I found a good read that I want to share with the rest of tennisopolis. I hope it helps your game as it did mine.
Nick Bollettieri's Top 10 Tips
Have a Glaring Weakness? So does every tennis player. Here are the ones Nick Bollettieri sees most often -— and the solutions that will raise your game to the next level. [Originally published in the September/October 2011 issue of TENNIS.]
1. Second Serve:
The second serve hurts recreational players more than any other stroke in the game. Often they can hit a good first serve, one that wins them easy points or at least gives them time to set up for the next shot. And then the second serve comes, slowly over the net, waiting to be destroyed. The further away from the professional ranks you get, the bigger the gap between the first and second serve. The No. 1 thing you can do to improve your game is to close that gap. It won't be easy, and it will take not only a lot of practice, but a lot of frustration and disappointment during matches. It's one thing to improve your second serve on the practice court, and another to have the confidence to hit it during a match. It will be worth the investment, though. These two drills will get you going in the right direction.
2. Go Slow:
Please. Don't. Rush. There's no clock in tennis, other than the 20 seconds you have between points when you're serving. That's a lot of time, so don't be afraid to use it. When things are going badly, players tend to hurry up, rather than take it easy. This just makes matters worse. The best approach is to turn your back to the court and take your eyes off your opponent and the net for a few seconds. Breathe. Relax. Remind yourself to keep a loose grip on your racquet. Slow down your opponent (within reason) and concentrate on keeping the ball in play for a few rallies. There's always time for a comeback in tennis, unless you're impatient.
3. Stay Loose:
Great technique is an amazing asset. If you have fantastic footwork and simple, smooth strokes, you're going to hold your own in each and every match. But there's no better way to mess up your technique than to think about it during a match. When you're playing points, you have to think about ball placement, tactics, what your opponent does and doesn't do well, and how you can disrupt your opponent's game. A match is a bad time to practice meeting the ball out in front or shortening your backswing. Leave those things for the practice courts and worry more about improving your match-play skills when you're playing for keeps.
4. Buy Time:
You're out of position and your opponent has hit a very good shot. Just a few shots ago, you were in control of the point, but now you might lose it, and quickly, unless you do something. So you go for broke. And miss. This is a common situation in tennis, and the outcome is almost always negative. Instead of taking risks, you're better off learning to buy time. Next time you get on the practice court, work on hitting high, looping topspin shots on the run. You want to aim for the middle of the court and close to the baseline if possible. Shots like that can salvage points that seem to be hopeless.
5. Master the Volley:
The everyday players who attend our camps often have one or both of two fatal fl aws on their volleys. First, they don't volley with one grip. There's not enough time to switch grips when you're at the net. The baseline game has improved so much in the last two decades that you have to be quicker than ever to be a successful volleyer. If you have to fiddle with your grip, you've got no chance. The Continental grip is a must for a strong volley; you have to master it. Second, they don't turn their shoulders. If you hit volleys with your shoulders facing the net, you'll never put any sting on your shots. These three tips will help you master the Continental grip and develop a compact, forceful volley.
6. Down-the-Line Backhand:
The down-the-line backhand is a tempting shot, and one that rarely works out in your favor. Usually, players attempt it off of a crosscourt shot and have to change the direction of the ball. They also try to hit the ball too close to the line because they're hellbent on hitting a clean winner. Going for a winner creates another problem: a low-fl ying ball, even though the shot must clear the highest part of the net. My advice? Practice hitting this shot higher over the net with topspin and height, and go for depth rather than the sideline. You don't need a clean winner if you can hit a great set-up shot.
7. Have No Ego:
When a player comes up against a big hitter, intimidation takes hold. There's fear of being embarrassed by a slugger, and fear of looking like a hacker compared to your opponent. I say, don't fall for the trap that big hitters so often set for their opponents. Rather than hit big, you want to make your opponent overhit. If you can't play their game, you can make it so they can't either.
8. Remain Steady:
Unforced errors lose matches. Don't believe me? Pull up the stats of any match, in men's or women's tennis, and see for yourself. Here's one thing you can do right away to improve your consistency: Don't go for broke when you're trapped well behind the baseline. Instead, hit a high ball deep into your opponent's court to buy time to recover. Then move closer to the baseline and assume a strong ready position for your next shot.
9. Learn to Forget:
Good players have short memories. When you lose a point or commit an unforced error, wipe it out of your mind immediately. Instead of reacting to the result of a point or shot, ask yourself, "Did I stick with the gameplan?" If you can answer yes, don't worry about the outcome. And if you need to remember something, think about a day when everything clicked on the court. Chances are you weren't overthinking on that day. Why start now? (Photography by Tom DiPace)
10. Be Patient:
One thing I worry about is when students confuse ambition and impatience. Impatience is a barrier to improvement. If you want to develop a killer kick serve, that's great. But it's better to approach that mission in stages. First, understand how to apply overspin on a serve. Then, start mixing that serve into your matches. To reach killer status, you're going to need months of hard work. You can make radical improvements as a player, in your technical and mental game. You just can't do it in a day. (Photography by Tom DiPace)
Replies to This Discussion
I struggle with all of these but I need to work on all of them perhaps one at a time. Which do you guys think would be the most beneficial to a rec player like me?