| By Steve Annacone
Photo courtesy of Getty Images


One of the most important qualities of a good tennis player is their ability to figure out where the opponent's shot is going. Recognizing the direction and depth of the shot that was just hit enables the player to react quickly and reply with a shot that is as good, or better, than the shot they are facing.

You can improve your ability to recognize and react by reminding yourself to practice watching the ball come off of the opponent’s racquet, deciding whether you will be hitting a forehand or a backhand, and then turning your shoulders in that direction. Once you feel comfortable with the recognition, focus on the reaction to the ball with your feet. Try to get to the ball early enough to make contact at, or close to, the peak of the bounce.

Remember to keep about the same distance away from the ball each time you hit a shot. All of this sounds obvious, but in the heat of a match your thoughts tend to be focused on how to win the point, or even how to just make the shot.

Emphasize recognizing and reacting to the shot and most of the time the shots you hit will be better, accomplishing the goal of winning the point, or hitting the shot well enough to keep the point going in your favor.




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.