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Passing the Eyeball Test

In a perfect world, everyone would like to hit with players at an equal or greater level than them themsleves.  It makes perfect sense, the ball always comes within the vicinity of one or two steps with solid power and consistency.  On the flipside, ill-informed players rather not hit with so called "scrubs".  I am calling them ill-informed for the simple fact that hitting with so called "scrubs" can be really beneficial to your game. 

Think about it from a different point of view.  

a)  The ball never comes to you.  That is great!  One of the best ways to determine who passes the eyeball test for being a good player if you are watching from the sidelines is if a player can track down any kind of shot and place it perfect to their hitting partner.  Now think about that.  How often does a "scrub" make you perform below par?  I already know the answer, most of the time.  For obvious reasons, the ball never comes within a 5 feet radius of you, the randomness of pace, heights, depths completely tinker with your timing, and mentally it wears on you.  Guess what?  Sounds like a real tennis match.  

b)  With all this variability being thrown in your direction, you can really develop a wide array of skills.  Your goal is to lay the ball right onto their racquet without having for them to move.  Can you put it there in such a way that doesn't require them to move wide, deep, or short and doesn't require them to deal with too much or too little pace and doesn't require them to raise or lower their racquet at contact?  Yes that's pretty tough, but that's what good players can do.  

c)  Improving your skills.  Sometimes the ball lands short and might bounce 5 times before it reaches the baseline.  Trust me, not an ideal shot for you to be scooping off the ground and having to generate enough pace to get it over the net.  A common problem rookies have is to overplay the shot.  Meaning if you have a semi-western forehand and the ball has no pace and is 3 inches off the ground- Why are you hitting a topspin forehand?  The experienced and mature player would saavily turn the grip towards a continental eastern grip and gently slice the ball in a way that the "scrub" can hit it back again.  These little skills can add up and help you win important matches against the equal to better players.  These are the types of shots average players miss and good to great players rarely miss. 


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