Tennis can be a tricky sport when you’re just starting out. The following 7 beginner mistakes are what I believe to be the biggest challenges for the novice. Address these issues and you’ll be improving in no time.
1. Not Judging The Ball
It’s very common for a beginner to lack judgment in where the ball is going to go and how fast it’s going to get there and play appropriately. A beginner often thinks the ball is going to be shorter than it actually is. They rush to the ball and consequently hit the ball to hard and are off balance when they get there. They don’t realise that the ball will actually fly deeper.
2. Hitting The Ball Too Hard
Another big challenge for a beginner is how not to hit the ball too hard. They see a ball and swing at it. A beginner is only thinking of connecting with the oncoming ball and they may panic a little. One of the main reasons for hitting too hard is that they don’t have a target. Your arm doesn’t know how much it should swing, if you know the distance then you can get a feel for what force is required.
3. Being too Tight
Being too tight is another challenge. When you start playing tennis you contract too many muscles and you lose that all important feel and can hit the ball too hard and generally get it all wrong. So, how can you become a little more relaxed? A good tip is to rate your tightness 1-5. 5 being very tight and 1 being relaxed and going with the flow.
4. Stopping the Racquet at Contact Point
You must try and learn to complete the follow through of your shots. When you find yourself hitting the ball too hard, a consequence of that is stopping the racquet at the contact point and not completing the follow through leading to an ineffective stroke. When doing this you actually contract many muscles in your arm when you stop the flowing movement forward and you lose control of the ball.
5. How to Play with an Arc
Another big challenge is to hit the ball in an arc rather than a straight line The easiest way to hit the ball is to play in a straight line from the ball to the target on the other side, however we want to get into the habit of playing with an arc. The straight line approach can often have the ball ending up in the net. Then, to avoid going into the net you may well overcompensate and hit it too far resulting in the ball going over the opponent’s baseline. Of course you may get lucky occasionally and the ball can fly over the net and land in the court but it won’t consistently bring results.
6. How to Reach the Ball in Time
Learning how to get to the ball in time is another big challenge. If you get to the ball late then you are still moving and are off balance which will obviously effect your shot. We tend to naturally move to the ball with the minimum speed necessary and get there just in time for the shot but we want to get there quicker so we’re ready and set.
7. Toss the Ball Consistently in the Same Place
It can be very challenging when serving to toss the ball in the right place each time. Sometimes it may go behind, sometimes in front, often too far forward or too high, too low etc. This causes you to lose balance along with the correct technique.
So there we have it, the 7 biggest challenges beginners face. In order to become a more proficient tennis player we need to learn how to overcome these and work on each aspect to make our game stronger.