Digging my new stick

Winning more matches with the same game 🎾

Lately my biggest insight on the tennis court has been about how to find ways to do more with what I have(something I imagine will be more important as I get older), and I have been surprised at the positive results I have seen.

The two big ideas I have been focusing on both have to do with an awareness of what is happening on the other side of the net.

From the excellent Essential Tennis Podcast episode on Singles Success - direct link to timestamp

It is much easier to make your opponenet feel uncomfortable than it is for you to fix everything that feels uncomfortable for you

I have been able to do this better by being intentional about observing my opponent and trying to get an understanding as quickly as I can about what parts of their game are working and where they might be struggling that day.

This leads to the second idea:

Once a pattern or weakness is identified be relentless in making that the place they have to beat you.

Play to Win: Meta-Skills in High-Stakes Poker — Forcing Function

I’m not here to be the best. I’m here to win.

and from further along in this section:

Once you recognize a weak area in your opponent’s game, repeatedly force them into that situation. If your opponent can’t hit a backhand, hit it to his backhand every time.

This seems so obvious, but it is amazing how difficult it is to convince myself to hit the kick serve to the backhand that has resulted in return errors all day when I really want to send a flat bomb down the T. It takes real discipline to continually hit shots based on chance of winning the point vs. hitting the shot-of-the-day winner.