Originally Posted by Cindysphinx
I do not think you can ever win a match using "superior strategy" if your mechanics are poor.
Maybe we have different definitions of terms like "strategy"?
To me, strategy means selecting shots and patterns of play that are in some way to your advantage or your opponent's detriment. Maybe another way to look at it more generically is that strategy is finding ways to put your opponent under additional pressure or in awkward positions, thereby causing them to miss before you do.
With that definition, fitness and mechanics are the whole enchilada. If you see that the best strategy to beat a particular lefty in singles is to serve wide in the deuce court and then redirect the next shot into the open court, that's great. If you lack a solid serve out wide and the ability to change direction or hit on the rise, that strategy simply is not available to you. If you paid money to study that strategy, I personally don't think you got anything for the money.
I know there is not universal agreement on what I'm saying, and there was a time that I believed in studying strategy before my mechanics allowed me to execute it. I've kind of changed my mind.
That said, I am not an expert, a teaching pro or even a high-level player. So hey. I might be wrong.
There's a difference between studying a strategy and learning how to think. In our case, we teach various strategies, but really what we're doing is teaching people how to think on the tennis court.
I think an apt comparison is college. Could run you $40,000 per year even though the textbooks cost a few hundred bucks. Why the discrepancy? The textbooks are just information. College teaches you how to apply and use that information. How to think. That's the real value.
I've sort of said my piece at this point. Strokes are extremely important. Thinking is extremely important. How a particular player wants to balance those two things is up to them.
Actually... quick personal story just came to mind. In the past year I've literally become twice the doubles player I was before simply by working with Bob & Mike. Learning from them. Not because my shots got any better. They haven't. But the way I moved, anticipated, and worked with my partner did. So for me strategy has made a difference.