About Us

CAtennis is a passionate discussion for serious tennis players, parents and coaches looking for something different. No talk about technique, no talk about useless theory, no gimmicks; just practical advice from first-hand experience on how to improve your tennis. Kick back, drink the content, bounce ideas, and pitch articles (or friend us on Facebook).

Unless otherwise noted, all articles are authored by the founders of CAtennis.  Enjoy!

« Pre Tournament Practice: One Week Before Event | Main | No Battle Is The Same As The Previous One »

No Pride

A player should be proud of her preparation, training, attitude, passion for the game, etc., but many times certain variations of on-court pride leads to poor results. Obviously, you should always be honorable and seek to avoid engaging in gamesmanship or performing kabuki theater that is so prevalent in modern junior tennis.
By "having no pride", I mean once you step on the court to play a tournament, most of everything that you have learned up to that point is theoretical. Too often, players attempt to actively BEAT their opponents (going for low-percentage winners on every shot); not enough times do they make the effort to allow the opponents to BEAT THEMSELVES. This is not always helped when the player's parents clap for aces or wild shots but are silent when it comes to long points - cleverly thought out and constructed - but not flashy. What message are you sending your player when you clap every low percentage shot?!
For example, not every match needs to be played as if the ESPN highlight real is at stake. In most matches, good, solid tennis is sufficient to pull through. In these matches, don't be afraid to resort to a strategy that is beneath you in the event the gamestyle or strategy that you have initially picked does not pan out. Yes, sometimes you will have to dink, other times you will have to push, some other times you may have to chip your forehand or serve underhand. First, it's obviously important to practice these shots so that you are comfortable executing the same under pressure. Second, it's important to practice these shots so that you can draw upon them by instinct rather than forethought. Third, it is important to understand that these shot have no bearing on who you are as a player. They are just tools for being used at the correct time and discarded. 

On the other hand, however, there are some players who seem to specialize exclusively on these shots. This is not something I advocate although players such as Fabrice Santoro have made a very lucrative career at mastering the odd-ball shots or strategies. Prior to Santoro, there was Karsten Braasch. It seems that Santoro's heir apparent may be Dolgopolov although he possesses more pop and dimensions than his predecessors. However, when you watch Dolgopolov you will notice two things: (1) he's having fun. Tennis does not seem to be a burden for him. He's often smiling and doesn't look like he has too many cares in the world. And (2), he's not afraid to hack, slice, chip, drop shot or hit jumping shots. Although cameras are rolling, he doesn't seem particularly interested in making the highlight real. When the opponent's game calls for a slice, he slices. When the opponent's too far back, he drop-shots. 

Developing players would be well-served by sitting on an outside court and watching a player like Dolgopolov practice his craft. Often times, juniors watch the top players (Federer, Nadal, Murray and Djokovic) and think that that's how the game should always be played. Yes, those guys are certainly the cream of the crop. However, in the trenches of junior, college and low-level pro events, it is often a different type of animal who is king of the jungle. Your objective, as a developing player, is to be able to come up with any stroke, any time. Master all the shots and don't feel like you're too proud to rely on them under pressure. Remember, matches are won point-by point. If you can hit a great shot one point, scrape another point, allow the opponent to miss on the third point and get an easy point on the fourth, you win the game. Like a poker player, don't be afraid to bluff and whittle away your opponent's chips. You don't have to have 4 Aces to win the hand. Sometimes, a well-played weak hand will do. 


PrintView Printer Friendly Version

EmailEmail Article to Friend

Reader Comments

There are no comments for this journal entry. To create a new comment, use the form below.

PostPost a New Comment

Enter your information below to add a new comment.

My response is on my own website »
Author Email (optional):
Author URL (optional):
Some HTML allowed: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <code> <em> <i> <strike> <strong>