|Deep balls that land on or near the baseline demand special skills|
For some, perhaps one of the most difficult groundstrokes is the deep ball that lands on or near the baseline.
Martina Hingis was very good at taking the ball off the bounce, often choosing to stand her ground on deep balls and return the ball with excellent timing. I asked her once how she learnt to hit this type of ball so well. She told me that as a youngster her mother would sprinkle objects just behind the baseline, making it almost impossible to step back for deep balls. This had developed her ability to coordinate this very difficult ball.
If you are having trouble with balls that land deep and that give you little time to move back, try a similar drill to the one that helped Martina Hingis.
I’m sure you spend a lot of time hitting from the baseline during practice. Next time you practice, spend some of your baseline practice by keeping your feet inside the baseline. If the ball lands deep, resist the temptation to move back, instead keep your heels inside the baseline and take the ball where you stand.
You will find that you begin to automatically shorten your backswing on both the forehand and backhand sides, and your knowledge of the racquet-face angles needed for each shot becomes instinctive in no time.
This simple drill will give you many more opportunities to practice the half volley on the baseline and will increase your confidence when you have to play this shot in a match.