After five decades of tennis: watching, playing, taking lessons from coaches and teaching pros, and studying the sport closely -- including analyzing players at the highest level both in the present and in past history -- here's my take on this topic: The Twelve Core Principles of Tennis.
I'll set them forth in bullet-point format with only the briefest of explanations.
I have tried to condense things down to just these twelve,
avoiding information-overload and mindful that attention spans are
I think that it's better for the reader to simply think about each of these principles, as they might apply to their own game.
*My great thanks and gratitude to all the coaches, teaching pros and players whom I have learned from over the years.
All the best with your tennis.
The Twelve Core Principles of Tennis
1. Tactics: Always change a losing game, and never change a winning game. (Bill Tilden)
2. Weakness: You are only as good as your weakest stroke. (Bill Tilden)
3. Mental: In tennis, you are never really playing an opponent,
you are playing yourself - your own highest standards. (Arthur Ashe)
4. Mental: Stay in the present moment, and play only the next point. (Rod Laver)
5. Improvement: The deadliest opponent is the one who keeps getting better - all the time. (Blake Griffin)
6. Practice and Play: Practice like you play, and play like you practice.
7. Tennis Movements: Speed and quickness kills. Spin is king.
Timing and Rhythm is vital. Loose, relaxed, fluid and whip-like court
movements win. Always move forward into the court, and step into
the shot with full follow through.
8. Bottom-Up Tennis: Tennis is NOT an racket and arm sport. It is a
game played from the ground up with your lower body (legs and feet) - a
rotational game from your core, hips and shoulder.
9. Error-Free Tennis means Early Preparation: Strong Low Ready
Position, Split-Step-And-Go-to-the-Ball, Getting a smooth, early and
full turn, Racket back, Crisp footwork creating premium spacing to the
10. The Heart of Tennis is Ball Contact Point: Strong, solid, consistent and out-front Ball Contact Point.
11. Tennis Intentionality: Strong intention behind every shot - where and how you are hitting it.
12. Above All: Have Fun and Enjoy!