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a black and white image of a family in the early 20th century riding a motorcycle with a sidecar.

3 Frequently-Used Tennis Shots & the Little Sidecar Man

03/18/2015, 5:00am PDT
By Kelvin Cech

No, you're not crazy at all *looks around nervously*.

 

You know those motorcycles from the 40’s that had the sidecars attached to them? Usually there was a little guy in there shouting orders or trying to point the driver in the right direction? And usually this would yield hilarious results?

Well, for tennis players in the year 2015, the little man in the sidecar could easily be riding alongside you in your mind as you try to sort through all the various shots available to you in a typical match. 

Groundstrokes, topspin, slices, volleys, drops - these are just some of the choices battering your mind on a consistent basis as you try to destroy your opponent. 

However, just like the little sidecar man, these thoughts aren’t in control of you, you are in control of you! 

Here are the 3 most frequently-used tennis shots to focus on as you head into the spring tennis season. 

1. Power Serve

One of the best tactics for throwing your opponent off-base is smashing the ball down their throat (figuratively) the moment the match begins (literally). With little feel for the match at this point, your adversary will have little hope of returning your serve with any accuracy. Plus, whipping a heater at them early on will let them know you mean business. It’s all about intimidation in tennis, right?

When you’re practicing this spring, make sure you work on accuracy to go along with that power, because a power serve that’s out doesn’t really count, right?

2. Forehand and Backhand Crosscourt

Now that your opponent has the fear of god in their eyes at the awesome spectacle that is your power serve, it’s time to get them moving. Being agile enough to use both your forehand and backhand will help you return more balls. And if you can return more balls back the way you came then your opponent will get tired faster. 

The more you can change your opponent’s direction, by changing the direction of the ball, the better chance you have of forcing them to make mistakes. 

3. Aggressive Volleys

Hitting the ball before it bounces is an effective strategy, and tennis is all about strategy. Sitting back on your heels and waiting for your opponent to make a move or the ball to bounce might be playing it safe, but it’s going to be tough to improve your overall game if you’re not pushing the envelope. Stepping to balls in the air aggressively and pushing toward the net will lead to mistakes, but it will expose weaknesses in other areas so you’ll have more things to work on. 

Like crosscourt shots, an aggressive volley will put the pressure on your opponent and allow you greater control of the match.

If you find yourself on the court this spring trying to guess which shots to employ, then unfortunately it’s already too late for you. The time to practice and perfect these shots is now, or at least well in advance to playing in a match or tournament. Developing these shots ahead of time will put duct tape over the mouth of the little sidecar man so you can focus on your opponent’s weaknesses. 

No one likes playing tennis while they’re distracted. Focus on these three shots this spring and put the voices in your head to rest for good.

photo credit: Maroc, 1936, les Menjoulet sur une moto via photopin (license)

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