The glorious ATP. It’s almost impossible to resist. But these days, defensive tactics have caught up. Gone are the days when ‘ATP’ was synonymous with ‘winner’.
When your opponent’s shot pulls you out wide, you have options. Even when the ATP isn’t quite there, you might be tempted to attack your opponent down the line.
But Coach Mark Price insists that while you may be in a good position to attack, you are not in a good position to defend. So, choose your next shot wisely.
Think about it. If your down-the-line attack is countered, you've left the court wide open for a winner. It's like you've pulled the goalie.
As opposed to going for the winner, Coach Price recommends buying time with a reset or cross-court dink. Give yourself time to get back 'in goal.'
This doesn't mean you can't be offensive. In fact, your angle of attack will be even better from this position. They likely will have shifted toward the sideline to cover the angle.
This gives you the chance to hit a sharp cross-court angle and put them on the defensive. Next time you’re pulled wide, think one shot ahead and send the ball back cross-court.
No one does that better than Anna Leigh Waters. She has a deadly two-handed backhand and turns the opportunity into a chance to hit a winner.
She gets pulled out wide here
- The Kawamotos shift to cover the line
- ALW torques the ball crosscourt and leaves no chance for recovery
This shot is more effective in this scenario because the Kawamotos’ shift. The smart move for them is to cover the line and the middle. That leaves the cross-court angle open.
It's a matter of taking what the defense gives you. A student of the game can think one step ahead. When you see the shift coming, it's time to adjust. And make them pay.
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The key is not to panic. You’re at a disadvantage, but there’s a lot of open court out there.
As you get more comfortable out wide, you’ll be able to attack from this position. Time to work on recognizing and capitalizing on this situation in your own game.