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5 Mistakes to Avoid in a Tennis Game

Updated: Dec 27, 2023

Tennis Game

Tennis is a fast-paced and exciting sport that requires a combination of skill, strategy, and physical endurance. Whether you're a beginner or a seasoned player, it's essential to avoid common mistakes that can hinder your performance and affect the outcome of the game. By recognizing and rectifying these errors, you can improve your gameplay and increase your chances of success on the court. In this article, we will discuss five mistakes to avoid in a tennis game.

tennis mistakes to avoid

Mistakes to Avoid in Tennis Game

1: Poor Footwork

Footwork is often underestimated in tennis, but it plays a crucial role in your ability to move efficiently and effectively. One common mistake is standing too far away from the ball, resulting in late or rushed shots. On the other hand, being too close to the ball can limit your range of motion and prevent a fluid swing.

Another common error is failing to split step, which is a small jump or skip just before your opponent hits the ball. The split step helps you anticipate the direction and pace of the shot, enabling a quicker reaction time. Without proper footwork, you may find yourself off-balance, leading to weak shots or missed opportunities.

How to Avoid:

Practice your footwork by utilizing drills that focus on agility, speed, and balance. Work on maintaining the correct distance from the ball and ensure you split step before your opponent makes contact with the ball. Additionally, watching professional matches and observing the footwork of top players can provide valuable insights and serve as a source of inspiration.

2: Inconsistent or Weak Serve

The serve is arguably the most critical shot in tennis, as it starts every point. Many players make the mistake of having an inconsistent or weak serve, which can put them on the defensive from the beginning of the rally. A flawed serve technique can result in double faults, easy points for the opponent, and added pressure on your other shots.

Often, players struggle with improper grip, incorrect toss, or inadequate power in their serves. Without a reliable foundation, it becomes challenging to hit serves with accuracy and generate enough speed to keep your opponent off balance.

How to Avoid:

Invest time in practicing your serve technique. Seek professional instruction if possible, or study instructional videos focusing on the fundamentals of serving. Pay attention to your grip, toss, and follow through. Regularly practice serving drills to improve your consistency and power. Consistency is key, so make sure to incorporate serving practice into your regular training routine.

3: Failure to Control the Net

Net play is a crucial aspect of tennis and can provide a significant advantage in a match. Some players make the mistake of avoiding the net altogether, either out of fear or lack of experience. By failing to control the net, you miss out on opportunities to finish points quickly and put pressure on your opponent.

When approaching the net, players often make the mistake of hitting approach shots too softly, giving their opponents ample time to respond. Additionally, improper volley technique and poor anticipation of passing shots can lead to missed volleys or easy passing shots for the opponent.

How to Avoid:

Work on your approach shots to ensure they have enough depth and pace to put pressure on your opponent. Practice volley drills to improve your net play and develop reflexes. Anticipate where the opponent's passing shots may go and position yourself accordingly. By actively seeking opportunities to move forward and control the net, you can put yourself in a more dominant position during points.

4: Lack of Strategy

Tennis is not just about hitting the ball back and forth; it requires strategy and tactical thinking. Many players make the mistake of playing without a plan, relying solely on their strokes and athleticism. Without a strategic approach, it becomes challenging to exploit your opponent's weaknesses, dictate the pace of the game, or set up winning plays.

Some players also make the error of being too predictable in their shot selection, making it easier for their opponents to anticipate and counter their moves.

How to Avoid:

Develop a game plan before stepping onto the court. Identify your strengths and weaknesses, as well as your opponent's. Adapt your strategy to exploit their vulnerabilities and play to your strengths. Incorporate variety into your shots and try to keep your opponent guessing. Work on developing different spins, speeds, and angles to keep your opponent off balance.

5: Mental Lapses

The mental aspect of tennis is often overlooked, yet it plays a vital role in your overall performance. Many players make the mistake of losing focus, getting frustrated, or dwelling on past mistakes during a match. These mental lapses can lead to a decline in performance, hinder decision-making, and negatively impact your ability to recover after a bad point or game.

Sometimes players also underestimate the importance of mental preparation before a match, neglecting to visualize their strategies or properly warm up mentally.

How to Avoid:

Practice mental conditioning and develop strategies to stay focused and positive during matches. Techniques like deep breathing, positive self-talk, and visualization can help maintain composure and improve concentration. Pre-match rituals or warm-up routines can also help you get into the right mental state before stepping onto the court.


Avoiding these five common mistakes in tennis can significantly elevate your gameplay and increase your chances of success on the court. Pay attention to your footwork, develop a consistent and powerful serve, work on your net play, strategize your game, and nurture your mental game. By rectifying these areas, you'll become a more well-rounded player and enjoy greater satisfaction in your tennis journey.

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