8 Rules for Playing Against Hard Hitters

These days the courts seem to be filled with players who come out swinging—and swinging hard.

Playing against hard hitters in tennis can be intimidating. There will always be players who hit bigger than you and are more consistent. However, you'll find at all levels, there are players who take a lot of big swings and are not always pinpoint accurate and can only hit one or two balls in the court in a row.

More: How to Neutralize a Tough Opponent

When battling a big hitter there are things you can do to throw your opponent off of their groove to try to neutralize their power. There are also things you can do to prepare to return the hard hit strokes if you're not comfortable doing so.

Don't Get Into a Power Struggle

There's no need to match a big hitter's power with your own. Most of the big hitters like it when their opponent hits the ball hard because it helps them generate power as well. If you try to match power for power and that is not your normal game plan you'll fall right into the hands of your opponent. 

Take some pace off of the ball and use placement. Force your opponent to generate all the pace off of their shots. This can help you draw more errors out of your opponent if you can place the ball well.

Avoid the Strike Zone

One of the best tactics you can use against power hitters is to keep them from hitting the ball in their strike zone. The strike zone is where your opponent would naturally swing the racquet and come into contact with the ball. 

Never hit the ball with little spin so it lands couple of feet behind the service line. If your opponent is able to step in to hit his/her shots they will be in their comfort zone. 

Spin is King

Using spin is a big help against power players. Try slicing the ball to keep the ball low. This forces your opponent to have to hit up on the ball and makes it tougher to take a big swing. Lots of topspin also makes it tough for your opponent to take big swings at the ball if you hit it deep enough in the court.

Placement is Power

Placement is also key. If you can keep your opponent deep in the court it will be harder for them to generate power and will give you more time to react to their shots. Hitting short angled slices will also force them to move forward and have to hit up. 

Keeping your opponent moving side-to-side is usually a good play so they have less time to prepare and they will have fewer opportunities to step into the ball to take a big swing.

More: How to Outplay a Stronger Doubles Team

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