Learning from Mistakes
The Test of a Good Player
Ask yourself the following questions to measure your progress toward becoming a great tennis player.
- Covering the Court
- Hit the ball
- Control my shots
- Setting up the points
- Control my nerves
- Learn from my mistakes
- Intimidate my opponents
- Pressure my opponent
- Enjoy the battle
- Handle the outcome
There are many mistakes we make when playing tennis. Some are pretty obvious. Did you fail to notice:
- Your opponent was left handed?
- He could run side to side but not forward?
- He ran around all his backhands?
- He had no overhead?
- He had a weak second serve.
- He popped up the service return.
- He panicked every time you came to net.
- His slice backhand sailed enough for you to have an easy volley.
A good example of gathering feedback and learning is reading the serve.
Reading the Serve
One goal of serving is to mix up the direction. If you know where the serve is going, it should be easier to return. Ideally, one should be able to serve wide, down the center or right at the receiver with the same toss. In reality, few players can do this. Generally, most servers toss the ball to their side to slice it, over their head to hit it flat and behind their head to hit a topspin or kick serve. If you watch the server’s toss you may be able to read where he or she is trying to hit it. In addition, you will see the ball sooner if you watch the toss.
To learn from your mistakes, you must recognize the mistake, figure out what to do about it and then practice the remedy so when it happens again you can win the point. If you don’t recognize your mistake or figure out the remedy, ask your teaching pro or an experienced player.