Pace-Intelligent Play-stateness and it's Remedy
The most useful service for a girl to use is a straight, overhead delivery. For this service the ball should be thrown high up over the right ear, the body bent back, and the right shoulder down; the left shoulder should be facing the net. She should reach up as high as possible, and hit the ball with the centre of the racket, following through to the left knee, or a little beyond it.
Position of feet as in accompanying illustration of Mrs. Lamplough, who has a first-class overhead service.
The player should try to cultivate a good second service; if she cannot acquire pace with accuracy, she should place her. service and vary its direction as much as possible. It is best to serve close behind the base line (note illustration), and not two or three yards outside it, as do so many lady players, thus giving themselves much more ground to cover, and probably spoiling the length of their service; men players never have this fault. Serve, as a rule, to the opponent's back hand, as that is usually her weak spot. In a double, it is a good plan to serve down the middle of the court, as it gives the player's partner at the net a better chance of killing the return. A cross-court service gives the opponent a much better chance of passing the player's partner at the net, and therefore should not be used so often. An underhand cut service is a very useful service to have as a change. I say as a change service, because I think an overhead delivery is the most effective for general use, and is excellent practice for overhead volleying. Men players usually dislike playing against this underhand service in a mixed double, as they do not quite know what to do with it. It keeps very low and breaks out of the court, therefore is very difficult to deal with effectively.
The accompanying photograph of Mrs. Larcombe (who always uses this service, as she finds it easy and natural to play, and, with plenty of cut on, an effective
A straight overhead delivery. The ball should be thrown up over the right ear, the body bent back, the right shoulder down, and the left shoulder facing the net one to use) will give some idea how it is played. It is important to start this underhand service correctly.
The player must remember, when waiting to receive the opponent's service, not to stand in a fixed attitude. She should lean somewhat forward, with the knees slightly bent, as this is the best position from which to "get going" quickly. The racket should be supported by the left hand (as in illustration), and she must stand so far back that she does not have to move back to receive the service. It is always easier to move forward. Another important detail for the player to remember is to see that in all three cases the splice of the racket is resting on the left hand, and the heels are off the ground, This wili prevent her from getting too fixed and rigid.
The Power of Anticipation Should be Cultivated
After taking a stroke, the player should not stand and watch its result, but get back into position quickly again, into the middle of the court, just outside the base line if she is playing from the back of the court, and close up to the centre of the net if volleying. She should then try and anticipate her opponent's next return, as this will greatly help her and give more time to get to the stroke, and so return it effectively. Beginners are apt to stand quite still, in a fixed position, until the very last moment; they then make a wild rush at the ball, without giving themselves sufficient time to make the stroke correctly, or consider where their opponent is in the court, or where it will be best for them to place the return. The player should not try to hit too hard at first, or to score outright with every stroke. Place is more important than pace; if placing and accuracy are first acquired, pace will soon follow.
Strokes should be varied as much as possible; the opponent must not be allowed to know what to expect. Let the player work for an opening, and then score outright. She must not become stereotyped, but play a different game with d i ff e r e n t methods against different opponents. Let her keep
Stan of the underhand service. This is a useful service to have as an alternative; though it is disliked by men players, it is often effective her whole attention on the game, and always know what she is going to do. She must not play aimlessly, with no idea of her opponent's weak points, or without any method of attack against her. It is best to attack before the opponent, getting her out of position and on the run, and then making the winning shot. In order to do this, a player must have a very good length, a clear knowledge of the angles of the court, and speed. If her opponent attacks first, it is much safer to play steadily on the defensive, trying all the time to get into an attacking position. Points are, of course, often won by returning an attack by attacking in return, and some players have the knack of making their best strikes from a difficult position. This is a somewhat risky plan to follow too often, because it is most difficult to win an ace outright off a severe good length ball.
Americans play this style of game; they are never on the defensive, but go for their shot every time, and win or lose the point.
It is certainly a pretty game.
It is best to play one's hardest all the time, and fight against slackness, even if winning easily, or if one has been behind and drawn level with one's opponent, as nothing is so difficult as to pull oneself together again after easing up. The player should never give up trying or get disheartened, however far behind she may be. Many important matches have been pulled out of the fire at the very last moment, and what at one time looked like certain defeat has been turned into a well-earned victory.
Staleness is a great danger to a player who is playing in a number of competitions and tournaments. The game should be given a complete rest when it becomes unattractive and the player is losing all interest in it, and only plays because she is expected to, and not because she derives any pleasure from it. The only remedy is to give the game up for a time, and to take up another game, so as not to drop exercise.
Waiting to receive service. The splice of the racket rests on the left hand, and the heels are off the ground to prevent the attitude becoming too rigid