| By Steve Annacone
Photo courtesy of Getty Images


Very often, a match situation can change the way we hit the ball. When a tennis player is put in a competitive situation, the tendency is to immediately prioritize, "How can I win the point, the game, the set or the match?"

Unfortunately, many of the things that happen when using this idea tend to make it much more likely that we will be unable to hit the ball the way that we usually do. Often this results in taking too much off of the shot, or hitting it much harder than normal. This, of course, leads to numerous problems.

I would recommend that players try to get the "rally" idea in their mind, especially when the points seem to be ending too quickly. It is important to hit the ball the way you usually do in practice (not too fast and not too slow) so that you can establish some timing and rhythm. This will make it much more likely that you will be able to execute the shot that can win the point. Hitting the ball more to the middle of the court (like a rally) and expecting it to come back (also like a rally) can result in a more familiar and comfortable hitting situation. It will also put the pressure on your opponent to hit three or four good shots to win the point rather than one or two.

Trust that your normal shots are good enough to win a lot of the points. Playing with this "rally" idea can be the key to better execution of your shots and more similarity between your practice mentality and the way you hit the ball in a match.




Steve Annacone, USPTA Elite Pro, is the Director of Annacone Tennis, www.annaconetennis.com and MyHamptonsPro, www.myhamptonspro.com throughout the Hamptons, NY.  In addition, Steve and Miguel Coelho have introduced the JET (Junior Elite Tennis) program at the Tucson Jewish Community Center (Tucson, AZ) for high level players ages 8-18. Please contact Steve at info@annaconetennis.com.