The 4Rs model helps players focus their attention on the play situation to move more effectively in order to select the right stroke and strike the ball effectively in the hitting zone.

READ (DECISION MAKING by anticipating opponent’s actions):

This is the ability of the receiving player to tactically read the situation to make a decision by anticipating the opponent’s target area and the anticipated CHARACTERISTICS of the ball as the opponent plays it.

RESPOND (COVER action as opponent hits the ball):

Based on the receiving player’s decision on how the opponent will play a shot, the player responds (split-step action) as the ball is hit to cover the target area and prepare a stoke for the type of shot to be sent back.

REACT (ADJUST action - hitting zone):

This is the final set-up to effectively execute a stroke.  By tracking the ball from the opponent’s racquet the player has to react to the ball making adjustments so that his/her body weight shifts appropriately to execute an effective stroke.  A key characteristic of an effective stroke is the ball being struck in the hitting zone for the player--the zone just in front of the leading body part at a comfortable height (between knee and shoulder).  There is no one-way to hit any stroke, although the technique does need to apply biomechanical principles that allow the player to improve according to his/her own style and play characteristics.

RECOVERY (BASE to set-up for the next shot):

This is a player’s recovery from the skill execution to prepare for the next stroke and reflective learning from the experience of executing the skill.  A balanced base is a key characteristic of this phase.  Through the proper awareness of the outcome of the stroke execution players learn from their experience.  A key characteristic of this phase is player’s positioning.  A player should position him/herself in the court to prepare for the expected reply by the opponent.  If a stroke is unsuccessful the experience should give feedback to the player to help improve skill selection and skill execution next time.

A more detailed description of the 4Rs model can be found in the following article

Hopper. (2003). Four R's for tactical awareness: