By David Lewis, Director of Instruction at Ivan Lendl International Junior Tennis Academy
My last two articles have covered the requirements to play an effective defensive
and neutral game
. Now it’s time to put stress on your opponent. The key to a stellar offensive game is hitting winners and forcing errors.
There are two types of players – those who play to win and those who play not to lose. With juniors, unforced errors are more common than winners. Below are a few offensive options to develop the best attacking strategy.
It all comes down to playing high-percentage tennis and having the right weapons to finish off points. For example, during a neutral rally one must stay on high-alert for a short ball. If the ball is in the middle of the court and you have a big forehand, the optimal play is to get to the ball quickly and hit a powerful shot to your opponent’s weak side. This will force him into returning a difficult passing shot.
It is always better to attack down the line when approaching the net because it allows you to gain a better position and cover the angles. When your opponent is in the middle, attacking a ball cross-court and close to the side line leaves the entire opposite side of the court open to hit a winner.
Serve / Return
The serve and return provide the first opportunities to attack. A powerful and deftly-placed serve will encourage your opponent to hit a weak, short shot.
The same goes with returning. If your opponent has a weak second serve, let him know by attacking it relentlessly. This pressure will make it even more important to put the first serve in play so you do not attack the second serve. It might influence a bigger second serve, taking them out of their comfort zone and resulting in more double faults.
When you are able to apply consistent pressure and move toward the net, volleys and overheads are great options to close out weak returns.
About David Lewis
David Lewis, a native of Auckland, New Zealand, is the Director of Instruction at Ivan Lendl International Junior Tennis Academy on Hilton Head Island, SC, a full-time tennis program for grades 5-12. For the past 20 years, he has coached top juniors and professionals from around the world including Marina Erakovic, ranked as high as No.49 on the WTA world rankings.
Ivan Lendl IJTA exemplifies Ivan Lendl and Lewis’ desire to give back to tennis and develop future champions through a new-era curriculum and holistic training approach. The Academy focuses on classic fundamentals, leading-edge biomechanics, strength training / fitness and mental preparation. Lendl and Lewis subscribe to a hands-on approach with students instilling dedication, focus, hard work, motivation and overall preparation.
For more information: www.LendlTennis.com/info