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Using your ‘Tennis GPS’ to Help Navigate Through a Match


By Stewart Russell, Partner Universal Tennis Academy, James Creek Tennis Center

Controlling the rhythm, tempo and overall pace of a match is an extremely important skill. I like to use the analogy as if you were plugging in two coordinates into your tennis GPS/navigation system at the start of a match. Choosing the best route should not be based on factors like previous point outcome, a couple of close calls, weather-related issues, the perceived importance of the result of the match, amongst other things. Don’t let things like this “cloud’ your ability to mentally process the task at hand as you try and navigate through a tennis match.

Let’s face it: We are all human and when given a three- or four-choice navigation option, we all will pick the fastest route to get from point A to point B. However, the question is, is this the most efficient and least mentally taxing choice one should take?

Controlling the tempo of a match involves conserving energy (like gas in a car), as well as not rushing, and thus avoiding accidents within your game. In tennis, you are dependent on your opponent’s level of play and may be forced to choose an alternate route to help navigate you to a win on any given day. Slowing down, controlling the “controllables,” and trusting the process may not be a bad option at all.

Everything has a beginning, a middle, and an end. Making sure you are doing your best to control the tempo and overall rhythm to help navigate through a tennis match is a key factor that could hopefully lead to more successful results.

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