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Friday, August 5, 2016

How Close to the Kitchen Line?

I've posted many times about the strategic goal of getting to the kitchen line. I've also posted about what it means to be at the line, i.e., within 6 inches. Mark Renneson has a video called Get to the Line that highlights the reasons why this is important.

Mark exemplifies the correct positioning in the first photo. Note his position is within inches of the kitchen line even after shifting to his left.

Now, by comparison, some lower rated players are shown in their typical position as much as 1-2 feet behind the kitchen line.

But why does this matter? For 2 reasons. The first reason is that opponents can more easily get shots to your feet. This requires either a difficult low volley or, more commonly, an awkward shot backing away from the net. The ball is highlighted by the arrow and is shown after bouncing near where the player had been positioned.

The second reason is that even a gift of a high volley is less effective from farther back. Mark mentions the additional time that gives opponents to get to your shot but there is a more important factor to me. It reduces the angle for you to get to your opponents feet. The farther behind the kitchen line you hit a volley, the more likely it is to be high.

In summary, getting close to the kitchen is good for both defensive and offensive play. Get to the line and stay there.

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