Tennis is a game of strategy and tactics. It doesn’t take long to discover that there is much more to tennis than technique and pretty strokes. Often times more experienced players will beat players that appear to have a better game on the surface. Some of the best recreational players are self-taught, have unorthodox strokes, and win a ton of matches. Why is that?
This is due to understanding tennis strategy and how to apply it to win more matches. Strategic tennis players formulate and implement a game plan when they play tennis. The strategic player realizes his style of play, what his strengths and weaknesses are, and how to maximize his strengths and minimize his weakness against his opponent to win more points.
Tennis strategy begins in the first few minutes of warm up. The strategist observes and analysis what types of shots his opponent likes and doesn’t like to play. He takes note of weaknesses in his opponent’s game, such as ball judgement, movement, technique, and decision making. He also makes a mental note of his opponent’s strengths and his on court tendencies. From here the strategist determines how his opponent is likely to play and is ready with a plan before the first point is played.
Tennis tactics are preferred ways of playing tennis to achieve the strategy. Once you decide on a tennis strategy, such as playing aggressive baseline tennis, your tactics to achieve that strategy can be different. For example, one player’s tactics may be to overpower their opponent from the baseline, like Serena Williams plays. Another player’s tactics may be to put pressure on their opponent by taking the balls on the rise, like Andre Agassi used to play. Both players have the same strategy but their tactics to achieve it are different.
Tactical Decision Making
Another element to tennis tactics is tactical decision making. Tactical decisions take place during any given point. This can be seen during point play when players construct points in patterns that are favorable to his strategy. We call this pattern tennis. Each shot in tennis is made with a decision. With on court experience we can learn to make smart tactical decisions.
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