Today's Observation: We talk a lot about hitting the ball at the opponent's feet....forcing them to hit up. There is also a great deal of conversation about hitting to the middle because "the middle is money." Well, it is surprising how often players have the opportunity to play the middle but choose instead to play one opponent or the other. I understand playing weaknesses or the weaker opponent. I also believe that strong or weak, the middle, or what I choose to call the DECISION LINE, is a very strategic (and sensible) ZONE of the court to hit to. Schematically, it is the center service line that extends to the baseline. Balls hit to this zone (or on that line) force the opponent's to make a decision. They should communicate. Most do not. They both think "I've Got It" or "You Take It" and a sword fight ensues with the paddles, or neither goes after the ball----easy point for you. What is important to remember is that this Decision Line can float as your opponents move, or shade, a particular side of the court. Nothing changes....hit to their middle (dink is preferable) and make them decide. You will be pleasantly surprised at the number of easy points won when the day is over.
Today's Rules Clarification: I have noticed a trend in our play at Centennial Park. Remember when you first started playing? How aware (or even a little leery) you were of No Volley Zone violations. As you played more, and got comfortable with playing horizontally along the 7' line, you stopped worrying about the line and the violations. You felt comfortable, rarely stepped in the Kitchen, and enjoyed playing more. Herein lies a problem. In tournament play, the official stands at one net post or the other and officiates the game. He/she tells you before the match that his/her responsibility is NVZone violations---foot faults. All other lines are called by the players. In social play, ALL lines are called by the players. Back to the problem. I have noticed numerous NVZ foot fault violations not called by the hitting team. YOU are responsible for calling your own violation, or that of your partner. Your opponents should not. They can point it out....but you have to agree. No agreement...no violation....no more discussion. The suggestion: Do the best you can to look down at your feet (or your partner's) after hitting a winning volley (very hard during the rally). Just self-check. It is the proper and courteous thing to do.
Fun play today. 22 participants on another great morning. We have averaged (we have a sign-in sheet and I check closely) 18 players a session for nine straight weeks. Our high--25. Our low--12. Bravo.
Have a great day and, wherever you played today, think about 'How The Ball Came Off Your Paddle?' Hopefully, well-placed!!!!
|Hitting To The 'Decision Line'|