10 Steps to a Better Grass Game

Although the availability of grass tennis courts has declined dramatically over the years, it is still one of the most interesting surfaces for tennis.

The length of the grass, its dampness and the density of the earth beneath it can all have a dramatic impact on the way the ball bounces. This erratic ball behavior makes for an unpredictable game where net play is favored over rallying from the baseline. The idea is to win the point with as few returns as possible; greatly reducing the risk of unpredictable ball bounce.

Grass courts offer the fastest games in tennis. This increased speed of play requires you to be on your toes at all times and have a strong grasp of the techniques most effective on grass. Here are ten tips for getting the most out of your next match on grass.

Give 'em the old one, two

The serve and volley technique is one of your best weapons on grass. Fast, wide serves followed by a sprint to the net should land your return in a wide-open court with no chance of return. Utilize a low-bouncing volley or a fast, low drive to secure the win.

Build your net game

Rather than wearing your opponent down with a baseline approach, the best results will be had by approaching the net. This technique also greatly reduces your chances of unpredictable ball bounce. The more time you spend improving your volley and net play will benefit your wins on the grass court dramatically.

Lean on your serve

Because of the fast speed of grass, you're at an advantage with a? fast serve. Not only is this a sure-fire means of securing points, it also places your opponent on the defensive. Serve a wide, fast slice and come into the net for a classic example of 1-2 tennis. Aim wide or into the body and be prepared to finish the point with a cross-court winner should your opponent manage to return.

Favor the line drives

Strong, offensive tennis is the only way to play on grass. You'll want to finish the point quickly to reduce your chances of receiving the erratic return or a bad bounce on uneven ground. Keep your strokes flat and aggressive, aiming up the lines to take advantage of the added speed of the surface. Be prepared to follow up with a volley or smash overhead should your opponent manage to get to the drive.

The drop shot volley

The area in front of the service box tends to be softer, offering less bounce. Aim for this area with a quick drop shot volley to catch your opponent off guard. Be careful not to drop your guard; quick opponents can surprise you with their speed, so be prepared to finish the job.

Bend the knees

In order to compensate for the low, fast returns on grass--and what will more than likely be your opponent's strategy of flat, fast forehands -- you need to lower your center of gravity to properly meet the ball. Work on building the stamina and strength in your thighs and calves to prepare you for this demanding technique.

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