Couch potatoes, you’re going to love the tip this month. With all the rain we have received over the last year, I’m going to help you learn by watching a tennis match — on television.
Now that there is a channel dedicated to tennis and all the major tournaments are aired on numerous channels, it’s easy to find a good match on TV. Particularly on rainy days when I cannot get the courts playable due to heavy rain, watch a match and learn from the comfort of your own couch.
Look first at the players’ court position. Are they on the baseline moving side to side, or are they pressing to get to the net? Singles is primarily played from the baseline these days, while doubles is played by trying to control the net. Watch how players move and recover after each shot. Focus on one player’s movement and check out the footwork, court coverage and tactics that they play with. And then see how the opponent tries different things to counteract those tactics.
Listen to the announcers. A lot of the commentators are ex-players and have great insights as to how the game is being played. Former No. 1 players like Courier, McEnroe, Everett and Navratilova are often heard giving tips and analysis of ongoing matches. How lucky are we to hear what a “real player” is thinking? These players are light years ahead of us in their on-court thinking and strategy. Try to implement their advice into your own game.
And last, and I think most fun, turn the volume off and really watch the point. Notice how the pros play points, and compare it to how you play points. Note their patience, their depth, their spins, their variety, and their great footwork. Think about some of your past matches and see how these things could have helped you win a close match. And think how fun it will be to try some of these things the next time you play!
You can always learn something from watching a televised match of some of the greatest players on the planet. Or you could come see me and let me pick on you and help you out on the court. Either way, I hope you are always trying to learn something new and fun! See you on the courts.
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