Both elite players and club players understand the importance of planning for their matches. Scheduling practices, fitness sessions, coaching sessions, equipment and pre match warm-ups are the obvious parts of tournament/match preparation. But what often separates club players from reaching the next level is the way they play their points.
Watch the top players in the world play and you quickly realize that they are building points based on their strengths and their opponents weaknesses, rather than just reacting and hoping to get the ball back in play. Building a point requires the player to have a basic plan or strategy for each point. This strategy may vary depending on the stage of the match or the success of the strategy, but a good player always has a base strategy (this applies to doubles as well). It also, more importantly requires a player to have a plan for each shot. This is very important!
A good player knows where he/she is going to hit the ball BEFORE the ball has crossed the net. Planning for each shot in this way helps the player
* Identify both the opponents and their own court positioning
* Track the ball
* Prepare sooner
* Execute the shot
* Build the point
Practicing strategy patterns that include changing direction and varying spin and pace will help a club player build confidence in the execution of their strokes so that they can perform under match stress.
There is nothing like the satisfaction of building and finishing a point. Having a base game plan and a plan for each shot will help you build and win more points. Practicing this will raise your game and having you playing elite tennis in no time.
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