If you want to get better at tennis, there is no substitute for getting out on the court and practicing. Whether that’s in the form of games with friends or drills on your shots. But there are some important things that are really simple, but many players fail to realise. Following just a few steps can improve your game enormously; here in a project with tennis court construction specialists Sovereign Sports, Dakota Murphey has put together seven ways to get better at tennis.
Stick To Your Strengths
One of the best things you can do when trying to improve your tennis game is look to inspiration from professionals – think about what they do to attempt to win matches. Take the example of 6’10’’ American John Isner who regularly hits blistering 140mph plus serves (and currently holds the 3rd fastest serve ever recorded at 157.2mph). How often do you see John Isner grounding out long rallies with lots of slices and drop shots? Not very often. Isner understands that his strength is in power and in finishing off points quickly, so he attempts to do that every time.
If you are looking to become a better player, you need to focus on the strengths of your game. If your backhand is your strongest shot, then find ways to use it as often as possible. During match play is not the time to be testing out the quality of your forehand. Of course you should work on your weaknesses to improve them, but your focus in practice should be on those shots that you know can win you points.
Accuracy Is More Important Than Power
Too many players focus far too much on power first, attempting to emulate the speed of the shots that they have seen from professional players. Unfortunately this is the wrong way around – work on the accuracy of your shots first. When you know how to direct the ball properly, that’s when you can begin to ramp up the power. This goes for everything from your forehand to your serve – a powerful serve may pick up a handful of aces in a match, but an accurate serve will put your opponent on the back foot on every single one of your service points.
Working out the weights will do wonders for your game. You might think that the major benefit here is more power behind your shots. While this is an advantage and you can certainly improve your power through arm workouts, it’s actually not the main reason to do it. The majority of your power is generated through the motion of your body. The reason to improve your arm strength is to allow you to put more spin on the ball.
Stretch It Out
Flexibility is vital if you would like to improve as a tennis player. The ability to stretch for shots can give you a huge advantage of opponents who don’t have the same suppleness. That means it could be a brilliant idea for you to start exercises such as yoga which can dramatically improve your flexibility over a short period of time.
Understand Your Opponent
Just as it is important to play to your strengths during a match, it’s also essential that you should take the time to understand your opponent. Do they have a powerful forehand? If so, you should ensure that you always play to their backhand. Do they like to hit drop shots? Then don’t stand too far back in the court. When you know the shots that your opponent is likely to play you can prepare for them and minimise their impact. That means they will have to make use of a part of their game that they are less comfortable with.
One great way to improve is to watch yourself play. Sometimes it’s only when we can step back and view our own movements that we can see the mistakes that we make on the court. The camera on your smartphone will do – set it up to record your half of the court while you play. Then after the match is over, review the footage to see what you are doing wrong.
Practice Your Second Serve
The serve can be a huge weapon in tennis. As we mentioned before, having a strong and accurate serve can give you a massive advantage on every service point. Most players spend plenty of time practicing their serve to get it right – but do you ever practice your second serve? If not, you should. The second serve is a huge weakness for many players – they often lose a huge amount of power to ensure that they do not double fault. Practice a safety serve that you know will go in every time and then focus on improving its power and accuracy so that your second serve can no longer be exploited as a weakness.