Another champion among the questions I am asked by students at Balboa Tennis Club is "how can I beat players who hit moon balls all the time?"
There are players who are very competitive and they will do anything to win. Former professional player and high profile coach Brag Gilbert wrote a book called "Winning Ugly", which describes this type of player -- one who doesn't care about how he/she and their games look on the court. They just want to win. The "moonballer" hits high and deep balls with no pace all the time and are definitely a sample of such players.
Here are 5 tips on how to play against them:
1) Come to the net. Do it whenever you can and be ready to hit a lot of overheads. Keeping points short is key in a match like this.
2) Sneak in to volley. Hit some moon balls yourself, with your opponent -- no "moonballer" likes that -- and sneak in to the net behind one of them to surprise them.
3) Step into no-mans’s land to intercept the moon ball with a volley. This is a good way to neutralize the loopy balls. You may or may not go to the net behind it. Judge your first volley for that.
4) Hit on the rise. If you ever took lessons from me you know this is something I don’t teach and I don’t like it too much, but in matches like this it can be helpful in order to take time away from your opponent and keep points short.
5) Bring your opponent to the net. Hit "dinkers "and drop shots to draw him/her to the net. You don’t even have to hit a super passing shot, since they are out of their comfort zone and probably don’t know what to do there. Make them volley.
Respect all types pf players, be yourself on the court and apply these strategies. By doing so you have a chance to roll through the "moonballer".