Like many sports, tennis is both a mental and physical game. You can be on top of your game physically but lack focus and do poorly. Conversely, you can be mentally prepared but be battling a nagging injury or have a fundamental flaw in your game and end up with the same result. Good technique, being in good physical condition and developing your mental prowess are all key skills for playing tennis.
Mental preparation might be the most important skill set of all when it comes to tennis. Developing good concentration skills so you can keep your focus on the court and avoid personal and physical distractions is priority number one. Additionally, getting yourself motivated to do well is another key skill, as is problem-solving and reasoning. Using problem-solving and reasoning allows you to think ahead about your opponent's return shots and overall strategy.
Maintaining your overall health is an important aspect of playing tennis. Eating right, staying physically fit, getting plenty of rest and taking care of any injuries will allow you to play your best tennis. Improving your strength through cardiovascular exercises such as running and bicycling, as well as light weightlifting will allow you to play stronger on the court when serving and volleying. Developing good hand-eye coordination is also a key physical skill to have because your body movement has to work in unison with what you are doing with your hands, legs and feet.
Developing good offensive skills will allow you to play better tennis. Mastering your serve is the most important of the offensive skills to have. There are four basic serves in tennis: the flat (or power) serve, slice serve, top-spin serve and kick serve. Learning to master at least two of those through practice and instruction will take your game to another level. Developing good passing shots is another offensive skill important to have, as passing shots are an effective tool to use when your opponent rushes the net.
The majority of the actions that occur on a tennis court are defensive shots. Whether it's the a return of serve, volleying, approach shots, or lobs, most points in a tennis match are scored based on the proper placement of the ball from a defensive shot. This is another area where practice and instruction play key roles, especially in the return of serves. Opponents are at their most vulnerable immediately after serving the ball, so developing good return serve skills will increase your chances of winning the point and, ultimately, the match. Developing good forehand and backhand shot-making skills will also make you a better tennis player.
- Online Tennis Instruction.com: The Most Important Tennis Skills
- Tennis Tips.org; Tennis Technique: Tactics and Skills
- "Tennis Skills: The Player's Guide; Tom Sadzeck; 2001
- Tennis4You.com; The 4 Types of Serves; Scott Baker
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