You are invariably going to run into a ‘Pusher’ who is going to dish you moonballs, when you play competitive tennis at amateur level. When I was getting started in tennis and ran into my first ‘Pusher’ in a tournament, I was if nothing else, just pissed off. I was fuming inside me that my opponent is not playing tennis the right way. I got pulled into playing his style of game in the match, but my natural tendency to go for the winner seemed to result in success sometimes, but more often in an unforced error. At the end of the match I was left in contemplation as to how did I ever lose this game, when my opponent didn’t have a single winner throughout the match. Have you been left with this feeling before ? Here’s what I learnt about playing moonballs,
First things first,
The mental aspect of playing the moonball or a ‘Pusher’ is very crucial. Look at it as just another type of play that has to be countered with your own strategies. Enjoy the feeling of neutralizing it with your own weapons rather than dreading it !
Here are some of the options that you have,
- Step in and take the moonball on the rise and take away the time from your opponent. Letting it rise high will only make it more difficult. If the opponent has a weaker side target your return there so that the opponent’s return will be weak and increases your chances to putaway the ball.
- Moonballs usually give you enough time to run around your backhand and play an Inside Out or Inside In Shot.
- If you don’t have enough time to run around and have to play the backhand, then make sure to do a cross step as you go back so that you get the shoulder turn needed to put enough juice on the shot.
- If it is your ‘bad hair’ day and consistency of your ground-shots is terrible and is resulting in unforced errors, try to,
- Play a moonball back to opponent’s weaker side and rush the net to get a winner with a volley. (Opponent may be more focused on your moonball rather than noticing your court position)
- Slice away or keep your return low, digging up a moonball is a tough shot.
- Mix it up by drawing your opponent to the net, he may not be able to execute another moonball back
- Patience, Patience, Patience – there is no other way.