The best players in the world repeat a lot of the same ideas over and over in their matches. This is a building block for consistency. Developing consistency starts with figuring out what is, and what is not, important for performance. Starting the point well with a good serve or return, and getting the opponent moving, are good reminders prior to constructing the “winning” part of the point. Once we have figured out what is important for performance we can focus on those elements alone and add to the end of the point when necessary. Another great thought for more consistency is to follow up a successful point by playing the next point in a similar manner and reminding yourself of what you just did. For example, “I made my first serve to center of the service box and hit two or three crosses before changing direction and hitting a down the line that got my opponent in trouble or won the point”. Consistency is difficult in tennis because your opponent is trying to influence how you will hit your shots and play the point. A good player can make you feel like all you can do is get the ball back. Try to hit three or four of your regular shots (normal speed and comfortable direction) on as many points as you can. This will increase your ability to be consistent and help you win a lot of points before you even attempt to hit that winner.
Steve Annacone, USPTA Elite Professional, is a Tennis Coach with Traveling Tennis Pros in Tucson, Arizona, the Director of Annacone Tennis, MyHamptonsPro and First Serve Tucson. Steve is also a Volunteer Assistant Coach for the University of Arizona Women’s team. For questions about private tennis lessons, group clinics, or tennis coaching, please go to our Tennis Lessons Tucson, Arizona page or contact us.