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Sunday, July 20, 2014

REFLECTIONS: What a great shot. Did you mean it?

While on the court last week working with a student developing their game, they were successful at hitting some quite well-placed shots. Knowing the ability level of the student, I was urged to ask the logical question after they laid the ball down with such apparent precision. Did you mean to hit that, or did you just get lucky? 

I will be the first to admit that hitting a winner of any sort is a great feeling. And if luck plays a role in that captured point, then so be it. Even if the ball came from the thin frame area and not the huge string-bed, I'm convinced it was earned. After all, you did pay for the entire racquet did you not? I'm also not so sold on the idea of apologizing for a flubbed shot that landed in a winning spot. Did I mean to win that point? Yes I did. Does it really matter that much if the hit was clean or not? A shot was attempted, the placement was favorable, and the point was won. I do not consider this to be poor sportsmanship as long as I do not gloat about it. Should I be sorry I won the point. I think not. If so, then why don't I apologize every time I hit a cleaner winner. Where do you draw the line?

My point is really not about sportsmanship however. I'm merely distinguishing the difference between CHOICE and CHANCE. The better the player, the more likely a shot is hit with a purpose. It may be to win the point outright, or it might be an interim shot to gain a better foothold in the rally. Regardless, if I hit a winner by CHANCE, it is still called a winner. But as a player, I need to realize that I cannot come to depend on such luck is I am to be successful. When someone on a tennis court develops the ability to make conscious decisions about each and every stroke, and most shots are hit with a PLAN and not a WISH, they have achieved some relatively good tennis chops.

Then there will less chance of needing to say "I'm sorry" after winning the point.

NOTE: Balls that touch the line are considered "in".

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