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  1. #1
    vodoks
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    Unhappy Scared to be aggressive

    Hi,
    I would like some help on how to be more aggressive on my game.
    I play at my highschool, I just have approximately one year playing and my level was average, but one day my coach scolded me for trying to hit the ball as hard as I can (which mentally I didn't) but since then my I have started to play more defensively and I feel scared of being aggressive because now I make too many unforced errors if i try to play aggressive. I've tried to prepare mentally before a game, to be aggressive, but once I step into the court I get this kind of feeling in which I just try to return the ball without even moving it, just returning it straight back to my opponent.
    Any tips?
    Thank You.

  2. #2
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    Woody's Avatar
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    Re: Scared to be aggressive

    It depends what you mean by aggressive. To me, it doesn't mean "trying to hit the ball as hard as I can". For my game, aggressive means keeping the ball deep (but still high percentage) and being patient until my opponent hits a ball that's got the kind of pace and height that I love. That's when I need to step up and start pushing him around and looking to move forward. Aggressive doesn't mean going for low percentage winners (I guess it works for Gonzo, idk), it just means actively trying to get a little more advantage in the point.

    I think it really depends on the opponent though. For some it would mean putting pressure on their backhand, for others, it might mean keeping the ball low, or heavy topspin, whatever keeps them out of their comfort zone. That's why I don't think you can really prepare to "be aggressive" before the game, unless you already know your opponent well. I guess my advice would be to analyze their game early on, and use the changeovers to come up with a strategy that puts you in control of play, and before each point just remind yourself what you're trying to do. That tends to keep me on my game plan.
    I put in the work and wanted it so badly but this guy is the best for a reason. He is such a complete player ... maybe I'll just punch him or something, I don't know. - Andy Roddick

  3. #3

    Re: Scared to be aggressive

    To compliment Woody:
    When I went to Wimbledon one of the things that caught my attention was that the pros (and I was lucky to watch Becker and Edberg that year) do not hesitate to hit THE CORRECT shot. For example, when Becker was stretched wide, and being in a fast court, he knew the point was over one way or another. That meant he went full strength on the passing shot. But if the point was still in progress and he was in the back court, he would try to keep the ball deep, with good pace. He would wait until the right shot to come in.
    Look at Nadal. Rafa plays AGGRESSIVE defense. By that I mean that he will run everything down and keep the ball in play regardless.
    Aggressive does not mean hitting everything hard. Aggressive is understanding the percentages and using your best weapon at the best time. Sometimes, deep and down the middle is aggressive. And seldom wrong.
    Missing winter...

  4. #4

    Re: Scared to be aggressive

    I love these two elaborations on what it means to play aggressively. I'll add my take: trying to control the point. Having the attitude that you are out there to win the point, not wait for an unforced error, is my definition of aggressive play. It doesn't have anything to do with how hard you hit the ball (though I love to hit hard and flat, don't get me wrong). Variety will serve you well.

    I'm also a believer in playing for fun. I don't always play to win, but that's just me. For me, it's fun to be creative on the court and try shots that may be low-percentage. If I lose the point, fine by me. Had fun trying.
    Sometimes you're the windshield, sometimes you're the bug.

  5. #5

    Re: Scared to be aggressive

    I agree with all of the commenters above me. I often play a very "aggressive" form of tennis and the only times I hit the ball really hard are overheads and sitters that land short in the court. I think good aggressive tennis is tennis that keeps the opponent off-balance and prevents him from completely dictating your play and exploiting your weaknesses. I like to use depth and angles and lots of varying spins to play "aggressively."

    An example: My serve is often described as "aggressive" or "hard" but I rarely ever go for aces. I just hit a good 2nd serve for both serves, if I think the opponent won't handle it confidently and that 2nd serve is aggressive in that context.

    I might suggest working on learning how to hit somewhat heavy topspin, because it will allow you to hit pretty hard but keep the ball in the court in addition to helping you get good angles on your shots....
    Avatar: Munchin's Favorite Matches - #10 - Andre Agassi vs. Pete Sampras - 2000 Australian Open SF

    "If I didn't play tennis, I would probably have to go see a psychiatrist" - Arthur Ashe

  6. #6

    Re: Scared to be aggressive

    Quote Originally Posted by munchin View Post
    I agree with all of the commenters above me. I often play a very "aggressive" form of tennis and the only times I hit the ball really hard are overheads and sitters that land short in the court. I think good aggressive tennis is tennis that keeps the opponent off-balance and prevents him from completely dictating your play and exploiting your weaknesses. I like to use depth and angles and lots of varying spins to play "aggressively."
    I can vouch for this.

    I tend to hit the ball pretty hard and flat, and I'm definitely an aggressive player. But like Megan said above, I would only go for outright winners from the backcourt if I feel I'm in total control of the point, and will really only wail on the ball after hitting something deep and getting a weak return. At the net, though, all bets are off--most of my agresssive play is done there.
    This is not the bouquet you toss

  7. #7

    Re: Scared to be aggressive

    Quote Originally Posted by JTContinental View Post
    I can vouch for this.

    I tend to hit the ball pretty hard and flat, and I'm definitely an aggressive player. But like Megan said above, I would only go for outright winners from the backcourt if I feel I'm in total control of the point, and will really only wail on the ball after hitting something deep and getting a weak return. At the net, though, all bets are off--most of my agresssive play is done there.
    That was fun! I don't think either of us got to the net once in 90 minutes, so I didn't get to see any of this...
    Avatar: Munchin's Favorite Matches - #10 - Andre Agassi vs. Pete Sampras - 2000 Australian Open SF

    "If I didn't play tennis, I would probably have to go see a psychiatrist" - Arthur Ashe

  8. #8

    Re: Scared to be aggressive

    If I'm in pushing mode, net is where I'm best, since I can never be anything but aggressive there. It's also where my opponent gets the most up close look at my horrifying technique, which also buys me an edge.
    It's hard out here for a Zuz.

  9. #9
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    Re: Scared to be aggressive

    Quote Originally Posted by oohsalmon View Post
    If I'm in pushing mode, net is where I'm best, since I can never be anything but aggressive there. It's also where my opponent gets the most up close look at my horrifying technique, which also buys me an edge.


    I've long been convinced that my "tennis style" has garnered me many points over the years as my opponent's wonder how on Earth I can ever manage to hit the ball over the net.

    Also: I used to hate when you'd approach on my backhand. Trouble city.
    I'll miss you!

  10. #10

    Re: Scared to be aggressive

    Hi Vodoks and welcome to TAT!

    I think you are caught in a mode of playing careful tennis. The best thing to do is move from "just getting the ball back" to placing the ball away from your opponent. It is one of the hardest things in tennis to learn, but you have to wait for the right ball to attack.

    But you'll never get into attack mode if you are only playing to get the ball back. Once you move your opponent around, you might get an easier ball to be more "aggressive" on. But your coach probably wants you to be patient and not try to hit a winner on the wrong shot.

    I find if I have a target in mind, it's easier to swing freely.

  11. #11

    Re: Scared to be aggressive

    If you want to see first strike tennis done the right way, watch Lindsay Davenport videos, especially around the 2005 era.
    This is not the bouquet you toss

  12. #12

    Re: Scared to be aggressive

    Quote Originally Posted by munchin View Post
    That was fun! I don't think either of us got to the net once in 90 minutes, so I didn't get to see any of this...
    Well, you had to up and move, so now you'll probably never see it.
    This is not the bouquet you toss

  13. #13
    vodoks
    Guest

    Re: Scared to be aggressive

    WOW im really loving all this different meanings of "aggressive"
    actually today I tried many of the tips you guys gave me and wow they worked perfectly. although my opponent had much experience and advantage than me I really gave him a tough time making him move and put a heavy spin on the ball.
    im reallt greatful with all of your help and tips they are really working and I have begun losing that fear of moving the ball, if it goes in well good point of not then maybe next time.
    Thank You.

  14. #14

    Re: Scared to be aggressive

    You mean we were actually of use? Wow! I can't believe it...
    Missing winter...

  15. #15

    Re: Scared to be aggressive

    Quote Originally Posted by JTContinental View Post
    If you want to see first strike tennis done the right way, watch Lindsay Davenport videos, especially around the 2005 era.

    Just watched videos of Lindsay, you're right. This is definitely a good strategy in my opinion





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