How to Determine Your Playing Style

[Editor's Note: This is a two-part story on developing a tennis strategy. Click here to read part one: How to identify your playing strengths.]

The previous article on how to determine your playing strengths should have helped determine the difference between your true playing strengths and your perceived strengths. The second area that can quickly improve your tennis is to determine which playing style will put you in the position to hit and play your strengths most often.

There are basically four different playing styles for singles:

Aggressive Baseliner

The Aggressive Baseliner likes to dictate the point rather than react to shots.? Their forehand is usually a big weapon and they can often end the point with this shot.? These players take risks and will try (and often succeed) to hit winners from just about anywhere on the court.? The Aggressive Baseline players are usually strong and big.? These players don't like to make a lot of decisions and often just want to hit hard and overpower their opponents.

.?????? Forehands
.?????? A serve that often sets up their forehand
.?????? An aggressive return of serve
.?????? Strong, fit and usually big
.?????? Tendency to beat themselves
.?????? Inconsistency
.?????? Shots out of their power zones

All Court

The All Court Player is skilled and comfortable executing from all areas of the court: baseline, transition and the net.? They are very flexible but usually have an attacking style and may not have a huge weapon.? However, they can switch to more of a baseline game or neutralize shots when forced to play defensive.? The All Court player has a high level of athleticism and the ability to adapt.? Mentally these players need to stay focused on the situation with regards to making decisions about strategies and tactics.

.?????? Flexibility and comfortable with different strategies and tactics
.?????? Good decision maker
.?????? Different ways to win a match
.?????? Longer time to learn all the shots
.?????? Usually does not have a big weapon

Counter Puncher

The Counter Puncher is a reactor; a worthy and able opponent who will often wait for his opponent to do something and then react or counter punch. These players are very consistent, fit, persistent and play great defense. They don't have any big weapons; instead they will often take big hitters out of their games engaging them in long slow rallies.? The Counter Puncher is usually not the strongest or the biggest but their style is sometimes very hard to beat.

.?????? Very consistent with good groundstrokes, passing shots, lobs and return of serves
.?????? Mentally tough and persistent and a few winners from his/her opponent will not discourage him/her from running after and returning the ball in the next point
.?????? High level of fitness and moves well especially side to side
.?????? No weapons to quickly end a point
.?????? May not be comfortable moving in or at the net
.?????? Often a second serve lacks power and depth
.?????? Have a hard time adding power to soft shots

Serve and Volley

The Serve and Volley player will constantly put pressure on their opponents. They play the ultimate attacking style.? These players have excellent serves and volleys creating many offensive opportunities.? They move well up and back and are very comfortable with hitting overheads.? Often they will attack a second serve or mid-court ball and follow it to the net.? These players are usually tall and have quick reactions.

.?????? Consistent and powerful serve, producing attacking opportunities on both first and second serves
.?????? Excellent volleys and overheads
.?????? Puts constant pressure on opponents
.?????? Moves well up and back
.?????? Uncomfortable in long baseline rallies
.?????? On a slow court this strategy is not as effective
.?????? A one dimensional style

Determining Your Style

Through the questioning process on determining your playing strengths, you may deduce your strengths as:

Consistency from the baseline
Passing shots from the baseline
A good defensive lob
In great shape (one opponent says that he can run all day)
Spin serve

As you can see from the player profiles above, your strengths match up well with the Counter Puncher style. This should become your main playing style, allowing you to hit these shots often.? The challenge then becomes to use different tactics and shot patterns that will work against the other styles.

To take a free player profile identifying your playing style and for more samples of strategies and shot patterns, visit .

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