In this episode, I answer a reader’s question on “How to scout an opponent?”
You’ll learn what I am looking for if I get to watch my opponent before our match.
A few of the questions answered include:
- Where should I watch my opponent from during their match?
- What are the most important shots to look for when scouting?
- How do I use the warmup to scout effectively?
- When should I make adjustments to my plan?
This episode is great for competitive players who have a chance to watch their opponent’s match before they play. I do this all the time at USTA tournaments.
Upcoming: On Thursday, July 28, I’ll be hosting a doubles webinar with Craig O’Shannessy from Brain Game Tennis. Craig, who has worked with Novak Djokovic, the ATP, and speaks at tennis conferences worldwide, will be sharing his best strategies and tactics for doubles. I’ll be presenting my WTA scouting reports used at the Australian Open & Wimbledon.
Notes from this Podcast
Here are some of the things I mention in this podcast episode:
- Doubles Webinar: Thursday, July 28
- Topic: Patterns & percentages of winning doubles strategy
- Register for the doubles webinar here
- Register for Craig’s singles webinar here
- Podcast: Craig O’Shannessy Interview – Craig will be co-hosting the webinar with me.
- Where should you scout from?
- The ideal place to watch a match is from behind the court because you are able to read angles. If it isn’t possible, try to be near the baseline, but avoid the net post.
- Charting the match
- The serve is the only shot we can control, so we should look at their return first.
- Look for which side induces more errors, their contact point, and the direction of their return.
- Next, decide what serves they like. Consider shading that side to force them to try something new and see if they are running different formations.
- Remember, a plan is just a starting point and should evolve when new information surfaces.
- Look to see if they serve & volley, if they like to be at the net, which player is stronger in different situations, and how you can expose that.
- Matchups are key here. Compare yourself to the opponents and think of ways to match up your strengths against their weaknesses.
- Consider their technique to determine which shots/positions they might struggle with.
- For example, players with extreme western forehand grips might struggle with low slices.
- How do their strengths/weaknesses compare to yours and your partner’s? Adjust accordingly.
- Who should you attack if they’re both at the net/baseline? Generally, go for the weaker player’s backhand volley or weaker groundstroke.
- What will you do if they serve and volley?
- When you’re warming up, look for tendencies.
- In the Peter Lebedevs interview, the Dallas Open tournament director suggests hitting body serves at them during warm up and see which way they turn to determine their stronger side.