- Inside and Outside Ground Strokes (Forehands and Backhands) -- Outside Ground Strokes --- Outside ground strokes occur when the ball crosses in front of a player’s body and is moving away or to the outside (see figures 1 & 2 below).
-- Inside Ground Strokes --- Inside ground strokes occur when the ball does not cross in front of a player’s body and the ball is coming into or inside the body and doesn’t cross the body (see figures 3 & 4 below – dotted line is the incoming shot from your opponent).
- Directionals: The Basic Guidelines -- The relationship between the ball and the player (not the ball and the court) determines whether an inside or outside ground stroke will be hit. If the ball crosses in front of a player’s body then an outside ground stroke will be hit. If the ball doesn’t cross in front of the player’s body then an inside ground stroke will be hit. --- Guideline One: Outside Ground Stokes—No Change of Direction ---- Highest percentage shot is to not change the direction of the ball --- Guideline Two: Inside Ground Stokes—Change Directions ---- Because you hips and shoulders naturally rotate, it is far more productive to change directions on inside ground strokes and hit to the open court. ---- Inside strokes give you offensive control of the point. ---- Be alert and step into the court on inside ground strokes and take the ball on the rise. ---- Court position inside the baseline is the key to taking offensive advantage of an inside ground stroke. --- Guideline Three: Changing Directions on Outside Ground Strokes—The 90 Degree Change of Direction ---- On deep outside ground strokes the high percentage shot is to stroke the ball back to where it came from (not changing directions). However, there are times when it’s important to be able to change directions on outside ground strokes—the most obvious being on cross court shots landing short. ---- When changing directions on an outside ground stoke, hit the ball so that is crosses your opponent’s baseline perpendicular to the baseline. If you contact the ball three feet from the sideline, the ball should cross your opponent’s baseline three feet from the sideline. ---- This is called a 90 degree change of direction (90 COD). - Guidelines for Playing with a Weapon -- Players with a strong forehand may overplay their forehands by running around their backhands to create many more inside ground stroke opportunities to capitalize on. Two types of inside forehands must be developed and used when playing with a weapon (a strong forehand). --- Inside Forehand One: Inside-Out Forehand—No Change of Direction ---- Inside-out forehands are simply inside forehands hit with no change of direction. ---- Usually hit off of deep shots and are used to create opportunities for shorter inside forehands from which to attack. --- Inside Forehand Two: Inside Forehand—90 Degree Change of Direction ---- Because the weapon player is playing from the ad court, the inside forehand is hit as a 90 degree change of direction. The emphasis is on depth and penetration rather than width. This shot is usually hit off ¾ court depth or shorter balls. Having court position inside the baseline is the cue for when to hit the inside forehand 90 degree change of direction shot. - Implementing the Directions -- Following the Wardlaw Directionals makes play natural and uncomplicated and creates numerous change of direction temptations for your opponent. As you consistently 2
make correct change of direction decisions, you will find your opponent continually takes the bait by hitting to the open court, making change of direction errors usually on deep outside ground strokes. However, two temptations arise for the player using the Directionals: --- Going for too much on inside ground strokes ---- You go for too much and hit the shot wide. Inside ground strokes give you control of the point and should be thought of as part of a sequence and rarely a point-ender. Having