Handpicked Tips On How To Improve At Tennis
Whether you’re a newbie or an above-average club player, you might find yourselves questioning some moments during your tennis matches. Here, you can find some tips and answers on how to improve at tennis. These tennis tips will help you improve your game in one or more aspects. Note that these are handpicked tips that I have used over time.
So, let’s start our countdown of tennis tips to help you understand how to improve at tennis (and not get angry like Djokovic 😅).
#1 | Always Look At The Ball
One of the first tennis tips that I will list on how to improve at tennis is to keep your eyes locked on the ball. This might seem like common sense but more often than not, we club players lose points simply because we are not looking at the ball enough. Remember, that when you look at the ball, you need to read its trajectory, see where it is going to bounce, react to it, and keep your eyes locked on it during and after you hit your shot.
I have noticed that some players struggle to maintain focus when connecting with the ball. This was a mistake I frequently made as a young athlete. Failing to keep your eyes on the ball can result in suboptimal hits or missed hits altogether.
#2 | Aim To Get The Ball In
The fundamental goal in tennis is to make the ball bounce within the court of your opponent’s side. If you’re having a hard time doing this, then you are going to find yourself losing a lot of matches.
Sometimes, you see people who do not have a proper technique go up against others who have a solid idea of how to hit proper groundstrokes. However, if those people who hit their forehand and backhands with the right technique fail to get a higher percentage of balls in than those who do not have the right technique, they still end up losing.
So whatever you do, just aim to get the ball in. This is a critical step on how to improve at tennis and increase your win rate and my second tip for improving your tennis game.
#3 | Be Mentally Aware
The third tennis tip I have for you is to be mentally prepared for your tennis matches. The power that comes with being mentally prepared is something that is, unfortunately, very underestimated. Being mentally present can help you go a long way in understanding how to improve at tennis. When you are mentally prepared, you get to enjoy your tennis, understand how you should play to win more points, and feel less overwhelmed when you’re trailing.
That being said, being mentally prepared is somewhat of a skill that you need to practice each time you go on a tennis court.
Whenever you have a tennis match, it is often beneficial for you to arrive some 15 to 30 minutes before the start of your game, absorb the atmosphere, smell your surroundings, and just listen to what your mind is telling you. Something else that can help you be mentally prepared is to be hydrated. This not only helps your body perform better, but it also helps keep your mind going when the tennis match starts.
#4 | Be On The Go – Footwork Is Vital
A key component of a tennis player’s game should be footwork. If you are lacking in the footwork department, your tennis game is bound to take a hit. Remember that after every shot you need to recover. If you take too long to recover your position, then you are inviting your opponent to hit the ball at an angle that will probably be impossible for you to recover.
Footwork drills will help you become faster and react quicker, thus making you go for the ball earlier. This will earn you more time to execute the proper technique for the stroke and help you play better tennis.
So in conclusion, footwork is a vital tool for your journey on how to improve at tennis.
#5 Consistency Is Key
The game of tennis generally favours those who keep putting the ball in. If you are failing to keep the ball in play for longer than 5 seconds, then you are bound to lose the upcoming matches.
So my fifth tip on how to get better at tennis and help you win more matches is to remember that using powerful and aggressive shots in your tennis game will leave you battling a large margin of error. By putting the ball on your opponent’s court, you are automatically putting pressure on them to not make any mistakes.
#6 Play Your Best Possible Shot
This tennis tip is one of those things which I wish I learned at a young age. Unfortunately, I did not – but I am sharing it here for your benefit (after all this is Guide My Tennis).
Whenever you are playing a tennis match, you need to go in with a strategy. Having a strategy will help you perform better. Otherwise, you are just aimlessly wandering around and reacting to the ball that your opponent gives you. When you are following a strategy, you may find yourselves in a position that is not the best, hence, you need to adapt.
Say for example you plan to go up and attack the net. If the opponent is pushing you deep and not allowing you to enter into the court, you cannot simply waltz to the net. In that case, you have to keep playing until you take control of the point and they slip up. When you’re under pressure, you may need to lob the ball and give yourself time to recover, then do so. If you are going to do a drop shot, do not attempt the shot from behind the baseline. Remember, the further you are from the net, the more difficult the shot becomes.
#7 Get In The Zone Before A Match
If you are treating a tennis game as if it were a meeting with your boss to discuss the figures for the next quarter, then you are approaching tennis in a wrong (and weird) manner. When you have a tennis game, make sure that your mind is free from any other obligations. When you’re waiting to go onto the tennis court, make sure to absorb the surroundings. Also, ensure that you do not arrive late. Try and be there around 15 to 30 minutes before your scheduled time.
#8 | Get Your Second Serve In
You tried to ace your opponent with your first serve and it went out. You tried to do the same with your second serve and it went in the net. There you are, trailing in your service game and on the receiving end of a breakpoint. This is a scenario which many players go through.
My tip is to simplify things and embrace the basics. Remember, if you put the ball on the opponent’s end, you are putting pressure on them. And pressure may lead them to make a mistake.
You can use your first serve to try and be aggressive and win the point that way, sure! But when you come to play the second serve, it is best to just place the ball in the box and play the point. I love to put some spin on my second serve – this helps keep hard hitters from hitting winners.
#9 | Practice Your Ball Toss
The main component of a tennis serve is the ball toss. This is the first component and also the most difficult to master. As a result, a poor ball toss will result in an even poorer serve.
My tennis tip for you boys and girls suffering from this issue is to practice. Practice your ball toss, practice your serve, find a routine and use it in your tennis matches.
#10 | Don’t Be Too Hard On Yourself
What an underestimated tip this is on how to improve at tennis. You may find yourself losing point after point. This may lead you to swear and lose your cool on the tennis court. My tip is to stop this behaviour. You are not only hurting your tennis game but also giving your opponent more confidence. Building your opponent’s confidence is the last thing you need to deal with.
Here is my suggestion: After a mistake, count to three and then you can say or react however you want. When you are doing this well, push yourself to count to 5 instead, and then react to the mistake. With time, keep increasing the number of seconds to 7, then to 9, then to 11 and so on. You will end up finding yourself forgetting the mistake and focusing on the next point with fewer problems.
Bonus Tip | Learn To Accept Defeat
Ok, I get it, you want to be the best possible tennis player you can be. But look at Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal. Those are some big names, right? Yet, they still lose. It does not mean that they are not good, but sometimes, when you play, it just isn’t your day. And that’s OK.
I was once told that failure is part of the journey to success. In this case, losing is part of your journey to become better. In defeat, be graceful, shake your opponent’s hand and think about how you can improve for next time.
You can do it!