Scott Nichols – On The Other Hand Newsletter – Vol 17 – Oct – Dec 2013
Last newsletter of 2013, my thoughts of what to provide as we
get ready to start a new tennis season, whether you are a
junior, adult or senior tennis player; whether you are a
recreational player, high school varsity player, USTA rated
player or ranked. “What options do you have for your game?”
Each tennis player who is above the novice/beginner level
has a ‘way of playing,’ that is their own style. This is your level
of comfort during competition, whether playing singles
The higher the level of player, ‘the more options,’ the player has
to choose from. Basic styles of play for beginner – advanced
players would be; ‘staying back at the baseline, playing at the net,
lobbing many rally balls, hitting hard/soft, using certain spins and
As I teach, coach and watch players, only a small percentage really
use the patience and strategy of ‘blending’ options of play styles
to their games. It is very important at all levels to not only understand
your opponent’s game and weaknesses, but to be aware of your own.
If you are a ‘baseliner’ that enjoys staying back and rallies with your
opponent, what happens if this style does not create success? Do you
continue it? Most good ground strokes may create weak returns by
your opponent and this creates you to approach the net, now you can
hit a volley. Good ground strokes create a chance to volley, another style
from ‘just rallying.’ The opposite is true as well, a player that ‘attacks’ everything
and comes to net when serving, returning serve and during baseline rallies
also may not have success against a certain opponent. What does one do?
Does player attack faster, hit approach shots harder? One style could be
to stay back at the baseline and ‘work the point’ a little bit before the strategy
of approaching the net becomes a need. One needs more patience to do
this, but why not try this style.
These are two styles that are most used, personally, they can be interchanged
very easily if your goal in competitive play is to successfully win more points
than your opponent. Other thoughts to this are different speeds of your shots;
soft, medium and hard, as well as, different spins on your shots; top spin, under
spin, chip, lob etc. Other thoughts of ‘styles of play” can be playing with a ‘pre-planning’ of a point in your mind, an idea of what you want the point to look like before you play can be helpful. If a player can visualize what they want to do, it can happen just as they ‘see it.’
The best players at all levels understand that the more ‘tools’ in the toolbox
provides a higher % of success, because the player with more options, will
finally find a style of play, a certain shot etc. that may be difficult for your
opponent. Isn’t this what we want as tennis player’s, to try our best and
compete with the opponent’s and their challenging games ahead of us?
We are not wanting to ‘just win’ matches 6-0, 6-0 without any real effort
on our part, how much fun is that?
Remember this as we go into 2014, ‘we do not hope and pray for winning,’
we hope and pray that we prepare correctly, give 100% effort and do the
best we can with what abilities we have; most of the time, success is a result
of this attitude. Good luck and Happy holidays.