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Tennis Anyone
April 2002 Article

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Your Biggest Enemies On The Court!

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John Mills, USPTA

  • Your Opponent - See the match as a large puzzle. Try to figure out where all the pieces of your game go in an attempt to maximize your strength and minimize your weaknesses. Know your opponents' strengths and weaknesses.

  • Yourself - Try to stay in a positive attitude. Think about the things that you can do, not about the things that are not working. Be your own "Best Friend."

  • The Net - See the net as an enemy. Do not think about hitting low to the net, rather hit deep in the court, under your opponent's feet or over your opponent's head. Keep those shots out of the net. How many times have you hit a ball then realized it was going out? Give your opponent a chance to play your out balls.

  • The Lines - Too many players aim at the lines. Under pressure, these players' tend to fail. Aim at your general areas in the court. For example, think about making your opponent hit a backhand or a forehand. How many times have you hit a very important shot near a line and you always hear an "out" call?

  • The Environment - Many players wake up saying "It's too cold," "It's too windy," etc. Try to focus on how to deal with the elements. Remember that it will be just as windy or cold for your opponent as it will be for you. I still remember my coach telling me, "the wind is your friend." Learn how to make it work for you, so that when it is windy you will already have a plan to fall back on.

    Let us realize everyone has these same enemies on the court. Be your own best friend. Spend your efforts trying to accentuate the positive. Use that energy to analyze your opponents' game, strengths and weaknesses, devise a plan of attack and play smart. If something is not working, be able to let it go and try something else. The mental part of the game is just as important as the athletic ability. The quest to conquering these enemies is why so many people love to play tennis.

    Good luck on the court!

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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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