Reducing unforced errors

Discussion in 'Tennis Tips/Instruction' started by Barnes68, May 10, 2018.

  1. Barnes68

    Barnes68 Rookie

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    What the best way to reduce unforced errors? I lose a lot of matches, due to unforced errors.
     
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  2. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Go slightly conservative on your shots and watch the ball more closely.
    Play points at about 80% of your best practice rate.
    When you hold back, you are more consistent.
     
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  3. FiReFTW

    FiReFTW Hall of Fame

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    Yes.

    But not hold back so that your slowing ur swing, have a nice fluid and relaxed swing, but fast swing, at your max swing speed that you can hit fluidly.
    Once you start forcing it you will know because ur body and arm will tighten up and ur stroke become jerky.. so swing fast at ur fastest swing speed that you can remain in balance and fluidity.
    And add more topspin aswell.
     
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  4. Barnes68

    Barnes68 Rookie

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    Thanks for the pointers!
     
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  5. MyFearHand

    MyFearHand Rookie

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    One thing that helps me is to try to play every single ball in practice. (Not when playing practice matches but when doing normal drills). It's true that you can't get every ball but if you try to get every one you'll make a lot more than you might have thought you could. Additionally when pulled off the court or pushed back hit the ball higher to give yourself net clearance and also time to get back into the point. Don't be tempted into going for a glory shot.
     
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  6. Kevo

    Kevo Hall of Fame

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    What kind of errors are you making? Are you overhitting, going for risky shots, getting tired and not able to setup properly for shots, or something else? There are different strategies for different kinds of errors.
     
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  7. Nellie

    Nellie Hall of Fame

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    I like to think of three types of shots - a defensive shot when the incoming ball is fast/deep; an offensive shot when the incoming ball is short/slow/high; or regular rally shot otherwise. When hitting the defensive shot, aim for the middle of the court and just try to hit the ball back to the opponent's side. When hitting the offensive shot, go for a sideline. You may miss, but you will win a lot of points too. When hitting the rally shot, hit cross court well over the net (2+feet).
     
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  8. Mac33

    Mac33 Professional

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    Each time you play try to impart more topspin on the ball.

    Lifting the ball steeper will produce more topspin but will reduce the velocity of your ball.

    As you are able to generate more and more topspin you will find you have the confidence to swing harder.

    Topspin - it's the key to not only reducing unforced errors but is also the key to generating power.
     
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  9. steve s

    steve s Professional

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    High school coach told me to take the net out of the game. The concept of keeping the ball out of the net is still part of my game, after many, many years.
     
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  10. Barnes68

    Barnes68 Rookie

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    Making all of the errors you mentioned.
     
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  11. S&V-not_dead_yet

    S&V-not_dead_yet Legend

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    @Barnes68

    Hit more winners...just kidding.

    Are you familiar with Wardlaw's Directionals? If not, look them up: maybe part of your problem is shot selection [ie you get taken out wide and instead of hitting a conservative TS shot back CC, you hit a flat screamer DTL and miss].

    Do you aim for lines? Don't. Aim no closer than 4-5'. As @nytennisaddict says "if I hit a line, it was a mistake". Yes, you will hit fewer winners. But you will also hit way fewer UEs.

    Are you impatient? Trying to end the point? Work on point construction and patience. Play one set where you try and not hit ANY winners [unless the court is completely open], just to see the opposite end of the spectrum. I'm not advising you to always play this way; just experience what it's like.
     
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  12. Curious

    Curious Hall of Fame

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    And the benefit of buying time.
     
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  13. Kevo

    Kevo Hall of Fame

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    So what I would do then is tackle them one at a time. Pick your worst offender and come up with a strategy to reduce or eliminate that type of error. When you go into your next match, make that strategy your primary concern and do your best to keep it front of mind the whole match. If you can stick to your plan it shouldn't take too many matches to bring that type of error to a minimum. After that one just repeat on the others. It's really no different than training other strategies. You just need to come up with a plan and work the plan until the new habit forms. I've followed this basic principle with lots of things. Working on serve and volley, eliminating double faults, improving returns, always hitting 2 shot winners instead of going for broke, and probably others I've forgotten. HTH
     
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  14. GN-001

    GN-001 Rookie

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    First, identify the causes of your unforced errors.
    Is it a technique issue or shot selection issue? If it's shot selection then you need to understand your game more, your style of play, what you are comfortable with, what you're not.

    An advice from Agassi, take risks only on your favourite shots. So if you say your backhand is weaker, use it as a rally ball or to set up your forehand.

    Also work on patterns so when you get into those same situations, you are more decisive. Should reduce some errors. That's what helped me in terms of shot selection.
     
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  15. movdqa

    movdqa G.O.A.T.

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    That's known as the Pareto Principle.
     
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  16. Doc Hollidae

    Doc Hollidae Hall of Fame

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    Better footwork.
     
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  17. FiReFTW

    FiReFTW Hall of Fame

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    100% agree, assuming both your forehand and backhand are fundamentaly solid with good technique and consistency.
     
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  18. Limpinhitter

    Limpinhitter G.O.A.T.

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    In my view, the most important factor in keeping the ball in play is good and consistent footwork, shot preparation and set up. If you can move the the place where you need to be to put the ball is in your "strike zone," and you have competent stroke mechanics, you'll keep the ball in play and hit your targets most of the time.
     
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  19. Dou

    Dou Rookie

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    Need to see you play of course.

    The number 1 problem on the public courts, is the hand action. Bad wrist position. Flipping through shots. Therefore the idea impact zone is only a couple of inches in a swing that is several feet long... how can you not miss if you play that way.

    Learn the windshield wiping concept, on both fh and bh... you should never miss a ball unless you are under pressure.
     
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  20. user92626

    user92626 Legend

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    lots of people already mentioned placement, aggressiveness, footwork, positioning, wardlaw this wardlw that... but what if you simply don't know how to hit the ball over onto the other side of the court? I mean, are you 110% sure about the physic (logic) of hitting the ball over?

    Do this test: stand in one spot, drop a ball in front of you and hit it over past the service line and inside the court, can you make it 20 out 20 times? There's no footwork, special placement , etc involved.
     
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  21. fuzz nation

    fuzz nation G.O.A.T.

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    I coach high school teams and one of my singles players had a bit of a breakthrough this season when we experimented with his basic plan during match play. The key was having him think about what another player can do to beat him and turning that formula in the opposite direction.

    We talked about his opponents, how good they are, and how good this guy (my player) is in the tennis cosmos. We decided that both he and his opponents aren't absolute rock-star killers, so the idea of looking to hit highlight reel winners is a waste of time. Too easy to donate to an opponent's "point fund" during a match. My guy isn't good enough yet to hit 12-15 really solid shots in a row without making an error, but then he realized that his opponents can't generally do that either.

    So he experimented with becoming his own nightmare opponent and tried out-rallying the other guy in small chunks of his matches. I'm not talking about pushing - my guy uses solid rally strokes with decent topspin and started hitting into rather big targets instead of looking to thread a needle with a full rip on the ball that only works once in a blue moon for him. When his grinding style could make the other guy take at least a step or two (hit on the move), that was encouraged, too. He didn't turn into an all-state player overnight, but his ability to compete in a tight match was night-and-day improved with this approach.

    None of us can beat the backboard because we can't out rally that thing. My young gun decided to focus on sustaining rallies instead of looking for shortcuts and gambling on low-percentage winners because he realized that some of his opponents are a lot more mortal than he is. HUGE step forward for him when the light went on.
     
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  22. ChaelAZ

    ChaelAZ Hall of Fame

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    Better footwork to get in position is always number one for me. If it is happening while not moving (say on a ball machine with predictable feeds) then try working at a slower pace and building up.
     
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  23. S&V-not_dead_yet

    S&V-not_dead_yet Legend

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    Well done, coach!
     
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  24. fuzz nation

    fuzz nation G.O.A.T.

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    Thanks, but I have to admit that a bundle of my insight comes from my readings of material put out by Vic Braden. I do the broken record thing around here and recommend his stuff all the time, but his wisdom has really been invaluable for me as both a coach and a player.
     
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  25. S&V-not_dead_yet

    S&V-not_dead_yet Legend

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    I too doubt many of my insights are original; I'm sure I've gotten most of it from others like Braden.

    But the bottom line is that the student understands it and, even better, if they can pass it on.
     
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  26. golden chicken

    golden chicken Semi-Pro

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    I started S&Ving in high school to cover up my inconsistency from the baseline compared to my opponents. It took a season+ to learn how to sculpt points I could win at the net.
     
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  27. S&V-not_dead_yet

    S&V-not_dead_yet Legend

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    Are we related?
     
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  28. Traffic

    Traffic Hall of Fame

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    This is awesome. I've been coaching my son's buddy on something similar. To learn how to hit a rally ball. Basically just hit a solid shot rather than trying for the one-shot; one kill. It's been tough trying to fight the urge to get sucked into his opponent's pace and trying to maintain his own.

    One thing I'll add is that when he first attempted to go for "more consistency" he overcompensated and started to swing slower. Not only his swing slowed down, but his footwork did too. It was several iterations to try to get him to maintain a full swing and strong hits and keep his feet moving all the time. But he's improved his consistency so much.

    For adults, it's similar. Rather than going for the one shot; one kill, go for high percentage pressure shots. For 3.0-3.5, sometimes, that's just getting the ball over the net with a boring rally ball. But to keep hitting the ball over requires good footwork to get yourself into position to hit a boring rally ball. Getting into position let's you "see" the boring rally ball to hit as well as "see" open court areas to hit into.

    Since you and your opponent should be similar levels, if you can get into position more times than your opponent, your chance of getting the ball over the net increases over your opponent's.
     
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  29. dman72

    dman72 Hall of Fame

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    Play a known pusher, and go in with the mentality that you will not be the person to make the error.

    You don't care if you lose. You only care that you don't beat yourself with errors. Tell your friends and family you will be gone for a long time. Prove to yourself that you have the patience to grind it out. The only caveat is that you are going to take full swings and not dink the ball, because you don't want your technique to go in the toilet from this exercise.

    I had a few matches like that where I proved to myself I wasn't any weaker physically or mentally than a guy I was having trouble with.
     
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  30. fuzz nation

    fuzz nation G.O.A.T.

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    That's tricky - convincing somebody to be strong and steady instead of slowing down too much when trying to be more consistent.

    Some fundamental decisions about our games need to happen away from the courts. One good example is examining our expectations of ourselves as players and making sure we're not shooting too high or too low. But the quest for strong-and-steady over that first strike big hitting style is probably best reinforced when those players are on the courts and trying to find that delicate balance.

    Easy to make sense of this stuff between the ears, but it's not easy to embrace it in the middle of the point. Especially with the boys who are prone to having their muscles and testosterone get the best of them when the action heats up... on the courts, that is. Ha!!
     
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  31. GeoffHYL

    GeoffHYL New User

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    Lots of good advice so far. For me there are two keys to reducing unforced errors. One is knowing where I am going to hit my next shot before I start to swing. Make the decision early as the ball is coming towards you and stick with it no matter where your opponent moves after he hits his shot. The other is to focus on making solid contact with the ball, hitting it with the sweet spot of the racquet no matter how bad your stroke may be due to bad footwork, etc. This eliminates a lot of shots that otherwise would go into the net, though not all the ones that go long or wide.
     
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  32. 5263

    5263 G.O.A.T.

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    Then next step is to learn where he should be hitting rally shots and where on the court he should go on the attack.
     
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