When you play a tennis match you'rebound to make mistakes.
This is true even at the highest level of the game.
Soyou're not gonna be able to completely avoid making mistakes but what you cando is try to understand what causes these mistakes and then try to minimizethem as much as possible.
There are four main causes of errors and one of them isimproper technique and it can range anywhere from the wrong grip, the wrongtake back, the wrong contact point, or even a wrongfinish.
And this can be a confusing subject because there's many differentopinions on what the right technique is.
What I recommend to my students is tosimply go by whether a new technique that they're adapting is working or not.
You should see an immediate improvement in your control, if you're picking atechnique that is correct.
I'm not of the belief that a techniquetakes a while to settle in.
In other words you learn something new and thenyou continue spraying the ball and making a lot of mistakes.
That isprobably not going to change.
You're going to continue making these mistakesand the technique that you're adapting is probably not the correct one.
Sosimply go by feel if you pick something that makes sense to you andit's working immediately you'll see an immediate improvement in your controland then a gradual improvement in power that is probably the right technique foryou and you should stick with it.
Another cause of mistakes is improper footworkand this is a big problem at the recreational level.
So even if you haveperfect technique but suffer with bad footwork you will make a lot of mistakesbecause you will be not positioned correctly and you'll be forced toimprovise.
And it's these improvisations in technique that are causing you tomiss whether you're too far away from the ball this way.
This is a cause offootwork or it can be in a lateral way and both ways so you can even be you letin the ball and get behind you and you improvise new technique and thereforemaking a lot of mistakes.
And the way you fix your footwork so that you don't haveto improvise anymore it's the number one have a lot of intensity with yourfootwork.
I see a lot of recreational players they're kind of flat-footed asthey're waiting for the next shot and you see high-level players they're ontheir toes they're bouncing around they have an intensity in their feet that'sconstant no matter what situation they're in in a rally.
And moreimportantly with a lot of recreational players suffer with is actually ballrecognition this is correlated with footwork.
So inother words let's say I'm at the baseline and I'm expecting a deep balland now a short ball comes instead recreational players do not recognizethe ball being short and therefore they don't move fast enough towards that ball.
See high-level players do not have problems with thatthey recognize the ball really well and are able to make adjustments with thefeet accordingly.
And the way you are going to fix your ball recognition issimply by playing more and seeing more balls coming at you.
It's kind of likedriving.
Imagine yourself being a novice driver and you're pulling out of anintersection and there's a car coming at you and you don't really judge the speedof the incoming car correctly and you pull out anyway it almost cause a crash.
Experienced drivers however they can judge the speed of the incoming carquite well and they know when to pull out on when not.
And we can apply thisanalogy to tennis.
Experienced tennis players are quite good at judging theincoming ball.
They have seen many balls coming their way and therefore caneasily pick up whether the ball is gonna be high or low, whether it's going to beshort or deep, whether it has spin or underspin and most importantly they caneasily pick up how fast the incoming ball is.
And recreational players willoften misjudge the ball and therefore be out of place and this is why this is afootwork problem that's connected to your ball recognition.
As you recognizethe ball better you will be able to adjust your feet and be at the rightplace at the right time.
Another cause of errors is shot selection and this is aproblem from the recreational level all the way to the elite level.
So a lot ofplayers will go for the wrong shot at the wrong time.
One example is goingfor winners from defensive positions.
If you do that if you're trying to hit awinner on the run when you're out of position or if you try to hit a winnerwhen the ball gets behind you.
You are going to make a mistake for sure.
Anotherexample of the wrong shot selection is going for small targets.
If you go downthe line too much you will make more mistakes but it's probably wise todirect the majority of your ground strokes cross-court because you've got abigger court to play in to.
See the problem with hitting down the line is ifyou are aiming down the line and you hit the ball a little bit late it's gonna goout.
If you select to go cross-court and hit the ball late yes you will not get your desired target but at least the ball isnot going to go out it's going to go towards the middle of the court.
Anotherexample of the wrong shot selection is trying to finish the point off tooquickly whether you are coming to the net too much are you going for winnerstoo much you have to remember to be patientand to go for a winner when the chance presents itself.
Another example of poorshot selection is playing too cautiously in other words pushing or steering theball or playing too far behind the baseline and maybe moon balling andbelieve it or not the intention that you have by pushing the ball is to get theball into the court really badly but what happens in reality as you'resteering the ball you're making just as many mistakes as if you're going for theshot.
And one tip that I can give you when it comes to shot selection is toplay high percentage tennis.
Basically playing the majority of your ballscross-court staying away from going down the line too much.
Not playing overlyaggressive but also not playing overly defensive.
Make sure that you hit yourballs at 75% pace and then when you get an opportunity to be more aggressive youcan go full blast.
And if you follow those rules you will improve your shotselection and therefore will minimize your mistakes.
And finally another cause for errors in tennis is your mental game and I'm gonna give you some examples andthis applies to the recreational level all the way to the professional level.
Soimagine yourself being down 30 40 it's four five set point for the other personyou have to come up with a second serve and you double fault.
Now this error wassimply caused by your tension.
Or another example of your mind affectingyour mistakes is if you don't try hard enough.
So imagine you're playing a matchand you really don't feel like playing on that particular day so it kind oflazy out there we've all felt like that so when we feel like that mentally weare not gonna be able to play our best and we're gonna make a lot more mistakestherefore.
So what can you do to not be so anxious the next time you play andalso how can you guarantee that you're trying your hardest? Well first I wantyou to understand why you're anxious to begin with.
So we as humans are animalsafter all and animals have programmed in their genes to be very still and quietwhen a predator is lurking around.
And this is why you see a deer forexample when it sees a car it identifies it as a predator and then instead ofrunning away it stands still.
And you as a tennis player identify the person onthe other side as a predator and therefore still just like the deer iswhen it's stuck in the headlights and what you have to do is with allprofessional players do and you have to move.
Just think of Sharapova before shedoes every service action she's bouncing around and she's not doing thisto get in shape or she's not doing it for fun she's doing it to loosen up tofight her anxiety.
So the number one thing that you can do to fight youranxiety is to move around all the time.
And when it comes to trying your best everytime you step on a court we can all take a lesson from Rafa Nadal because he'sincredible he tries so hard every time he steps on a court.
Now this is easiersaid than done of course and you don't have to be perfect there are gonna bematches where you're not feeling your best but let's all try to take a lessonfrom the great Rafa Nadal and try our best every time we step on the court.