One of the keys to being a successful athlete is knowing what it takes to win. On the flipside, it’s also key to know why you lost. Whether your opponent was just having a killer game, you got frustrated with your equipment, or even that you weren’t physically feeling your best, they all point to a lack of focus. Whatever the reason, or excuse might be, there are still ways to overcome the loss and take the win in your next match. If you can stay true to these five steps, you will increase your odds of having amazing experience in your next match, no matter who your opponent is or their skill level.
1. First Serve
The first swing taken is one of the most important. If serving is not your strength, practice until it becomes a shot you’re confident about. Being the server should be an advantage! It’s the only time that you can completely dictate how the point starts and it allows you to strategize how the point might play out. The first serve should be strong and placed well. That does not mean you should try to ace your opponent every time. When your first serve is hit well, then you’re in control!
2. The Return
Hitting the return might be just as important as the serve. When returning off the first serve, you should try to hit an effective return to one side of the court. The goal is not to just hit the ball right back to the opponent but to make them work for their shot. If your opponent has an amazing first serve that really pulls you off the court, try for a high topspin shot that will allow you more time to recover.
Sometimes we feel as if we aren’t playing our best. The first thing to go is generally consistency. We try to play like we normally do but our body just isn’t allowing it or our mental state can’t align with our desired play. This is when we should take a deep breath, and start analyzing the point. We could try to mix up our shots and change the pace of the ball. As long as we can keep returning the ball, we know we have the opportunity to win the match.
Whether it’s very detailed (every point) or just a general strategy, like hit to their backhand, you need to have something planned. Oftentimes we go into a match with a “go with the flow” mentality. The goal is to make educated guesses as to where the ball may be hit based on the shots that you go for. It’s easier to strategize when you’re serving.
The best way to deal with the point when it doesn’t start out or go the way you planned is to just immediately think about hitting the ball away from the opponent.
5. Stay Positive
This is the most important step to winning your matches. Just think of how many matches you could have won had you kept a calm, positive attitude when a point didn’t go your way. Instead of getting frustrated or angry, we should be focusing on how to strategize our next play. We miss a huge point and all of a sudden that’s all we can think about for the remainder of the game. And guess who probably won that game… not you.
Serves, returns, consistency, strategy and positivity need to be practiced daily on the court. For more information about tennis at The Village Clubs, contact Will White at firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit us here to learn more about our tennis leagues, or group and private tennis lessons and conditioning classes.