Some players can not take it when they are under a lot of pressure. How do you put pressure on your opponent, you come to the net and force your opponent to make a shot. You will find that if done correctly, some players will succumb to the
pressure and just miss big because they are so focused on what you are doing. Here are a few ways to put the pressure on by getting to the net.
1) You can look for short balls during a rally. I would say any ball inside the service line and even a few feet passed the service line are ideal opportunities to get to the net. Of course it depends on the height and the pace of the ball. If the ball is coming short and a little slow, go for it. Hit the ball to your opponents weaker side, move up to the net and make them beat you with their weakest shot.
2) Another great way to get to the net is by serving and volleying. Serve the ball right at your opponent or to their weaker side and move in immediately. You could use this play on either a first or a second serve if you are confident enough with your placement. A lot of players are fearful to come in on a 2nd serve because they think it’s weak. If you think of it this way, the slower the serve the closer you get into the optimal volley position. So a nice spin serve could be more effective then a bullet to your opponent. The faster you hit the ball to them, the faster the ball is coming back to you.
3) Last but not least, you could chip and charge with backspin on the ball off of your opponents serve. Another option is to step up and drive the ball off of a weak second serve to go right in. This shot is typically hit down the line. Both plays can be very
effective, especially when it’s executed when your opponent least expects it. If you do this play well, your opponent may end up double faulting because they are nervous or fearful that you may be coming in and putting the pressure on them.
When you keep the pressure on your opponent and make them nervous or fearful, you will find that half of the time, you will not even have to hit a volley or overhead to win the point. A lot of players will self destruct under the constant heat you put on them throughout the duration of a match. With better players you may have to step up and make some shots, but they too will eventually crack under the pressure and you will break them down.
Hopefully you find these tactics useful during your friendly competitive matches here at the club and elsewhere.
Play well my friends and keep on playing!