Tennis Pro Tips
Four Steps to Better Tennis
By Gene Johnston (U.S.P.T.A Certified Professional)
No matter what level of tennis player you are, you’ll improve your game and have more fun if you take these 4-steps to better tennis.
Pick a Pro
Personalized instruction is the key to success in a high skill-level game such as tennis. If you are a beginner, instruction is the best way to master tennis fundamentals; if you are an advanced tennis player, instruction can help you perfect fine points of your game, but be certain of the qualifications and credentials of your instructor. “Professional Pride” is the motto of the United States Professional Tennis Association, the organization which certifies tennis teaching professionals. Beginning, intermediate, and advanced players all benefit from professional instruction.
Along with instruction, practice is required to reinforce newly acquired skills. Developing your tennis game means developing good practice habits and sticking to them. Thousands of tennis balls must be hit, many hours must be spent on the court before confidence and a high level of skill is attained. Practice time is valuable – ask your pro for practice tips and to arrange good practice partners for you. Practice as you play and play as you practice.
Have Your Play Rated
Have your play rated by your pro. Your professional instructor knows your game and can quickly tell you if you if you are playing up to your capabilities. Your pro will be able to point out areas that need more concentration. Having your play rated helps all tennis players enjoy the game by providing a method of classifying your skill level for more compatible matches, group lessons, league play, tournaments, or other programs. There is no substitute for on-court performance, evaluated by a professional instructor, as a measure of playing ability. This rating system chart may serve as a guideline for you.
Set New Goals
Setting new goals will keep your incentive and enthusiasm for tennis high. It will give practice hours more direction and meaning. Check with your pro to pinpoint new goals to work towards to improve your tennis game. Then go about achieving those new goals with a sound, systematic plan and approach.
Five Steps to Improve Your Tennis Game
As with anything involving skill, there is always room for improvement. Even the most avid tennis player can benefit from simple tips to play their best game, every match. Whether you play tennis for fun with friends, or participate in tournaments regularly, adding a few simple tips can increase your skills and have you playing better with each and every game. Follow these 5 steps to improve your tennis game and you’re sure to notice improvement in no time!
Pay Attention to Your Opponent
Utilize warm up time to learn about your opponent. Once you’ve been able to assess their strengths and weaknesses, you can plan a strategy in your mind for game play. You can choose to attack your opponent’s weaknesses or play off their strengths. If you do not get enough of a feel for your opponent’s play during warm up, try out different patterns early in the game. Focusing on strengths, weaknesses, and play pattern will help you to formulate a unique plan to win the most points possible.
Develop a Pattern of Play
While having several different patterns of play can ensure you are equipped to handle any opponent, developing and sticking to one or two trusted plans can keep you focused and hitting only the strongest shots every time. Develop a plan that works with your own strengths and weaknesses to keep you centered on taking the shots you know will work. Some people find it helpful to record their practice sessions to analyze later. This strategy will give you an outside look of your playing and let you see what you need to change and improve to play the best game possible.
Increase Your Practice
The old adage “practice makes perfect” holds true in the game of tennis, as well. If you normally practice on the weekends, add another day or two during the week to tweak your game. Practice does not have to be lonely and daunting; you can join a club, take private or group lessons, or compete in tournaments. Extra practices will give you a chance to discover and improve on your own weaknesses and hone your strengths. This is also the perfect opportunity to develop and practice your latest pattern of play.
Play Against Stronger Players
Just like with lifting weights, growth does not happen without change. As your game improves, you will want to play against a wider variety of players. Though playing and practicing with stronger players may result in less wins, at first, this will eventually make you a stronger player over time. Playing against stronger players challenges you and forces you to up your game and gets you used to playing outside of your skill level during tournaments. The next time you enjoy a match with a player more skilled than you, invite them for a friendly game sometime. Playing against opponents above your level will be sure to increase your game significantly.
Physical fitness is the cornerstone to success with any sport. While tennis does not require a muscled, fat-free body, it is important to keep fit and healthy during play. Be sure to eat meals low in fat and high in protein and energy before practices and matches. It is also imperative to stretch before any activity and stay hydrated during each practice session, match, or tournament. Also be sure to get enough sleep before and after matches and check with your physician to be sure you are healthy enough to compete in tournaments. Proper attire and footwear is important to ensure you play your best and avoid stress or injury to your body.