Making Good Use of the Court / Planning Your Shots
- In doubles play with right-handed partners, the stronger partner should start in the odd (left-hand) court to maximize use of his forehand (which is covering the middle). If the stronger partner is left-handed, have him start in the even (right-hand) court and agree that he will take the center-court shots.
- Get to the non-volley zone and try to stay there. Why? From the NVZ, you can hit drives more deeply, you can volley, dink, and lob, and all of this requires far fewer steps to reach the ball, no matter how it’s hit to you. The team that stays at the non-volley zone the most will usually win more points. Try a drop shot into the non-volley zone or a lob over your opponent’s head that will give you time to safely move up from the baseline to the non-volley zone.
- When a dink or drop shot lands very close to the net, try to step into the non-volley zone using only one foot, keeping the other foot outside the zone behind the line. As soon as you hit the ball, step back out of the zone behind the line. This may not be possible if you are very short or if the ball barely makes it over the net, but otherwise should become second nature. Stepping back out immediately leaves you ready to return a volley or any other shot without incurring a fault, and it’s much easier to step out if only one foot is in the zone.
Rush to the NonVolley Zone
When you move forward from the baseline, keep your body facing forward. When you reach the desired position close to the nonvolley zone, assume the ready position. All of this needs to be done before your opponent hits the ball.
Any time you can move close to the non volley zone safely, do it. In doubles, it’s best if both partners move in tandem, so if you can both move up safely, do so. If not, wait until both of you can. But what constitutes “safely”? When you are sure you’ll have enough time to get to the non volley line and not be caught in midcourt with a ball aimed at your feet.
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