Cross Court Is The Best Strategy

One of the best tennis coaches I have ever known and learned from was Coach Jim Leighton of Wake Forest University and the Old Town Club in Winston Salem, N.C. In the early days, as legend has it, on any given Sunday you could find Dennis Van Der Meer or Vic Braden sitting in the shop discussing tennis technique and strategies with Coach Leighton. I do not know if this is true or not but he was one heck of a coach.

When Coach Leighton referred to strategy he believed that hitting the ball crosscourt was the only direction for a player to go most of the time. He felt there were very few instances that a player should hit the ball down the line. Learn those few instances where you need to go down the line with your shot and the rest of the time you can hit the ball crosscourt–do this and you will win a lot!

There are four major reasons for a player to think in terms of hitting the ball crosscourt. First, the geometry of the tennis court dictates that we hit the ball crosscourt. Since we play on a rectangle, the court is longer from one diagonal to the other by several feet. Second, the net is higher when attempting to hit the ball down the line. The net is lower in the middle when going crosscourt. Third, when hitting the ball crosscourt the ball is moving in a direction away from your opponent and the court becomes wider for them. Have you ever played the baseline game where one player hits the ball crosscourt and the other hits the ball down the line? The person hitting the ball down the line ends up running more than the person hitting crosscourt in the rallies. Finally, if you look at your follow-through it naturally flows crosscourt.

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