• Much respect to you Kevin for experimenting with this new format. And THANK YOU! I hope the other TTD’ers get as much value as I did from it! What you said really resonated for me. I’ve been so focused on my own tennis improvement. In my matches I’m mostly watching myself and analyzing what I’m doing well or poorly. The last match I played I was missing easy overheads and volleys, and I focused on it, and it just kept happening again and again. I even made a plan during the match to practice those shots more on the practice court. But I couldn’t tell you what shots my opponent was doing well or poorly to the same degree. I’m always thinking about what I want to do in my points, and when it goes south I’m taking all the responsibility. To use your metaphor, I’m touching the hot stove over and over, thinking the problem is with my hand not that the stove is burning hot. Gameplan for my next match- I’m going to try and log every point I see happen on the other side of the net like a input/output function. I.e. deep ball, high to the backhand -> weak backhand slice short cross court. flat, deep penetrating shot down the line -> defensive lob. I might even use pen and paper to write it down. Question: In the spirit of focusing more on the other side of the court, what can you tell us about what you’re observing in your opponent at the start of the point. Specifically, when you’re returning.. are you looking for early clues as to where they will serve, what do you look for as tells? And when you’re serving, what observations across the net are you making that will influence what you do with your serve? Anything you might see that would scream kick serve vs slice, etc.

    • Thanks Rob, When I’m playing I’m looking for patterns that my opponent has. I don’t usually see them all at once. It’s learning to gather information over time to refined my strategies. Things that I look for is what does my opponent like to do during a pressure situation vs a normal situation. Whenever there is a game point I pay special attention to what shot patterns that my opponent likes to use. Things like; where do they like to serve or return, what shots they like to hit(forehand or backhand), do they like coming to net or staying back. We are creatures of habit and we All like sticking to what feels comfortable in moments of pressure. Because of this you want to do your best to put your opponent in as many uncomfortable situations as possible. So as you continue to play more points, you’ll learn more about your opponent’s habits that your use to win more points. Usually, the toss is a dead giveaway if they are going to hit a kick serve. Meaning that the more the toss is behind them the greater chance of them hitting a kick serve.

  • Great Advice! I get stuck watching and admiring my shots, I don’t anticipate my opponents shot well. I am trying to break that habit.
    Any advice on playing others who hit almost everything short, smacking, hacking and slicing with no other objective than getting the ball over the net and no patterns of play?

    • The tough part about opponents is learning to find their weaknesses. The first thing that I would do is to mentally step back from the situation so that you can start noticing what they don’t like. Start strategically trying different things to see how they react. You hit high, low, short, and deep. Hit it to their backhand and forehand and just start taking stock of if you win the point or not. Everyone has weaknesses it’s just a matter of finding them. Then exposing them.

      Thanks

  • Hi Kevin. Thanks for the video! I’ve found it challenging to recognize patterns in my opponents strengths and weaknesses over the course of multiple points or games. Generally I’m winning some points and so is my opponent. Since each point is usually a made up of a combination of different shots, i struggle finding the mental thread of my opponents weaknesses. Can you advise any techniques you use for tracking (reminding yourself) of an opponents weakness?

    • Here are a few things I use to help determine a weaker shot:
      1) Feed the ball up the middle of the court and see what shot your opponent picks to hit, Forehand or backhand. This is a clue to what shot they like the most.
      2) When rallying crosscourt pay attention to the speed, spin and power that they use. Usually their is one side that isn’t as good as the other.
      3) Hit the ball above and below their strike zone and see if they struggle with it.
      4) Run them to the open court and hit behind them to see which pattern disrupts them more.

      Try these next time you play! Thanks

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