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What kind of strategy should you use when you play against someone who plays at a higher level than you, but is still beatable on a bad day? This particular player is very athletic, but she doesn't have topspin, doesn't have the best form, but just hits hard and flat, and gets to everything.

I have all the shots, but prefer the baseline. I am fast, but she has beaten me twice in the past, she's a little above my level, but still beatable.

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Consistency. That is the most effective way to beat a player who is at a higher level than you, especially someone who doesn't have topspin or great form.

Practice what my coach used to call your "rally ball." This is a topspin ball that should land around three-quarters court and should pass high (4-5 feet) over the net. If you are able to hit a ball like this consistently, you will suddenly find yourself beating players that play at higher levels. This shot is penetrating enough that your opponent will not be able to take advantage and hit offensive shots consistently, but it can extend a rally long enough for her to make an unforced error, give you a short ball, or get frustrated and go for an offensive shot from the baseline (which is very low percentage).

Please not that I am NOT telling you to push the ball. The rally ball is not a weak lob; it is a driving shot with topspin that will force your opponent to stay behind the baseline where her hard, flat shots will often miss long.

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