Making Your Weakness Your Strength

We have talked before about how tennis is a mental game. It is a game that will test you and challenge you in many ways that go far beyond the physical.

With that in mind, we are all aware of how much mental fitness plays a role in every aspect of our lives. We live in an age that has us more aware than ever about the mental challenges that life presents and we can easily find ways and means to ensure we challenge ourselves and keep our mental acuity sharp.

Weaknesses Exist in Every Players' Game

However, there is one more point of our game that needs attention. One aspect that in many instances goes above mental toughness, because it is the one thing that holds us back more than anything.

Everybody has a weakness. A weak point in their game that they try to cover up; to hide. As amateur tennis players, we often play with either, friends or the same people over and over, until they become friends. As friends, we are interested in playing a good game, and not embarrassing our friends, and so while we know about each other’s weak points, we do not exploit them. If anything, we shy away from them.

This may result in some fun games with friends, it does not actually help us develop as tennis players.

 Woman playing tennis outside

Identify and Target Your Weakspot

Similarly, if you are used to playing tennis in competitions or to a slightly higher level than ‘because the exercise if good for you’ then weak points in your game can be your undoing. They will be your Achilles heel and your opponents, once they catch a whiff, will use it against you.

I know what you are thinking. You can’t win. If you play with friends, you don’t develop because you never get your weak areas tested, and if you play for anything more than that, you will have it used against you and find yourself struggling to develop any more.

 Woman serving a tennis ball

Only as Strong as your Weakest Link

We all know the expression, ‘you are only as strong as your weakest link’. Well, that is not just something that applies to teams, but also to yourself as an individual. Your skill set is only as strong as your weakest point.

In tennis terms, your game is only as strong as the weakest piece of your game.

This could be your returns, your serve, or the ability you have to convert the second serve, footwork, anything.

Test Yourself, Push Your Limits

It is a tough predicament. Nobody likes being forced to look at the things that we struggle with. It is not natural. However, it is something that we must do if we want to ensure we continue to develop our skills.

Playing tennis is not just about having a good fun game with your cousin on a Sunday afternoon, and it is certainly not just about winning competitions. As with all sports it is about yourself. Testing yourself, your limits, and finding out exactly what it is you can achieve.

 Tennis Ball and Racket

Force Yourself to Rely on your Weaknesses

The only way we can grow, is to ensure that when we train, when we practice, we force ourselves to face up to our weaknesses. To train them, and challenge ourselves to overcome them. Only then can we grow as individuals. Our game will improve, the fun we have, will improve, and the tournaments we win, well… that’s not for me to pass any judgement on.

Training your weaknesses is not fun, and it is not easy. It is, for all intents and purposes, a hellish experience, but it is a necessary evil.

Having a Coach can Make This Easier

If you don’t have a good return, you should spend a large portion of your training time working on that specific factor. If your footwork is what lets you down, there are plenty of techniques out there, on the internet for example, that can be used to improve the way your feet play the game.

If you have a coach, well, they will happily tell you what you need to improve. They will point out your weaknesses, not because they are vindictive, but because they want what is best for you. They want you to achieve and become the best player you can be.

 Man playing a tennis stroke

You Can Do it Alone, If You Are Hungry

If, like me, and the majority of other amateur tennis players, a coach is a luxury you can barely afford in a group lesson format, and so we must rely on our own honesty. That is what it all boils down to. Stepping back, taking a look at your game and being honest enough to tell yourself where you are going wrong. What your flaws are.

 Man getting ready to serve in tennis

Growth Comes From Admittance

Much like in other avenues of life, admitting you have a problem (in your game), embracing the fact that you have weaknesses, is that hardest part. Being able to look yourself in the eye and say, I am not perfect, is hard for us all, but it is only through honesty that we truly stand the best chance to learn and improve.

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