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Turbo Tennis
February 2000 Article

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Your Game Can Be "Off The Charts"

Ron Waite Photo
Ron Waite, USPTR

It never ceases to amaze me how many tennis players live in a world of denial. When asked what went wrong in a match, players will frequently identify everything but the real causes. In like manner, tennis players often believe that their best strokes are always "on." In fact, these perceived strengths may have resulted in more errors than winners. When coaching my college players, I will ask them: "what worked and what didn’t?" Their answers are often times quite different than mine.

In truth, it is very difficult for a tennis player to have a realistic and objective view of her/his matches. Professionals rely upon their coaches to help them gain this needed perspective.

However, most of us aren’t professionals and do not have full time coaches. So, what can we do?

First, I strongly recommend that you periodically videotape your practice sessions and matches (see my previous column: Video: Seeing Your Way to a Better Game). Yet, even this method of analysis is not enough. To really get a firm grasp on what happened in a match, you need to "chart" the key data.

Charting is a technique where an observer (your hitting partner, spouse, friend, teaching pro, etc.) records what actually happened in a match. Each set of play is documented from a variety of perspectives such as the number of first serves, number of forehand winners, number of backhand volley errors, number of overhead smash winners and errors, etc. By compiling this data, a player can get a very real statistical view of what did and did not work during a match.

When a player keeps this data for a series of matches, he or she can detect trends and set paths for improvement. Unfortunately, most players do not have their matches charted.

The first problem to be faced is who will do your charting? Frankly, it is not always easy to find a cooperative confederate. If you are playing on a high school or college team, or if you are playing on a league team, it should be relatively easy to set up a charting exchange. Very simply, a teammate charts your match. In exchange, you chart her/his match. Given the scheduling of matches, this is not always possible, but whenever it is possible, team members should chart for each other.

A hitting partner, good friend, spouse or family member, or even your teaching pro may be enlisted to chart a match or two for you. In fact, spouses and family members often like to chart matches because it keeps them involved in what is going on. They feel like part of the "team" and find matches less boring to watch.

The second problem is how does one chart a match? To this end, I have created two forms, which may be of assistance…which I invite you to copy for your personal use. The first of these forms is the actual charting data sheet. One should use one of these forms for each set played.

If the match lasts two sets, there should be two completed data forms. If it goes three sets, there should be three completed forms. I suggest that you get a clipboard that has several forms under the clip for the person who will be doing the actual charting. She/he can simply start a new form at the beginning of each set.

Using the chart form is extremely simple. Each category (e.g., Forehand Winners) has a series of numbers next to it. Each time the player hits a forehand winner, the charter simply crosses off the next sequential number. I have made certain that there are sufficient numbers in each category to cover what might occur in a set.

Upon examining the form, you will see that the header lists pertinent information. The person who is being charted is always referred to as "the player." Date, location, surface, and weather conditions are recorded at the top of the form. Below, you will see recording categories that include: number of first serves, number of second serves, number of aces, number of double faults, number of forehand groundstroke winners, number of forehand groundstroke errors, number of backhand groundstroke winners, number of backhand groundstroke errors, number of forehand volley winners, number of forehand volley errors, number of backhand volley winners, number of backhand volley errors, number of overhead winners, number of overhead errors, number of offensive lobs, number of defensive lobs, number of drop shots, and even the number of netcords that occur in a set. Finally, you will see that the form allows you to record when any breaks of serve occur in the set.

If you are playing doubles, you can have your team charted by using two observer/recorders. One charter records the data for one team player. The other charter records the data for this player’s partner.

If you have a second observer and are playing singles, have him/her chart the match for your opponent. When you compare your chart to her/his chart, you will have a full understanding of what happened during the match.

The second form is the Match Tally Sheet. Here, you record the data for the entire match. By combining the data from each set, you will have a convenient way of seeing the match as a whole.

When watching a tennis match on television, keep a chart on one of the players. You will find that the match becomes much more interesting to watch…and much more instructive when you review the chart’s findings.

Charting your matches will bring new insights to your game, and help you set realistic goals for the future. All of this will in a short time help you become a tennis overdog!


TENNIS SERVER
TURBOCHART

Copyrighted 2000, Ron Waite

All rights reserved

http://www.tennisserver.com/turbo/turbo_00_02.html

 

Player’s Name: ____________________________________

Date: ____________________________________________

Opponent’s Name: _________________________________

Location: _________________________________________

Surface: __________________________________________

Weather Conditions: ________________________________

Set Number 1 2 3 4 5

Winner: __________________

Score: ____________________

First Serves 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50

Second Serves 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50

Aces 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15

Double Faults 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15

Forehand Winners 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50

Forehand Errors 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50

Backhand Winners 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50

Backhand Errors 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50

Forehand Volley Winners 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 3 6 3 7 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45

Forehand Volley Errors 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45

Backhand Volley Winners 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 3 6 3 7 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45

Backhand Volley Errors 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 3 6 3 7 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45

Overhead Winners 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

Overhead Errors 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

Offensive Lobs 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

Defensive Lobs 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

Drop Shots 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15

Net Cords 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 **

Break Games *** This Set

Player 1 2 3 4 5 6 7

Opponent 1 2 3 4 5 6 7

** Circle the number if player wins point…put an X through the number if opponent wins point

***Circle the game in which either the player or opponent was able to break serve

 


TENNIS SERVER
TURBOCHART

Copyrighted 2000, Ron Waite

All rights reserved

http://www.tennisserver.com/turbo/turbo_00_02.html

Player: ______________

Opponent: _______________

Date: ___________________

Surface: ________________

Winner: _________________

Score: __________________

 

MATCH TALLIES

Total number of first serves ______

Total number of second serves ______

Total number of winners ______ (including aces)

Total number of errors ______ (including double faults)

Total number of forehand winners ______
(groundstrokes and volleys)

Total number of forehand errors ______
(groundstrokes and volleys)

Total number of backhand winners ______
(groundstrokes and volleys)

Total number of backhand errors ______
(groundstrokes and volleys)

Total number of games won ______

Total number of games lost ______

 

Comments:

 

 

 

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Turbo Tennis Archives:
1996 - 2002 | 2003 - 2014


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This column is copyrighted by Ron Waite, all rights reserved. Questions and comments about these columns can be directed to Ron by using this form.

Ron Waite is a certified USPTR tennis instructor who took up the game of tennis at the age of 39. Frustrated with conventional tennis methods of instruction and the confusing data available on how to learn the game, Ron has sought to sift fact from fiction. In his seven years of tennis, Ron has received USTA sectional ranking four years, has successfully coached several NCAA Division III men's and women's tennis teams to post season competition, and has competed in USTA National singles tournaments. Ron has trained at a number of tennis academies and with many of the game's leading instructors.

In addition to his full-time work as a professor at Albertus Magnus College, Ron photographs ATP tour events for a variety of organizations and publications. The name of his column, TurboTennis, stems from his methods to decrease the amount of time it takes to learn and master the game of tennis.


 

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