fast dead balls at LP's

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mts288
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Joined: 03/05/2011

I've had my backhand LP's (OX) for about 6 months.  Saturday my opponent started serving hard no spin balls at my body and I didn't have an answer.  What's my best solution?

Larry Hodges
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Joined: 11/19/2010
Re: fast dead balls at LP's

This is a natural weakness for long pips blockers, but it can be overcome. First, you need to take the ball right off the bounce. Second, you need to quick-block the ball back at wide angles and low to the net, and somewhat aggressively. This is key - you can't just plop it back weakly. Third, it helps if you can change directions at the last second, i.e. aim one way, and then, as the opponent reacts to that, you change directions. Some players even "squeegee" the ball, i.e. aim one way, and sort of sidespin swipe at the ball so it goes the other way, with a little sidespin. (Not a lot of sidespin, of course, since the long pips won't create much spin.) 

The difficulty is being able to do these things. If you are having trouble reacting to the fast serve to the middle, then you need to have someone do this serve to you over and over so you can practice it. Ideally step over to cover the ball with your backhand. If the ball is going high, you are probably hitting the ball too softly, and you probably need to close your racket more or chop down on the ball slightly. 

Hope this helps!

mts288
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Joined: 03/05/2011
Re: fast dead balls at LP's

Thanks Larry, it did help.  I beat a short pipper last night that I rarely beat.  I had trouble with quick off the bounce shots, but I did many sidespin placement shots in all directions.  I also did some step arounds and made good forehand shots.  He then had to go to other serves that I was also comfortable with.