What’s Your Gamestyle?
What’s your gamestyle?
Tennis is a game which is played in many different styles both at the professional level but also at a social club level. These professional gamestyles are normally called Aggressive Baseliner, Serve Volleyer, Counterpuncher and All Court player. At a club level the styles are better defined as below:
This will normally mean that they have good pace on their 1st serve and can hit at least 1 of their groundstrokes aggressively. The good strong hitter wins by overwhelming their opponent with their speed of shot. This results in their opponent not reacting quick enough and therefore not able to hit the ball back in the court. The good strong hitter can also be intimidating to play against.
Weakness – consistency, one dimensional, over hitting
Professional game style equivalent – Aggressive Baseliner (Williams and Djokovic)
“Good at the Net”
This player is suited to doubles and enjoys quick reactions in the point. They may look at crossing on balls and see themselves as someone who likes to volley. This person will normally come in to the net whenever possible. They may be considered to have ‘good hands’ and have short efficient strokes. This style normally looks ‘pokey’ which where it suits volleys will have limitations from the baseline.
Weakness – lack of power from baseline, risk of short balls
Professional game style equivalent – Serve Volleyer (Rafter, Woodforde)
“Gets the Ball Back”
This player doesn’t normally hit very hard and likes points to be a slower and longer pace than the previous 2 styles. They enjoy long rallies from on or behind the baseline and use lobs as a way to both get back into points and also win points. This player is very patient and you will feel like you’re playing a ball machine. This player is limited in that they are normally only waiting for the other player to make a mistake. The more defensive counterpunchers may be labelled someone who ‘moonballs’.
Weakness – Quick reactions, moving forward, risk of giving easy ball to a volleyer.
Professional game style equivalent – Counter puncher (Hewitt, Radwanska)
“Smart and Steady”
I have called the All Court player the “Smart and Steady player” as at club level if you are decent from the baseline, have a decent serve and a decent net game then you can earn the (good) reputation of being steady (and smart). This player will have a good approach shot where they may not serve volley but have come in when a short ball presents itself. They should be proficient with hitting angles along with be consistent from the baseline. Like the Serve Volleyer, this player can have “good hands” and may play a good dropshot.
Weakness – Can struggle to lift up to a more aggressive gamestyle or more defensive game style when needed. May suffer from being Jack of all trades, master of none.
Professional game style equivalent – (Federer, Henin)
There are styles within gamestyles and it’s hard to fit everyone into a game style box but we all have preferences and understanding gamestyles can help us tactically play against others and embrace our strengths as players.
Our gamestyle can evolve over time also, personally my own tennis has gone from Counterpuncher to All Court Player, mainly because I’m in my mid 30s now and counterpunching can be hard work on the body!
There is no right or wrong style although pro tennis is now predominantly All Court Players or Aggressive Baseliners.
So which style are you?
Aggressive Baseliner – “Strong hitter”
Serve Volleyer – “Good at the net”
Counterpuncher – “Gets the ball back”
All Court Player – “Smart and Steady”