Normally, when you approach the net, you will try to hit the ball deep and low. However, sometime you can surprise your opponent by hitting the ball short and low and come in.
Usually a player will approach the net down the line to gain good positioning, to the opponent’s weakness to apply pressure or crosscourt to force the opponent. However, sometime an approach shot straight to the middle of the court is the best option, since the opponent will not be able to use angles.
A great way to cover the net better is to follow your shot. Regardless of what shot: serve, return, approach or volley, moving in the direction of your shot will always get you to the right position at the net.
Short balls are obvious opportunities to attack the net. However, there are other opportunities that are more subtle.
The most important elements of an effective approach shot are depth and height. If you are able to keep the ball deep, you will have more time to react to the passing shot since the ball will have to travel farther.
When approaching the net it is very important to be in the right position before the opponent hits the passing shot. Approaching down the line will make it easier for you to reach the ideal position at the net.
An opponent who is out of balance and uncomfortable will not be able to take advantage of you being out of position.
In general, approaching down the line will leave you in the best position to cover the opponent’s passing shot. However, if the opponent has a very weak side, take advantage of it and attack it relentlessly.