How many times have you experienced the awful feeling of trying to catch up with your opponent’s shot when it flies from front wall to back wall and zips by you toward the front wall again? And what about that panicked feeling of what to do with the ball once you catch up to it? This should be a time when you could be thinking “Automatic Point for Me!” rather than feeling panicked about what to do. Here are a few tips to get you started in the right direction:
A missed ceiling shot is most often the cause for the above situation for experienced players. For beginners and some intermediates, it’s just an errant shot that flies too high in the court. If your opponent hits a ball that is obviously going to fly directly from front to back wall without bouncing, you should:
1. Take off running at top speed to the top line of the service box.
2. Pause there and look for the ball as it comes toward front court, getting turned sideways to be ready to hit a backhand or forehand shot.
3. Let the ball continue to come forward to the front of your stance and then move with it until you can contact the ball knee high or lower.
4. If you don’t have a sense of where your opponent is, don’t start trying to locate him/her now.
If you take your concentration and eyes away from the ball, you’ll surely miss the shot.
Shoot one of two shots:
– Directly into the front wall so that the shot “kills” (hitting below one foot into the front wall) and travels to a back corner of the court.
– “Pinch” the shot into the side wall so that it carries around a front corner of the court and dies.
BOTH of these shots should have a good chance to end the rally as long as you WAIT for the ball to be below your knees when you contact it. You can practice these shots by setting yourself up with these “fliers” on an empty court. If you practice your run and return over and over, that feeling of panic should leave you in an actual game situation and you’ll begin to think “AUTOMATIC POINT FOR ME!”