4 TIPS FOR ACING TENNIS MATCHES
4 Great tips to make sure you beat even the most skillful player.
Love playing tennis but hate to lose? This is your lucky day! Here are 4 great tips to make sure you beat even the most skillful player with a few dirty (and totally legal) tricks).
1. The Serve
The serving is the most important shot in tennis, make sure you have a solid serve and practice it a lot. However, because most people practice their first serve a lot and not the second serve, when they miss that first serve, their second servings are pretty much a mess, they simply just tap at the ball.
This opens a big door to your opponent and gives them huge opportunities. That’s not a good thing if you want to be competitive, the key to the second serving is confidence, and not changing your swing speed for the second serve, but instead changing the swing path you’re going to use.
Instead of a flat, straight and fast serve that we usually go for in the first attempt, give it a swing across the path and create a shape. It will make your opponent chase the ball and give you room to swing back and tire him off.
So don’t break off your second serving, hit it consistently and with confidence. Learn the right swing path and use the same amount of acceleration every time, so you can have your 1st attempts with a very fast and aggressive serve but can also deliver a steady but challenging 2nd serve.
Go to the court and practice alternating back and forth between a flat, straight delivery and an up and out to the right delivery to get a curved ball and give yourself more confidence margins and wins on the court.
2. The Return
This is the second most important shot in tennis! Getting the ball back is all about keeping a good timing while watching the serving, and caring for the split stepping. Then, you will need to get into a nice, wide base and shift your weight to your outside leg, depending on what kind of shot you’re going to hit.
If it’s a forehand, split and shift the weight to the outside leg of the forehand side. If it’s on the backhand, do the same thing with the outside leg of the backhand side.
Pay attention to the unit turn! It should be the swing itself. When you split and go to the outside leg and do the unit turn, keep your racket steady. Don’t open it up for a huge swing! Simply turn your shoulders and keep the racket in a short position, allowing you to match the racket face with the ball in front. This is paramount when returning a first serve.
Taking your racket back increases the time of the swing and make everything more complicated because it is all about timing. Don’t be too aggressive, play it cool and keep the ball in game. On the first serve, you’re in a defensive position. If you’re facing a second serve, you can be a little bit more aggressive.
Make sure you use your legs to push through and give the power you need for a competitive return.
3. Patterns of Play, Margin and Awareness
When you get nervous and make a lot of mistakes, concentrate on a simple pattern of play. Go back to basics and keep the ball cross-court until you can change the direction of the ball safely.
That means, when you’re deep in the back of the court, focus on delivering it cross-court and try to change the direction when you can advance inside the baseline.
The margin for error is important because when you go cross-court, the net is 6’’ lower in the middle! That means when you go cross-court, go for the lowest part of the net (the middle) and the longest part of the court, giving you time to recover for the next shot. If you go down the line, you will have less time to recover.
For the awareness part, just do whatever is working for you at the moment. Pay attention to your opponent, and when you notice something to exploit, do it without mercy. If you notice his backhand is weak, go for it and wait for the short ball. Control the point. Do it until it stops working, and start searching for another flaw. Otherwise, if you go cross-court and your opponent is rocking you up, stop doing it.
4. Don’t Talk Bad of Yourself
That is just a waste of energy! If you’re using your time out to talk yourself down, you will demonstrate to your opponent that you’re frustrated, and it will make the right decisions slip through your fingers.
Be healthy and positive to keep an elevated state of mind. Treat every point the same and have some fun! Don’t take yourself too seriously.
As a bonus tip, make sure you get repetitions and lots of practice. To improve your movements is of great importance if you want to win more tennis matches. Now, get to the court and start training!