Having A Plan
Hi everyone and welcome again to part 2 on our ‘tennis crimes’ series. On our tennis holidays I think back to what the most common request to improve people’s tennis is, while occasionally people would like to be able to send down a 150 mph rocket 1st serve or learn to craft a stunning slice backhand fizzing off the court, the overwhelming favourite request is “I’d like to be more consistent” or “I’d like to make less errors” both fantastic things to work on, if we as tennis players can achieve these then we will most definitely be collecting more points and winning more matches !!![divider scroll_text=””]
“If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail! – Benjamin Franklin”[divider scroll_text=””]
So what does consistency really mean?
Well for us at active away it can mean a lot of things, I could in theory be consistent at hitting ‘lights out’ winners down the line, however in the long run its probably not a tactic that will pay off. So here’s the crime were going to be looking at today. On our tennis holidays you will often hear the coaches ask questions such as “what were you trying to do with that shot” and here comes the crime……….
“I have no idea what I was doing”
Well if we don’t know what we’re trying to do with the ball the likelihood is that it won’t be doing anything positive. This is often when we find he ball hitting the side fence or even when we start losing balls.
So how do we plan what to do with the tennis ball? Firstly it goes without saying that this is a difficult skill that can take years of practice and repetition. There are an awful lot of factors that can influence what we want to do with the ball and we only have a split second to make the choice, but here are a few to consider.
Where you are? Your court position will certainly have an influence on the type of shot you need to be hitting, are you too deep to attack? Are you too wide to go back cross court?
Where is your opponent? Again a huge influence when planning your next shot. Are they out if position? Can I exploit the space?
What are your strengths and their weaknesses? It’s such a simple tactic in tennis but under used, the amount of times on our tennis holidays we see forehand to forehand rallies, try and find times where you can use your strength to your opponents weakness!
The ball you have received. Of course this is the biggest factor in our decision, is it spinning, is it fast, is it high?[divider scroll_text=””]
Here’s a really simple drill to help you put this in to practice, split every shot you hit into one of three categories; Defend, Rally, Attack.
Practise one: Rally with a partner and try to make a decision before you hit the ball. Call out either attack rally or defend using the above 4 questions to help influence your decision.
Practice two: Can you play a point and say which tactical intention you have before you hit the ball?
Practice three: Could you even play a whole set doing this?
This will help you understand your strengths and weaknesses as well as improving your decision making process at the same time. In time this will become much more natural, of course Andy Murray doesn’t say “DEFEND” as he chased back to scrape a ball off the baseline but I can guarantee it was something he worked on extensively as a junior making him one of the best tactical players in the game.
So remember on our tennis holidays. The coaches will be asking you “what were you trying to do with that all” if you answer with “I was trying to attack but It was the wrong choice” we can forgive you but if the answer is “I don’t know” you have committed a tennis crime!
You’ve been warned….. We are watching you !!!!!