By Tyler Couch, Fair Oaks Tennis Center
No matter how long we’ve played tennis, we always seem to be out of reach from our own idea of perfection. Even the most talented players in the history of the game routinely make mistakes and stumble through matches. None of us is perfect, no matter how many hours we spend training and trying our best to master our craft. We will make errors; errors that cost us crucial points, close games, and hard-fought matches in competition. Tennis is a mentally and physically exhausting sport. This is a game of inches where consistency and execution are keys to a player’s success.
Improving your tennis game starts with having a great mindset and attitude. We have all witnessed the competitive player who can let a single error affect his or her play throughout the future points of a match. Try to not let the little things get to you, and play it one point at a time. Stay calm, stay happy, and focus on the consistent shots that you know. Accept the fact that you’re going to make errors while playing and don’t let one bad point ruin the positive vibes you’ve been trying to manifest in your game and your life.
Find a coach that suits you. Finding someone who you genuinely want to go hang out with on the tennis court is crucial to successful lessons and learning. Watch, listen, and learn. These three words are at the heart of tennis training. Watch how the pros and people better than you hit the ball and flow through their strokes. Listen to what your coach and the more experienced players have to say and put that into practice. There are many great tennis players out there and you can learn a little bit from each one. Practice alone won’t make you the perfect player, but make sure to spend a few days a week honing your skills and getting your reps. Hitting the same shot consistently in practice usually carries over into match play when it truly counts.
Always practice with a purpose with and without your coach. Don’t be afraid to drill with a partner even if it’s not your specific practice night with the team. Make sure you always have a few goals when going out to the courts and try your best to accomplish them when you’re in training mode. Far too many people go out and aimlessly hit with their friends and never take the extra time to work on what they’ve been struggling with in matches. Don’t avoid the issues and spend some extra time each week working on what you need to improve. If you take lessons with a coach, make sure to go out sometime after your lesson and work on the skills and knowledge that they provided you with that week. You will have the utmost respect from your instructor and you will see vast improvements in your game.
Tennis is a unique, lifelong sport. It’s an ever-evolving sport that tests our athletic abilities and mental fortitude. There isn’t a secret code or a quick path to success; it takes time to become proficient at the craft. Each day we return to the courts, our abilities are put to the test as we are presented with new challenges. Hard work, good people, proper training, and knowledge are the keys to the tennis kingdom. Rally on!
Hometown: Kennesaw, Georgia
How did you get involved in teaching tennis? I started playing tennis at 10 years old at one of Cobb’s tennis facilities. I participated in a junior academy from 12-18, and competed in many tournaments throughout Georgia during high school. Eventually, I started assisting my personal coaches with their tot programs and junior summer camps. Around 18, I became an instructor at Lost Mountain Park in West Cobb. I got certified through the Professional Tennis Registry and have spent the last eight years training clients in the West Cobb/Marietta areas.
Diehard fan of what sports team? Always rooting for the Braves.
Best part of your game? My serve.
Dream doubles match would be me and… Roger Federer.
When I’m not teaching tennis, I’m… Working on cars or in the mountains fishing.
My favorite tennis memory is: Participating in a junior academy and playing tournaments throughout Georgia.
My favorite professional player is: Stan Wawrinka.
#1 reason why I enjoy teaching & coaching tennis: I love helping people and coaching is the ultimate form of giving back. It is very rewarding to continue to pass down skills that have been taught so well by our coach ancestors.
What important tennis message do you want to promote? We all do it for the smiles that come from our students when they improve and continue to play. Tennis is a lifelong sport and part of a healthy lifestyle. It’s a sport that can teach you perseverance and humility.