THE “FOUR AWARENESS” POINTS WHEN PLAYING TENNIS
By Fernando M. Velasco
USPTA and PTR Master Professional
In every match, you will find critical points that can determine whether a player wins or losses. At these critical points, I suggest reviewing what I call the “four awareness” points:
First Awareness: Self
Every player possesses certain shots that they feel more comfortable hitting on a critical point. For example, it could be a forehand topspin, or a slice one. When choosing which shot to hit on a critical point, decisively utilize the shot that comes more naturally without changing your mind. That is when mistakes are made.
Second Awareness: Opponent
When the players decide on a shot at a critical point, they need to consider their opponent’s strengths and weaknesses. During the match, they should notice the shots the opponent has less success with than others. On a critical point, players should use the shot they feel more comfortable with but also they will aim towards their opponent’s weaknesses.
Third Awareness: Court
Once you decide on your most consistent shot, consider the opponent’s weakness, you also need to take into account the court conditions. Factors such as the sun, wind, and surface will make a difference on the shot executed. When in doubt, you should either choose a shot toward an opening on the court, or directly at your opponent’s feet; open spaces or shoe laces.
Fourth Awareness: Score
When you decide on your shot, the placement and being aware of the court challenges, a good player should also remember the score in hand. Players will be aggressive when the score is in their favor, and be more conservative when tied, or behind. For example, when a player is serving at 40-15, the serve should be a powerful and assertive. In contrast, if the score is 15-40, the player should serve the first serve with some power, but with more placement.
Over time, these four awareness points will become both automatic and reactionary as players become more experienced in playing and competing. After the shot has been properly executed, they will sometimes give themselves a pat on the back for doing the right thing at the right time, and remind themselves that they followed the “four awareness” points.