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Continuous Effort
By:  Scott Baker | Tennis4you  | Tennis Forum  | E-mail

I have played thousands of matches in my life, some against great players and some against not so great players. Regardless the level of my opponents, I see a reoccurring factor in a lot of my matches, and in the matches of other players:  Non-continuous effort!

Many people say the best time to break your opponent's serve is right after you are broken yourself. Some people let down their guard when they have won the first set. What about players who hang in the match for the first few games or half a set with the better player and then blow the rest of the match? Many of these situations are the results of non-continuous effort.

Why do most people fail to give continuous effort? It is all mental! You have heard it before and I will say it again now, the mental game of tennis is 80% of the overall game. (Some would argue much more than 80%)

My all-time favorite example of non-continuous effort is playing somene who you know is a good player and you think he/she is a better player than yourself. You hang in the match for the first half of the first set and just give it your all. Somewhere in the middle of your match you start to doubt yourself and wonder how long you can keep up this level of play. Well, in my opinion if you can keep up that level the first half, you can keep it up through out the whole match! The minute you start to wonder how long you can hit point for point with your opponent you blow it. The next thing you know you will be shaking your opponent's hand saying "good game" and you are going home the loser. In order to beat a good player you will have to give continuous effort through out the whole match! I play so many people who come out swinging with all they have and I know if I just give it my all through out the whole match they will fold under the continuous pressure. But really if they could hang in there mentally we would have a great match and who knows who could win.

What about those players who let their guard down after they break serve or win the first set? You can not let your guard down for any part of the match. You earned the lead - great! Now give it your all to keep that lead! I used to be a player who would win the first and third set. I would always lose the second set because my game got loose and I thought the match was in the bag. This is not the way to win a match! I can not stress enough the importance of giving every point of every game of every set all of your effort.

The attitude I go on the court with these days, even if I have always beaten the player 6-0, 6-0, is this: "I must play the best tennis I can today or I will lose this match". Maybe that seems a little paranoid or extreme to you, but it is what gets me to give continuous effort through out the match. By giving you all for every point you can put an enormace amount of pressure on your opponent. If you ever step out on the court with me just know that I will be 100% there the whole match. Will you be?

Good Luck on the Court!
Scott Baker