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Concentration

   
Concentration as it relates to tennis is the total focus of the mind on the
task at hand.  Tennis players who lack concentration tend to make a lot of
errors. When the mind is allowed to be distracted by spectators, parents,
friends, or the weather they will be unable to complete a complex motor skill
movement such as a drop shot or passing shot. The timing of these shots is
very precise and there is very little room for fluctuation. The ability to
concentrate is achieved by three things.
   Read. First, the player must be able to watch the ball. Focus on the ball
coming off the opponent’s racquet. Train your eyes to watch the spin,
height and speed of the oncoming ball. All these things give us instructions
how and where to move to meet the ball.
   React. Second, the player must plan their response to the oncoming ball.
Where should I hit my shot and what do I need to do to hit it there? Focus on
the ball but also be aware of your opponent’s movement in the
background.
   Respond. Third, you want to make a mental picture of you chosen shot.
Visualize where you want to hit the ball, how fast, how high, how much spin. It
only takes a ½ a second to flash in your mind a picture of how your shot
should look.
   There you have a simple 3 part plan on how to concentrate on every shot
but the serve. Read the ball coming off your opponent’s racquet, react
by moving to the ball, and then respond with an appropriate mental picture.

Doug Hofer, USPTA          October 10, 2007   hofertennis.com
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