nodot nodot
Hardscrabble Scramble
March 2000 Article

Hardscrabble Scramble Archive

Tennis Server

Do You Want To Be A Better Tennis Player?

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

Tom Veneziano You will join 13,000 other subscribers in receiving news of updates to the Tennis Server along with monthly tennis tips from tennis pro Tom Veneziano.
Best of all, it is free!

Tennis Features Icon TENNIS FEATURES:

TENNIS ANYONE? - USPTA Pro John Mills' quick player tip.
TENNIS WARRIOR - Tom Veneziano's Tennis Warrior archive.
TURBO TENNIS - Ron Waite turbocharges your tennis game with tennis tips, strategic considerations, training and practice regimens, and mental mindsets and exercises.
WILD CARDS - Each month a guest column by a new writer.
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.
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.
HARDSCRABBLE SCRAMBLE - USPTA pro Mike Whittington's player tip archive.

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:

Tennis News and Live Tennis Scores
Tennis Links on the Web
Hardscrabble Scramble Banner


Green Dot
Tennis Warehouse Logo
Green Dot

Play The Smart Shot

Mike Whittington Photo
Mike Whittington

It is 4-4 in the third set and your opponent has just served wide to your backhand. What shot do you hit? Do you go down the line? Hit a defensive lob? Regardless of the shot you choose, this is a time in the match that you should play the smartest shot, the high percentage shot. The smartest shot would be whatever shot you feel like you can control the most. It would be the shot that you have executed successfully in practice or a match.

So you think you always play the smartest shot? Let me give you an example. Suppose you are playing doubles and you get that wide serve to the backhand. And let's say that the server's partner decides to poach on this point. The alley is now wide open. Do you go down the line for the winner? Is this a good option now? At first glance you might think, "go for it, it is wide open." Let me throw in a few more variables to consider in addition to the open court. Your backhand also happens to be your weakest shot. In addition, the tough serve has taken you off of the court and you are now off balance. Based on this description of the situation, does the alley still seem as wide open? Another factor to consider is the difficulty in changing directions of a well placed shot especially when off balance and outside the court.

What would you consider the smartest shot now? You might be a very quick player with great reflexes so that you can adjust and take it down the line in time. Personally, it is too big of a point at a crucial time of the match for me to try anything too risky.

Many times in a match it is not a matter of hitting great shots, but more of knowing what is the smart shot at that particular point. You can become a better player by playing smarter rather than harder if you can learn to handle these situations. Realize when you are in trouble and hit the safe shot, the higher percentage shot. To me that is the smartest shot. If you are up a set and two breaks, then you can afford to be more daring and maybe go for that down the line passing shot. But when the pressure is on and the match is tight, the smartest shot is the one you know, rather than the one you think you can execute.

Green DotGreen DotGreen Dot

Hardscrabble Scramble Archive

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 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.


Web tennisserver.com
nodot nodot
The Tennis Server
Ticket Exchange

Your Source for tickets to professional tennis & golf events.
Australian Open Tickets
Dallas Open Tickets
Delray Beach Open Tickets
ATX Open Tickets
Mexican Open Tickets
BNP Paribas Open Tickets
Miami Open Tickets
Credit One Charleston Open Tickets
US Men's Clay Court Championships Tickets
Wimbledon Tickets
Citi Open Tennis Tournament Tickets
Mubadala Silicon Valley Classic Tickets
National Bank Open Womens Tennis Canada Tickets
Odlum Brown Van Open r Tickets
Tennis In The Land Tickets
US Open Tennis Championship Tickets
Laver Cup Vancouver Tickets


Popular Tennis books:
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:
October 2022 Tennis Anyone: Patterns in Doubles by John Mills.
September 2022 Tennis Anyone: Short Court by John Mills.




"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.

The Tennis Server receives a commission on all items sold through links to Amazon.com.


Tennis Server
Cliff Kurtzman
791 Price Street #144
Pismo Beach, CA 93449
Phone: (281) 480-6300
Online Contact Form
How to support Tennis Server as a Sponsor/Advertiser
Tennis Server Privacy Policy