5. Watch for Negative Emotional Cues
Remember, not all forms of communication are verbal. Watch between points for the opponent's negative facial expressions and body language as well. Whatever caused the negative reaction, plan on repeating it often.
6. Focus on Where the Ball Lands
Pay attention to where your ball is landing on your opponent's side of the court as well as where the opponent's ball is landing on your side.
The court zone in which the ball lands dictates shot selection. For example, if you hit a short ball, weak into their service box, that ball has landed in their attack zone. Preparing your defensive skill sets early is court awareness.
7. Watch Where Your Opponent Stands
Pay attention to the opponent's court position and strike zone at contact.
For example, an opponent who is drifting back 15 feet beyond the baseline meeting the ball, at a head level strike zone, is most likely in a defensive position. You should be moving inside the court preparing to execute an offensive reply.
8. What Is Your Opponent's Short Ball Preference?
Pay attention to preferred short ball options. What is the opponent's preference?
For example: one opponent may employ an approach shot/volley pattern, while another opponent may prefer to simply crush a down the line winning groundstroke off of their short balls. Which short ball option is their favorite?
Remember, if you have effectively handled a crafty veterans favorite short ball option, you will soon be introduced to their second favorite short ball option (or Plan "B").
9. Think Like a Baseball Pitcher
Yes, you are hitting a ball but your stroke is their incoming pitch. Are you throwing the same 67 mph fastball, 2 feet over the net directly into their wheelhouse over and over again? And then walking away from the match saying, "They were too good! I had no chance!" The reality is you made them look good.