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Hardscrabble Scramble
January 1996 Article

Hardscrabble Scramble Archive

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Setting Goals for the New Year

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Mike Whittington

While many people set New Year's resolutions at this time, tennis players can set their won goals to achieve for the upcoming year. No matter what your level of play, setting goals is a vital part of improvement.

This may be the year that you really dedicate to learning that one handed backhand or slice serve. Take the time to add that new shot to your arsenal that you've been avoiding for so long.

How about that new strategy? Are you a baseliner that only comes to the net to shake hands with your opponent after the match? Focus your attention on a new net game next year. You don't have to change your current game style but you could add new one.

For you really competitive players, what about striving for that new ranking or NTRP level? It may take a combination of new strokes and strategy for you to achieve this one. The practice time you put in to reach this goal will certainly improve different aspects of your game.

Regardless of the route you take, focus on specific areas of your game that could use some work. Make next year the year that you write down your goals and then regularly check your progress towards them. Never forget about how much of your game is mental. A better attitude will certainly give you a chance at better play. I've found Brad Gilbert's book "Winning Ugly" full of interesting ideas about mental toughness.

Talk to your teaching professional about your goals for the year. Instructors value feedback from their students and it will also give your instructor a guide for lesson plans in the future. And always try to practice with a purpose if possible. It's a great way to judge your improvement. You'll be surprised at what a good year next year could be!

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This column is copyrighted by Mike Whittington, all rights reserved.

At the time at which he wrote this column, Mike Whittington was a USPTA pro in Fort Smith, Arkansas, where he served as director of tennis at the Hardscrabble Country Club.


 

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