While Tom McCune and I were practicing earlier this week (he is now ‘enjoying’ the cold in MN), Pelican Bay pro Mike Lewis was watching and commented: “You and Tom place too much of a premium on missing a shot. I was taught it was OK to miss… as long as you were going for your shots AND you missed long or wide – not in the net.”
That is really a very good observation and advice. The most common factor I see when I play The Big Boys in the tournaments is they consistently hit the ball deep in the court and rarely miss into the net.
A great way to practice: After Mike’s advice, I played a practice singles match with Bill Simonton and asked if he would be willing to try something different… we played a regular set; but if you hit a ball (other than a serve) into the net, you lost TWO points. So if you are serving 40-30, serve wide in the add court, and now have a wide open deuce court to hit to and miss into the net, you lose two points and the score is now add OUT.
I quickly learned the value of getting that ball over the net. Now, to practice it Vic Braden’s 10,000 repetitions to own the shot!