I love tennis, eve though I’m a mom with little time on my hands, I will always make time for tennis. After my kids of course!
Anyway, In my spare time I’ve been reading bios of famous tennis pros and coaches. I decided to write a quick blog post sharing some tips I found useful, from one of tennis best coaches!
Nick Bollettieri has served as coach to some of professional tennis’ brightest stars, including at least 10 that achieved #1 in the world. His Florida tennis academy is approaching legendary status. Here are 10 relatively simple tips that helped me improve my game and are certain to improve yours.
10 Tennis Tips to Help You Right Away—After You Practice Them
These Nick Bollettieri tips will help you improve your game, whether you’re a beginning player or experienced, tournament-tested amateur.
- Footwork, footwork and more footwork.
Sure, you hit a tennis ball with your dominant arm. However, matches are won or lost by your legs. Improving your footwork is critical to playing better. Your footwork will determine whether you’re ready to make a strong return or scramble to hit the ball over the net to your opponent.
- Early prep to return serve and ground strokes.
You can never prepare soon enough to return a strong serve or ground stroke. If your opponent hits a super first serve and volley, you may not have the time to prepare properly, but do the best you can to return the ball with as much pace as you can—not right at your net-hugging opponent, if possible. Tip #1 will help you prepare early if you practice it. Get to your “spot” as quickly as possible so you can align your hips and shoulders to hit a strong return BEFORE the ball bounces on your side of the court.
- Exaggerate your follow throughs.
The toughest thing to teach young beginners in any sport is the importance of a complete follow through. Most young students wonder why coaches emphasize this, because in their minds the ball is already gone where it’s going. However, thorough follow throughs are vital to successful play, whether you’re playing soccer, baseball, or tennis. Follow through completely and high to get the best results.
- Don’t let the ball bounce twice under any circumstances.
As Bollettieri says, “Two bounces and you’re out.” Commit to never letting the tennis ball bounce twice. If you must dive and risk floor burns, do it. Although you’re seldom prepared, you just might win the point as your opponent might “let down” thinking the point is won.
- Hit your best shot, but prepare for a return—don’t watch and admire it.
This technique is called hit and recover. If you’ve hit a great shot, you lose nothing by preparing to hit a return. However, if you simply admire your shot, you often suffer surprise when your opponents return it.
- Create a strong foundation for your game.
Have a plan for each time you practice, so you don’t waste time on unimportant things. Your practice goal should always be to perfect the things you do well and improve the things you don’t do well.
- Establish a “safety target”—think like a Vegas Casino owner.
Since few amateurs (even some pros) “play the odds,” many times going for it, putting shots on the lines. Have a defensive plan to your game.
- Emulate the pros you respect.
Bollettieri coach the great champion, Boris Becker. This superstar had rituals that slowed him down so he could “play chess, while his opponent played checkers.”
- Communicate, without the “trash talk.”
Adjust your playing plan to focus on your opponent’s weaknesses, while emphasizing your strengths. When you win, be gracious, when you lose a match, be equally gracious.
- Emphasize (to yourself) the mental aspect of tennis, “refuse to lose.”
Put high stock in the important mental impact in tennis. You can mentally wear down your opponent when you “refuse to lose.”
These tips helped me enhance my game, after playing for many years. They will help you, too!