1.) Benefit of approaching cross court — it is a high percentage shot over the low part of the net to the deep part of the court. Negative about approaching cross court is that it is tough to cover the passing shot. You need to move very quickly to cover the down the line pass and in the process of doing so — might leave the cross court angle open.
2.) Benefit of approaching down the line line — it is easy to cover the passing shot. Negative about approaching down the line is that it is a low percentage shot. It is over the high part of the net, to the short part of the court, and it is a change of direction shot. Meaning two aggressive things are being done at once — moving forward and changing direction which makes it a very challenging shot.
3.) If approaching down the line — do NOT get beat down the line. Follow your approach shot. Cover the down the line pass first. If your opponent passes cross court — you will have time react. That is the longer pass and the ball passes in front of you.
4.) If you have no pass — get the ball to your opponent’s backhand volley. Most players typically volley much better on their forehand side compared to their backhand side.
5.) If you pass down the line — you better hit a winning shot. Your opponent will be able to volley short cross court if they get to the pass and the point is over.
6.) A cross court pass (since it is a longer pass) at least gives you a chance to run the volley down.
7.) If your opponent hits a hard approach shot — play path on the passing shot. Easiest thing to do with a hard shot is send it back to the direction it came from.
8.) Do not move forward and lob. The court is shrinking Very tough to time.
9.) Do not put too much pressure on yourself to win the point with the approach shot — trust your volleys.
10.) Know the rules but be flexible based on each particular match. Have a simple plan.