4 Ways to Reduce Unforced Errors

Sixty percent of tennis points fall on errors.

And, unfortunately, errors beget errors. Through their effect on the psyche, each contributes to a population explosion in the number of future errors.

Every error avoided, then, has the same effect in reverse. So, it pays to augment strategy with tactics and practices that reduce your frequency of error.

The first thing to do is to improve your success rate in returning serve. The service return is the most error-prone shot in tennis. So, improving in this department takes the biggest bite out of your overall number of errors.

Consequently, it also has the biggest impact on your confidence, thus serving as a boost for your entire game.

Another way to reduce your frequency of error is to play the percentages. That is, stick with high-percentage tactics unless there's good reason to depart from them on any particular shot.

Here ere are four additional ways to reduce your frequency of error:

Swing Slowly

Though mighty swings can be intimidating (and therefore an effective tactic of psychological warfare), your power isn't in your arm.

Power is imparted by the speed of the racket head (relative to the ground, not your body) at impact. You generate tremendous racket-head speed by stepping forward as you swing and by uncoiling your torso in the act of swinging.

By slowing your arm, you induce that step and uncoiling. That's because, to time a slow swing, you must be guilty of early preparation and the proper weight-transfer. Yes, swinging slowly causes you to hit harder. Moreover, a slow swing gives you sweet-spot contact and control. Result: The shot that comes off your racket is "heavy."

A heavy shot is one traveling faster than you seem to have hit it. Donald Budge hit heavy shots so smoothly and effortlessly the ball not only arrived sooner than expected, it sometimes knocked the racket out of his surprised opponent's hands.

You cannot hit as hard by arm-swinging with all your might. The same thing happens in boxing. It's not the boxers whose punch is all arm -- who swing with all their might -- who knock their opponents out.

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