Challenges of Match Play – Slow Play
In the Match Play tips, the focus will be on a few different challenges of match play, and how to overcome them. These should help you approach matches with more confidence and better understanding of certain situations.
A big challenge of playing matches is playing against slow pace. Most players dread playing the ‘pusher’ who just gets the ball back without much pace and often with poor form. This slow play can make you slow down and lower your intensity. It can also make you impatient, causing you to over hit the ball and try to finish the point too early.
The first tip to help you avoid these errors is to keep your feet moving as you wait for the slow balls to reach your side. You will need to keep active and move around in between points, (maybe sprint or jog to the other side of the court on change overs). Making your feet stay active will help you maintain your competitive energy at a good level and avoid the drop of intensity that makes us play worse. Our intensity is better maintained during faster points and faster matches. During slow matches, you will have to make more of a conscious effort to make sure your movement and intensity stay up.
When facing slower play, you must also remember that as slow ball does not necessarily mean an opportunity to hit harder, flatter and finish the point. On the contrary, it is more difficult to create accurate power on a slow ball than it is a hard paced ball. Allow yourself to make a few shots in, work the point, and wait for a good opportunity to come to attack and finish the point with a volley. If you plan ahead, and play the point with consistency and patience you will soon get opportunities to put the ball away. Against a slow player, it is just going to take a few shots longer than average.
Lastly, a steadier/slower player normally prefers to play from the baseline. Be sure to test your opponent’s volley skills by bringing them to the net with a drop shot or short slice. This will increase the pace of the points and take your opponent out of their comort zone, giving you a better chance to play points on your terms.
Questions or any other match situation? Feel free to post on the comments portion of the blog, or on Facebook to discuss!