As a sportsperson, your learning never stops. There never comes a time when you can say, “Okay, I know it all and from this point on, there is nothing for me to know”. If you feel that way, there is definitely something wrong somewhere. However, there are some mistakes, beginners are more likely to make than experts in a particular sport. When it comes to tennis, the list of these mistakes is long and here, we have tried to compile one.
Running to the ball at wrong pace
It is said that in tennis, you should run to the ball and bounce. The attempt is to try and stay behind the ball so that when you hit it, it’s out in front of you. In other words, you have to run to the ball in a way that you remain behind it and the bounce makes it fall in front of you so that you can move into the court when striking it. Tennis is all about timing and by running to the bounce, you are wasting your own time and making it difficult to ensure a good contact point. How far you should stay will greatly depend on pace, height, direction, and spin of the ball.
Swinging from the elbow or wrist instead of shoulders
The swing should always start from the shoulders as swinging from the elbow or wrists can never lead to any decent amount of pace on the ball and you are also highly likely of putting them at risk of injury. Sure, use your wrists and even elbow but shots should not originate from these places. Most common injuries that can happen due to swinging from these places are tennis elbow and wrist sprains.
Beginners coming to coaching lessons with an unsuitable racquet is a common phenomenon. Some racquets are too heavy, some are too old or have lost all string tension. Other poor choices that players make include wrong shoes and ill-fitted clothing. Like a bad carpenter blames his tools, we can apply this to beginner tennis players too.
Bad body shape
The secret of tennis is the balance. Without proper balance, you will still be able to hit your shot but you won’t be able to control it or hit with proper pace. In order to get a good balance, you need to widen both your legs, bend your knees and outstretch your non-playing arm. Using all three actions, your consistency of shot will improve and your speed on the ball will increase. Preparing early and especially for the run is also very important.
Power does not mean technique
Now, this is a mistake not exclusive to beginners. Even players with a good few years of playing under their belts falter when it comes to this. There is always one player on the court who thinks that the harder they hit, the better they are. And the opponent stands on the opposite side of the court, waiting patiently to return a ball, but the player is hitting it anywhere and everywhere, often out of court as well.
Yes, professional players like Djokovic and Nadal hit the ball hard but they also have technique and control and wait for the right moment before they go for the winner. Many beginners seem to think that power equals technique, but it’s actually the opposite. Aim to get your technique correct before anything else, build some consistency with your shot making and then power will follow automatically.
Quick to quit
Patience is a virtue you have to cultivate for any sport and it is a crucial part of becoming a tennis player. Most beginners want to see quick results and are ready to quit soon after starting as they don’t feel they are making noticeable or significant progress in terms of winning tournaments etc. This is a very common feeling among beginners, but it is important to see beyond these initial frustrations and focus on the game. Progress in tennis is incremental and is found by players who are willing to persevere.