The counterpuncher is one of the more fearer opponents, and I have personally struggled many times against this type of player and see my students go through many of the same struggles that I did.
There is an important mental shift that you need to make when playing this type of player. You need to think like a businessman on some level.
So lets do a reality check of what is probably going to happen:
- You are going to play longer than normal points
- They are not going to go for a whole lot of winners, or risky shots
- There will be a lot of floating deep balls from them on defense
- Points will be reset to neutral
- You will be passed when you come in
You must be aware of your skill set, if you normally make 6 out of ten big forehands, then you need to know going in that this is what you have to work with, don’t expect to make 10 out of ten and be frustrated when you miss.
Once you have your mind ready to accept these conditions, and you are prepared to go for 3 hours if necessary, now its time to impose your style on them with the goal of creating a small margin, 52 points won/ 48 lost, something like this, enough to get the win.
- Controlled aggression with margin to big targets, and looking to complete the Half X pattern
- Practice your ability to take the ball out of the air, volley or drive. Not as much to try win the point from here, but not to let the deep defensive ball push you way behind the baseline
- Taking the ball on the rise. Keep control of the middle by taking some balls on the rise, again, more to redirect and control the center, than to attack and hit winners
- Use the big inside out forehand to set up the forehand inside in
- When the ball is in the middle of the court, look to take time away with excellent ball recognition and footwork, and drive the ball to the weaker side
- Look to go back behind them when pulling the trigger with the forehand weapon
- Move them forward and backward
- Serve percentage high, and first ball forehand percentage high
- Look to attack the second serve and dictate with the forehand
I hope this helps you with your preparation for your next battle with a counterpuncher. My final thought is that often, its YOUR ERRORS that they rely on for most of their points, actual errors, or errors in court position that they capitalize on.
So look to be mentally and physically disciplined for an extended period of time.