How to Assess Your Skills (Ten Questions to Best Determine Your Strengths and Weaknesses and to Define Your Game)

This is the second in a three part series on how to construct a game plan. In constructing a game plan for a match, the main emphasis is to develop a plan to allow you the opportunity to do what you do best. In this regard, it is important to establish an assessment process to define your strengths and weaknesses (what you do well and what you do not do as well). For this assessment process, I have listed a series of ten questions you can ask and review to best determine your capabilities.

  1. What is your preferred style of play (i.e. aggressive baseliner, counter-puncher, rush and crush)? What is your versatility? To use a baseball analogy, do you have more than one pitch or do you live or die with just one pitch (or style of play)? How capable are you to change your preferred style of play?
  2. What is your strongest and favorite shot or shot pattern (other than the serve)? What situations or patterns of play afford you the best opportunity to hit your favorite shot?
  3. How do you respond (with groundstrokes, volleys, overheads, serve returns, etc.) to different types of shots and situations? How do you respond to high balls, low balls, pace and varying pace, spin and varying spin, depth, high/low trajectory, hitting from the forecourt, hitting from the backcourt, etc? In what type of situations and in response to what type of shots are you likely to experience success or difficulty?
  4. How do you match up to different playing styles and strategies? As an example, do you prefer playing (and have better success) against a player who prefers to stay back or against a player who likes to come in? What shot patterns of play and/or strategies have you successfully employed to counter different styles of play?
  5. How would you rate your consistency, patience and ability to stay in a point? Do you generally have more success when the rallies (or length of the points in a match) are long or short?
  6. Do you prefer a fast or slow tempo of play (or do you have no preference)?
  7. How would you rate your serve? What is your capability to hit the three basic target areas? What is your capability to hit with varying spin and pace? What is your ability to hit a specific serve under pressure?
  8. What is your level of fitness? How long does it take you to recover after a long and arduous point? Do you generally fare better or worse in long and extended matches?
  9. How well do you cover the court (up, back, left and right)?
  10. Is your temperament more low key and calm or fiery and confrontational? Have you experienced situations in which you have become unnerved and lost your focus? What triggered this negative response? In what situations have you responded to adversity with composure and renewed determination? What helped foster this positive response?

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