Correcting Your Mistakes

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Do you have a shot that always seems to be a problem?

One of the things I hear most when teaching tennis players is “I always…,” for example:

“I always swing down on my volleys” or “I always hit my serve return late.”

In a way, this is good thing because you are aware of the error that was made and you have pinpointed it as a problem that needs to be corrected.  However, after realizing your problem area, the question really becomes: What are you doing to fix it? The problem is that most of the time, players notice the error but don’t do anything to really fix the ongoing issue. In this situation, you are repeating to yourself what you already did wrong, and catching the mistake after it happened.

In order to get out of this error-repeating scenario, tell yourself what you are going to do to avoid future mistakes from happening. This means that you need to plan ahead for the next opportunity to hit the shot, with the appropriate goal in mind. Use affirmative commands to do this, (i.e. “I will move through my volley on the next ball I get”, or
“take a shorter backswing on the next serve return”) and avoid the negative “I always” comments after the error is made.

Next time you are walking out to the court, plan ahead for the proper shot or play you want to make, so you can catch the mistake before it happens. Also, do this a few seconds before each point begins. As always, this may take some practice and repetition, but with affirmative commands and a plan of action, you will be on your way to making great changes to your game.

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