Are you making too many errors? Have you ever thought about areas that you can improve to reduce them? What’s more important: reducing errors or increasing winners? It’s time to make you aware of this knowledge.
Tennis statistics have both supporters and critics. More and more TV broadcasts provide helpful and entertaining numbers from current matches and tournaments, as well as from the history of the sport. As a coach I use stats to analyze my players’ matches, but I don’t take the data as the only truth of performance. In my opinion, to have the full picture of given performance, coach has to have access both to statistics and video footage, to combine these methods and make proper conclusions.
When it comes to statistics, what I particularly like to analyze is the winners/errors ratio. At more advanced levels, most of the time we can see that this ratio equals 1 to 3. It simply means that for every winner advanced players commit 3 errors. It is not hard to predict that at lower levels of performance there are even more errors made for every shot that opponent can’t get to. This data confirms that tennis is a game of errors and it is important to work on your offensive skills, but more crucial is to cut down on your mistakes. I know that winners look more spectacular than consistent shots, but tennis doesn’t provide extra points for winners, so there is no point in taking more risk if you can win many more games while focusing on making less errors.
There are 3 areas that you should start working on to cut down on errors:
Playing with no plan always is a dangerous move. If you don’t know what you want to achieve during given point, you will end up making wrong decisions, go for too risky shots and lose too many points. Remember to always know where you want to serve/return and how you are going to work with your strengths against your rival’s weaknesses to make your chances bigger for winning.
One of the biggest mistakes of players at all levels is to aim for lines. Athletes think that it is the correct decision to put pressure on opponent, but they are far away from the truth. When we look at top professional players, they rarely hit balls really close to the lines. They aim with safety margins to make sure that even when they don’t hit expected targets they are still in play and can hit better during the next attempt. If you want to improve control of your shots, make sure you always set targets during practice sessions, but remember to put them away from the lines.
If you observe advanced players, you will always notice that they don’t miss too many balls into the net. They understand that proper height over the net is crucial to achieve good depth of own shots as also to be consistent while building the point. You should apply the same approach while working on your groundstrokes. The easiest way to do so is to set tape over the net and attach that on both sides of the court. This new line gives you feedback on proper trajectory that you should hit all balls with. Easy and really effective.
Practice has a big influence on your competitive performance, so you should really focus on what you do during training sessions. If you repeat given situations many times, you will have no problems to act in the same effective way while playing in tournaments. Making less errors is a good way to not give opponent easy points, as well as to force rival to play longer points and go for more risky shots, so there is a big chance that this strategy will positively impact your results.