February 28, 2003, Newsletter Issue #63: How to Move Up To The A`s

Tip of the Week

Peter Burwash is an author, speaker, athlete, and President of Peter Burwash International, one of the largest tennis firms in the world. He authored this article with Norm Zeitchick, some 10 years ago. The information is just as pertinent today as it was when it was authored. It is my hope that this will be an impetus for those of you striving to get to the next level!

C, B, and A Defined

C Player-lacks certain shots and is deficient in stroke production. No real game plan.
B Player-has eliminated most stroke deficiencies. Starting to develop consistency and confidence in his/her shots, though they may falter under pressure.
A Player-can apply pressure to his opponent, be pressured and feel comfortable and confident under both situations.

How You Can Get to the A Level

1. Learn "TRIPLE VISION"-awareness of the BALL, COURT AND OPPONENT. This enables you to recognize the type of shot your opponent is about to hit and react accordingly. For example, how they set up for their shot, and angle of their racquet face, and their swing type "tip off" the direction, speed, and spin of his shot. TV also will tell you which areas of the court offer the best opportunities for your shot. Although you`re not looking to terminate the point all the time, by understanding court geometry and hitting to specific target areas, you can set up POINT COMBINATIONS.

2. POINT COMBINATIONS-this is a simple technique not unlike what many accomplished chess players employ. It`s just planning one or two shots ahead to set up a putaway. AGASSI is a master at this technique, as well as the WILLIAMS sisters.

3. USE THE 8 VARIABLES-A players can hit the ball HIGH, LOW, FAST, SLOW, IN BODY, AWAY, TOPSPIN AND BACKSPIN. They can also receive and neutralize these shots from their opponent as well. Recognize what your opponent doesn`t like or do well, and exploit that weakness. That is the mark of an A player.

4. A WEAPON-for most players, this is usually a big forehand, or an outstanding net game. Additionally, the A player will need a big serve, an outstanding approach shot, solid understanding of a variety of spins, not the least of which is top and backspin. Finally, the A player needs to have a strong return of serve that can occasionally hurt his opponent.

5. ADAPTABLE-A players have more than one game plan.


*Develop an effective approach shot
*Learn a variety of spins
*Develop a consistent and challenging return of serve
*Use wrist acceleration on your forehand to develop it into a weapon
*Develop control and direction on your backhand
*Learn a spin second serve
*Hit for direction, not power, on the volley
*Plan your work, work your plan--if it doesn`t work, be prepared to abandon it for your second game plan

Good luck in your quest to get your "A" game!


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