The battle cry heard daily on every court around the world
The battle cry heard daily on every court around the world is, “You need to be more consistent!” It’s advice that certainly makes sense. Still, many competitive players struggle to take their game to the next level whether it’s in league or tournament play because they haven’t figured out “how” to be more consistent.
More: 12 Tips to Win your Next Match
If you have an issue with consistency, try the following solutions to take your game to the next level. Work these kinks out of your game and you’ll have more success in tournaments and league matches.
1. Train Almost Every Day Practice in the manner in which you’re expecting to perform. Design patterns and positions to expose your strengths and hide your weaknesses.
More: 4 Game-Changing Defensive Tips Try and play one match a day for a week. If it sounds too tough, try to play a full match three days straight.
2. Rehearse Shot Selection The most common type of error is low percentage shot selection. Abiding by the laws of offense, neutral and defensive is a factor. Spotting tendencies as they occur is a critical factor in proper shot selection. Fun fact: The “window” your ball travels above the net is crucial in the development of depth. This is called “air zones.” Consistent depth is a key to consistent wins.
More: Air Zones Vs. Court Zones: How to Choose the Right Shot
3. Simply Match the Speed of the Incoming Ball Champions are comfortable matching the ball speed. Fighting the compulsion to always increase the ball speed is a sure fire way to be more consistent. When you don’t have the feel in a match, shift to this plan. This is also a super warm up routine. It shows the opponent you are stable versus crazy.
4. Hit the Right Side of the Ball Beginner and intermediate players are happy simply hitting the ball. Top players understand that to hit short angles, topspin lobs and slice shots, it requires more detail. The hidden gem here is that it trains you to watch the ball more carefully. You simply can’t hit the outside edge of the ball traveling at you at high speeds, if you eyes are wondering.
5. Spacing Proper movement and positioning around the strike zone is called spacing. Using adjustment steps to align each stroke is an underlying factor in the ability to actually use good form. A common cause of short ball errors is spacing.
6. Proper Form Forms includes grips, back-swings, follow-through, core balance and keeping her head still through the strike zone. Cleaning up flawed strokes involves “trimming the fat” versus adding more to the player’s stroke.
7. Master Spin In high-level tennis, spin is simply used as a consistency tool. The key ingredient in hitting the ball hard, and in, is spin.
More: 4 Tips for Playing Against Heavy Topspin Also, as the ball speed increases in a rally, a player then must slow down the ball with spin to re-gain a positioning advantage. Controlling the point consistently is done with spin.
8. Repainting the Line It is not the players job to paint the lines. Keep balls down the center when you aren’t feeling a clean groove. Players who gun for the line make boat loads of errors, allow a cheater easy access to cheat as they increase their frustration and complicate even the easiest of matches.
9. Increase Your Fitness Being fit has wonderful benefits. It increases your overall confidence, allows you to stay in points longer, think clearer, problem solve better, accelerate and decelerate quicker, use cleaner strokes, calm the breathing and heart rate, recover faster after long points, recover after long matches and prevent injuries.
More: 5 Speed Training Tips for Tennis Players
10. Increase your Focus A common issue with inconsistency is playing solid, winning tennis three games in a row; then getting bored or unfocused and giving three games right back. Staying in the moment and focusing on your next point’s performance goals is “key.” This is done by mastering between point rituals. Also play an inner game with yourself. Focus on simply winning three points in a row when you are bored.
Bonus Tips: How to Be More Consistent From the Back Court
1. Simply match the incoming ball speed versus increasing velocity.
2. Choose cross court for added room as well as a lower net.
3. Aim three to four feet inside the lines when you choose to hit big.
4. Apply spin (topspin and/or slice) to increase control.
5. Adjust to the current playing conditions.
6. Apply proper offensive, neutral and defensive shot selections.
7. Choose your strengths and avoid your weaknesses.
8. Apply “air zones” by hitting through the proper heights above the net.
9. Consider the “court zones,” where the incoming ball lands dictate your shot selection.
10. Take a fresh look at your fundamentals. Re-tooling a mechanical flaw may make all the difference.