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Selecting the right shot at the right time

Raw, young, talented players can often hit a variety of shots but have little sense when it comes to shot selection. This underestimated and under-practiced skill is so important that it alone can separate the levels in tennis.

Your mind will begin to operate much like a computer. For it to be able to work to your benefit, it must first be turned on, and then, with practice, it must be programmed. When it has been properly programmed with all the necessary information, you can then play the game more in a state of automatic as your conscious thought will give way to your subconscious belief in your ability to hit certain shots.

Players who exhibit poor shot selection are the ones who make senseless errors by playing too aggressively on deep and low balls. They play too many high balls offensively from the baseline and miss opportunities by neglecting to take advantage of short ball placements.  

To program your shot selection, several factors will need to be taken into account: your court position; the height, speed, and spin of the oncoming ball; the game of your opponent; your own game as well as the varying conditions and situations of the match.

To help program your mind for selecting the right shot at the right time, practice the following:

  • attack short balls
  • be aggressive on mid-court balls  
  • play defensively balls placed deep to you 
  • cautiously play low hit balls
  • aggressively strike waist to shoulder-height balls
  • play defensively balls taken above shoulder-height from the baseline area
  • never hit risky shots unnecessarily

Posted by Steven White, Author of the Bring Your Racquet Series

Click on the link provided to see a 10 page preview of the newly released Bring Your Racquet 2

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