The other day I was on the court and a young player and after she missed a routine forehand groundstroke I asked her what happened. She tells me, “I hesitated at the last second. I wasn’t sure whether to go crosscourt or down the line.” I’ve been hearing this a lot lately–players doubting their choice of a shot and bracing on contact in fear of hitting the wrong shot. Here’s my response: It’s better to be DECISIVE and “wrong” then indecisive and “right.”
Ok, go there with me for a moment. You’ve been in a two to three ball rally. A ball comes down the middle, not too deep, and theoretically this is an offense opportunity if you choose to take it. You could also take it down the line but it’s not short enough or the time to follow it in. But, your brain, as it flips through its rolodex of possibilities, analyzes too long sends a message to your body to BACK OFF. You miss it. You were caught in “no mans land” within your own mind–emblematic, of course, of our larger problem in the Western world of simply having too many choices.
Don’t overthink the shot (i know, easier said than done). What I’m saying is that if you know where you are going as early as possible, actually hold this in your mind’s eye, step in decisively, and commit to that shot without hesitation, it will be a whole lot better. It will be better than indecisively hitting down the line even though this was theoretically the best alternative in terms of court position.
Hitting the ball cleanly and decisively is also more satisfying. Be decisive on the court and don’t let your brain get too caught up in hitting to the perfect spot. If you stay committed to your shot without hesitation, it will carry over to the next shot when you are now ready to REALLY hit it with authority and intention down the line.
Be decisive and enjoy the feeling.