Wondering if you could do more in order to win your matches?
I hear you! I’m just like you, always searching for 🔍 and testing new ways to improve my performance on the court even a tiny little bit.
After all, most of the matches are won or lost for a handful of points, so of course every detail counts.
But that is if you get the basic, main things right! Without those, details or no details, it doesn’t make much difference 🤷♀️!
I'm Elena Margaria 👋🏻 and just like you, I'm on a mission to become the best tennis player I can 🥇. Even without a fancy team, or too much talent. Just with a huge desire to make it.
That's why Tennis Rematch exists: to share everything I learn along the way 🤓, so you can get better faster, and together we can prove that we can achieve anything we set our mind to 🔥.
But back to business!
In this blog I collected all the poor tennis habits I’ve managed to break over the years and that I still see around at tournaments.
(Sometimes, when I spot one of these in an opponent for whom I have maybe too much respect, I’m like “yess, then I have an edge!” 💪.)
So if you’re looking to give yourself the best possible chance to win, then make sure you break free from these habits too. That’s the best possible way to avoid leaving wins on the table!
Just promise me one thing 🙏 : don’t beat yourself up if you realize many of these habits are still yours. It just means there’s room for improvement and that many more wins are waiting for you (as long as you get rid of the bad habits you still have)!
Oh and let me know in the comments 💬 which one of these gives you the biggest trouble and why. I’d love to help you 💕!
#1 - Warming up too little
I don’t know if you’ve ever seen Nadal stepping on the court for a match, but he’s usually already sweaty 💦! And if he’s not, then he starts sweating while the referee is stating the rules at the net.
I know Nadal is Nadal, but why not do the same if it works for him?!
I remember, when I was still a kid I used to avoid warming up too much for fear of getting tired and ending up with an empty tank during the match 🥵.
Awww if only I could go back and tell mini-me that’s bullshit 😅. I don’t know how many times I lost the first set badly and then won the match in the third set! (My mum, who used to take me to tournaments back then, called me Diesel and, I must say, was pretty accurate 😂)
These days, instead, I never ever go into a match without having sweated during my warmup: in my heart that would mean I’m not giving 100%, so I’d rather not even play!
(After the last time I was called by the tournament‘s organizer in advance, I adopted this new smart strategy 💡 : I never tell I’m ready to play until I’ve properly warmed up!)
So don’t be afraid to sweat before your match, be afraid to step on the court still dry and perfumed instead!
#2 - Having zero plans
Having zero plans is a good recipe for disaster. (Not that having one plan is much better, but still... better than nothing!)
Think about it 💭 : how can you play well, when you don't even know how you want to play and what you're trying to do? You just cannot, simple as that!
In fact, having a plan 🗓 not only helps you strike every ball with purpose (which usually results in better shot selection and placement), but also keeps you focused on your task at hand and away from useless distractions.
Personally, I like to always have two plans: in this way, if plan A doesn't work I don't need to come up with something new on the fly (which, in the heat of the moment, can be very difficult), but I can just switch to the backup plan.
And honestly, I strongly recommend you to have a plan B too: you never know what's going to happen in the match 🤯, and having a backup plan ready for you to use in case things don't go as planned can really help you not to get discouraged... you still got things to try out, so it's not game over just yet!
Oh and if you're wondering: no, you don't need to know your opponent to make your game plans.
Of course, if you do know her then it's easier: you can just revise the scouting template you probably already have with the notes about her game, and the plans should come pretty straightforward.
But if you don't know her yet, then just build the plans around your strengths and you should be good to go!
#3 - Hurrying too much
Maybe it's because I have quite a slow tempo on the court 🐌 (no, not as slow as Nadal!), but if there's one thing that I see all the time in my opponents is that they rush like crazy. Both between the points and during the changeovers.
And not only when things are going well for them, no no! Even, and especially, when things are going well for me! That's kind of funny. (I always wonder: "Are they in a hurry to go home or what?! 😂)
The way I see it, when things are not working, the best you can do is to slow things down and earn some time. If you just keep going at the same pace, most likely the momentum of the match won't shift in your favor.
The more you hang in there, the better chance you have!
#4 - Insisting with a losing game plan (and refusing to win ugly)
Carrying on with the same game plan even though it's clearly not working is not a good idea. Why on earth would you expect a different output with the same exact inputs?? That's not how things work!
Of course, that doesn't mean ❌ you should switch to your backup plan (if you have one) as soon as you lose 2 games in a row either. But if you keep executing your plan A for an extended period of time (let's say 4-6 games) and all you're left with is a handful of points here and there, then it's time change!
If you do have a backup plan, that's great! Just switch to that and see if things get better!
If you don't (or not even your plan B seems to work), then you need to come up with something and fast, or before you know it you'll be at the net shaking hands 🤝!
What I usually do in this case is this: I ask myself "What is it that can break my opponent's rhythm? How can I cause more forced errors?". The answer becomes my plan.
And more often than not, what follow is what many players never even consider: playing ugly.
Do you remember that time when I completely lost my forehand and played the whole tournament slicing every single ball?! That is what I mean for playing ugly! (Yes, that time wasn't exactly in my plans to lose my forehand, but still... the solution I came up with worked pretty well 😜 !)
Honestly, I don't really understand why a player would refuse to play a certain way just because it may look "ugly". If that's the way to win, why not?! I'd rather play smart and ugly than dumb but beautiful!
#5 - Changing a winning game plan
Who would do that, right? Well, turns out, when things are going well it's easier than it seems to fall into the temptation of mixing things up.
It's almost like when it all flows too smoothly, we get super excited 💃 and a little too overconfident that we feel the need to mess things up!
We start trying out things that in normal circumstances would never even cross our minds, like drop shots from behind the baseline or cross-court approach shots (yes, I've been guilty of these two 🤦♀️🤫) with the result that things start shifting and we don't even know why.
So yes, definitely watch out for this and make it a habit to stick to your winning game plan until the match it's over!
BONUS - Blaming yourself when the credit is of your opponent
Aww, this is probably the most common bad habit of all! Maybe it's because of my game (that it's not exactly made of light-speed ⚡ winners right and left), but I rarely get any acknowledgement from my opponents, no matter how the point ends.
Not that I care: with or without acknowledgement, as long as I'm the one winning the point, I'm happy 🥳! But honestly, I find it really counterproductive, which is why I always tend to be very objective instead: if my opponent plays an excellent point, I don't blame myself, I clap her 👏.
I don't do it to be polite or anything like that, and I don't think it's a sign of weakness either. The reason why I do give credit to my opponent (when deserved) is because I don't want to waste any energy feeling negative or getting frustrated, let alone when there's actually no reason for it.
I mean... what's the point of getting pissed when you did nothing wrong?!
You're not playing alone: there's actually an opponent on the other side of the net trying to win just as much as you! So when she's doing particularly well, don't get angry at yourself and, instead, flip your perspective and think: "She cannot keep playing so well for ever!". It's encouraging, trust me 😎 !
And voilà, there you have it: the 5 (+1) widely-spread poor tennis habits that you want to stay away from to make sure you don't leave any wins on the table!
Again, if you happen to have a few of these habits right now don't panic: just tackle one at a time... and be proud of yourself for doing so, you're already a step ahead of many tennis players out there, I can assure you! (And you'll see for yourself: it will pay off sooner than you think!)
I really hope you found this blog useful and enjoyed it from start to finish 💕! (I certainly enjoyed writing it 🤗) If so, click on the clap button below so I know you did, and feel free to leave me a comment as well: I'd love to know how you're doing with these habits!
I'll see you in the next blog, ciao!!!!
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