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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    New England

    Coach Yourself to Winning Tennis

    Sounds like one of those annoying Ads where the only person that benefits is the one getting your $29.95 Special Limited Time Offer. Well I'm going to give you some sound advice regardless of your level and all you're going to need are the following:

    1. TV
    2. DVD Player or VHS Player or even DVR/TiVo
    3. Remoter Control
    4. As many Tennis Matches as you can gather on DVD or VHS format
    5. Writing Paper (optional)
    6. Peace & Quiet (also optional)

    What you will do with these items is watch Tennis. Doesn't matter what Match or what Players. I would however recommend if you're a singles player, try watching singles and subsequently if doubles is your game, then spend your time watching doubles.

    BUT you are not going to watch these matches for the enjoyment of the game but moreso you are going to analyze a multitude of sequences which is why you'll need that remote handy. I want you to start watching Tennis very much in the same vain as a Football Coach watches a rival team's videos or your own team trying to spot the strengths & weaknesses of your game.

    You're sitting on your couch in the same manner as a Coach, scouting their next opponent so you can develop a game plan for your horse to win or at least be competitive. Pay strict attention to certain aspects of the game during any given rally.

    Let's imagine the match you found is Serena Williams vs Maria Sharapova at Wimbledon. Two former Wimbledon Champions who know what it takes to win this coveted prize.

    What should you look for and why?

    I'm particularly interested in the point by point action. This is where you will gain your biggest understanding of the game. So you start the vid up and Maria is about to serve at 0-0 1st Set. Both Players are on equal footing since this is the beginning of the match, fatigue should not be a factor. Maria serves out wide to the forehand of Serena.

    1st delivery places Maria in offense and Serena in Defense. However Serena hits a hard solid flat return down the add-court side forcing Maria to scramble for a reply. Does this immediately put Maria on defense? probably however since Maria is not known for her amazing speed around the court, all she can hope for is to get her strings to make some sort of contact with the ball.

    In this situation, Maria does get her racquet on the ball and throws it up high and deep to Serena's baseline. Did Serena follow her return in to the net for the put away? Or did she stand firm where she first hit her return? Well again in this case, Serena didn't follow it in but rather stayed back because she was convinced Maria wasn't going to get to her return and if she did, her slowness would not have had time for much control over her shot. As we've implied, Maria was immediately placed on defense due to the return but when she threw up the high lob that floated deep to the baseline and actually stayed in the court, who became defense at that point and who became offense? Of course there are a number of scenarios that could be explained here but my purpose is simple. If you watch a match, each & every point has a Tell that clearly gives away a great secret and it's up to the beholder to spot it.

    Once you get yourself to a place where you can easily spot where the turn of events took place that put one player on defense, you are then beginning to grasp that all important factor of Tennis referred to as 'Court Strategy'.

    Tons of people know how to play this game but what separates the good from the great players? Great Players understand court strategy, then approach every game with a game plan. If you're a 3.5 to 4.0 level Player, you're beginning to have the ability to hit the ball in the general area of where you want it to go. Between 4.0 & 4.5, you don't only hit the ball where you want but it's got some meat on it. 4.5 to 5.0 players not only have heat on the ball where they hit it but they can sustain their game plan in the event the ball comes back and you can be sure that if you're a 4.5 to 5.0 player and playing with someone of equal ability, most likely the ball will come back more than not so your game plan begins to take on a much more complex nature,meaning you don't just hit & hope but rather you're hitting to one corner, anticipating a return subsequently knowing you need to build your point until either you or your opponent finally gets out of position or commits an error.

    I can watch a match and tell you the exact moment the point losing player made their mistake which even includes an unreturned serve. Can you? Well if you begin to watch tennis and look for these Tells, you will and once you do, your game will begin to take on a different focus providing you start to apply what you've learned. If you're losing points or games because your opponent is always at the net for the put away, maybe you're hitting too much to the Mid-Court. Pro Players live & die by relying on the mid-court replies. Any Coach worth their salt must drill their player on hitting as deep as possible without going beyond the line of course. When you get to a level where you can keep hitting deep to the baseline, that will frustrate your opponent because you will have taken away their ability to Chip & Charge

    Who can best illustrate this is probably any Andre Agassi match. Andre was the king of setting up a point and waiting for that small opening to transition from defense to offense in the blink of an eye.

    In conclusion all I'm asking is for you to start watching matches to see when the Player lost or won the point before the point is actually over. If you begin to master this and find you can apply what you're learning on the Court, you will begin to win many more matches than you did before. You will begin to take advantage of those short balls instead of staying back because you think of yourself as Super Baseline Shotmaker Person.
    Last edited by Coach; 08-23-2008 at 10:47 PM.

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