Playing tennis is just as much in the mind as it is physical, you might be in the best physical condition and have good technique, but if your mind is not in the right place you will struggle.
Many top tennis stars have dips in form, and this is more to do with concentration and attitude than forgetting technique. You hear comments such as “he is struggling with his serve” and this is because a player has lost confidence in playing that shot even though he knows the technique inside out.
Sometimes this comes about because an opponent has forced you to miss a shot because his shots are too hard to get back over the net. This begins to play on your mind and upsets your confidence.
Many times subsequent errors happen not because of what the opponent is doing but because you are trying to hard to defeat your lack of confidence and are being too aggressive.
It does not matter how you are playing, unforced errors are difficult to get over as they are mostly your own fault. But it is a fact, the fewer mistakes you make the more chance you have of winning.
You need to reduce your mistakes, and one way of doing that is to play with a positive mind and simply refuse to miss.
For this to happen you need to change your game strategy, forget the big winning shots down the line, and play percentage tennis. The inherent problem with playing an expansive game is that you believe you can go for the big shots every point and you try to play them time and time again to prove to yourself you can do it.
How To Win
To win a tennis match you need to play “pretty good” shots most of the time and not one ace occasionally. Let your opponent try to hit the winners, while you play simply not to miss.
To do this effectively you need to take on board the following four tips:
- Height – With every shot your primary aim is to clear the net. Play with enough height to do this, if you are forced back on the baseline then return so the ball travels 4 feet over the net. This only keeps you in the game but allows you to return deep. Keep returning, and make your opponent play wayward shots.
- Prepare – You need to prepare properly before every game, get your eyes used to following the ball and your feet moving. Never just walk out on court unprepared.
- Keep away from the lines – Play percentage and keep away from the lines, play shots to land in play by four or five feet and this will definitely keep your errors down.
- Look up in trouble – When you feel you are in trouble always hit across the court with height. This is often the case when you are off balance or have not had the time to get into position properly. Keep the ball in play and take time to compose yourself.
Perhaps it is a good idea to go back to basics for a little while if you feel you are in this position. Take the opportunity with your tennis coach to practice playing percentage and get used to the playing ethic of not missing.
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