Back to Back Issues Page Newsletter---Do you just hit or do you keep track of points?
August 13, 2013
Dear tennis friends,

I just came back from a very short vacation to recharge myself. It was a great trip to Bangkok with my lovely wife.

Ok, back to tennis...

Recently I observed a situation where players are rallying with each other from the baseline. Some are struggling to stay in the rally because their fundamentals are not strong yet, so I thought it would be beneficial to share my views with all of you.

Is it better to just hit or should they be using points to keep track of their progress?

First off, when you are "just hitting," you really should have a purpose behind your practice session even though you are not playing points or keeping score.

That's a problem that most players have. They are just hitting aimlessly with no goals as part of the practice session. Here's 2 powerful tips that can dramatically shift your tennis when you are "just hitting."

Always have a target for every shot. That's right. Even when you are hitting the ball down the middle of the court while cooperating with your hitting partner, have an EXACT target where you want the ball to land.

It's not good enough to just hit the ball down the middle. Pick out a spot where you want to the ball to land. Each and every shot goes to your intended target. That may not happen often but just becoming aware of where you want the ball to land can make all the difference.

Adjust your aim depending on what you notice about where each and every ball lands.

Does the ball go in the net?

Does it go long?

For example, does your forehand tend to fly long while your backhand goes in the net more. Usually there are patterns with your shots land and you can learn much more about your game this way.

Note all of this while "just hitting" and keep aiming for your targets EVERY TIME. It will make a huge difference.

Focus on having one easy swing thought.

Do you need to work on your first move on your forehand by "holding the ball?"

Do you want to work on your finish?

Please don't make the mistake of paralysis by analysis by trying to do 5 different things with your swing while you hit the ball. Just pick one easy swing thought, and put your attention on it for a few shots or even a few minutes. I find this very useful when I was learning tennis many years ago.

If that is too difficult because the ball is moving to fast back to you as you focus on a technical thought, go back to focusing on your aim on every shot instead. Just learning to visualize and feel where you want your shots to land is often good enough during cooperative hitting.

You can always work on technique another time when you can control the variables more with ball tossing, shadow strokes, and/or ball machine drills.

By focusing on these 2 ideas: Always aiming and having one swing thought, you can shift your tennis to levels you never knew possible.

There is also time to play points in practice as well. One mistake many players make is focusing too much on the actual score.

It takes a a lot of discipline not to let your ego get caught up in the score when you are playing points in practice.

Here's a little tip. Use playing points and keeping score as a way to handle distractions. What do I mean by that?

Focus on your key "performance goals." Your performance goal is different than the result of winning points or games. A performance goal could be something like making 5 balls before you can go for a winner or catching the racquet every time on the forehand or playing every ball crosscourt unless you have an easy put away.

These types of objectives keep you focused on improving a specific skill instead of winning a certain number of points.

Challenge yourself to stay with performance goals instead of results and you will improve much faster.

What other ways can you get better when you are hitting or just playing points?

As usual, I welcome your feedback or comments on the tips that you received. If you find these information useful, please forward to your friends so that they will benefit from these tips as well.

To your tennis serve success.



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