May 9, 2016 - Move In to Cut Off the Angles with Quick Blocks

A common problem when blocking (both forehand and backhand) is to cover the wide angles by stepping (or worse, reaching) sideways, and letting the ball come to you. While you do, of course, have to move sideways to cover these shots, a key part is moving in, and catching the ball off quick off the bounce. By moving both sideways and in, you can do the following:

  • Catch the ball before it has a chance to move even wider, which would force you to cover even more court;
  • Make a more aggressive block, which is easier to do when moving in than when moving sideways;
  • Stay in position since you don't have to move as much sideways, so you will be more ready for the next shot;
  • Rush the opponent by taking the ball quicker;
  • Angle the opponent right back. And since you have the potential for this wide angle, if your opponent over-reacts to cover it, you can go the other way, forcing your opponent to cover a lot of ground.

How do you do all this? By stepping in and sideways with the near foot. On blocks to your left (the backhand for a righty), step sideways and in with your left foot. On blocks to the right, step in and sideways with the right foot. In both cases recover quickly by stepping back.

So when your opponent is attacking at wide angles, learn to cut off those angles by stepping in, and turn a potential weakness into a strength as you turn the tables on the opponent with your own aggressive, quick-angled blocks. 

Re: May 9, 2016 - Move In to Cut Off the Angles with Quick ...

I am very upset with this tip.  If enough of my opponents read it one of my best tactics will be seriously hindered.

This tip combines so well with your blog comments about balance.  I find so many players who step BACK and sideways for wide balls and complain about not being able to reach them.  When I show them this "in and sideways" technique they are amazed about how easily they hit balls that they never could touch before.  It is just hard to get them (and myself) to make this move our default response instead of being an occassional response. 

Mark