Are you tired of losing hands battles to over-eager opponents? Stymied by bangers firing forehand after forehand?
Take advice from a Disney classic and your niece's favorite soundtrack. Just let it go.
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At the amateur level the addition of power usually means a loss of control. Most players aren't dialed in enough to hit the ball as hard as they can AND keep it in the court.
As a rule of thumb, any big forehand windup from mid-court should automatically cue you to let the ball go. If they happen to make the first one, so be it. If the second one lands in, too, then it’s time to start blocking.
But generally, a mid-court wind up is sending the ball long 99 times out of 100. Let it go.
But a big wind up from anywhere should signal to you that it’s time to make a judgement call. If you're the type of player who wants to prove their mettle by hitting every ball back, you're probably giving up free points.
You need to start taking chances and let the ball go. It's important to train your eye to see which balls are going out and which ones are staying in. The only way to learn is to see it for yourself, as the saying goes, "You'll never know until you let it go."
Above all else, simply keep it top of mind. Be aware. New opponents can create chaos - you aren’t used to their style. Similarly, tournament play lends to nerves, and it takes composure to remember to slow down, think and play your game.
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Make them think twice
Chances are you won't make the right read every time. You're going to make the wrong decision and dodge a ball that stays in the court. That's okay.
Showing that you're capable of dodging the ball makes your opponent think twice about attacking.
They know that you're not going to hit everything back so their attacks have to be more precise. You're willingness to let a ball go also means they will have to take pace off of their attacks.
Instead of swinging as hard as they can and overwhelming you with pace, they will need to play within the boundaries of the court. This helps you keep up with hand speed in subsequent firefights.
It may seem obvious but watch any rec game and you'll surely see at least one out ball kept in play. Start being the player that lets out balls go and make your opponent think twice before pulling the trigger.
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