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In singles play your ability to anticipate the depth and spin of your opponents shot can determine whether you’re going to get to hit an offensive or defensive shot. This ability will help you get into the best position for your next shot. Failure to recognize the type of ball that is coming across the net will compromise your position forcing you to hit a weaker ball. This article will give you the drills to improve your anticipation skills.
Next time you are warming up, try saying deep or short just after your opponent has hit their shot. If you say deep, then you will adjust your position back so that you will have good spacing between the bounce and your contact point. This will make it easier to hit your shot. If you are saying short, then you will need to adjust your positioning forward. This should give you a higher ball to hit an offensive shot. Failure to recognize the short ball will compromise your ability to get to the ball early, leaving you with a low ball that you can’t do much with.
Another exercise would be to say topspin, slice or flat when your opponent has replied with their shot. If your opponent is sweeping the ball with a low to high motion then the ball will probably have topspin on it. If you see a high to low swing, then this is a good indication that the ball will have under spin on it otherwise known as slice. When your opponent uses a horizontal swing then you can expect to see very little spin on the ball. Understanding the type of spin that the ball will have coming at you will help you prepare for the type of bounce that you will encounter when the ball lands on your side. This information can help you determine the height of your contact point.
When doing these exercises it is best to make the call ASAP. Even if you make the wrong call it is OK, because you are sharpening your anticipation skills. In time you’ll be seeing the ball like a pro, and maybe hitting like one too.
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