If you tend to overthink things in your match, don’t apply this chapter until you have stopped doing that. I have seen so many emerging intelligent players who think too much and they end up fooling themselves. There have also been some extremely talented players who had ‘every shot in the book, but lacked certainty as to when to hit them’. If you are going to add a few fakes, and counter tendency shots to your game, you will add them at certain times, and use them only a certain amount. Think of it like cooking a meal. There are some ingredients that you only add at the end after everything else is prepared, and there are some like salt that used sparingly brings out flavor, but used too much can ruin the dish.
The Power Player
There is nothing fake about your game, don’t ever fake. Why fake yourself out? With the sometimes exception of playing a little defense when your opponent connects on some shots, your game is simple, you are pummeling them. Don’t complicate matters. You don’t have anything to spice up. You are the cayenne pepper.
Time and Space Pressure Player
Playing counter tendency is going to help you quite a bit, because opponents will naturally back up a bit against you, and being to move quickly to your most common point of attack. For instance if you come in to their backhand 5 straight times, but you see that they have already anticipated the backhand, and you can go to their forehand one time, it keeps them off balance. After five more to the backhand, if you mix in a drop shot, that helps, so do a short angled topspin shot pulling them off the court, or a deep down the middle moon ball approach.
After you have come in quite a few times, and especially against an opponent with great passing shots, taking one quick step in to make it look like an approach, but backing up immediately to prepare for what should be a short low shot from them. You can coax a better ball to approach on, and throw them off because they were all geared up for you to be at net.
Pressure Movement Player
Your game has not much mystery to it, but one counter tendency shot you can hit sometimes is to wrong foot them. Especially back to the backhand side. For instance, after you have hit a deep ball to D, and the other player is recovering hard to be able to cover A, if you turn them back around to C or D, then you can slow down their movement to A on future instances, because they will have to respect that you may wrong foot them. However if you wrong foot them often, then you would not be taking advantage of the one created with the first wrong footing.
Serving to the T, and unexpectedly hitting the ball at them up the middle of the court will also keep them honest from being able to run side to side. Again, don’t overdo it. Use it as a surprise tactic once or twice a game, but only after you have really established the side to side running game for them. You fake counter-tendency game is simply about keeping them honest, respecting that you can also center them, delaying their ability to run.
The Disruptive Player
If your racquet skills are there, you will be able to disguise your shots by showing one shot and then hitting another. Counter tendency would be to rally the same type of shot more than twice in a row. Is that a good idea? I haven’t see the disruptive player do that much, so I can’t say. It could be something early in a match to give the opponent a false sense of hope. A possible scenario is that after a point where you made an error, you might mutter to yourself loud enough for the opponent to hear, “C’mon, Rally!”, followed by playing one very plain point. This right before going back to your normal sinister ploys. Keep in mind, your game is about making the other player crazy, so get creative within the rules about all the different ways that can happen. I’m not suggesting using gamesmanship in any way, but a little trickery can go a long way.
The Counter Punching Grinder
You don’t have counter tendencies, you only have that one thing you do, so do it well. But if you get tired of it, consider another strategy. Doing anything different creates a level of risk with which you are uncomfortable, so please stay in your comfort zone. (I might soften this section for the book)
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