Am I too late to improve?

The mistake in rallies

Why do I make so many unnecessary mistakes in the rally? What do I have to change so that the strokes don't end up permanently in the net or out of bounds? Here you will be helped!

by Marco Kühn / Tennis-Insider
last edit: May 6, 2018, 11:47 am

Most rally situations are resolved intuitively. In this intuition processes are installed that carry out the strike. Such a process begins, for example, with reaching out to the forehand, continues with a look at the ball and ends, when everything goes reasonably smoothly, with the point of contact in front of the body.

As a tennis player you have to struggle with problems that at first glance have no recognizable cause. Many balls fly backwards out of bounds. The ball is played more with a frame than with the covering. Even network errors, once started, are apparently hardly to be corrected. Is it the form of the day? Is it just not supposed to be? Or are there ways you can correct yourself in the current match?

The look at yourself

You absorb a lot of information about tennis, but you always have big problems to implement all this information. However, an effective change and the resulting improvement can only take place if you focus sensitively on your problems on the pitch and work on them sustainably. These problems usually arise in preparation for the blows. If you pay close attention to yourself and check what your own intuitive processes look like, you can start to turn the right screws.

There is no point in watching YouTube videos for two hours about the right meeting point with the forehand if the personal problem is not with the meeting point itself, but with the movement towards the ball. The first step in effectively improving yourself is to become aware of your problems and then to tackle them decisively.

Before the meeting point comes the footwork

Before you think about where you want to play the forehand, for example, you should think about how to ideally position yourself to the ball. The preparation for every single shot is underestimated. If you pay close attention to how you move to the individual strokes in a relaxed training game, you will find a lot of potential for optimization. It is precisely the preparation for the stroke that can make the stroke efficient.

If you watch on-court videos by the professionals, you can see in a flash that their intuitive processes consist of significantly more components than the ambitious hobby player. For a Rafael Nadal, it is natural to take many small steps, to catch up early, turn your hips, throw the club forward through the ball, work out of your legs and then take quick steps back into your comfort zone after the hit orientate. What looks simple is an extreme effort. But this is exactly where every club player can learn something for his own stroke preparation.

The following questions will help you improve your strokes efficiently:

  • do I use small steps to move to strike?
  • are my paths to the ball correct?
  • do I take off early enough? Or am I always late on the field for that very reason?
  • am I looking at the ball right? Or do I look more at the opponent?
  • do I stop at the stroke? Or am I frantically running through the field?

Every player, every stroke is individual and can hardly be viewed in general. You have to find out your problems in preparing for the strokes and orient yourself in your sporting development on these points. The thinking mistakes that you find in yourself in the rally will improve your tennis significantly in the long run. This is the logical way to shimmy from tree to tree with a rope in the jungle of information.