ten tips on how to prepare for a tennis match

by Ken DeHart – USPTA Master Tennis Professional
Here is a checklist of tips from which to choose. Select the tips that best suit your mental approach to tennis competition.

ten tips on How to Prepare for a tennis match by ken dehart

1. Visualization

Visualize how you play and how you will use your personal tennis or mental strengths. Not so much focus on the ranking or reputation of your opponent . Play out the match in your mind so the solutions are unconsciously competent.

2. Have a routine

Have a routine for getting ready on game day. Equipment ready, drinks, lucky clothes ready. Listen to your favorite psych-up music like the pros do..

3. repetition

Repetition is the mother of skills. Drills and practice can be boring but you are trying to transfer your skills in an unconscious, competent level where you do not have to think how to use them in competitive situations.

4. be aggressive

Go to the ball instead of waiting for the ball to come to you. Be aggressive at the net, want the ball in doubles. Even if you miss, you plant a seed of doubt in your opponent’s mind that you might be a threat at the net.

5. Pick the right partner

Pick a partner that you like being on the court with and solving challenges. Talk between points to strategize and keep each other psyched for the next point.

6. serve & return

Practice the 2 most important shots in the game – serve and return more than ground strokes and volleys. 70% of all the shots you play in a match will be a serve or return – only 30% will be ground strokes, volleys or overheads – at every level of play.

7. move your feet

Move your feet to get into position. Your strokes depend on you being in the best position to best be able to execute your shots.

8. high first serve percentage

Don’t miss your first serve – the opponent never knows how big you will hit the first serve – they know and so do you that your second serve will be slower. As a server you will feel all the pressure to get the ball in play if you miss your first serve. Your net player is less likely to poach off a weaker second serve, rendering them useless at the net.

9. concentrate on the balls

Play with using your eyes. Choose a target on serve or return. Commit to focusing on seeing the ball. Knowing where the ball is and how fast it is coming will tell you where to move, when to swing and keep you in the moment. When your eyes leave the ball, feet stop and follow through decelerates. The best players can keep their eyes still at contact. You may not be able to see the actual ball – just don’t let your eyes move away as you swing. (ie, see Roger Federer and the pros manage their eyes through contact.)

10. Have fun

Have fun and PLAY often. It is a game after all. The more you play the more experiences you have about how to handle a variety of situations. Make new friends, commune with old friends and love the game.
Traveling Tennis Pros - Ken DeHart
Ken DeHart is a PTR Hall of Famer, PTR International Master Professional, 2 Time PTR international Pro of the Year, USPTA Master Professional and 4 time USPTA Divisional Pro of the Year. He is the Director of Tennis at Silver Creek Valley Country Club in San Jose, California. Ken travels and speaks at conferences and to pros all around the world, Australian, Wimbledon and US Open tennis teachers conferences and writes extensively for magazines and websites. He is a tennis collector with hundreds of books, racquets and tennis memorabilia in his collection. You can follow Ken on Facebook at Ken DeHart Tennis and on Instagram at dehartken.

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