Know Your Cross-Courts
We know there are defensive and attacking cross-courts. A high Cross-Court Lob is obviously a defensive shot to give you time to recover to the ‘T’ and to take the ball away from your opponents’ volley. This can be played from the front or the back. A hard, low Cross-Court is an attacking shot, usually played from the front corners. The aim of this is to be a winner.
But, do you know it’s not just the pace of the Cross-Court you need to adjust depending on your position in the court? You also need to change your aim.
Let’s look at 3 scenarios. Front attack, middle attack and back change of play.
The Attacking Cross-Court from the Front obviously needs to be hit hard and requires powerful, aggressive movement. The direction of the shot needs to run directly toward the back corner, not into the side wall. This angle makes the ball run away from your opponent and at the fastest rate. If it hits the side wall pace will fall off the ball and it comes towards the middle of the court, giving your opponent a chance to recover the ball back into play. A shot moving directly into the back corner causes your opponent move the maximum distance into the back.
If you’re worried about your opponent volleying, because of the narrower angle it travels closer to the ‘T’, don’t be! The fact that you have pounced on the ball, your opponent will not have had time to recover to the ‘T’ to intercept this narrower angle. Also, the fact that this shot needs to be hit hard and low, the ball will be too low to volley.
The Cross-Court Volley from the Middle of the court is the same as from the front. It should be hit hard and at a narrow angle heading directly into the back corner, not into the side wall. The nature of this volley means you are in front of your opponent, volleying their loose drive, so they cannot be anywhere near the middle of the court to cut out your volley.
The Cross-Court from the Back corner must be wider, to escape your opponents’ volley. The nature of this situation is you are behind your opponent and they are likely to be on the ‘T’, so in a good position to volley a loose Cross-Court. This is why you must hit wider. Whether you are hitting hard and low, or soft and high from this position, you need to evade the volleying wing span of your opponent.
If your opponent IS NOT in a volleying position near the ‘T’ – hit a narrow, aggressive Cross-Court heading directly into the back corner (hitting the side wall will only give your opponent a chance to recover).
If your opponent IS in a volleying position near the ‘T’ – then you need to evade their volley by hitting wider, and into the side wall.