Below are the GOLDEN RULES from the Humber Junior Academy:
Make sure that before entering the court to play a training match or competitive match that you have a Gameplan in your mind.
Don’t step onto court and go through the motions, hoping that you will play well today – this is certainly a risky strategy!
Try following the next steps when thinking about how to approach a match:
- Watch your opponent - If the opportunity arises to watch your next opponent before you play them, do so. This will then give you a flavour of their strengths and weaknesses and may form part
of your Gameplan.
- Use the knock-up to best effect – don’t just go through the next 5 minutes by hitting the ball aimlessly. Try not only to warm yourself up and get you eye in, but also make sure that you try
to adapt to the conditions of the court quickly and also try to find your opponents strengths and weaknesses (For example: If you opponent appears to stand very deep in the knock up, it may be an idea to try to move them to the front or if
they make some mistakes on the volley, try to serve so that they have to take a volley in the match).
- Once the spin for serve is over make sure that either your first serve or first service return puts pressure on your opponent – getting off to a good start certainly helps!
- Play your way into a match – It may be an idea to get your length and width going as quickly as possible – it may be a risky strategy, to go for a wide range of winners straight away.
- Analyse your game – In between games think what has worked for you and what didn’t go so well. If you have lost the game easily you probably need to change your strategy.
- After the match – when the match is over try analysing what went well and what you would change or do again if you re-played your opponent. It may be worth discussing this with your coach or
parents and may give you an idea of what you need to work harder on in practice.
Overall try to adopt these steps but keep your gameplan simple as there is very little time to think too deeply whilst in the middle of a match.
If you begin to lose a series of points quickly in a match think about a couple of key issues that you may want to change. It may be the difference between winning and losing!