“Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?”
“That depends a good deal on where you want to get to,” said the Cat.
“I don’t much care where—” said Alice.
“Then it doesn’t matter which way you go,” said the Cat.
There’s a good chance you’re familiar with this quote. Even if you’ve never read Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.
That’s because the point it makes rings true in so many aspects of all our lives.
And today we’re going to talk about how it’s true, even in our tennis game.
Now, let’s answer the Cheshire Cat’s question, as it relates to our tennis game. The goal in tennis is easy enough: you want to hit the ball in such a way as to make it land in bounds somewhere your opponent can’t return it.
But how you get there depends an awful lot on where you are right now.
You need to be able to accurately assess where you are on any given volley, to be able to respond the best way to get you to your goal.
First, as the ball is coming toward you, are you leaning? Are you running? Is your partner out of position? Are you stuck at the baseline?
If the answer to any of these is “yes,” you’re in a defensive situation. Your opponent has you on your heels, and you need to recover.
Now is not the time to try and smash a winner. More likely, the ball would shoot off the side of your racquet or go sailing into the rafters.
Of course, you don’t want to be in this situation, but it happens. Do you think Roger Federer is never put on the defensive? If he has to defend, you will too.
Best to embrace it. Look for the right time lob, short angle roll, and get back to neutral.
You’re back in neutral once you’ve recovered a bit, and you don’t feel like you’re fighting for your life.
This is the setup.
You’re a team. Let your partner work. Use each other’s strengths to start to position yourselves for the big payoff.
This is where you do the hard work to start to throw your opponents of balance and put them on the defensive. Eventually, you’ll start to see cracks in their defense.
Now you move from the neutral position to the offensive position.
Are you balanced? Are you inside the baseline? Is the ball in your strike zone? Are you up 40-love?
Now is the time to strike. Pull that trigger and crack that ball. Show no mercy.
This is where you want to be, and where a lot of the fun is. Keep driving that ball, until you beat your opponents into submission.
Remember, winning is fun. That’s what we want you to do.
If you have any questions, feel free to stop by and talk to Will Taylor, or any of our tennis pros (the best in the Tri-Cities). They are here to help you improve your game and get the most out of your tennis experience.
Until next time, we’ll see you on the court.
Columbia Basin Racquet Club