Technical solidity... How important is it to plan tactics and strategy?
Before developing any tactics and game strategies, you must already have a foundation in terms of your game. You must then necessarily be able to play with good depth. You can consider the five basic things you can do to counter your opponent:
• Play on the left side
• Play on the right side
• Play a high ball
• Hit at the feet
• Playing to the opponent
Developing a strategy means developing, learning and, in some way "forcing" yourself into possessing a concrete game system that allows you to face your opponent. For example, if you are a beginner the rule will be "play deep and in between" which normally works on any surface as:
• Keep your opponent behind the baseline
• The net in the center is lower than on the sides therefore less chance of errors
• Greater focus on the hit
• Playing in the center will make your opponent more difficult to play diagonally
The difficulty is that, by playing in the center, your opponent can circle the ball and hit it hard with his best shot. On the other hand, if your shots are deep enough, you will control the game and will also be able to slightly target the shots on the weaker side of your opponent. Unfortunately, most players are unable to hit consistently from any position on the court, so worrying about strategy can complicate their game. In those cases it is better to worry about hitting the ball correctly, without thinking about the strategy.
DOMINATING THE NET AT THE FIRST CHANCE
Given that playing long and in the middle must remain a fundamental aspect of your strategy, it is also important to be able to take to the net at the earliest opportunity. The intermediate player often hesitates to go to the net in front of a short ball and against an opponent in difficulty. Anticipation is a key element in the development of an advanced player. In fact it is very likely that your opponent will shorten the shot at some point, and then you should be able to foresee this possibility and be ready, well inside the field to take advantage of the opportunity. Tennis is a game of opportunity, the point must be closed when there is an opportunity to do so, without letting the opponent hit the ball back. On top of that your opponent will know that you are ready to hit the net as soon as he plays short, which will put more pressure on him.
If you look at the statistics of a match you will see that practically always the errors are greater than the winning points. The purpose of winning a match is to minimize errors. So simplify the strategy, keep the ball safe, deep and in the center, even if the opponent puts you in difficulty, play a sure and deep shot that’s over the net and it will help you to avoid making a mistake. Try a winner to get yourself out of trouble, it's a bet, not a good one, and not a percentage game. If you are winning, keep with the same strategy, keep playing the way that is making you win. Trying something different, which you may not know how to do well, could turn the game around. In the meantime, win the game, you will try the new shots tomorrow.
WHEN UNDER PRESSURE PLAY THE RIGHT SHOT
The pressure should make you play a sure shot. Instead, what happens is that the pressure causes the entire biomechanical system of shot preparation and the control to "jump". You almost have a feeling of anxiety, you know what to do but you can't do it. The result will be a flimsy ball that your opponent can hit aggressively.
IF YOU ARE IN DIFFICULTY PLAY A HIGH BALL
If during a rally you are forced out of the field, you often hit hoping for a winner, but instead making a mistake. The best thing, which makes you buy time and regain your position is to play a ball well above the net (two-three meters). Even if he has gone down to the net, the opponent will have the certainty that you will not make him play an easy ball. So a high ball with a lot of top spin will make volley difficult. If you see your opponent catch the net you can lift the ball further and play a lob. If, on the other hand, he remains at the base line, he will have to wait for the ball to go down, losing the opportunity. Plus, his confidence will be undermined to see that even his best shot will come back.
BREAK THE RHYTHM OF YOUR OPPONENT
If you are playing against an opponent who shoots hard and with rhythm, throw soft balls that he will be forced to hit differently. You don't need a good game to win. For example, many players play the ball less well if they are out of ideal hitting conditions. In these cases, playing short and low balls alternating with high balls on top will send the player out of their natural rhythm. The basic idea is to make the opponent execute the shots that he does not want to make.
AVOID LET YOUR OPPONENT PLAY HIS STRONGEST SHOT
If your opponent has a very strong forehand and a weak backhand, don't allow him to win the game by using his strongest shot. Try to anticipate his intentions and play mostly on his weaker side or else force him to play his shot better than he usually does. For example if he plays a flat forehand, he plays a very low back. This will nullify his safety on the strongest hit of him.
PLAYING CROSS COURT
Often there is a tendency to hit with the right to play a long line shot on the opponent's backhand. It is actually much safer to play cross for these reasons; the net in the center is much lower than on the sides, the field is longer (25.15 meters diagonally against 23.77 along the line), you have more time to regain your position. Furthermore, according to the law of reflection it is easier to return a ball along its path of origin. There is very little safety margin in playing the long line shot. If your opponent plays on your backhand, the safest shot to make will be the cross court backhand. It is a natural tendency of the body, and only a talented player is able to hit the ball straight down the line, and unless the shot is executed perfectly, you will have less time and more space to cover to regain the position.
HIT WITH PURPOSE
More experienced players know that mistakes are always greater than winners. This knowledge avoids throwing risky shots, favoring consistent, purposeful safe shots. At high levels it is difficult to find the field open to close the shot. What looks like an open field is only open for a moment. It is much more important to hit the right shot at the right time, and it doesn't matter if the opponent is out of position or not. The blow will either produce the point directly or allow us to easily close the next one.