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How to Anticipate Your Opponent's Next Shot in Tennis

Let tennis pros Joe Perez and Kirk Moritz teach you how to anticipate your opponent's next shot in this Howcast video.


How to use anticipation in tennis. Well, what is anticipation? It's figuring out or anticipating what shot your opponent is going to hit. Okay? The way to do that is to play some tennis and get used to the responses that your opponent generally responds to when you hit a particular shot so you can anticipate, put yourself in a position to hit a better shot for the next shot.

For instance, if I have just hit a very, very hard, deep ball to my opponent and I see my opponent backing up and struggling to get ready, am I going to stand behind the baseline and watch him? No. Or her? I am going to move forward and get ready for a weak shot. My opponent might send it up or I might come in and take the ball out of the air and end the point.

My opponent might hit it short because I've backed them up. So that's one level of anticipation is watching my opponent hit the shot and seeing that they're having trouble or seeing that they're having an easy time and they're about to hit a hard shot. I might back up. So anticipation is a big part of tennis.

So, recognizing what you've done or what you haven't done is part of anticipation. Sometimes we're trying to do something and we hit a dud, we hit a short ball. However, it's an effective short ball and our poor opponent is going to have to take four or five steps just to get to the ball. You have to recognize when you've landed a punch.

Even an accidental punch, a lucky shot by you, you should take advantage of it. Don't stand there and hope they don't get there. As they're scrambling, you scramble forward. You split as they reach the ball and you'll be surprised at how many points you can cut short in your favorite. Cut your time of your opponent down and you've really done a lot.

Anticipation, finally, is what Kirk said, knowing what shot is going to occur after you've hit a particular shot. A lot of times those anticipatory shots or movements come because of experience in knowing what most tennis players are taught to do in a particular situation. So anticipation is a great ingredient for a good tennis player.

A simple rule of thumb that I try to follow is most of the time with three steps, my opponent can get to maybe 80% of the balls that I hit. When I hit a ball that I think he's going to take more than three steps to get, I take more than three steps up. Whatever I think he's taking, I'm taking. So it's seizing the moment. Accidents or intended, when you get him off his center you steal your way in.

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