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What is unTennis?

untennis bruce lee

UnTennis refers to the unraveling and reconditioning of many of the practices, methods and behaviors traditionally taught to follow on the tennis court. The idea is to break free from the rigid confines of perfect strokes and formal instruction to gain an advantage over your opponent by being a smarter player on the court.

As I write this I am now 20 years post my tennis prime (when I was ranked in the state of Illinois), yet the age and experience over the past two decades has taught me a lot about how to expose my opponent’s weaknesses and focus on my strengths to achieve a win that my skills themselves might have otherwise been unable to deliver. Everyone always told me that the game of tennis is often times won in the mind. I never knew what that meant, until now. And like any deep study, I am constantly learning more, every time I hit the court. read more

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3 States of the Tennis Mind that Must Be Mastered

untennis fencingThis is a short list of the different mindsets you should strive to recognize and control on the tennis court. At the same time, you need to recognize that your opponent may also try to navigate into these mindsets which will benefit him or her, and hurt you.

This is #1. You want to always be in control, even if you’re getting your butt kicked. Control means a lot of things on the tennis court. You don’t want to have an outburst but you also equally don’t want to be a puppet at the mercy of your opponent. There are many tricks to gain and hold control and we will cover many of those in more detail soon. read more

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Competitive Advantages That Are Easy to Harness

untitledBe Extra Nice When First Greeting the Opponent.
I like to think of myself as a nice guy, but on the court I’ve been known to completely shift the other direction. I even went through a period of time where I wouldn’t greet my opponent before a match or shake hands afterwards. That was a long time ago and I’m not proud of that now. Today, I make it a point to be the nicest guy in the world when first greeting the opponent. I want them to like me. It will make it harder to rip me off on a bad call. Plus it will negate their ferociousness a hair if you don’t come on too strong out of the gate. read more

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Once The Game Begins – Tricks During Game Play

Untennis SumoNow let’s look at some specific ways to use your mind and actions to gain the upper hand on the competition.

You Must Recognize and Control The Pace of Game
This is one of the most important aspects to tennis that many players, young and old, do not fully understand or take adequate advantage of. Tennis is a unique game in that each player can completely control the pace of the game when they are serving. Sure, there are rules to how long you can stretch it out between points, but ultimately the time between the completion of the last point and the beginning of the next point is up to you. read more

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Your Court Manners Affect Your Ability To Win

Untennis stripperI’ve already alluded to how important your court manners are in every match, but let’s dive into some specific areas that are particularly important. Think of your court manners as a secondary means of communicating with your opponent. If the game play is like a phone call, your court manners are like text messages. They deliver short quick bursts of information to the other side of the court. You will want to control what is delivered, why and when.

Think About How You Hit the Ball Back Between Points
Unless you are playing at some crazy competitive level (and you likely would have stopped reading by now), you will be shagging down the balls between points and hitting them back to your opponent or keeping them, depending on who is serving. read more

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In Conclusion

Untennis ChessTennis is a complex game that requires a strong combination of skills, experience, mental toughness and stamina. The best of the best have all four. I used to think the skills part was the most difficult to master. Today, I think that’s the easiest part.

I like to think I have a tennis persona, someone I become when I step onto the court. This person resembles me in most ways, but this person is fine tuned and acutely aware of everything I’ve mentioned above.

It’s a challenge to manage all these moving pieces, and you never know what outside variables may spring up at any given time. The most effective strategy is one of awareness that is adaptable to every situation and one that you can bend and carve as you need to in order to achieve your goal of winning. No opponent will be the same, and no game will be the same. Therefore, no strategy can be the same. Your goal should be to put as many tools in the tool chest as possible, and I hope this article has helped do that. read more

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