Written by Ian Westermann
Singles Strategy Video — 21 November 2013
What Style Should You Play?

Today’s lesson topic is all about singles strategy. Specifically, which style of play is best to use during a match?

John wrote in and told me that he was having an “identity crisis” because he has two very different styles of play that he enjoys using. What should he do?

Well, you’ll find out in this video that John doesn’t have a problem so much as he has an opportunity.

Questions? Comments? Leave them down below. Thank you so much for taking the time to watch!

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  1. Ian…

    Unlike John, I'm lucky to NOT have an identity crises – I come in on everything humanly possible and try to avoid the baseline and ground strokes as much as I can.

    Unlike John, I'm unlucky to NOT have an identity crises – and just don't have the ground strokes to hang in with good players from the baseline. (Not really "unlucky" … I just haven't developed the ground stroke stills like I have my serve, approach shots, volleys, and overheads. I think I'm inspired to be like John and see if I can develop the back court skills and create an identity crises for myself.)




  2. John doesn't have a problem!! He needs to be on tour,good from everywhere on the court? Sounds like a good all court player.Sadly a dying breed in todays game. You will notice the top 4 or 5 players have the ability to finish the point from the net. Even Nadal needed to come in when appropriate to achieve success on all surfaces. I still miss the serve and volleyers from my day, Stan Smith.Arthur Ashe and the best I ever saw Pancho Gonzalez.

  3. Hi Ian

    Thanks for the great video clips.

    I guess a follow on question from singles strategy is how do you handle a game where you know your opponent is a lot better than you? (Or what can you do to give yourself a chance?)

    Thanks again.

  4. Ian,

    Thanks for the tip. That's a great attitude to carry onto court for any match. It puts one in the right frame of mind. Even against an opponent who consistently beats you, it stops you from dropping your head from the start & loosing the mental game even before a ball is struck. Regards,


  5. Thanks, Ian. I wish I was good enough to have a style. But I love the idea of the adventure. This is a good approach for me to use.

  6. If john truly has that variety, he can exploit it by using it against his opponent. Even a target-seeker will start missing some, for example, if john varies his style a as one times coming in in true sv style, but sometimes faking an attack and working from the baseline. Your opponent wants you to be a consistent identity, not a changing player. There are many potential "free points" in changing, but it requires extraordinary concentration. There is also an incredible amount of information about your opponent which can be garnered in this fashion. You may just break down that strength. Use the adventure to give him the identity crisis!

  7. Adjusting and adaptive to the match is so important. Also exploiting opponents weakness constructing points so that you get balls to your strengths are worth keeping in mind.

  8. Ian,

    This is tailor-made for me! I'm not as good as the writer from what it sounds like, because I find myself inconsistent at both net-rushing and staying back, but I'm just good enough at both to not know which one to use. I like the idea of it being an opportunity and an adventure. That gives me a better mindset instead of being frustrated all the time. Thanks!