Ever wonder to yourself “why do the pros keep hitting the ball back to each other?”. Often times you will see pros get into repetitive cross court court rallys. The reason is, each is waiting for an opportunity to hit down the line that would give them an advantage. Hitting cross court is safer, so a smart player will often only hit cross court unless there’s an opportunity that out weighs the risk. Most of the reasons that cross court is better are pure geometry. Tennis is a game of angles, and you need to know how to take advantage of them.
Here are three main reasons that you need to be playing and practicing cross court:-
1. There’s more room to hit to! In fact, a lot more room to hit to. Every tennis court is 78 feet in length. When you aim down the line, thats about how much room you’re going to have to lift the ball over the top of the net, and still have it fall safely within the lines. From corner to corner cross court in singles, you have an extra 4 and half feet! Thats huge. Think about how many ground strokes you miss by a foot or two, if you were smart and aimed to the largest part of the court, these mistakes would be reduced. In doubles, the difference between down the line and cross court is a full 8 feet. Thats larger than a 10% increase in space to hit to.
2. The net is lower in the middle. When you hit from corner to corner on a tennis court, not only are you using the largest amount of court space available, but you’re hitting over the lowest part of the net. You’ve now decreased risk in two different ways. At the net post, a regulation net is 3.5 feet. At the middle, it is 3. So that cross court return in doubles gives you an extra 8 feet of court, and half a foot of net.
3. When you hit at an angle, your opponent has to work harder to get to the ball. When you hit cross court, your opponent will have farther to travel to get to the ball, as opposed to hitting down the line. The angled shot will travel farther and farther away from him or her the longer it takes for them to retrieve it, where as a ball hit straight will continue to stay the same distance from them through out its path.
So why risk yourself by hitting down the line when you can play safer shots by hitting cross courts.