Having trouble playing against flat hitters!
Recently I've been playing with this guy who hits very flat, and almost all flat. I'm a SW grip top spin style player myself and most of my hitting partners are of the same style. I found myself very uncomfortable with the fast, low trajectory and low bouncing balls this guy hits back at me. He does make quite a bit more errors than me - normal for a non topspin forehand I guess, but on the balls he does hit back, they very often barely clear the net with very fast pace and low bounces, and often with quite weird angles.
I constantly reacted too slow to these balls, resulting in winners against me or weak returns that couldnt go over the net. First of all I had big troule judging the landing position on these balls. With a topsin ball I felt like I could have a clear view of the ball going over the net (even if it's fast and powerful), and I can expect the ball to land deep somewhere close to the base line (even if it's a shorter ball I have plenty of time to move in and be aggressive). But with this style of flat ball very often I couldn't even tell if it's going over the net, and landings can be fairly unpredicable. The low bounce makes any late preparation very costly.
Secondly the balls felt way out of my comfort hitting zone for my grip and swing. I felt like I couldn't bring my power (all the torso rotation, the swing, and follow thru etc) into these balls at this height. The resulting shots are often weak.
Your advice on how to handle this type of balls will be appreciated.