Imagine, if you will, you are about to play in a singles tournament and the tournament referee calls your name and introduces you to your opponent who is .... YOU. Same player, same ability. Now imagine one of the players looks at the other and thinks "Look at that schmuck. I'm gonna whip his ass. And when I've beaten his donkey I'm gonna beat him too". "He'll never be able to return my first serve and I'll crucify him with my forehand. I'll murder that pathetic second serve and make mincemeat of his ridiculously poor backhand". Now imagine the other player thinking "OMG my poor donkey. And he's gonna thrash me too. I'll never be able to return that first serve and he'll crucify me with his forehand. He'll murder my pathetic second serve and make mincemeat of my ridiculously poor backhand". Who do you reckon would win? Answers on a postcard (remember them?). The positive player would not only win but win comfortably. So be positive. Don't be your own opponent.
At my club I am known as a technophobe. They say I don't know my ibox from my xpad. That's as maybe but at least I know how to use a spel cheker. Anyway the reason for this drivel is that the technical side of tennis isn't the be all and end all. You may want to get a superhero's forehand but if you keep playing to your opponent's strength then you will be giving away points. Play to their weakness (backhand?), make your opponent move, try to give them less time by taking the ball early. If they don't like being at the net - try to bring them to the net. Yes practice those shots but don't ignore the tactics. Now back to my smell chequer.
Anyone remember the old Batman TV series? Kiddies if you don’t know what I’m talking about then look it up on Face Tube. During each episode there would be a dust up between Batman and his adversaries such as the Joker and the Penguin. When Batman landed a knuckle sandwich on the bad guy a caption would come up - ‘WALLOP!’, ‘BIFF!’, ‘SPLAT!’. This is a bit like watching some players warm up in for a tennis match. Straight on court and ‘POW!’, 'BANG!'. Before the match starts, warm up slowly, in the service boxes if necessary with a shortened swing and exaggerate watching the ball onto your racket. Then you can move back and don't forget to practice every shot - including 1st and 2nd serves. It will help. Ah they don’t make telly like that any more – thank goodness.
It is very important to be patient when you are trading on a tennis court. ‘TRADING?!’ I hear you cry. ‘It’s bad enough trying to win the point without having to negotiate the price of a barrel of crude oil at the same time’. Well actually ‘trading’ is the modern parlance for the phase in a point where neither player is on top. So don’t try and force the issue – be patient and wait for your opportunity to present itself.
Years ago when I had a proper job there was a poster in the office of a little boy on a potty with the caption ‘The job is never complete until the paperwork has been done’. This can be related to tennis – believe it or not. So many players hit a shot and think that is the end of it – no it isn’t. You need to recover to your correct position and get ready for the next shot. The shot is never finished until you have done this. Because yes - believe it or not – the ball might just come back!