They are guideposts in tennis that makes up the four largest components of the game. These four main fundamentals are prerequisite for tennis players at all levels if they wish to improve tennis.
How Do We Learn Tennis?
The question of how to improve tennis for most players is one of the biggest and most difficult tasks. In tennis, without the fundamentals firmly ingrained into their tennis strokes, this can be little more than a pipe dream.
Tennis players that want to play better tennis should pay close attention to the learning process in tennis. The brain is a complex organ that is capable of taking in large amount of information, but the information must be accurate and concise. For tennis players trying to figure out how to improve tennis, this means solidifying the fundamentals. The basics of every tennis stroke must be learned before they progress into more advanced tennis concepts.
In tennis lessons, the coach often provides tennis tips to the player. These tennis lessons are usually not quick fixes but the coach can reveal the areas of tennis technique, footwork or strategy that needs to be improved upon. A coach can only make a player aware of their flaws and offer tennis tips, but it is then the player’s responsibility to translate this information into their brain. This is a gradual progression involved in how to improve tennis.
Without a solid understanding of the tennis instruction and feeding this data so your brain can interpret it all is the only way to play better tennis.
How To Improve Tennis?
Why does one player improve their tennis year after year while another tennis player stays in a permanent plateau?
Tennis players who improve are constantly making changes to their tennis game. They understand the fundamentals and the learning process of how to improve tennis that will lead to the results they desire, and they practice and sharpen those tennis skills diligently.
Important Tennis Fundamentals to Improve Tennis
These four important tennis keys on how to improve tennis are responsible for a complete tennis player. Like the roots of the tree, if one part of the foundation is missing it will effect the entire tree. If one area of the “4 Keys” is missing, the rest of the areas will be affected.
Key #1 – Technical
The first key on how to improve tennis is Technical. The Technical aspect of tennis is one of the most important areas to focus on when trying to play better tennis.
In order to improve tennis, a player must have a very active mindset. A person must be open and willing to make changes to his or her tennis game. Sometimes making changes can be difficult and even frustrating, but one must stick with the process to achieve greater heights in his or her tennis ability.
For a player to improve tennis, a person must hone their skills in the tennis technique and strokes department. Nick Bolletieri, a top tennis coach understands the concepts behind making changes to a person’s tennis game. In his book, Bolletieri Tennis Handbook he says, “In almost every area of human endeavor, people are reluctant to change…A change in the grip, for example, will definitely be uncomfortable. As in all changes, much depends on the eagerness and determination of the one making the changes.”
Sometimes an adjustment to a person’s tennis stroke whether it be forehand, backhand or serve may be difficult at first, but it would be beneficial in the long-run to make the change.
Start with the stroke that breaks down the most. Then, break the stroke itself down into the elements that are necessary for optimum efficiency, power, and adaptability.
Focus on improving one of these elements for the next three months, and it will reward you richly.
Key #2 – Physical
The physical part is key for players on how to improve tennis. This part alone can distinguish a player apart from their opponents. A tennis player that is in tip top physical shape will outlast their opponents and will be able to continue to play at a high level during a long tennis match.
Fitness training is one of the ways to improve tennis in this area, and a tennis player that is fit is more likely to be the winner of the tennis match in a long three set dual. Often, doing off court training is considered something reserved for top juniors or players on the pro tour. But, all tennis players can benefit from a comprehensive fitness program.
Tour players and top juniors understand the need to work on their fitness and conditioning to play better tennis. This helps in many ways, including the footwork, agility, overall strength and versatility of a player.
For someone training to be a top junior or tour player there are ten areas I emphasize. However, for club and recreational players my suggestion is to focus on aerobic conditioning for tennis, as well as core strength, and flexibility exercises. A tennis player that can master these three areas will play better tennis without a doubt.
This area of the “4 important keys to tennis success” is usually missing from club tennis players. And this is partially responsible for their inability to play better tennis. It’s tough enough to worry about striking the ball well, and if you add the footwork and movement problems associated with poor conditioning, this can lead to another host of difficulties in making improvements.
Key #3 – Strategy
Strategy is another important area for players working on how to improve tennis. With all of the other elements in place, such as tennis technique, strokes, fitness and physicality the next aspect is strategy. Mastering strategy in tennis is crucial to play better tennis, without understanding strategy in tennis a player will be limited in their successes.
There are some players that strike the ball well, have decent looking strokes, but they have poor strategy and or shot selection. This accounts for why sometimes players with inferior strokes and game style can beat “better” players. It is essential to always use sound strategy in tennis, and always focus on improving shot selection. Many tennis points are lost due to poor shot selection.
Roger Federer is a good example of a pro player that understands strategy well. Federer uses strategy to help him play better tennis and win points using more of strategic perspective. While Roger Federer hits powerful shots, he is able to win points by outsmarting and outlasting his opponents. Every time I watch him play, it looks like Federer’s mind is quietly at work constantly trying to dissect his opponent’s weakness at any given point in time during the tennis match.
Improving strategy is about understanding the dynamics of the tennis court. Obviously, the crosscourt shot would be safer under many circumstances, and it’s always a good idea to scout out an opponents weakness and play those weaknesses during a tennis point.
Progress in this area will pay huge dividends.
Key #4 – Mental
How to improve tennis would be impossible without a strong mental tennis approach. During a tennis match, many factors will be involved that will make it difficult to win the match. It is of upmost importance to concentrate and remained focused on the tennis match in the moment. Even a small lapse in concentration during a tennis match and it can cost the player the whole match.
The mental tennis aspect is essential to play better tennis and without it, a player would be left stranded with poor results. This includes tennis psychology of the match. The ability to control the mental tennis part of the game can be rewarding and give the tennis player the edge over their opponents.
Beyond how to improve tennis outlined in the first above keys, here are some mental tennis tips to play better tennis…
- 1. Come to the court prepared.
This involves the mental, physical emotional preparation prior to arriving to the tennis court. Mental tennis preparation would include freeing the mind from anxious thoughts of the past, or future. Emotional preparation would be performing any necessary visualizations or rituals to quiet the mind so a player knows exactly what they need to do once they get on the tennis court. Examples of good physical preparation would involve getting the appropriate rest and proper time management to be one hundred percent ready.
- 2. Carry yourself between points with a clear and focused mind on what you want to accomplish next.
A solid game plan will allow you to execute every tennis shot with 100% intention
- 3. Focus on targets to hit to and let go of outcome.
When the mind sees an outcome, the outcome can become distorted causing the mind and body to have difficulty reaching it’s full potential and on how to improve tennis.
- 4. Be proactive in generating positive self-talk.
This is another part of mental cues and visualization that assist the player in regards to mental tennis. This is critical to play better tennis. This also shapes the reality of a player. A tennis player with a positive reality will tend to mold themselves into the reality that they believe in.
These define the four keys to tennis success. Once you’ve examined these areas on how to improve tennis, you may need to work hard on strengthening the area to which you are weak in. Tennis is a game that requires a player to be strong in all the four main areas I mentioned. A successful tennis player never gives up, which is why they are able to play better tennis on a consistent basis.
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