sure all avid platform tennis players will agree on one thing:
The cerebral nature of the game is what makes it so great.
Victory comes with exploiting your opponents’ weaknesses
while avoiding their strengths. A “thinking” team
can find ways to grind out victories when seemingly outgunned
must first look to the basics when trying to determine the
strengths and weaknesses of your opponents. From the beginner
to the advanced player, there are certain skills that serve
as the cornerstone of the game. A quick assessment of how
well your opponents perform the necessary shots/skills needed
to compete at a certain level can go a long way to the formulation
of a winning game plan. These core skills include the following:
drives, lobs (screens), volleys, and serves.
with the warm-up, you should be scouting your opponent’s
execution of these basic, core skills. Listed below are some
things you should be considering:
Drives - What side does my opponent favor to drive from?
How is their control and placement? Are they able to use
topspin for control? Are they using the drive from the right
spots and in the right situations?
Lobs/Screen Play - How well can my opponent control the
lobs? Are they consistent, with good height and trajectory?
Does my opponent appear comfortable when balls go into the
screen or are they blocking everything before it can get
to the screen?
Volley - Does my opponent appear comfortable at the net?
Do they volley with the correct grip, stance and court position?
For example, does my opponent volley predominantly with
a backhand, using a continental grip, or, do they prefer
the “windshield wiper” volley with the forehand
Overheads - How is my opponents mobility? How well do they
control the speed of the overhead? Are their overheads hit
with good placement and depth? Does my opponent use spin
as a weapon on short lobs?
Serve - Check the placement, depth, speed, spin and consistency
of your opponents serve. Are they able to move the serve
around, keeping it deep? If not, look to attack the short
serve with an aggressive drive. After the serve, is my opponent
closing on the net covering the center of the court, or
do they leave the middle open for the drive?
past the basic skills, how your opponents function as a team
is as important as how well they execute specific shots. In
addition to assessing the basic execution of these skills
listed above, you want to see how well your opponents how
well they work together throughout the point. Listed below
are areas you should watch for:
How well are your opponents communicating? Are they fighting
over overheads? If so, look to lob up the middle to exploit
the lack of communication.
Game Plan- Do your opponents seem to have a plan? If so,
what is it? What would be the counter to that plan? Are
your opponents willing to “work” the point to
set up their offensive opportunities? Are they playing with
patience, or playing as if there was a shot clock?
Back-Court Positioning- How are my opponents positioned
throughout the point? Are my opponents shifting into their
offensive positions (return position) after hitting a good
lob? Do they tend to block the corners?
Net Positioning- When my opponents have the net, are they
shifting with the movement of the ball? Are they recognizing
the various shots coming off of your paddle? For example,
are they sealing the net when you drive or dropping off
the net when you lob?
conclusion, when assessing an opponents weaknesses look both
at each player’s individual skills as well as the team