Quantcast
nodot nodot
Turbo Tennis
November 2005 Article

Contact Ron Waite

Latest Turbo Tennis Article

Turbo Tennis Archives:
2003 - 2014
1996 - 2002

Tennis Server
HOME PAGE

Do You Want To Be A Better Tennis Player?

Then Sign Up For A Free Subscription to the Tennis Server INTERACTIVE
E-mail Newsletter!

You will join 25,000 other subscribers in receiving news of updates to the Tennis Server along with monthly tennis tips from tennis pro Tom Veneziano that won't be found on the web site.
 
Best of all, it is free!

Player Profiles:
 
Top Pros (Women)
tennis ball Serena Williams
tennis ball Maria Sharapova
tennis ball Simona Halep
tennis ball Petra Kvitova
tennis ball Ana Ivanovic
tennis ball Agnieszka Radwanska
tennis ball Eugenie Bouchard
tennis ball Caroline Wozniacki
tennis ball Angelique Kerber
tennis ball Dominika Cibulkova
 ... more profiles
 
Top Pros (Men)
tennis ball Novak Djokovic
tennis ball Roger Federer
tennis ball Rafael Nadal
tennis ball Stanislas Wawrinka
tennis ball Kei Nishikori
tennis ball Andy Murray
tennis ball Tomas Berdych
tennis ball Milos Raonic
tennis ball Marin Cilic
tennis ball David Ferrer
 ... more profiles
 
Tennis Features Icon TENNIS FEATURES:

BETWEEN THE LINES - Ray Bowers takes an analytical and sometimes controversial look at the ATP/WTA professional tour.
 
PRO TENNIS SHOWCASE - Tennis match reports and photography from around the world.
 
TURBO TENNIS - Ron Waite turbocharges your tennis game with tennis tips, strategic considerations, training and practice regimens, and mental mindsets and exercises.
 
TENNIS ANYONE? - USPTA Pro John Mills' quick player tip.
 
WILD CARDS - Each month a guest column by a new writer.
 
TENNIS SET - Jani Macari Pallis, Ph.D. looks at tennis science, engineering and technology.
 
MORTAL TENNIS - Greg Moran's tennis archive on how regular humans can play better tennis.
 
MENTAL EQUIPMENT - Explore the mental side of the game with Dr. John Murray.
 
TENNIS WARRIOR - Tom Veneziano's Tennis Warrior archive.
 
HARDSCRABBLE SCRAMBLE - USPTA pro Mike Whittington's player tip archive.
 
TENNIS EQUIPMENT TIPS.

Tennis Community Icon TENNIS COMMUNITY:


Tennis Book, DVD, and Video Index
 
Tennis Server Match Reports
 
Editor's Letter
 
Become a Tennis Server Sponsor

Explore The Tennis Net Icon EXPLORE THE TENNIS NET:

Pro Tennis Calendar & Event Links
 
Tennis News and Live Tennis Scores
 
Tennis Links on the Web
 
nodot
Turbo Tennis
 
Green Dot
 
Tennis Warehouse Logo
 
Green Dot

 
nodot
The Ten Commandments of Tennis

Ron Waite Photo
Ron Waite, USPTR

Not wishing to offend anyone, I have borrowed a religiously oriented concept to present this month’s column. Many of my readers are people who wish to compete better in this wonderful game of ours. They write with specific questions and I try to reply to all of my e-mail.

Many of the reader inquiries that I receive deal, in one way or another, with the concept of strategy. For instance, quite a few readers have written me with a question like: "I always seem to win the first set but I ultimately lose the match. Why?"

Clearly, sports psychology has provided great insights to the nature of tennis competition. John Murray’s book Smart Tennis is really a seminal work on how to better manage this component in your game. I think it is required reading for anyone involved in sports competition!

This notwithstanding, there are still some common problems that I see when I observe beginning and intermediate level players. Remarkably, I see some of these same problems emerging in advanced players’ games, as well.

So, this month, I am dedicating my column to identifying ten of the most important aspects of competing in tennis. As a coach of a collegiate team, I find that, more often than not, my players will need to be reminded of these principles as the season unfolds.

Frankly, I have written down these concepts and carry them in my tennis bag. If I really start to come "off the boil" in a match, I have no hesitancy to drag this cue sheet out and review these 10 "commandments."

I use the term commandments deliberately because I really do not think that any player can "violate" these guidelines and play successfully. If you have recurring difficulties in your game, or believe that you are playing below your potential, I suggest that one or more of these "commandments" come to play.

My suggestion would be to print out the bold lettered commandments and put the printout in your tennis bag. If you print out this article in its entirety, you will be able to refresh your memory on any specific commandment. However, I suspect that in time, these commandments will be burned in your memory bank, and there will be less need for any review.

  1. SEE THE BALL!!!

    In baseball, there is an old adage: "You can’t hit what you don’t see." Well, this is equally true in tennis. During points, the most important place to but your focus is on the ball. You will hear coaches of the pros and authors of tennis instructional texts tell you to "Play the Ball." If we really did just this during every point, our ability to win points would go up precipitously. We would find ourselves anticipating shots better. Our shot preparation would be better. And, our line calls would be more definitive. This is so important, that my very first column was entitled "See the Ball." I recommend that you read or re-read this article.

    In practice, warm-ups and matches, my first goal is to "get my eyes on." This requires practice and self-discipline. Humans have limited attention spans. It is easy to deviate from really focusing on the ball. Don’t be surprised if you have to remind yourself frequently to bring your attention on the ball and its spin/movement.

    Whenever my game breaks down, this is my very first "solution." It frequently is the only solution that I need.

  2. STAY IN THE "PRESENT"

    How many times have you been tossing up a ball to serve and think about the possibility of double faulting? My guess is that it occurs more than you would like, and that the invariable outcome is a double fault.

    How many times have you thought about winning or losing during a match? This is a natural thing to do. But, once you start thinking about winning or losing, you are on a slippery slope to defeat. If you are up 5-0 and are serving for the set or down 0-5 and receiving, it is very tough to avoid these kinds of thoughts.

    The game of tennis is a riddle. In order to win, you need to avoid thinking about winning or losing. But, doing this is not that easy, I realize.

    This is why rituals are so important. They take your mind off this win/loss concept. The mind can think about only one thing at a time. Giving the mind other things to think about during a match will help avoid falling into the win/loss trap.

    Keep your eyes within the court during a match to avoid any distractions. Fix your strings in between points. Setup for each serve and return of serve in exactly the same manners each time!

    Recognize that one point has absolutely nothing to do with the next point, unless you let it!!! Let your winners and errors go! You cannot change the past. The best way to influence the future is to focus on the present.

    When the win/loss thoughts enter your mind (and they will) dismiss them in anyway that you can. Count to 10. Say a prayer. Sing a song. Count the number of main strings on your racquet. Use a cue word like "cancel" to teach your mind to move away from these thoughts. If one technique doesn’t seem to be working, try something different. Do whatever it takes to avoid thinking about winning or losing.

  3. LEARN HOW TO RELAX

    Simply put, the body performs at its best when it is in a relaxed state. It is completely normal to be nervous at the beginning of a match. In fact, it probably cannot be entirely avoided. During a match, you will discover that there are "stressor" situations and times. For whatever reason, you are nervous, tight and feeling uncomfortable. This is all normal.

    What true champions have learned is how to guide their bodies into a more relaxed state "on command." Deep and slow breathing can help. Closing your eyes and thinking of something pleasant can help.

    I personally use a cue phrase to help me. I simply say "Go to your peaceful place." I practice this on and off the court. As soon as I say these words, my muscles relax and things begin to slow down. I have arrived at this ability through deliberate practice. If I am at home, I will say the words and begin to consciously relax my muscles. Having done this many times, the cue words now automatically bring this relaxation. Like Pavlov’s dog, I have instilled within myself a conditioned response.

    Once the body begins to relax the mind will follow. The key is to get the body started.

    Imagine that every match you could relax 50% more than you usually do. How much more enjoyable would the game of tennis be? Guess what. Win or lose, if you are enjoying yourself, the "ride" is worth it.

  4. NEVER CHEAT

    The game of tennis is a sport that relies upon the "Code." Honesty in line calls, scores, etc. is the basis of this code. Cheating does nothing to help your game. In fact, it weakens your game. If you cheat, your mind knows it. Any victory is tainted. If you cheat once, you will cheat again. You never know how good a player you can become, if you cheat.

    On the flip side, if your opponent cheats, it is an indication of weakness. Now, everyone makes bad calls honestly. Let’s face it. Seeing the ball and lines clearly can be tough. Honest mistakes will happen. Forgive your opponent, if she/he makes what you think is a wrong call. If she/he is truly cheating, the problem will be reoccurring. If this happens, confront the issue diplomatically. If it continues, you may need to call for an umpire (presuming it is a tournament or sanctioned competition).

    Yes, there are times when you will lose a match because the opponent cheated. This is frustrating to say the least. But, realize that the match was stolen…it wasn’t won. Renew your vow to yourself to be honest in your calls. This is the best that can be taken from such a situation.

    Remember, if in doubt; give the call to your opponent. It is the right thing to do!!!

  5. THE TIME TO THINK IS DURING CHANGEOVERS

    Humans by their very nature are evaluative creatures. We are constantly evaluating ourselves, the world and the people around us. Why would it be any different when we play tennis?

    Paralysis by analysis occurs when we evaluate at the wrong times. To borrow and amend an adage from Yogi Berra, "You can't think and play tennis at the same time."

    During games, shut off your evaluative side. Simply initiate, respond and execute.

    The time to figure out what is going on and what needs to be done is during game changeovers. Don’t even allow yourself to be too thoughtful in between points. You need to learn to compartmentalize your thinking.

    If I find myself wandering into an evaluative thought mode during a game, I literally say to myself: "Not to worry. You’ll figure it out when there is a changeover."

    This is why I do not engage in any conversation with my opponent during the changeovers. I use the changeovers for three things: to hydrate my body, to let my body recover, and if necessary, I allow myself to evaluate what is happening and what I need to do.

  6. KEEP YOUR SHOTS LANDING DEEP

    If your balls continually land deep in your opponent’s court, you will find that he/she is very unlikely to be able to hit winners. Most games are determined by which player makes the fewest errors…not the most winners. These two principles apply to every level of the game.

    Now, there are two ways to get the ball to land deep. Hit it hard and low to the net…or hit it with less pace but much higher over the net. Guess what. There are no style points in tennis.

    Given these realities, the percentage play is to hit higher not harder. In addition to decreasing the likelihood of an error, this approach fatigues you less. It is a win/win situation.

    Now, if you are going for a winner or you are really a skilled player, go for your shots. But, I would suggest that 80% of the people reading this column would greatly benefit from hitting higher not harder.

  7. GET YOUR FIRST SERVE IN AT ALL COSTS

    The statistics at all levels of the game suggest that your chances of winning a point go up significantly if you get your first serve in. It is that important!

    So, do whatever is necessary to get that first serve to go into the box every time. If means hitting with less pace or hitting with more spin…so be it.

    I grant you that weak first serves invite the opponent to step in and put the return away. But, if your first serve is in and lands deep in the box, the likelihood of your opponent winning the point goes down. It is just that simple.

    Make your opponent hit every first serve, and you will rarely be giving away "free" or "cheap" points.

  8. DON’T TRY TO WIN POINTS OFF THE RETURN OF SERVE

    Not many of us are blessed with the Andre Agassi’s return of serve. The purpose of return of serve should be to put the ball in play. If you look at the pros, they rarely attempt to hit more than 10% of their returns as winners. Remember, these are the professionals.

    Too many mortal players attempt to win the point off the return. The overall success of this strategy is not good.

  9. HIT MOST OF YOUR SHOTS CROSSCOURT

    Hitting crosscourt is playing percentage tennis. The net is lower in the center by 6 inches. By hitting crosscourt there is more margin for error. Hitting crosscourt makes your opponent’s winners less likely to occur.

    Now, to fully understand why I make these statements, a somewhat detailed explanation is in order. Fortunately, I addressed this whole concept in a past article that addressed the Euclidean Geometry of Tennis. This article has illustrations that will hopefully explain why crosscourt tennis is winning tennis.

  10. DRIFT BACK TO THE CENTER OF THE COURT AFTER EACH GROUNDSTROKE AND FOLLOW THE PATH OF THE BALL AFTER EACH VOLLEY

    How to position yourself after each shot is really not a complicated matter. After each groundstroke, drift (don’t run) back to the center of the baseline. In moving this way, you are in the best possible position to cover any of your opponent’s replies.

    When at the net volleying, follow the path of your volley. If you hit your volley to your right, move to your right to cover a most likely reply. If you hit your volley left, move left. If you hit your volley in the center of your opponent’s court, your best position is to be near the center of the net.

    Being in proper position is truly as simple as these guidelines suggest.

So, these are my 10 commandments of tennis. Try each of them out. I promise you that if you adhere to these mandates, you will become a tennis overdog!!!

Green DotGreen DotGreen Dot

Turbo Tennis Archives:
1996 - 2002 | 2003 - 2014


If you have not already signed up to receive our free e-mail newsletter Tennis Server INTERACTIVE, you can sign up here. You will receive notification each month of changes at the Tennis Server and news of new columns posted on our site.

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.


 

nodot
nodot
Google
Web tennisserver.com
nodot nodot
The Tennis Server
Ticket Exchange

Your Source for tickets to professional tennis & golf events.
 
Barclays ATP World Tour Finals Tennis Tickets 11/7-11/14
 
Davis Cup Finals: France vs Switzerland Tennis Tickets 11/21
 
Chris Evert Pro-Celeb Tennis Classic Tickets 11/22-11/23
 
2015 BNP Paribas Open Tickets Indian Wells 3/11-3/22
 
2015 Miami Open Tennis Tickets 3/23-4/5
 
2015 US Open Tennis Tickets 8/31-9/13
 

 

Tennis MindGame

 
Popular Tennis books:
 
Smart Tennis by John Murray
 
Winning Ugly: Mental Warfare in Tennis-Lessons from a Master by Brad Gilbert, Steve Jamison
 
The Best Tennis of Your Life: 50 Mental Strategies for Fearless Performance by Jeff Greenwald
 
The Inner Game of Tennis by W. Timothy Gallwey
 
Most Recent Articles:
 
December 15, 2014 Between The Lines: Player of the Year 2014 by Ray Bowers.
 
Tennis Warrior: The Racket-Back Myth by Tom Veneziano.
 
November 2014 Tennis Anyone: Coil by John Mills.
 
November 2014 Turbo Tennis: Double Your Pleasure by Ron Waite.
 
November 11, 2014 Between The Lines: Woman of the Year 2014 by Ray Bowers.
 
October 2014 Wild Cards: Roger Rolls Through 300; Serena Wins First Championship In Cincinnati by Vince Barr.
 
Tennis Warrior: Five Powerful Tennis Concepts by Tom Veneziano.
 
October 2014 Tennis Anyone: Why Can I Not Poach? by John Mills.
 
October 2014 Turbo Tennis: Momentum Revisited by Ron Waite.
 
August 2014 Wild Cards: The Tennis Round Table: Interviews With Jim Courier, Todd Martin & Mark Philippoussis in Arizona by Vince Barr.
 

 

 

 

 
 
Featured events in the Tennis Server Ticket Exchanges:
 
  Featured Tickets:
BNP Paribas Open Tickets Indian Wells CA Tennis Garden
Miami Open Tennis Tickets Miami Key Biscayne FL Crandon Park Center
 

  Featured Tickets:
Western & Southern Open Cincinnati Tennis Tickets Session 1 W&SFG Cincy Mason OH Lindner Family Center Financial Group Masters
Western & Southern Open Cincinnati Tennis Tickets Session 2 W&SFG Cincy Mason OH Lindner Family Center Financial Group Masters
Western & Southern Open Cincinnati Tennis Tickets Session 3 W&SFG Cincy Mason OH Lindner Family Center Financial Group Masters
Western & Southern Open Cincinnati Tennis Tickets Session 4 W&SFG Cincy Mason OH Lindner Family Center Financial Group Masters

  Featured Tickets:
US Open Tennis Tickets Men's Final Session 26 New York City NYC NY Flushing Meadows Corona
US Open Tennis Tickets Women's Final Session 25 New York City NYC NY Flushing Meadows Corona
US Open Tennis Tickets Men's Semifinals Session 24 New York City NYC NY Flushing Meadows Corona
US Open Tennis Tickets Women's Semifinals Session 23 New York City NYC NY Flushing Meadows Corona
US Open Tennis Tickets Men's Quarterfinals Session 22 New York City NYC NY Flushing Meadows Corona

  Featured Tickets:
Sony Open Tennis All Session Strip Tickets Miami Key Biscayne FL Crandon Park Center
Sony Open Tennis Session 1 Tickets Miami Men's & Women's Singles Qualifying Key Biscayne FL Crandon Park Center
Sony Open Tennis Session 2 Tickets Miami Men's & Women's Singles Qualifying & Women's Singles 1st Round Key Biscayne FL Crandon Park Center
Sony Open Tennis Session 3 Tickets Miami Men's & Women's Singles 1st Round Key Biscayne FL Crandon Park Center
Sony Open Tennis Session 4 Tickets Miami Men's & Women's Singles 1st Round Key Biscayne FL Crandon Park Center

  Featured Tickets:
US Open Tennis Tickets Session 7 Second Round New York City NYC NY Flushing Meadows Corona
US Open Tennis Tickets Session 6 Men's First Round Women's Second Round New York City NYC NY Flushing Meadows Corona
US Open Tennis Tickets Session 5 Men's First Round Women's Second Round New York City NYC NY Flushing Meadows Corona
US Open Tennis Tickets Session 4 Opening Round New York City NYC NY Flushing Meadows Corona
US Open Tennis Tickets Session 3 Opening Round New York City NYC NY Flushing Meadows Corona

 
 
"Tennis Server" is a registered trademark and "Tennis Server INTERACTIVE" is a trademark of Tennis Server. All original material and graphics on the Tennis Server are copyrighted 1994 - by Tennis Server and its sponsors and contributors. Please do not reproduce without permission.

 

Tennis Server
Cliff Kurtzman
Editor-in-chief
2323 Clear Lake City Boulevard
Suite 180-139
Houston, Texas 77062-8120
Phone: (281) 480-6300
Fax: (281) 480-7715
Online Contact Form
How to support Tennis Server as a Sponsor/Advertiser
Tennis Server Privacy Policy