Tactics To Use Against 4 Different Styles Of Player
Everybody hates it when they come up against an opponent who is particularly good at one thing, or plays in a certain way which they struggle to cope with. This is especially the case at club level, so here are my tips for dealing with certain types of player and how to go about beating them:
The Fat Guy With Great Control. The Fast, Fit Guy. The Hard Hitter. The Left-Hander.
The Fat Guy With Great Control
Firstly you need a great return of serve. You need the ball to get past him. Your return must land in one of the back corners. They want to be in the middle of the court so they can control the rally; Hitting hard and low all the time doesn’t achieve anything because the ball will land in the middle of the court. Control players usually don’t mind the ball coming at them quickly, as they have the racket skills to deal with it. What they hate is moving in to the 4 extremities of the court! Get the ball past them into the back corners and randomly use the boast to catch him out at the front.
The Fast, Fit Guy
My experience from watching this types of player is that they tend to hit more mistakes than the average Joe. You must be patient. You know they will get back the occasional shot other players wouldn’t, so don’t get frustrated when they do.
These players tend to run fast and hit fast. They are not normally that great in the back corners. Use height to get the ball past them. When you do play the ball to the front of the court, don’t be tempted to aim lower. This player will often over-run the ball and actually put themselves in a bad position when retrieving your shots. Manouvre the ball around the court and let them make the mistake.
The Hard Hitter
Similar to the Fast Guy, use height against this player. Hard Hitters like a rhythm, so I would suggest every 4 or 5 rallies hit hard with them, then slow down again for the next rally. Don’t play slow all the time. Just hitting soft doesn’t work as they get used to it and will adapt their rhythm. Mix the pace so they cannot get into a fast or slow rhythm. Take your time in-between rallies. Don’t let them rush you.
What you usually find with left-handed players is that they are considerably stronger on their forehand. This even happens at a World Class level, whereas right-handers tend to be more even on both sides. Soooo…. Hit the vast majority to their backhand side (your forehand). After a while you will feel you are being too predictable but it honestly doesn’t matter. Stick with this game plan. They hate it! Then when they do have a forehand shot, they often hit a mistake because they feel pressure to win the rally on that one forehand shot.
There we go. All you need to conquer any type of club player!
What I would say though, is know what you’re strengths are and make sure you don’t adjust your game too much, because you still need to do what you’re good at. It you don’t play to your strengths you will begin to feel awkward and too passive.