I don’t do this often, but my buddy is really bad a tennis. So John, here’s a little guide to help make you better!
Tennis is as much a mental game as it is a physical game. Once you realize and accept this fact, your tennis game will improve, regardless of the quality of your opponents, whether you’re playing singles or doubles. Here are some additional practical tips to improve your play that I’ve learned over many years of competitive tennis.
Whether you’re just learning the game of tennis or are an experienced veteran of the game, I’ve found these simple tips will help you play better and win more matches. These are not “breaking news,” but I promise you they work.
- Practice, practice, practice. There is no substitute for practice time, regardless of how great a natural athlete you are.
- Create a plan for practicing. Simply hitting the ball is beneficial, but having a practice plan is much better to your improvement. Developing “muscle memory,” vital to playing all sports well, should be a component to your practice plan.
- While you serve, volley, and rally by hitting the tennis ball with your arms, develop your footwork to improve your game. Your legs and feet are even more important to your game after you’ve developed a good “stroke,” with your tennis racquet.
- Find some better players to practice with. Training with better players makes you a more advanced player. You’ll learn that, even if you get smoked by higher-quality players in practice, you’ll rise above formerly equal competition when you play.
- Play as many tournaments as you can. As very good players will tell you, the more tournaments you play, the more “tournament tough” you become. As even junior players learn, the more tournaments they enter, the better they play. This tip works to improve your game even when you suffer defeat by better tournament players. The experience you gain will be evident when you play opponents of roughly equal skill. You will play better.
- Study your opponents’ games to learn their weaknesses. Many inexperienced players develop strong forehand strokes, but, they lack the muscle memory to execute backhand strokes efficiently. For example, I once had a doubles partner who had hard forehands, but severely lacked an equally strong backhand. Although, I tried my best to help him develop at least a serviceable backhand, he refused to practice this shot, and consequently never did. During doubles matches and tournaments, he could only compete on the “forehand side” of the court. Our opponents paid attention and usually exploited his backhand deficiency. We could only beat lesser opponents, who did not examine his weakness and take advantage of it.
- Develop stamina, which wears down your opponents, while practicing healthy eating and lifestyles. This tip may seem to be a bit “off topic,” but it has great relevance to improving your game. This tip is particularly critical if you tend to wear down during a match. Similar to the discouragement you feel when your opponent returns every shot you make, even your best ones, opponents will be the ones who wear down when they see you acting fresh and active as in the start of the match. This is a physical advantage that improves the mental edge in your game.