Rituals

Coin Flip – always choose heads or tails. Doesn’t matter, but don’t hesitate and appear weak to your opponent. You want to appear confident and self-assured.

Also know in advance whether you want them to serve, you to serve, or if you want to choose a side. Whoever chooses to serve or return does not get to choose his side, whoever chooses his side cannot choose whether to serve or return.

9/10 people will always choose to serve first for some reason. Maybe it’s because they think that’s what the pros do. But I would recommend against this. I believe it is almost always better to choose to return serve in the first game. Everyone is a bit tense and nervous, and as the returner, the pressure is off you to win the game. You can hit confidently through the ball , and try to add even more pressure to the already nervous server. If you break them in the first game, it can be demoralizing and set the tone for the match. Even if you don’t win that first game, it gives you extra time to warm up your body and shoulders before you start your service game.

Between points you should have a ritual that you follow. This helps you maintain focus on winning each point, and maintaining your desired pace of play. Some pros pick at the strings of their racquet, some wipe their hands down with a towel. But it’s always the same after each point. They are not actually trying to adjust the strings of their racquet with their fingers, instead it’s a way to internalize their focus and recharge for the next point.

Both before the serve and before the return, you should have the same ritual of how you prepare, bounce the ball, move your feet, etc. By making all these rituals consistent, it is easier to keep your timing, and feel like you are just hitting a shot that you have hit 10000000 times before in practice. It relieves some of the stress caused by being in a match scenario.

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