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Control the Ball. Control the Point

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By Marcus Rutsche, Director of Racquet Sports, Country Club of Roswell

Depth on shots should be the primary goal for all players once they have acquired a good level of consistency in their all-around game. Week after week, I watch players and notice how they start losing: first a point, then a game, and finally the match by hitting a great deal of short balls.

Why shouldn’t I hit a short ball? Short balls allow your opponent to:

  • Control the point…by having time and optimal court position
  • Neutralize the net player’s ability to poach or be a threat
  • Force the baseliner to maintain the same direction of the ball, allowing the opposite net player to be more active and poach more balls
  • Choose to hit their favorite shots to your least favorite shot
  • Keep you in the defensive mode
  • Make you react

I understand, Coach, how can I fix it? It is in the preparation: get set early, turn your shoulders, get your racquet back early and position yourself behind the line of the ball, and move forward to swing through the ball. Complete the motion and trust your follow-through.

Would I win more points, games, and matches? You will control your destiny for sure by making your opponent:

  • Hit the ball in the same direction
  • Run
  • Hit the weakest shots in her game
  • Play under defensive conditions

I believe, YES, you will WIN more matches. When playing, think consistency first and depth second before power.

Marcus RutscheGPTA Teaching Professional Spotlight: Marcus Rutsche
Submitted by USTA

Hometown (City/State): Johns Creek, Ga

How did you get involved in teaching tennis? Through my childhood coach needing help as a teenager with kids’ classes.

Diehard fan of what sports team? Penrith Panthers Rugby League

Best part of your game? Forehand

Dream doubles match would be me and… Roger Federer

When I’m not teaching tennis, I’m… Playing with my five-year-old twins.

My favorite tennis memory is: College tennis craziness

My favorite professional player is: Rafael Nadal

#1 reason why I enjoy teaching & coaching tennis: Relationships with students, fellow pros, and ability to hit tennis balls every day.

What important tennis message do you want to promote? Tennis should be thought of as a lifestyle goal, not a destination goal. With a healthy connection to the best physical, mental, and emotional sport on the planet, your life will be enriched for many years beyond your ability to play.

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