Tennis Tips Volume VII: Diversification


This volume of tennis tips seems like a fairly obvious one but I think it is worth stating anyway.

One of the most important aspects of general tennis strategy (and I’d argue life strategy) is to be unique. Another way to look at it is to diversify your own tennis portfolio with different types of shots and effects on the ball when you hit it.

Too many players play with a generic style of hitting the ball one type of way on the forehand and backhand side while simply staying on the baseline. The upside of this approach to the game is that it helps breed consistency…the downside is that it does the same for your opponent and allows them to get in rhythm while focusing their thoughts more easily.

When you diversify between top-spin, slice, flat, short, deep and angled in a somewhat asymmetric manner you force your opponent to guess and adjust based on YOUR control of the rally. Not only does your opponent have to work more on their footwork to adjust to the effect you put on the ball, but it also forces them to hit shots they do not want to hit and eventually set you up for point winning shots.

portfolio-diversification

Of course, it is not easy for every player to do this in a match (practice hitting shots outside of your initial comfort zone when not playing a match to enhance this in a match)…but I believe the upside of this vastly outweighs the downside. For instance..if you are up 30-love or 40-love and hit shots that keep your opponent off balance but maybe hit an unforced error…it could be viewed as a long-term gain because even though you lost the point, it was YOU losing the point and not your opponent WINNING the point. Very little confidence will have been gained by your opponent and it still prevents them from getting some rhythm in their game.

When you do not diversify your shots, you are essentially just rallying with the opponent and it is likely that your opponent has spent hours upon hours of “just rallying” in practice sessions with friends or with a coach. That is inherently playing into their hands and either leveling the playing field or outright giving them an advantage. Keep them off balance and just like an investment strategy, diversify your portfolio and play winning tennis.