July’s Tennis Goal

I play fewer competitive matches during the summer, which makes this the perfect time for tinkering with the mechanics of my game. (I never want to be transitioning to a new stroke when my team is in the midst of a season!)

My game offers so many areas for improvement: get more bite on my slice, increase the topspin on my forehand, keep my eye on the ball more, split step, finish my shot, improve the consistency of my service toss, develop more punch on my backhand volley….

That’s a lot to think about, and too often I fail to improve in any area because I’m spreading my focus too thin.

So I decided to take the month of July to work on only one thing–beefing up my serve. I already have a decent serve, but I can add more zip by incorporating a knee bend.

Sounds simple, but as we know, the serve is a complicated sequence of moving parts. Changing one element can throw off the entire choreography. That’s why I need to devote an entire month to mastering this new rhythm.

My plan for achieving this? Serve 3,100 balls. Divided evenly across the month, that’s 100 balls a day. Unfortunately I only decided on this today, so I’m already 300 balls behind! No matter. I can make up the deficit as the month goes by.

Serving 100 balls takes me about a half-hour. That includes time for loosening up my shoulder, performing my usual pre-toss bounces, catching all my wayward tosses, and re-serving balls that land in the net. (Only serves that go over the net count toward my total.)

That’s a fair amount of time. But I actually like being alone on a court serving. There’s something very zen about it. When I go out with a bucket of balls, I don’t judge my serves. I just observe them and trust that I’ll gradually make whatever adjustments need to be made.

I’ll keep myself accountable by posting my progress here. If all goes well, I’ll be an ace-serving machine come August…just in time to pick a new monthly goal.

Anyone want to join me on this month of improvement? What goal would you work on?

My serving total to date: 100

7 thoughts on “July’s Tennis Goal

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  1. My shoulder hurts already just thinking about it. If you are successful in July, I will match you in August . So proud of you for taking the time to master your serve. I agree you already have a great serve !

  2. I love this approach. One thing at a time. Have you read about kaizen? It’s a similar concept. Whenever we have a goal and try to change everything and do it all perfectly, it is easy to get overwhelmed. It’s true for tennis…and for anything else: dieting and parenting leap to mind. I think it’s brilliant to pick one goal and focus on it for a month. 100 balls a day could do it. Just getting out there and trying that knee bend over and over sounds like it will work. My commitment would be different, but as long as the plan is measurable and realistic, it should work. Sweet!

    1. All right, you’re up for August! I can’t wait to hear about your progress. I’m starting to see improvement after only a few days–now I just need the consistency that comes with repetition…

Let me know what you think!

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