Do you sometimes feel like you can't get into the game from the first point? That you need time to adjust? That you need time to warm up and really start the car? And suddenly you end up down 1-0, 2-0, 3-0… or miss an opportunity to take the lead.
When this happens, it means you’ve started the match as if trying to recover from a bad game from the first point. It puts pressure on you and gives your opponent confidence. The start of the game is crucial. Set the tone.
When trust falls to one side of the court, it often has a big impact on the end result. Now, I'm sure you want to know how to start the game at 100%? I have two simple tips for you: First, you need to get serious about your pre-game warmup.
Before entering the court, you should warm up both your shots and your body. The tennis warm-up is your opportunity to come to grips with the ball and adjust to the conditions: surface, tournament balls, weather, etc. Physical warm-up is just as important if not more so.
You have to do a super dynamic warm-up. You should enter the court almost SWEATING. Your body must be ready to react and play with 100% intensity. When you enter the racing track, your car must have already started and should be going full speed ahead.
Imagine starting a race with a car ready to go at full power while your opponent has to start at 60% and slowly ramp up to 100% in ten minutes! Second, you have to arrive on the court prepared. What does this mean? For very serious tennis players: it means that before the match you’ve to sit down with your coach and establish a game plan.
Analyse your opponent's game, his strengths and weaknesses. Based on this, determine how you can use your game and your strengths to capitalize on your opponent's weaknesses. The more information you have, the better. With this information, you will set a clear game plan with things that are in your control and that are left only up to you.
When you enter the court, you should already know what to do. It's time to execute. Now for most of you guys (or pros and future pros who don't know the player they're facing):those five minutes of warm-up with your opponent just before the match will be crucial.
During those five minutes, you must gather as much information as possible. Test all their shots by mixing the game (low balls, high balls, slices, strong flat balls, slow balls, etc.) to see how your opponent reacts to each one.
Identify on which balls they’re dangerous, efficient and where they’re the least comfortable. Start the game by capitalizing on this. Make sure you play on your opponent's weak spots with the right pace, height and spin to get short balls and hit winners or miss.
Does this make sense? I'll leave you with a quote that I like: “Give me six hours to cut down a tree and I'll spend the first four sharpening my axe”. In tennis you cannot be successful without good preparation. If you come to play a match 100% ready, you will get the best out of yourself from the first point.