With every professional tournament, the stats pile up confirming that the player who strikes first, wins. What does that mean? It means statistically, the player who hits a more aggressive shot – or First Strike shot – within the first four shots of a rally, is more likely to win the point.
Consider this from the NY Times: “On Sunday [the first weekend of the US Open], 69 percent of men’s points and 64 percent of women’s points were over in four shots or fewer. Only 12 percent of points in men’s matches and 11 percent of points in women’s matches were rallies of nine shots or more. The first four shots consist of the serve, the return, and each player’s next shot. In men’s matches through Sunday at the Open, winners won 84 percent of the short rallies. It was 88 percent at last year’s Open.”
So, how do you become a player that can end the point within the first four shots?
Here are two easy steps to become a First Strike tennis player:
Improve Your SERVE: If you haven’t spent much time on your serve and you are simply spinning the ball in to get the point started, you may be leaving a chance to strike first on the table. WORK ON: increasing your power, learning new spins, bettering your placement and you will get more chances to end the point.
Improve Your RETURN: I’m not sure I ever practiced my return when I was a junior player and I know many recreational players never practice theirs either. WORK ON: split-step timing, making your swing compact, anticipating the placement of the serve and planning your target and you will end more points with your return.
These are the two easiest ways to end your points within the first four shots and if the stats are correct, you’ll become a better First Strike tennis player! And with a good first strike, you’ll get more wins!