HOW TO IMPROVE YOUR ANTICIPATION
Good anticipation is a PRIMARY reason great players make the game look so easy. They always seem to be moving in the right direction toward their opponents' shots and rarely seem surprised by what is happening on the court.Many players think of anticipation as knowing exactly what type of shot it will be. And the only way to develop that sense, they believe, is by playing hundreds, if not thousands, of matches. Sure, experience helps. But you can cut the learning curve.
Anticipation is not so much knowing the exact shot your opponent is about to hit as it is narrowing the number of possibilities he has to the one or two likeliest.To illustrate how you can predict the spin and placement of your opponent's serve by watching his toss, a clear indication of how anticipation begins even before the first ball of a point struck. (e.g. (a) if a toss is back over your opponent's head, ANTICIPATE a high-bouncing kick or twist. (b) if a toss is out to the side of his/her hitting-arm shoulder, ANTICIPATE a low-bouncing slice. (c) if a toss is above his/her hitting arm shoulder, it gives no clue to the type of serve he/she is about to HIT. When this occurs, look for other cues, such as his/her position on the baseline.)
The fewer realistic options you determine your opponent has, the faster your response time (the time if takes you to react, plus the time it takes you to move to the ball). In fact, I believe you can reduce your response time by up to 50 percen t. And once you do, you will move much more freely to the ball because you will feel less stress. that free flow of movement can allow you to do more with your shot, such as run around your backhand to hit your favourite forehand. There are three steps you can take to enhance your response time: SCOUT your opponent, make a commitment to run for every ball and use the split-step. And there are a number of cues when your opponent is hitting that help you anticipate his shot. Here's a look at these keys to ANTICIPATION.
SCOUTING :- There is no substitute for scouting an opponent. Note his/her :
And write down your observations. By all means ask others before your match about the upcoming opponents' game. And once the match starts, pick up on you opponent's pattern during play.
I recall rallying with a promising player at a training camp and hitting a short ball. He didn't run for it. When I asked why, he replied, "I'm not doing short balls right now". Every time a ball landed short and he didn't run for it, he was arresting the development of his anticipation skills. Start moving first, and ask questions later. When you make the mental commitment to run hard for every shot of your opponent's racquet, your brain becomes keener at picking up cues and processing the information it has stored inside. Your first step gets quicker, your mind reacts faster and your response time improves.
The key to getting an explosive jump on the ball is establishing your balance with a well-timed split-step. Focus in when your opponent is about to make contact. Start your split-step the instant before his/her racquet meets the ball. Your alertness to your opponent's contact ties in with your commitment to run for everything; alertness gives you a heightened physical and mental awareness that subconsciously translates into a faster response to your opponent's shot.
CLUES & CUES
In most cases, as your opponent prepares to hit the ball, you should be able to find some clue or recognize some cue about what kind of shot is coming. Sometimes the clues are from his/her strokes: his/her racquet work, body position and footworks. Sometimes your cue should come from the quality of your shot to him/her. And sometimes your cue should come from your opponent's court position
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