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Hardscrabble Scramble
May 1999 Article

Hardscrabble Scramble Archive

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Developing A Game Plan

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Mike Whittington

Do you use the warm up time to develop some sort of game plan against your opponent? Hopefully you have warmed up on your own some time before the match and you can use this quick warm up as a way to evaluate your opponent's strengths and weaknesses and develop some sort of strategy. Based on what you see, how would you decide on a game plan? For instance, say that your opponent really can't hit low backhands and this is obvious to you from the beginning. Certainly you would like to hit them as many low ones as possible. Now what if your slice shots were your worst shots? Would you still attempt to hit your worst shot to go to their weakness? I think many players would say "yes."

When developing a game plan you first must know your own strengths and weaknesses. Try to build a strategy based on what you do well. If you notice that your opponent can't handle wide serves and you like to serve and volley, put those two parts together. You must remember that your game should center more around what you do well rather than just what weaknesses the opponent has. Sometimes it works perfectly so that your strongest shots go to their weakest. When this isn't the case you must be more patient in waiting for the correct shot. Give your game plan a chance to work and you will be surprised at how effective it can be given some time.

Remember to change a losing game plan and stay with a winning strategy. If it is working for you keep it up - make the opponent make the corrections. If your game planning is working well then you must expect some changes from your opponent. When their back is against the wall they have to come out fighting and a smart player will change a losing strategy.

Your biggest shot might be a strong forehand, big serve, or a steady baseline game. Whatever you consider your biggest asset is what you need to base your strategy on. Set the trap and let them play into it. And always remember, "failing to plan means you are planning to fail." Develop a game plan and give it time to work.

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Hardscrabble Scramble Archive

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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.


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