When you pay attention to tennis tournaments closely, you’ll find that most competitors consistently work the same way. Each tennis player, in principle, does have a unique way of playing that represents their particular skills and limitations.
As an opposition, you would like to figure out how they plan to exploit the flaws. As immediately as you recognize them, you’ve essentially won half of the game. Then you’ll be able to respond to virtually all of the strikes.
Tennis players may be classified into five main kinds, each of which has its own set of qualities. This page will explain the many sorts of players. Finally, you may decide for yourself whether you fall into category X or category Y, based on your playing style.
There are five types of tennis players out there. Our guide will tell you all about them. So, without further ado, let’s dive into it!
Style 1: The Aggressive Baseliner
Now, let us tell you first off that – aggressive baseliners are a scary type of player. They’re dominators!
The aggressive baseline tennis players are arguably the most well-known playing kind presently. Those players, even as the title indicates, crush his competitors from the baseline. They love to take the aggressive approach in exchanges – the long rallies, smashing rapid balls deep into the side of the court.
The aggressive baseliner’s prominent distinguishing feature is a strong backhand or forehand. The player will do this to maintain you running from the start, keeping you on the defense the entire time.
He loves to exploit aspects to force you off the court when he has the opportunity. Afterward, he attempts to end the rally on a high note. His desire to take chances on the tennis court is evident here, among many other factors. His strokes, on the other hand, are highly vulnerable to failure.
He is hesitant to advance to the net because the baseline is his field of expertise. He plans to complete the rallies as fast as possible if he ever gets to the net.
Style 2: The All-Court Player
The all-court performer integrates all abilities inside themselves, whereas the other players concentrate in a specific region. The said all-rounder can hit a wide range of strikes. On the tennis court, they also have a lot of discipline and stamina.
The all-court performer is essentially a consistent performer, and that is why you won’t notice any flaws at first sight. He is at ease both on the baseline and near the net, which allows him to maintain his technique poised.
Since he is equipped for nearly any circumstance, developing a plan against the all-court player is tough. In practice, he can easily adjust to your style of play.
The all-court player’s lone flaw is his lack of a genuinely exceptional stroke. His skills are just mediocre when contrasted to competitors of other sorts.
Style 3: The Counterpuncher
The counterpuncher likes to keep it defensive, and you’d see him primarily going along the baseline. As a result, he’s sometimes referred to as a defensive baseliner, mainly a counterpuncher.
In theory, the counterpuncher will not aim to take control of the rallies. Rather, the player would merely return the shots to the opposite end of the court in response to his opponent’s strokes. His excellent movement would be another trait of the counterpuncher. He can act swiftly on the field, nearly actually covering all of it at times.
Overall, the counterpuncher is a conservative player who waits for you all to make an error. Despite his ability to position balls with intent, he seldom initiates an assault. These are only a few explanations he produces, so few blunders are because of this.
Style 4: The Pusher
A pusher is a defender who only competes on the defending side of the field. He might also be thought of as a much more ferocious form of the counterpuncher. A pusher is an incredibly inactive player on the pitch since all he needs to do is give the ball back.
The pusher, like the counterpuncher, wants you to make mistakes initially. Typically, he strikes the balls with a great arch and minimal pace. In this approach, the pusher seeks to throw you off balance. He tends to hit his strokes in the center of your court, ensuring that he commits few errors.
Most of the time, this tennis player uses a primary swing method. With his racquet, he primarily avoids the ball. Despite this, the pusher is capable of reaching virtually all of the balls. He’s also good defensively, and that it’s difficult to shake him from out his stupor. Extended rallies against a pusher are frequent as a result.
Style 5: The Volleyer and the Server
The serve-and-volley player is becoming an outlier as a result of the overall baseline game. He has a solid attacking approach, coming to the net at virtually every breakout or rally. He intends to score a point via a smash or a volley as a consequence.
The serve-and-volley striker’s strong serve is an important feature. The serving, in a sense, serves as a warm-up for the net approach. Tall tennis players, in particular, tend to serve quickly and then rush to the net.
This sort of striker is frequently seen using the “chip and charge” technique on the comeback. Whenever his rival serves, this player style stands somewhat near the service position to strike the response as a semi volley. He would then sprint to the net to put stress on his rival.
A serve-and-volley striker’s overall goal is to make situations, or rallies, in particular, as brief as practicable. As a result, he attempts to stay away from the game near the baseline. As a consequence, the serve-and-volley striker’s worst flaw is his groundstrokes. The player’s smashes and volleys, on the other side, are completely proficient.
Define your playing profile
Are you a power player or an all-court player?
You should know that the all-court player is more adept at playing both defensive and offensive. On the other hand, the power player focuses on offense using his powerful shots to overpower the opponent. Power players are great in hitting smashes and finishing points.
Do you prefer to counter-punch or take control of a rally?
The counter-puncher’s goal is to just return the ball to the opponent’s side of the court. He has great shots that can even force errors in his opponents. If you are this type, then focus on your defense and look for opportunities when you can take control of a point.
Do you want to play with patience or do you go for the aggressive shots constantly?
If you are a player who loves to play aggressively, then focus on your weaker shots. You should practice these until they become as good as your better ones. The pusher plays defensively and waits for his opponent to make mistakes. His rally is short but he makes it long enough because of his great defense.
Do you push or do you wait for your opponent’s errors?
The pusher or counterpuncher is a defensive player who relies on aggression from his opponent. He takes little risk and stays in the court waiting for an opponent’s error.
These are just some of the styles you can choose from. You should focus on your playing style and make use of it to win over other players.
Would you say that your playing style is more risk-taking and risky, rather than a high percentage shot play?
If you want to be a high percentage shot play that is effective in winning points, then you should consider the all-court player. It doesn’t matter if your playing style is a pusher or a counterpunch what, but what matters most is how to use it effectively and efficiently.
Do you focus more on the serve or the return of service?
The player who prefers to focus more on the return of service is an aggressive shot player because he will make the opponent move around the court. This playing style is quite effective in wearing out your opponent.
Do you prefer to be at your opponent’s side, or do you have problems approaching the net?
A player who has problems approaching the net is considered a baseline player. These players are great at groundstrokes that help them win points from their opponent’s errors or mistakes.
Do you break down your opponent’s rhythm?
If you want to be a pusher, then this style suits you well. It doesn’t matter if your opponent’s rhythm is broken because you will be waiting for the right time to attack.
Also, your style can be a combination of any playing styles as long as you focus on your strengths and make it as effective as possible.
How accurate are your shots (very inaccurate, quite inaccurate, average accuracy)?
If you think that your shots are inaccurate, then you should practice them until they become quite accurate enough. Remember, focus on your shots to make them effective and strong. On the other hand, if you think that your shots are accurate, then practice them until they become as strong as possible.
How well do you cope with stress (very well, quite well, average)?
Great players handle stress very well because of their calmness and cool nature. However, if you have a problem coping with the pressure around you or inside you, then you should try some tips and tricks to make you a calmer player on the court.
Do you prefer to attack the net, stay back on defense, or both?
The player who prefers to stay back on defense is a baseline player. This person uses great groundstrokes and long rallies to win the courts’ position over his opponents. He lures them into hitting shots that he can easily return back, which frustrates his opponents and makes him win points.
What are your strengths and weaknesses as a tennis player?
In order to know your strengths and weaknesses, you have to play tennis with all your heart. After every match, take a look at your game and see what could be improved on by writing down the good things that happened and the weak points too. Then, make a list of what you need to improve on in order for you to become better in the game.
Do you have a coach or someone giving tips about your game?
Whether you have a coach or not, it is always good to consult with other players who can give feedbacks about your playing style. This way, you know what to improve on so that you will be able to become an effective player in this field.
How do you feel about playing doubles with someone else – is it intimidating for you or do you enjoy the challenge of playing with another person?
This is totally up to your preferences. If you are not comfortable in playing doubles, then it’s better for you to play singles. But if you think playing doubles is fun and challenging too, then go for it! Bouncing ideas with you partner can be very beneficial for each of your playing styles.
What type of court surface is your favorite – hard courts, clay courts, grass courts?
This is what you should decide first on which surface you are most dominant. Your first priority will be to focus more on your preferred playing style if it’s on grass, clay, or hard courts.
Typically there is a favorite surface for each player type. For example, aggressive baseliners prefer hard courts because of their speed and bounce. On the other hand, clay surfaces are most commonly used by pushers because they offer good control over shots with its slow pace.
Who are some players that have similar styles to yours?
You can ask your friends and family who play tennis to tell you some of the players that have similar styles as yours. Then, you will be able to compare yourself with those players. If you think there are similarities between their playing style and yours, then try doing drills or lessons from them because it will definitely improve your skills as a player.
How would you describe your personality – are you competitive or do you tend to lose focus on the court when things don’t go your way?
The competitive player is the person who never gives up. He will fight to win matches even if he doesn’t like the situation in the game. On the other hand, a player who tends to lose focus on the court when things don’t go his way needs to find ways to remain calm and composed when he goes back onto the court.
What are some tactics that are most effective against players with similar styles as yours?
You have to find out your playing style first in order for you to be able to choose the most effective tactics against similar players as yours. If you are a baseliner, then try rushing their net because this will throw them off track and it might lead them into making mistakes.
When you play against a player that is vastly superior to you, what type of game plan do you put into place and how do you execute it?
This depends on how far are you from that player’s skill level. For example, if you are way inferior than that player’s skill, then your game plan will be to just hang in there and fight for every point. However, if the difference is too much, then it might be better for you to ask someone else to play instead
Do you tend to get nervous when playing in front of large crowds – either fans or tournament officials?
This is a common feeling for tennis players because the exposure of playing onto such crowd can be overwhelming. However, if you can handle it well and stay composed during games, then playing in front of large crowds should not be a problem.
Left-Handed or Right-Handed Player
If you are a left-handed player, then that means your dominant hand is your left hand. This is important to know because this will let you know which side of the court you should be standing at during games.
Left-handed players prefer playing towards their right side of the court and vice versa. If you can’t tell which is your dominant hand, then go out there and try using both of your hands while hitting the ball. You will know which one is your dominant hand because it will feel more comfortable when hitting the ball.
If you are a right-handed player, then that means you are more comfortable on your left side of the court. If you are playing against a left-hander, then try moving further to the right side of the court. This is because your opponent will be serving towards you and you wouldn’t want him on your backhand side.
If you are playing against another right-handed player, then stay on your preferred side on the court. This way you can hit easier shots since you will be playing with your dominant hand.
Level of Competition Played At (Recreational, Intermediate, Advanced).
If you are a recreational player, then that means you don’t participate in competitive games. In order to move up into the intermediate level, then try playing more games against other players. These could be either head-to-head matches or group tournaments where winners will advance to the next rounds. This way, you can gain experience and upgrade your skills as a player.
Once you have gotten some experience under your belt, then it’s time to play more advanced matches against other players. This will be a step up from the intermediate level and you need to be ready for this since it requires higher skills. You can reach this stage if you have already gotten several wins against people at the intermediate level.
There are many players who have the skills needed to play at an advanced level but due to lack of practice, then they tend to fade away. You should try practicing often so that you can elevate your game to a higher level. This way, it will be easier for you to win games against other opponents.
Favorite Shot to Play
The answer will depend on your dominant hand. In case you have a left-handed shot, then it’s best to play with your forehand or right-handed shot, try using backhand shots during games. This way, you will give yourself an advantage against the opponent since they might be expecting a forehand from you and wouldn’t be guarded towards your backhand.
Assessing your own style
How to determine which player you are? After you answered all the questions above, you can now assess your own playing style. You should determine whether you are mainly an aggressive baseliner, defensive player, all-court, or a pusher. Then you can identify the tactics that would most likely be useful against similarly-styled players.
You should also check what type of game plan you would employ against players that are drastically superior to your level.
You should remember all this information to make it easier for you to choose the appropriate coach or training program for you if ever you will be facing such a situation. You can discuss this with your family or friends who play tennis too so they could give you some ideas.
Prominent Playing Styles in Todays game
In today’s game, and I say that personally, rallying far behind the baseline has become the norm. In the past, most players would prefer to take their time and go for a winner from the baseline, or at least push towards the net and finish the points there. With the advent of power-baseliners who can hit winners from mid-court or even from inside the baseline, many players have resorted to make a rally far behind the court in order for them not to be an easy target. This kind of playing style has led the way for many players to easily adjust to this new norm.
The advancement in racquet technology has also led players to acknowledge that they can attain the same power if they take a few steps back, rather than pushing forward to the net and taking the risk of losing the point.
Can you switch styles of play?
Of course, you can. If you are a baseliner but it seems that your opponent is too good for you, then there is no point in sticking to what you do best if ever the outcome will be the same. This does not mean though that in order for you to win a match in front of a tough competitor, all you have to do is to play like them or know how to tackle their “challenging” style.
This means that you should be able to recognize the fact that you are out of your comfort ‘opponent’s’ zone, and it is time for you to adapt or adjust accordingly. If ever after some minutes or games into the match you see that this will not work against your opponent, then switch again based on research specific to the opponent.
Is there one style better than the other?
People ought to believe that usually, the “All-court” playing style or playing profile is the most complete because it reminds of Roger Federer or other magnificent players, it might be true, because playing an ‘all-court’ style, means you have balanced your skillset on each of the different skills required for the game.
Tennis is about recognizing the limitations that you have, taking them into consideration, then transforming yourself into someone with a different style. A lot of players can be labeled as aggressive or defensive but remember this is just their “style” of play.
As long as they keep on improving and making adjustments based on the game plan that they are working on, they can still win, even if their opponents are playing in an entirely different style.
This is the essence of being a good tennis player – you have to make the game plan work for you while at the same time understand what your opponent’s game plan is and how it will affect you both on the court.
It is all about making the right decision at the right time, and you can definitely do so if you know your opponent’s playing style and how to counter it.
Does the style rely on your physical characteristics?
Your physical characteristics will always be a big factor in choosing the type of style you will develop, by that I mean if you are tall and have long arms then it might be easy for you to hit winners from mid-court or even inside the baseline.
But if you know how to “read” your opponent’s play, and make the necessary adjustments then you can definitely come out as a winner.
It is really important to adopt the style that is most suitable for your body build, plus also remember that just because you have a very experienced coach who has his own methods of keeping you on top of the game, it does not mean that what he or she wants you to do is right for you.
If ever after just a few weeks or even days of training, your body already feels too much pain, and if you think that your coach is asking for more than what you can give at this point in time, ask yourself first whether the style he wants you to play is applicable for your current condition.
Altering style for different opponents each time
Remember that just because your coach says that you need to place your shots cross-court if the opponent is playing on the left side of his/her court, it does not mean that all opponents are playing this way.
Some players have very unique styles and they are indeed difficult to predict.
A good example is Serena Williams, on first look, it seems like her style is very risky and she only plays the balls that come to her backhand side, but in reality, she varies her play.
Don’t be afraid to adapt your game if you see that the opponent has a unique playing profile and this poses trouble for you. Do not always think about “playing your way” because sometimes in tennis, there is a need to be able to adjust.
In conclusion, playing style must not be focused only on the opponent’s type of play, but you have to realize that your style will always depend on your physical characteristics and this should serve as a guide for you so you can choose the right playing type from the start.
If you want to develop your playing style, try to look for your physical limitations and understand how to overcome the best. Just because, most of the time, we see that players with tall bodies have an advantage on the court – they can easily reach balls that are deep in the court – we cannot conclude that all tall players will be good in the game.
Make sure to strengthen your body, increase flexibility and improve stability (for tall players), this will give you an edge when playing against short opponents. Once you’ve done this part of the game, make sure to train with your coach on how to play using your newly-acquired skills.
Well, there you have it. We sincerely hope you’ve recognized the style of player in you by now. It’s vital to remember that while every type has its extravagant pros on the court. Many of them also have drawbacks that can potentially lead to a loss. Therefore, you need to examine both sides of the story to learn the tennis art!