How to Overcome Your Fear of the Net
Maybe you resist coming to the net because you feel uncomfortable there. So you need to dig even deeper and ask yourself why do you feel uncomfortable at the net?
Some of the possible reasons are:
1. You don't trust your volley and overhead skills.
This mistrust can be legitimate -- meaning your net skills are really not that good and you make too many mistakes Or your net skills are actually good but your opinion about them is negative.
In order to get an accurate evaluation of your real net skills you'll need to ask some friends and pros to evaluate your game and then make the conclusion.
And in case your net skills are really not good, just practice more. And there is no better way to do that than to approach the net more often!
2. Missing hurts too much.
Whether your net skills are good or not so good, you will inevitably make mistakes at the net.
One common problem with mistakes at the net is that we look clumsy or funny when we make them.
It's one thing to miss a backhand from the baseline, but it's a completely different thing missing a backhand volley at the net feeling clumsy and embarrassed.
Skills like reactions, balance, coordination, ball judgment and so on need to be at a much higher level to play successfully at the net as compared to the skills needed to play successfully from the baseline.
That's why most women pros don't approach the net. It's not that they don't have good volley technique; it's because they are too slow and not coordinated enough to make tough shots at the net.
Why? Because they practiced only tennis in their youth instead of developing athletic skills through different sports.
The truth is that the average club player hasn't developed these skills in their youth and now in the adult stage it's too late.
So in case your general athletic skills mentioned above are not that good, you will make more mistakes.
And if these mistakes hurt you -- meaning you feel embarrassed when you miss (because you look clumsy or funny when you miss at the net) -- you will of course resist coming to the net.
What can you do?
Once you become aware of all these factors, you can make a more conscious choice to improve your skills. It is too late to really improve your coordination and reaction skills, but you can still improve your volleying skills quite a bit.
You can learn to hit shots more accurately, play different types of volleys, make better decisions at the net and develop more reliable overheads.
If you can overcome the embarrassment of missing the shots at the net and focus on your improvement, you can certainly overcome the fear of coming to the net.
Tomaz Mencinger currently works in Slovenia as a tennis coach and a mental training coach. His video series on How to Play Tennis (and Como Jugar Tenis -- the Spanish version) offers beginners a solid foundation in tennis fundamentals to start playing tennis correctly.