Learning technique in tennis is the first thing that you do playing socially or at your club. However, if you want to progress to the next level then tactics need to be absorbed and this is normally done at a professional level with your tennis coach.
There are many myths regarding tennis strategy and if you study the pro’s playing try and work out which strategies they are using.
The reason why advanced players spend a lot of time working on tactics more than technique is that they are normally proficient with their stroke play, and so the tactical side can be the difference between winning and losing.
Tactics are a very important part of the game, but as important as they are, you must remember that without good groundstrokes it is impossible to make good use of strategy and tactics.
More Advanced = Less Time
The higher the level of tennis that you play the less time you will have to react to the shots that your opponent is playing.
When your opponent hits a groundstroke to you at 50mph, you have roughly 1.5 seconds to reach the ball and play your stroke, but at 70mph the time is reduced to about one second.
If you consider this, at the pro level players have between one and one and a half seconds to react to a groundstroke and return it. That is one and a half seconds to reach the ball, get prepared, and then swing and hit it back. Most social player have approximately double that time, although this is not very much either.
Aggressive Percentage Tennis
Most top pro’s use a strategy that may be called Aggressive Percentage, this is where they constantly put pressure on their opponents by not making any unforced errors. This is the basis for the modern professional game.
You can only utilise this tactic if your technique is perfect, and this is why good pro’s do not move onto tactics until their groundstroke game does not have faults.
It is a good idea for less developed players to be more patient and avoid aggressive play until their games have reached at least a USTA NTRP rating of 4 or 4.5. To play aggressive tennis you need reliable strokes and have the match experience and the start of weapons in your selection of strokes.
Also bear in mind that tennis is a very individual game, and there is no one strategy that fits all occasions. So adopting an aggressive percentage strategy must suit your opponents game.
Playing aggressively is risky, it can force you to make errors. You have to have a mind set that you will lose points and games, and that is part of the tactic that you are using. To be an aggressive player confidence is required. To have such confidence you have to be in possession of all the strokes in the game.