I love it when I am asked the best place to stand on the tennis court. My answer is pretty much always the same. I think the overall best place to be positioned on the court is one step inside the service line.
Let’s talk about the four positions that exist. Most people love the baseline position. The power of today’s game requires most people to stand just behind the baseline and bang groundstrokes until someone makes a mistake. I can’t argue that this is the way the game has been moving for some time. Even in doubles, I sometimes coach both players on a doubles team to start at the baseline and work their way into the net position. Playing singles almost always makes you stay back on the baseline because of the power of today’s rackets, which provide maximum depth and pace on groundstrokes.
The next area forward of the baseline is the infamous no man’s land. I know you have heard to avoid this area like the plague because of the awkward shots you have to hit from this area. And while it is true that no man’s land is awkward, I actually think it should be practiced more than any other area! You are absolutely going to get caught here and should be prepared to manufacture shots to the best of your ability. The only way to get comfortable from this position is with a lot of practice and reps. In many of our drills we have you transition through this treacherous area in an attempt to make you more comfortable and confident in no man’s land. Not only that, but as far as court coverage goes, no man’s land might be the best overall position for covering the most court.
The next area is my favorite, just inside the service line. You can step in and be aggressive on a volley. You can cover nearly all lobs, and you’re not so close that a lob goes over you or that you get blasted. You have enough time to easily get to any sort of drop shot. In addition, positioning yourself just inside the service line can be intimidating to your opponents.
The last position is the net position, which is about one to three feet away from the net. Many of you love this position, but you’re too close. You had better put the first ball you hit away, or you are dead. Your opponent will go over you, around you or through you, and there is not much you can do about it unless you move like a superhero.
Try all positions on the court and see where you excel. You’ll know quickly where you play well from and where you need work. Or come see me for a lesson, and I’ll help you decide. See you on the courts!
Tracy Townsend is a resort tennis expert, and his company 30A Tennis manages Seaside Tennis on behalf of the Seaside Community Development Corp. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (850) 231-2214. For news, events and court conditions, find Seaside Tennis on Facebook.
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