After playing a tennis match, it is natural to critique your play and assess how things went. Since every match is different, it is likely that your positives and negatives will change from match to match. It is a great idea to come up with exactly what you are going to do before you walk on the court.
First, try to go through some type of warm up. If you can go out and hit with someone for 20-30 minutes prior to your actual match, that’s ideal. However, there are many alternatives that will help you get ready. Jumping rope for five minutes, running in place, doing some dynamic flexibility movements, or even just taking your racket on the court and simulating some moving and swinging can do the trick.
It is rare that the 5-10 minute warm up with your opponent will prepare you to play the match. Understanding this will help you figure out ways to get off to a good start. Write down a few simple, basic, ideas (first serve in, return of serve in play, watch the ball through the point of contact, and always expect the ball to come back) to remind yourself how to think once the match starts. Take a look at your "cheat sheet" just before you step on the court to serve or return serve in the first game. Review during the match as needed.
When the match is over, try to do some stretching and pay attention to any aches and pains you have. Ice the affected areas if possible and take some anti-inflammatory medicine if needed. Write down the good and the bad things that happened in the match and also give yourself some suggestions for the next match. Use this assessment as a basis for your "cheat sheet" in the next match.
Make sure you make adjustments to your before and after match routine based on your effectiveness and keep trying to learn from every match you play.
Steve Annacone, USPTA Elite Pro, is the Director of Annacone Tennis (http://www.annaconetennis.com) MyHamptonsPro (http://www. myhamptonspro.com) and Baron’s Cove Resort In Sag Harbor, NY, as well as Volunteer Assistant Coach for the University of Arizona Women’s team. For details on lessons, clinics, or coaching, contact Steve at email@example.com or call 865-300-7323