Recreational play should be different than competitive tournaments. When there is a mixed level of players, it is certainly more social to slow the pace down to weaker opponents to give them a fair chance of returning your shots. To hit every shot hard and to the weaker player just ends the point quickly. The weaker players can get intimidated and withdraw from playing. On a recent Sunday where we get visitors, there were 3 women who I overheard saying that that they weren’t going to play anymore. One was going for a walk, one going home, and the 3rd was going to watch. I asked the 3 to play with me as the 4th and I promised that we would have a fun time. I asked them why they were going to stop playing? They said it was due to the pace of the ball and they were scared they would get hit and they couldn’t handle the faster balls.
One of the conclusions that I came to is, in a perfect world, the better players will have developed their games to be consistent with their placement and their power. Then players can hit balls to extend the point verses hit each ball with the intent of ending the point. There would be longer points, all would enjoy the game, and winning would be secondary. The better players could also hit balls to the better player on the other side of the net.
To the weaker players, I have a question. Are you intimidated in returning a better player’s serve? Probably not. So stay back near the baseline and return balls from there. There is no need to get up to the NVZ line if the pace of hard hitter’s shots scare you and your volley is no match for the drives. It is a good strategy to stay back and do your best to keep the ball in play.