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Tennis Anyone
July 2022 Article

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Look Good or Play Well?

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John Mills, USPTA

Even I have gotten caught up in making my students look good. I cannot tell you how many players are out there who "look good," but have consistently terrible results. As I have gotten older, I have also changed my approach.
 
My theory is, when I teach a younger player, I have time to patiently teach the proper strokes, etc. The actual winning will come in time. As I deal with older students, I have become more result oriented.
 
I try to take what they have and use that or build a game from there. For example, these are the questions I ask all my students:

  1. Can you minimize your unforced errors?
  2. Can you keep the ball low or under the net player?
  3. Can you lob a player off the net?
  4. Can you move the ball not just deep (or over the baseline) but left and right across the side lines?
  5. Can you bring a player forward to the net with a dink or drop shop?
  6. In doubles, can you keep the ball away from the net player?
  7. Can you keep your serve deep into the service box?

Start worrying about if you can do these things, instead of how pretty you can make the shots. Be more result oriented. Try not to be self-conscious of how you look. Winning is still more fun than losing! Do you want to look good or play well?
 
Good luck on the courts!
 

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This column is copyrighted by John Mills, all rights reserved.

John Mills' experience includes four years as head pro at the Windemere Racquet & Swim Club, where he was responsible for organization of all tennis activities at the club. John also played college tennis at the University of Houston and has spent 20 years teaching tennis at the Memorial Park Tennis Center, the Pasadena Racquet Club, and as the head pro at the Bay Area Racquet Club.


 

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