Well we’re just about to wrap up the 2012 tennis season. This past year was fun as I played in several USTA tournaments, a city singles and doubles league, and a recreational indoor doubles league. I think I’ve improved my fitness level over the past year, and I believe I’ve become more consistent with my groundstrokes as well. Looking towards 2013, I’ve identified a few areas that I want to work on:
Learn a better second serve. I have a pretty good first serve but I tend to just sort of float in my second serve. For the most part I can usually get by with this strategy. But this last summer my weak second serve got exposed in a weekend tournament I played in. Since that date, I’ve been working on and off on learning a kick serve. It’s very effective when I execute it correctly, but I’m not very consistent just yet. Because of my lack of consistency, I’m still hesitant to actually use this serve during a match. This winter I want to double my efforts on learning the kick serve so that I can break it out in match play this Spring.
Improve the slice shot. I added a slice backhand to my shot selection this past summer and I’ve really enjoyed using it on occasion. I can catch my opponents off guard with the change of pace that the slice provides. I want to improve my slice backhand this year and become more consistent. I’m not quite as confident yet as I want to be to use the slice backhand during important rallies.
Work on doubles strategy. I play doubles almost exclusively during the winter months and quite a bit during the rest of the year as well. This past year I noticed that the better doubles teams don’t just go out there and whack the ball around. They strategize before each point, either with a short conversation or using signals. This year I would like to start using some basic signals with my doubles partner so that we are on the same page before each serve. I like to poach at the net so at a minimum I need to let my partner know when I intend to leave my position. I hope to write a few articles in the coming months about my progress on this.
I hope you have a happy and safe New Year and continue to enjoy tennis in 2013!
*Update on January 4, 2013: Improve the volley! After a particularly disappointing doubles match, I came to realize that improving the execution and placement of my volleys is probably the number one skill I should work on!