Oftentimes the two things that keep people from achieving their goals are the possibility of failure and anxiety of not fitting in.
I felt both these things when I first stepped on a tennis court.
With that said, through years of playing and countless role models leading me in the right direction, the tennis court now feels like a second home to me.
In order to get the most out of yourself on the court, you have to feel comfortable. I have compiled a list of eight underrated but important tips you should take with you onto the tennis court that will improve your comfortability.
This list can be applied to all players, regardless of age or skill level!
Make sure your bag is packed
Before you leave your house, always make sure your tennis bag is fully packed with any gear you may need during your time on the court.
I always recommend you overpack rather than underpack.
You want to make sure you have your racquet(s), a fresh can of tennis balls, a water bottle, and sweatbands/towles. This is at MINIMUM!
You can check out this article I wrote to find more information on what every tennis player should carry in their bag.
Whenever I am scheduled to play tennis, I typically try to arrive at the court 15 minutes early. I use these 15 minutes to stretch out my body and mind.
Your basic, everyday stretches are acceptable to perform. The important part is not how fancy the stretch is, but that you warm up and engage every part of your body.
Tennis uses every part of your body, including your mind. It is helpful to do some positive-thinking as you stretch out in order to picture yourself succeeding on the court.
- Have a gameplan in mind
Piggy-backing on the last point, it is important to engage your mind prior to your time on the tennis court.
Not only do you want to repeat thoughts of affirmation in your head, but you also should create a game plan you want to accomplish during your time on the court.
This game plan does not have to be written out, but it should have tangible goals that are feasible for you to accomplish.
If you are going out for a one hour lesson with a trainer, you might think about how you want to avoid any mental lapse of frustration during your session.
If you are preparing for a match, you may want to think of a more specific game plan such as serve and volleying.
Keep your eye on the ball
This may be the most rudimentary tip on the list, but it is massively important and something that people often overlook.
One of the many things that set professional players apart from beginners is their focus on the ball. Beginning players are often focused on watching their shot or their opponents movement.
Your #1 concern should be the ball!
I always advise people to train their eyes directly on the tennis ball, even a half-second after you make contact with it. This helps with creating an ideal contact point on your racquet.
Your focus can often go awry during a hectic point, but you always want to stay 100 percent focused on the ball to give yourself the best chance to succeed.
Always think one shot ahead
Oftentimes when beginners are playing tennis their sole focus is on hitting the ball over the net and in the court. While this is very important, as you progress, you will want to start constructing points by thinking one shot ahead.
Point construction is a huge part of tennis strategy. If you think one shot ahead, you will see your on-court performance very quickly improve.
Use your shots to set up your opponents’ movement. It is advantageous to move them from side to side and up towards the net. Anything that makes them uncomfortable puts you in a great spot to win the point!
Take deep breaths between points
During a tennis point, your mind and body are racing trying to figure out the best way to win the point.
The 20-30 seconds between each point are VITAL to your success as a player, yet they are often overlooked.
Harvard Health published an article explaining why controlled breathing is the best way to deal with the stressors of life.
It is important to practice this deep, controlled breathing between every point on the tennis court. It will allow your mind to calm itself down while resetting fast-paced respiration caused by the rigors of running.
Taking deep breaths between points is a great way to guarantee that your mind and body are in the best position for you to succeed on the tennis court.
Always hydrate when changing sides
When playing a tennis match, players switch sides of the court after every odd numbered game. During this period, you are given time to take a seat and rest for a few minutes.
ALWAYS MAKE SURE TO DRINK WATER DURING THIS TIME.
The most common mistake I always see from inexperienced tennis players is getting behind on their hydration and losing energy at the end of a match.
Even if you do not feel thirsty, drink something. Your body needs to replenish itself after all of your work out on the court.
For those that are just practicing, give yourself a water break every 10-15 minutes. This simulates the amount of time in between changeovers during a match and will get your body used to that schedule of hydration.
Keep a routine
Arguably the most important thing that combines the previous seven tips I mentioned is keeping a routine.
Like with anything, keeping a routine leads to more sustained success on the tennis court.
You do not have to model your routine after anyone, find what is comfortable for you!
Whether that is getting to the court at a certain time, running a few laps to warm up your legs, or bouncing the ball three times before a serve, establish what makes you feel the most comfortable on the court and consistently practice this.
If you want to put these tips into action, make sure to head over to the HOKALI homepage and look at our tennis lesson packages!
HOKALI partners with some of the best coaches in the area to help players of all skill levels improve their tennis game.
Get out there and give it a try!
Wanna keep on reading about tennis? Check this out!