The top ranked tennis players are those that can counter any strategy they face in match play and quickly adjust to whatever their opponent throws at them. The only way to mentally get to this level of player is to know your own game from the inside out.
First, you have to know what you can and can’t do during match play. Then, you have to be great at using those skills to neutralize your opponent’s strength.
Let’s set the scene for you, to give you a better picture of what I am talking about.
If you are the stronger player.
Be relentless when playing any lower ranked players; get out there and go after them. Time is not your ally. Let me repeat, finish them off as soon as you can.
You need to take it to them from the first point and never let up, until you are shaking hands after you have smoked them. And never take them for granted, instead, always look to crush them!
I learned this lesson myself the hard way when I started competing – and I never let it happen again after that loss!
Now, on the flip side.
If you are on the same level.
Come up with a game plan, to get inside his/her head before the match or during warm up. That means, you are going to have to be able to think fast on your feet.
Match play is always a battle of the minds, and the player who is the most prepared mentally will win that battle. You must find a way to break them down mentally. Look for any weakness and then exploit it.
Last case scenario.
If you are the lower ranked player.
Well, in this case, time is definitely on your side! Slow everything down to a complete crawl. Make them play the match on your terms. I can tell you this, higher ranking players hate it when you do this to them, which is great news for you because you will then be able to get into their head and throw them off their mental game.
It usually looks like this on court:
The higher ranking player will start to get frustrated as the match goes on and start to get tight. When that happens in the match, apply more pressure and watch them choke. This happens all the time at the junior level.
These are just 3 ways to counter your opponent’s strategies in a match. Read more books on strategies and have some fun on the court. Start using these tactics and strategies in practice matches and they will carry over into your match play.
About our guest author:
Thomas Daniels is a PTR/MTM pro coach and tennis writer based in Kansai, Japan. He has 29 years of experience teaching all levels and ages in Hyogo. And make sure you get your free report called (Total Tennis Matchplay Domination) by clicking here- www.freementaltennistips.com