What makes a good tennis player? Is it technique? Perhaps it is fitness? Or tactical knowhow? Or is it just plain old practice?
Tennis is a difficult game to master and all of the above are need to master it completely. But spending time with your tennis coach or on the practice courts will certainly help you along the way.
Tennis is all about running to the ball and hitting the right targets, and there are two areas that you should focus on to allow you to do this: Physical Skills and Mental Skills.
- General Athleticism
In order to hit a ball well you first have to get to it, so general fitness plays a big part. But at a social level, general athleticism should be good enough to play. The tip is enjoy as much sport and outdoor activity as you can, this fitness can be transferred onto the tennis court.
To play tennis well you need good balance, when the ball is coming straight at you this is fairly easy, but that is not always the case in tennis. Balance can be improved with specific drills and will aid your game.
- Hand-Eye Coordination
You body movements are dictated by your hand-to-eye coordination, where the ball is and how it is coming to you. Some people are naturally gifted others need drills and games.
Tennis is a game full of short sprints, most of the time movement is within 3-4 meter radius and your dynamic explosiveness governs how fast you can move in these circumstances. There are many drills that can teach your body how to support this dynamic.
- Ball Judgement
How to judge the speed and spin of the ball is crucial, it will develop the more you play. A way to learn quicker is to play against as many different opponents as possible, face different kinds of balls coming at you. Play enough and this skill will come naturally.
Tennis players need to have motivation like any other sports person. Remember most of time time you will be by yourself on the court, so self motivation is key.
One of the most important skills in tennis, when things are not going well out on the court you need to concentrate. Practice “getting in the zone” where you are completely involved in the game and not distracted.
- Competitive Spirit
Enjoy the spirit of competition, tennis is one against one and unlike team sports you do not have colleagues to spur you on. Enjoy the feeling of a win but don’t get upset if you lose either, this is all part of the game.
- Problem Solving
Tennis is just as much about solving problems than actual technique. In a match situation you cannot work on your skills, you have to find a way to defeat your opponents game. These problem-solving skills develop over time, and eventually it will be second nature.
The simple answer to much of the above is to play, play, play and also do not forget to enjoy your passion as well.