The approach shot can be very tricky and requires a lot of timing. One of the challenges I think a lot of tennis players don’t calculate before hitting is that since now you are moving inside the court, your target area is now smaller.
So the challenge becomes how do I hit the ball harder, but condense my swing.
The answer is in the footwork and preparation leading up to the ball. You must take a shorter back swing and let the momentum of your footwork be responsible for building momentum and power into the ball.
Watch this Video that Clearly illustrates what I am talking about:
Here are the STEPS YOU NEED TO MASTER to HIT RELIABLE APPROACH SHOTS:
- Step 1: Pay attention to your previous shot. Did you hit a strong shot? Did you put the ball deep in the corner? Is your opponent on the run? These are all BIG clues that you might get an approach shot on the next ball. Many amateur tennis players are not thinking about how effective their shots are and what it is doing to the competition.
- Step 2: Watch your opponents body position before they hit. Are they on the back foot? Do they look jammed? Are they on the run with their back turned away from you. Are they in a Big Time stretch move to reach the ball? Have they changed from their NORMAL HITTING GRIP to a more defensive slice grip? Again HUGE clues you are about to get a short ball.
- Step 3: Now pay attention to the flight of the ball off your opponents strings. Look for the peak of the flight of the ball. In general, if your opponent hits a solid deep ball the flight of the ball will reach it’s highest point as it is coming over the net or just beyond the net. But short approach shot balls reach their MAX height or PEAK while the ball is still on the opponents side of the net.
- Step 4: Now you should see the short ball coming. The first thing you usually need to do is to have one to two explosive sprint steps towards the ball.
- Step 5: Next we go into our unit turn and hoover steps.
- Step 6: As you get closer to the ball you want to take one to two hop steps that leads you into the hit. You are trying to catch the ball up high so you can feel like your are swinging down on the court. Make sure to keep good form though, this shot should look like a forehand and not like an overhead or slapping motion, which I see all the time.
- Step 7: Finally it is important to keep moving through the shot. You should not be standing still as you hit. Instead all your momentum should be moving you through to the net naturally.
Hope you enjoyed this POST. Feel free to ask questions. Also don’t forget to take advantage of the FREE SWISS ARMY FED TRAINING.