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A tennis player getting ready to return a serve to her opponent.

The 5 Pillars of Strength Every Tennis Player Should Be Working Toward

08/03/2015, 5:00am PDT
By Kelvin Cech

Work on these keys to improve your game.

In tennis there’s always something to work on. The best athletes in the world are constantly working on an area of their game they feel needs improvement. They even spend time honing the elements they’re good at. 

Why? Because in tennis, you can never be too good. The key is to balance your training so you touch on all the important aspects that lead to success. 

After speaking with the North Shore tennis community over the past few months, we were able to create a simple guide to aid in tennis development on and off the court. Here are the five keys to tennis you should be working on.  

1. Technique

This one’s obvious, but focusing exclusively on technique is not only helpful to create muscle memory, it teaches you why to select certain shots as well as how. When the brain receives instruction for physical movement that’s accompanied with the reasons why that movement will be successful, it internalizes that thought process. This way, when the time comes to execute, you can make quick decisions without thinking. 

2. Physical Strength

Stronger ankles, calf muscles and thighs mean you’ll get around the court quicker. There’s no fancy way to say it: being stronger makes you better at sports. Want a heavier serve? Do some bicep curls. And bench press. And core work. You know what? Just hit the gym and work on everything. 

3. Tactical

The best tennis players on Earth know their opponents inside and out. They know how they like to play, the shots they normally choose and the way in which they attack their opponent. This helps players develop a strategy for beating that opponent. All the technique and physical strength in the world means nothing without a solid gameplan or a strategy to employ. 

4. Mental Strength

Mental strength combines each of the first three elements so you can withstand your opponent as well as yourself. In tennis (well, in all sports really), it’s important to remain on an even keel. Getting too excited after a point can distract you from the next point, just like getting too frustrated after losing a point can lead to further mistakes. 

5. Personality

The best place to bolster your mental strength is away from the court. People who are shy and passive people in their day to day lives usually bring the same mentality to the game. It’s tough to flip the switch. One of the most important aspects of tennis for any player of any ability is the improvement of the self. Living your life with passion and vigour away from the court will transfer to the game. It works the other way around, too. Tennis should be the vehicle by which you transform yourself into a strong, confident human being. 

Ask yourself: 

  • How do you live your life?
  • Do you get enough sleep?
  • Do you eat as well as you should?
  • Can tennis serve as the catalyst for making these improvements?

It doesn’t matter which way the positive energy flows, just that it flows. Plenty of people use tennis to get in shape mentally and physically, others use it as an outlet for their competitive aggression. 

Whatever tennis means to you, it’s important to identify the root of your passion. 

…So you can get better at it. 


photo credit: IMG_1648 via photopin (license)

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