The New Year has arrived, and if you're like most tennis enthusiasts, you're looking forward to having more opportunities on the courts to sharpen your skills. Even if you had a banner year in 2015, there's always something to improve upon, so why not make a few New Year's resolutions that are specific to your tennis game? If you're not quite sure where to start, don't sweat it; below are some helpful tennis New Year's resolutions that can take your game to the next level in 2016.
1. Master a new technique.
Perhaps there are certain techniques or shots that you haven't taken the time to learn, or if you know how to do them, you're not satisfied with how well you perform them. Maybe your drop shot is ineffective, or maybe your two-handed backhand really needs work, or it could be that you're not very adept at returning high bounce shots. Whatever it is, you've recognized it as an "Achilles heel" in your game, and you're ready to eliminate that weakness so that you can become a more well-rounded player.
Pick one of those problem areas and dedicate the next 12 months to mastering that particular technique. Study how the pros do it, and read everything you can get your hands on regarding how to master that element of your game. Also consider taking a class to improve your technique; for example, Five Seasons Family Sports Club offers a "Stroke of the Week" class in which their professional tennis coaches will help you focus on mastering a particular technical shot. Your hard work will pay off as you develop your new technique, and who knows--you might even win a few matches because of it!
2. Get serious about improving your footwork.
Footwork is one of the most vital--and yet overlooked--skills you can develop as a tennis player. The pros definitely understand the importance of footwork; just watch some footage of Roger Federer and notice how quickly he can maneuver around the court. It's almost as if he has some kind of psychic ability to know where his opponent is going to hit the ball, because he's always right there to return the shot when it arrives.
Novak Djokovic is the same way; he seems to be everywhere at once, and it's all because he has mastered the skill of solid footwork. Don't let this year go by without resolving to get serious about improving your footwork. Dedicate some time each week to performing exercises and drills that will improve this vital area of your game. Performing 15-minute footwork drills four or five times a week can work wonders towards boosting your on-court mobility.
3. Serve at least one bucket of balls every single week.
It goes without saying that developing an effective serve is one of the most important things you can do to improve your tennis game, but for most players, their serve is their number-one problem area. Even if you've already developed a formidable serve, there's always something you can do to improve your technique.
No matter where you fall on the serving spectrum, resolve to serve at least one bucket of balls every single week, week in and week out, for the entire year. Instead of focusing on power only, dedicate some serious time to developing the finer points of your serve such as improving accuracy, perfecting placement, adding more topspin, etc. Dedicating time each week to sharpening your serve will definitely take your game to a new level.
4. Improve your overall athleticism.
Great tennis players are first of all great athletes. If you've ever seen any videos of pros during their training sessions, you'll quickly notice that much of the exercises they perform focus on improving overall athleticism, and not just tennis-specific techniques.
Top tennis players incorporate core exercises, plyometrics, weight training, hand-eye coordination drills and other techniques into their training regimen in order to help them become more well-rounded athletes, which directly impacts their proficiency as a tennis player. Develop an exercise regimen that will help you become a better athlete first and foremost, and that will automatically carry over into your on-court performance.
The New Year is a time to refocus, recalibrate and make a quality decision to become a better tennis player this year than you were last year. Use the ideas and resolutions suggested above to help you take your tennis game to new heights in 2016.