Tennis is played primarily with the mind. The most perfect racquet technique in the world will not suffice if the directing mind is wandering.There are many causes of a wandering mind in a tennis match.
The chief one is lack of interest in the game. No one should play tennis with an idea of real success unless he cares sufficiently about the game to be willing to do the drudgery necessary in learning the game correctly.Give it up at once unless you are willing to work. Conditions of play or the noises in the gallery often confuse and bewilder experienced match-players playing under new surroundings.Complete concentration on the matter in hand is the only cure for a wandering mind, and the sooner the lesson is learned the more rapid the improvement of the player. An amusing example, to all but the player affected, occurred at the finals of the Delaware State Singles Championship at Wilmington.
I was playing Joseph J. Armstrong.The Championship Court borders the No. 1 hole of the famous golf course. The score stood at one set all and 3-4 and 30-40, Armstrong serving.
He served a fault and started a second delivery. Just as he commenced his swing, a loud and very lusty "Fore!" rang out from the links. Armstrong unconsciously looked away and served his delivery to the backstop and the game to me. The umpire refused to "let" call and the incident closed.
Yet a wandering mind in that case meant the loss of a set.The surest way to hold a match in mind is to play for every set, every game in the set, every point in the game and, finally, every shot in the point. A set is merely a conglomeration of made and missed shots, and the man who does not miss is the ultimate victor.Please do not think I am advocating "pat-ball.
" I am not. I believe in playing for your shot every time you have an opening.I do not believe in trying to win the point every time you hit the ball.
Never allow your concentration on any game to become so great that you do not at all times know the score and play to it. I mean both point score and game score. In my explanation of match play in a later chapter I am going into a detailed account of playing to the score.It is as vital in tennis as it is in bridge, and all bridge players know that the score is the determining factor in your mode of bidding.
Let me urge again concentration. Practise seriously. Do not fool on the court, as it is the worst enemy to progress. Carelessness or laziness only results in retrogression, never progress.Enjoy yourself.
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By: Raymond Lai