Thursday, December 9, 2021

Time Is on My Side

If you are like me and you are a fan of The Rolling Stones, then you recognize this week’s column title as one of their hit songs.

As players begin to comprehend the theory of offense and defense and how to apply their choice of shots accordingly, they tend to only focus on court position and not pay attention to the amount of time they have to execute their shot.

In addition to our court position, when the ball is on our side of the net, we need to realize if time is either on our side, or on our opponents’ side.

This realization helps us decide if are we going to be playing an offensive shot, or a defensive shot.

Offensively speaking, we need to have time with the ball on our side of the court to be able to steal time away from our opponents with the ball on their side of the court and put them on defense.

Defensively speaking, we need to pay attention to how much time our opponents have with the ball on their side of the court as well.

With that understanding, there is a variety of shots which we can utilize to take time away from our opponents such as:

  • A deep serve or return of serve, which forces my opponent to have to hit a return or a third ball shot from a position behind the baseline.
  • Taking the ball in the air in the no volley zone (aka a volley dink).
  • A lob from the no volley zone line.
  • A lob from the midcourt. 

All of the above-mentioned tactics should not only manage to put our opponents in a defensive nature, but should steal valuable time away from them, which will allow us to apply even more offense to the nature of our next shot(s).

So be like Mick and the boys and realize when you have the opportunity to say to yourself, “Time is on my side, yes it is.”

Wayne Clark is a professional tennis instructor with over 25 years’ experience coaching players on all levels of the game. Wayne is also qualified in pickleball instruction and is on staff as an instructor with The Pickleball Academy of Southwest Florida at East Naples Community Park. Contact Coach Wayne by email at, or by phone or text at 239-450-6161.

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