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What is Your Strategy?
By:  Scott Baker | Tennis4you  | Tennis Forum  | E-mail

"Among armies there are those who abandon their defenses, abolish
their awesomeness, and are yet victorious because they have methods.
There are those who have established the use of their weapons, so that
their response to the enemy is all-encompassing, and their general
leadership is perfected." Wei Liao-tzu, 400 BCE.

Do you have a strategy when you play tennis?  More importantly, do you employ that strategy with every ball you hit on the tennis court?  Having a purpose for each shot and patiently building towards a goal is what makes good tennis players.  In the game of tennis you need to construct each point with an overall purpose.

Hitting the ball with out a strategy is simply just hitting the ball over the net.  For some players, this is their idea of a strategy, they run each ball down and hit it back and wait for their opponent to make a mistake.  This is not necessarily a bad strategy up to a certain level of play.  However, having a more defined strategy will help you develop your game further and make you a better player in the end.

You need to have a plan when you step onto the court.  Once you have seen your opponent's strengths and weaknesses you can fine-tune your game plan to be the more effective.  There are a few strategies to choose from such as Serve and Volley, Baseliners, Counter Puncher and more.  Do you have a strategy, or do you let you opponent's style of play dictate your style of play?  It is better to have your own strategy rather than let your opponent's type of play push you around.

During play each ball that you hit should be building you towards a bigger goal.  If your goal is to get to the net or to keep your opponent away from the net, each ball you hit should be strategically hit to coincide with your plan.  The most important aspect of the formula is patience.  Not every ball you hit will result in what you would like to accomplish (If it did we would be playing on the professional tour).  You must use your strategy to patiently construct the point and work your opponent into a position that will optimize your chances of employing your particular strategy.  If you try to skip a step in the process and try to hit a winner too soon it can spell disaster.

"Constructing points" does not just refer to those who are in control of the point.  If you are on the defensive end of the point you are still constructing the point with the shots that you hit.  You need to use your strategy and adjust it to a defensive mode to be effective. Many of us abandon our strategies when we are on the defensive end of the point.  A lot of times we just go for a winner when we are in less than desirable positions, usually missing.  No matter what position you are in, and what type of situation, you need to stick to your plan, be patient and have a reason for each shot.

If you do not have a strategy that will help you construct points you need to look within yourself and find one.  What are your strengths?  What are your weaknesses?  How do you think you can be most effective?  What tools do you have that will help you construct points to favor your strengths?  Strategies can completely change depending on who you are playing.  Find a strategy that works for you, develop it over time, and see where it can take you, you might be surprised!

Good Luck on the Court!
Scott Baker
Tennis4you.com