By Amy Pazahanick
Be unpredictable! I do not care how good your crosscourt forehand is, if you hit it there every single time, your opponent will eventually start to catch on. If you love your lob shot, then hitting a drop shot on occasion will make your lob that much more effective. If you love your forehand topspin, hitting a forehand drive every so often, will make the top spin more of a surprise.
While you are busy trying to be unpredictable, notice your opponent’s predictable patterns. Let’s face it; it is simply human nature to be predictable. Just as it happens in life, it almost always happens on the tennis court, look for and notice your opponent’s patterns. Once you notice them, anticipate early and get your opponent to hit shots they are more uncomfortable with.
When you have the lead by a large margin, make sure you continue to play to win. This is the time when you are the most susceptible to “over relaxing” and sometimes start hoping your opponent will just give the match away. This is least likely to happen for your opponent, because now he or she has little to lose (since they are so close to losing anyway), thus they tend to relax and start playing better tennis. When you are on top, stay on top.
You have to be relaxed! I have never heard anyone say, “Bob played great today, he looked so tight”. Quite the opposite, it’s more like, “Jill looked effortless today, she played so confident and loose.” To get your muscles to do what they need to do, they need to be loose!
Use varying degrees of aggression when you play. Know when to be offensive, neutral, and defensive.
At the end of every point you play, notice and ask yourself, “What just worked or what just did not work?” This sounds so simple, but how many times, do we repeat things that do not work, and don’t do the things that work when we play? The more awareness you place on noticing this, the better you will play.
All the strategy on the planet will not do you any good if you do not have the proper execution skills. Make sure you spend time working on your technique so you are prepared to execute your excellent strategy.
Focus on what you can control: you.
Amy Pazahanick is the former Director of Tennis at White Columns Country Club in Milton and the Founder of Agape