Living Lucky on the Tennis Court

Here are ten things to improve your luck on the tennis court.

  1. Practice hard and smart and get in the best possible shape prior to competition. Good things always happen when you prepare properly.  Better preparation and conditioning lead to improved confidence, ability to execute, court presence and tactical awareness and “good things seem happen to me” results.  It is no coincidence that the best players with the best results and good fortune work harder and smarter
  2. Keep the ball in play. Your good luck and the ill luck of your opponent (not that you wish ill luck on your opponent) increases exponentially with every shot you put back into play.  Average four or more shots per rally and you will win almost every match you play.
  3. Get your first serve in play. It’s much easier to control and dictate play following a first serve versus a second serve.  Getting your first serve consistently in play applies real and imagined pressure on your opponent.
  4. Close as tight to the net as possible to hit your volleys. Hitting your volleys on top of the net opens up more opportunities for angles and winners and gives your opponent less time to respond.  Even mishits result in winners when hitting close to the net.
  5. Go for everything. Do your best to run down every shot to improve your chances and likelihood for success.
  6. Be smart with your directional patterns. Hit cross court and/or maintain the direction of the shot whenever in a neutral or defensive position.  Redirect (as appropriate) when in an advantageous position to attack.  Luck is about percentages and playing the odds.
  7. Be active with your feet to better respond to the bounce of the ball and adjust for any miscalculations in timing. Get a little flat with your feet and you’ll be surprised how many balls seem to take a bad bounce.
  8. Want to improve your chances of catching your opponent on a “bad and/or unlucky” day? Vary pace, spin and your other control variables to disrupt the rhythm and timing of your opponent (and possibly drive your opponent “really crazy”).
  9. If you get a perceived “bad break”… Don’t dwell on things that go wrong, particularly things out of your control. Don’t let the memory of “bad breaks” lead to excuses, limiting beliefs and thoughts of self doubt.
  10. Be positive and have fun on the court. Things generally work out for the best if you approach each match with confidence and a positive mental approach to competition.

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