Best Tennis Tactics against Pushers

tennis pusherSeeing that most of the kids that my daughters played against were very steady from the baseline (real human walls), we decided we had to come up with a good tactic against them. And indeed we DID!

These combinations of shots won at least two matches (easily) during my daughters’ latest tournament:

Two days before we took off for the tournament I set up the ball machine and had my daughters practice their drop-shots.
Once they got a good feel for the short balls, we proceeded to discussing what they’d do from there on…

Considering that “pushers” are very comfortable playing at the baseline, once at the net, they might try to either back away from it (towards the baseline) or stay up where their volleys would not be solid enough.
Right after the drop shot, my daughters had to be inside the baseline and get ready for an eventual short ball return or a deep one.

Tactic 1:
If their opponents would back up and away from the net following the drop-shot return, my daughters were going to take the next ball early and hit it to their feet or easily pass them considering their fragile balance while backing up.

Tactic 2:
If the opponents were going to stay up at the net, I instructed my daughters to hit the first ball in the direction of their opponents and try to pass them on the second attempt.
By hitting to them first, the opposing player might be taken by surprise expecting a pass. On the second attempt, while opponents trying to defend themselves a passing shot would be easier to execute.

The first tactic was the more efficient since most of the pushers did not feel comfortable staying at the net and tried to move back to baseline.

At least two matches were won by my daughters (each) applying these tactics!
Try them and let me know if they worked for you too.

For more tactics and strategies that work, click here!

Cosmin Miholca

What is the Most Important Aspect when Playing Tennis?

Watching some of the beginning and intermediate level players warming up for their matches made me think that there is a confusion in regard to what should a player accomplish first. Power seems to be an important role for some of the less experienced players…

A few days ago I overheard a conversation between my younger daughter who was explaining to her mother that “everybody can hit hard; the good players know how to control the ball!”. That pleased me knowing that she paid attention to my coaching. 🙂

So what are the priorities in tennis? 

I classify them as follows:
1. Consistency – players should first develop the ability to hit the ball over the net and inside the lines.
2. Placement – being able to hit the ball deep and short, or side to side is key to get the opponents hitting off balance or from their weak side.
3. Spin – translates most of the time into ball control and different kinds of bounces.
4. Power – is the last on the list of priorities and it should be developed only when the first three had become comfortable to the player. 

Have fun on the tennis court!

Cosmin Miholca

How to Play against “Big” Server and Tall Net Player

tennis doubles tacticA few days ago I got an email from one of our subscribers who is a passionate doubles player. He had a dilemma: how should he return against an aggressive server and a tall player at the net?
Immediately I thought: tough question! In my opinion this particular player has to face a perfect doubles team: a great server and a tall partner to pick up the weak return.

The thing is that most of the players would try their best to avoid the net player by hitting aggressive passive shots. That puts extra pressure and the percentage of missing the balls into the net or out are greater.

I would do the following:
– for doubles… I’d have my partner position just behind the service line and let him/her know that I’d return the serve right at the opposing net player (well, not all the time; just often enough to keep him/her from poaching and putting the pressure on).
– for singles… again, I’d try to hit the ball at my approaching opponent’s feet or hit the first ball right at him/her hoping and waiting for my chance for a passing shot.

Find more Tactics and Strategies for Singles and Doubles here

Cosmin Miholca
Certified Tennis Teaching Professional

What Does it Take to Win in Tennis

I  just finished watching an excellent movie, “Ender’s Game”… It made me “jump” on my keyboard and write these thoughts:

Tennis is a sport which gives us pleasure in two ways: competing in it, or… the feeling of working out/hitting the ball.

If you are in this sport to compete, then: you need to learn how to win!

Many tennis coaches and players spend hundreds of hours perfecting the stokes technique. While that is very important I do not think it should be over-emphasized.

For me, the priorities in tennis are:
1. Technique
2. Movement
3. Tactics/Strategies

In this movie I mentioned above, there is a character who is not the best fighter or the smartest among his peers – he is just the best at understanding how to defeat his enemies. He knows what it takes to win and he makes sure he gets it done.

Tennis players often spend too much time perfecting the technique. It should be done according to the tactics that one has to apply against certain opponents.

That’s because, for example, the forehand is not always the same when hit from different parts of the court or rally situations (stretched, close to the net, defending from behind the baseline, off balance etc.).

It is more important that you study the court geometry, strokes options (placement and spin) AND begin to pay attention to your opponents’ weaknesses from the beginning of any match.

Those are the skills that will allow you to enjoy the sport even more and win more tennis matches.

I’ve spent a great deal of time providing you with my best knowledge in the area of winning in tennis so you can too understand and enjoy it at the higher level.

Whether you play singles or doubles, there is a wealth of information on how to beat the pushers, the serve-and-volley players, how to deal with the wind (in singles) or how to win using the one-up-one-back formation, how to position yourself on the court for the best results, how to use the I-formation (in doubles) and so much more.

Also learn the court geometry (positioning so that you use less effort and get the best out of your shots) and strokes tactics (how, where and why you should place your serve, ground-strokes, volleys etc.).

All you have to do is visit these pages (membership access is required) regularly; you will find winning tennis matches easier:

SINGLES TACTICS (learn how to beat the pusher, serve-and-volley player, all court player etc.)

DOUBLES TACTICS (make the best of your doubles matches when playing any type of formations)

Have fun winning!

Cosmin Miholca

How To Relax For Peak Performance in Tennis

tennis performanceGetting anxious/nervous during a match or before it begins… it is all normal.
I lost many matches as a junior player only because I did not know how to level my state of mind while playing.
There were times when I embarrassed myself losing to lower ranked players while everybody who knew me expected me to have easy matches against them…
But, fortunately, along the years I became better at controlling not only my temperament on the court but my internal emotions too.
Mental Tennis Lessons

Here are some of the techniques that help/ed me before and during tennis matches:

1. Control your breathing – do it slowly and deeply – visualise the air going in and then out.

2. Focus on the strings as soon as the point ends – try to clear your mind and keep the eyes on a particular spot – do not let your eyes shift for at least 10 seconds.

3. Relax your muscles – feel (imagine) your shoulders tensionless.

4. Walk slowly and with confidence.

5. If you have a ritual that makes you feel better (fixing your strings, pulling up your t-shirt sleeves, using the towel, drying your hands, etc.), stay with it.

6. Use positive talk: “I love this sport!”, “This is fun!”, “I enjoy playing!” etc.

7. Another way to relax is to sing (in a very low voice) or hum your favorite song in between points.

8. Recall a time you played very well and were happy with your game.

Obviously you don’t have to do all these techniques at once during the match. Just pick the one that works for you; I am sure that you might have one that helps you already.


Cosmin Miholca