Spring time is here, and as the weather gets warmer, it only makes sense for your tennis game to heat up as well. Like any hardcore tennis enthusiast, you've probably been thinking about what you can do to take your tennis game to the next level; the tips and suggestions listed below will help you make certain key adjustments in order to boost your performance on the tennis court this spring.
1. Improve your footwork and agility.
Tennis is a game that requires constant bursts of sudden movement in practically any and every direction. Focus on footwork drills that incorporate hops, jumps, and quick sprints, and work specifically on performing side shuffles, as this is one of the most common footwork movements you perform on the court.
2. Work on early preparation with your shots.
One of the most common mistakes tennis players make is waiting until the last millisecond to react to an oncoming ball. Practice early preparation by having your feet planted, and having your hips and shoulders turned to prepare for the ball before it bounces on your side. Take your racquet back well before the ball arrives, so that your shots will have more power!
3. Let your back leg be the "anchor" for your shots.
Make sure that all of your weight is loaded on your back leg before you play a shot. This will allow you to transfer that force to the ball when it's time to execute your stroke. If you're barely getting your feet to the ball, you will lose out on being able to put all of your weight behind your shots.
4. Hit and quickly recover.
When you're in the middle of an intense match, that's not the time to hit a shot and then admire how great it looks as it sails over the net. Make sure that you execute your strokes, and then quickly recover back to the ready position so that you can be prepared for your opponent's response.
5. Focus on high percentage shots (a.k.a., don't always go for the lines).
While whipping a sideline burner to win a point is a thrill like no other, you have to keep in mind that those shots should be the exception, and not the rule. It's perfectly fine to play aggressively, but you don't want to cross over the line into recklessness. It's much better to consistently aim for target areas of the court that can afford you a higher probability of success. Executing solid, high-percentage shots will put the odds in your favor over the course of the match. Risky shots are definitely exciting, but remember that playing smart is where the real edge is in the game of tennis.
6. Never let the ball bounce twice, no matter what.
This is a fundamental habit that, if consistently developed, can completely change your tennis game. Resolve that no matter whether you're practicing or playing in a high-stakes tournament, you will never allow the ball to bounce twice. One of the best ways to develop this skill is to try playing on a court with no lines; this means that no matter where the ball lands, it will be in play. This will help train you to go for any and every ball that falls on your side of the court.
7. Sharpen your anticipation skills.
One of the key ingredients to a highly effective tennis game is anticipation. Work on anticipating your opponent's moves based on his/her body language, motions and positioning. Pay close attention to every shot that comes your way, so you can learn how to better judge the speed and direction of oncoming balls. Developing these skills will give you a better feel for correct positioning when responding to shots.
Flexibility is a tennis player's best friend. If your muscles feel stiff and sluggish, you're not going to perform at your best on the court. Stretch for about 15 to 20 minutes before your match to reduce muscle stiffness and allow for better freedom of movement during play. Stretching can also help you reduce the risk of injury.
There's always room for improvement when it comes to sharpening your tennis skills. Use the tips outlined above to heat up your tennis game for the spring season and beyond!