can help counter a powerful players power by intercepting the ball out of the air; this will allow the net player to better dictate/control the point.
- Force a point: Going back to the V concept, a player can force a point by playing the net. By this I mean, when a player plays the net, the time in which it takes to react to a ball in lessened- you are closer to the net therefore the ball will arrive in a shorter amount of time. This should not be viewed as a disadvantage however, as this concept also applies for the baseline player as well. In this, the net player can force the baseline player back beyond the baseline, opening up the front court for an easy volley put away; angled of course!
- Psychological effects: Yes it true! A play made at the net can establish a fine line between you and your opponent; this line infers that a ball played in the front court is a sure put away. Believe it or not, this effect will alter how your opponent plays you, or better yet, how they don’t play you.
The argument can be made that a solid net game is more than just a change up in the modern tennis game, it can be sure-fire go to in a jam. In windy conditions, a short court (i.e. the net) can help a player better control the ball by “taking away the bounce“.
Not convinced yet? I know… It’s seems like every time you approach the net you get passed, or lob, or generally embarrassed. Do not be deterred! Continue to play the net; like anything else in life the more you practice it, the better you become at it- turn that weakness into a weapon!