nodot nodot
Hardscrabble Scramble
July 1998 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

Mechanical Or Mental?

Mike Whittington Photo
Mike Whittington

In my last article I stressed the importance of the shot before the shot that ends the point. Knowing which shot started your downfall in a point can be just as important as the shot itself. Now let's take that one step further and look at the final shot. It is also important to know if your errors are mechanical breakdowns or strategical/mental blunders.

Let me give you an example. Suppose you've hit a short ball to your opponent who drives the ball wide and deep to your backhand. As you are running deep to your backhand corner you attempt to hit a sharp angle cross court backhand pass. Unfortunately, the ball goes into the net. If this happens a few times you'll probably hit the practice court to work on that sharp passing shot. You know from my previous article that your short shot allowing your opponent to drive the ball deep was the start of the whole losing point process, but what about the backhand passing shot? Was that a mechanical error? Did you just not hit up enough on the ball? Or was this a strategical error in that you were in a defensive position and this wasn't your smartest shot selection at the time.

In a recent tournament I noticed a junior player that really got down on himself for missing a big, flat serve several times. Over and over this flat hard serve was attempted without success. A week after the loss this player came to me to work on his flat serve. Although his flat serve did need some work, it wasn't what would probably have saved him during the match. Had he kicked in his first serve with spin, he would have prevented his opponent from attacking his second serve for valuable service breaks. As a player he saw a mechanical breakdown and as a coach I saw a strategical breakdown in that he should not have attempted that serve at that point during the match.

If you are unsure why you are losing points or matches or are a bit unsure as to how to direct your practice, have a friend of coach chart your next few matches. It can be a valuable tool finding the weaknesses in your game. Try to learn if you are hitting the the right shots at the right time. Remember that it is better to rely on having control and confidence in your shots and decisions on the court than to hope your opponent misses his or her shot!

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