Top 7 Common Tennis Mistakes And How To Avoid Them

You have probably heard the phrase “Mistake Make Practice, Practice Makes Perfect”. Tennis is a game of mistakes, you make a mistake, you lose a point. There is even a tactic in tennis that involves gaining a point on the opponent’s mistakes.

The technique is called pusher, in this technique, a player focuses on hitting the ball rather than making complex shots to score a winner. A pusher solely relies on their opponent’s mistakes, therefore, knowing what your common mistakes are in tennis and how to minimize them is important.

As a regular tennis player, I know all the common tennis mistakes that a tennis player makes. From beginner to professional-level players I have seen everyone making mistakes in a tennis game. If I start mentioning every tennis mistake that I have witnessed then this will be a never-ending article.

So to keep it concise, I will focus on the top 7 most common mistakes and provide tips on how to avoid them.

common tennis mistakes
In this picture: two players are playing tennis on the court one of them lost the game

Top 7 Common Tennis Mistakes And How To Avoid Them?

Everyone makes different mistakes in tennis, some people are good at making winners but when it comes to defense they highly lack and make mistakes. But there are some common tennis mistakes that players of every level do. These mistakes include body positioning, poor racquet choice, incorrect footwork, and a few more.

Let’s start with the number one common tennis mistake.

1. Improper Grip

tennis grips
In this picture: a person is holding a tennis racquet

One of the most common tennis mistakes that I have noticed so far is an improper grip. Beginner players don’t know which tennis grip is suitable for which shot so they end up using the wrong grip which led to incorrect shots and eventually they lose the game.

In tennis, three types of grips are commonly used, Easter Grip, Western Grip, and Semi-Western Grip.

Types Of Grip In Tennis

The Eastern Grip can be used for all types of shots. To achieve this grip you need to place the base knuckles of your index finger on the third bevel of the racquet handle. While your thumb should be opposite to the index finger, and your knuckles resting on the second bevel.

The little finger should be resting on the bottom bevel of the handle and the rest of the fingers should be wrapped around the handle.

The second type of grip that I have mentioned is a Western Grip. This grip is used for powerful shots such as serves and groundstrokes. Using this grip is simple. Rotate your hand so that your index knuckle is on the fourth bevel of the racquet’s handle and your thumb is on the third bevel.

The position for the rest of the fingers is the same as Eastern Grip. Wrap the remaining fingers around the handle with the little finger resting on the bottom.

Semi-Western Grip is a combination of western and eastern grip. It is best suited for players who want a balance between power and control. For achieving a Semi-Western grip you will have to place the index knuckle on the third level of a racquet handle and the thumb on the fourth bevel.

The rest of the fingers should be wrapped around the handle with the little finger resting on the bottom bevel.

To find the optimal grip for yourself you need to try all three of these grips and then figure out which one is best suited to you in terms of comfort and performance.

2. Incorrect Footwork

footwork in tennis
In this picture: A person is playing tennis on the court

I have seen people on the court with professional tennis equipment but have zero knowledge about footwork. Footwork is one of the most important aspects of tennis.

It allows you to generate power and speed in your shots along with maintaining balance and control on the court. There are three basic footwork patterns used in tennis Small Steps, Split Steps, and Big Steps.

Types Of Footwork In Tennis

Firstly the small steps are used for short precise movements. It involves taking small and quick steps rather than large steps which are slow. With small steps, a player can be more agile and responsive to the ball while covering more areas in a shorter time.

Small steps are often used to move in and out of the center court. With the correct use of small steps and other footwork combinations, a player can improve their speed, balance, and reaction time on the court.

Split Step is a common footwork that you have probably noticed if you watch tennis. This footwork is done when the opponent is about to throw a serve shot.

It is a quick movement where the players jump into the air while lifting both of their feet wide apart and landing on the balls of their feet. The split steps allow a player to be in a ready position so they can quickly move in any direction to hit the incoming ball.

Big Steps are the total opposite of small steps. They are used for covering more ground while chasing down a shot. Big steps are usually considered a mistake because it slows down your movement and makes it difficult to move quickly.

This can also make it harder to maintain balance and generate powers in a shot. But in some cases when the ball is shot at the edge of the court to chase it down big steps are effective.

Knowing all types of footwork is important, to win a tennis game you need to use a combination of these footwork. You cannot rely on just one footwork because each one of your opponent’s shots will be different from the other so you must be able to adapt to footwork according to the situation.

To improve your footwork further, here are 50+ tennis drills for your whole body.

3. Poor Body Positioning

Body Positioning in tennis
In this picture: A person is getting ready to play the first shot

Proper Body Positioning is one of the main aspects of playing tennis. What most beginners do is stand too upright which results in a lack of power and control in shots. I have seen a few players having injuries on the court just because of their poor posture on the court.

They lean too forward while making a shot which causes overextension and leads to fatigue and injury.

Whenever I’m on the court and I see beginners making these common tennis mistakes I give them a few tips which I have learned over the past years. I will mention those same tips here so read and implement them carefully.

Tips To Improve Poor Body Positioning

  1. Focus on your posture: Correct posture matters the most in tennis, whenever you are standing on the court make sure your back is straight and your shoulders are relaxed while your head is facing forward at the opponent.
  2. Strengthen your core muscles: To out win your opponent you need to have a strong core. It helps in maintaining good body positioning. There are a few exercises that you can perform such as planks, bridges, and leg raises. All these exercises can be performed at home so you should add them to your daily workout.
  3. Play with a professional: There are so many things that you can not learn while playing tennis with someone of your level. Play with a professional player once in a while and you’ll realize how many things you can learn from them.

If you just follow these three tips I’m sure you will notice the improvement in your game. Incorporating balance and core exercises into your daily routine will greatly help you on the court in terms of body positioning and injuries.

4. Lack Of Focus

Focus is important for almost every game. Tennis is a game of making quick and accurate shots along with actively reading your opponent’s shots so, therefore, all this can only be achieved if your focus is right on the game. Lack of focus is common for everyone, even professional tennis players make this mistake.

These are a few tips that I got from one of the senior players and they greatly helped me increase my focus on the game.

Ways To Improve Focus On The Game

There are no set exercises or techniques to improve focus on the game. Everyone has their ways to get on track whenever they are inattentive. Some players take drugs to improve their focus which is a very harmful practice. Not only do the drugs affect your overall health but are also addictive. There are a few ways that I used to improve my focus on the game.

The first practice that helped me overcome focus issues is meditation. Every day before going to the court I meditate for an hour, there are multiple mediations routine you can follow, or if you’d like to know my meditation routine then just comment below I will share my whole meditation routine.

Secondly while practicing I try my best to stay focused on the game. Such as keeping an eye on the ball, tracking opponents’ movements, and calculating my next move. This helped me greatly in a competitive game as now I’m able to fully focus on the game despite having any distractions on interruptions.

Another thing that caused a lack of focus for me was multitasking. While playing a game I use to check my phone between sets or whenever I got the chance. This divided my attention therefore focusing on the game became hard.

The only way to kill this distraction is by just switching off your phone and forgetting about it. It’s not easy at all I know, the first few games were hard for me because the whole time I was thinking about the notification on my phone. But with practice, I diverted my whole attention toward the game.

5. Improper Serving Techniques

Beginner players don’t know how to properly serve which turns their serving advantage into a disadvantage because I have witnessed players losing the first point due to common serve mistakes. Serving requires a combination of using the grip and the right stance. I have mentioned both of the things above.

But still, I will give you an overview of how you can use this combination to minimize tennis serve mistakes.

Using the right grip is the most important aspect of serving properly in tennis. Using a wrong grip can cause the racket to twist in hand resulting in a weak serve.

So, therefore, figuring out the right for yourself is very important. I have mentioned three types of tennis grips above make sure you read them. Now having the right stance requires knowledge and practice of proper footwork because footwork allows you to generate power in your serve.

6. Inadequate Warm-Up

Everyone just wants to dive into the game without a warm-up because warms up are boring. But do you know how harmful it is left aside from tennis there are so many risks of injuries such as muscle pull, bone fracture, etc? You need to follow a proper warm-up routine before stepping onto the court.

I have seen players doing a 2-minute warm-up and then aggressively playing on the court. That is not advisable at all.

I have a warm-up routine that I follow before going to playing for tennis. My routine includes cardiovascular activities, stretching, and meditation. First of all, I go for a jog starting at a slower pace, and then gradually increasing the pace. Jogging helps to get the blood flowing and prepares the muscles for the game.

After cardio, I do muscle training which involves weighted and unweighted exercises to strengthen my core and upper body. It also reduces the risk of muscle injuries while playing.

To end my warm-up routine I meditate for a few minutes because it helps me clear my mind and stay focused on the game.

7. Lack Of Endurance

The number of excessive movements there are in tennis requires high endurance. Most beginner players often face this problem because, in the beginning, they do not have enough endurance to play unless they are physically active.

Building endurance is not difficult you just need to be physically active and that can be achieved by going to the gym or doing exercises at home.

I have already shared my tennis workout routine. So make sure you check and follow it to build strength and endurance.

Final Thoughts

Tennis is a game of mistakes and understanding the common mistakes that players make can help to improve your game. Improper grip, incorrect footwork, and poor body positioning are some of the most common mistakes that players make.

By using the correct grip, mastering different types of footwork, and maintaining proper body positioning. Players can improve their speed, balance, and reaction time on the court.

Frequently Asked Questions

How to make fewer mistakes in tennis?

By using the correct grip, mastering different types of footwork, and maintaining proper body positioning, make fewer mistakes in tennis.

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