When I hear players advised to "try your hardest," I cringe because the idea of big effort is often a trigger for strength and force, and not relaxed efficiency. Great tennis mechanics are the result of timing, postural control and the sequencing of movements. "Your hardest" effort is not your best.
Imagine that you were stuck in a snow drift in your car. If you step on the gas too soft, you don't get out but, if you step too hard, you will dig in deeper.
World renowned orthopedic clinical movement expert Gary Cook explains, "Don't think strength, think timing. Timing is a quick tap of the brakes, whereas strength is a force that locks the wheels."
Tennis high performance is about generating power from symmetrical stability and the linkage of body systems, not brute strength.
Now go out and do your best ...
Steven Kaplan is the owner and managing director of Bethpage Park Tennis Center, as well as director emeritus of Lacoste Academy for New York City Parks Foundation and executive director and founder of Serve & Return Inc. Steve has coached more than 1,100 nationally-ranked junior players, 16 New York State high school champions, two NCAA Division 1 Singles Champions, and numerous highly-ranked touring professionals. Many of the students Steve has closely mentored have gone to achieve great success as prominent members of the New York financial community, and in other prestigious professions. In 2017, Steve was awarded the Hy Zausner Lifetime Achievement Award by the USTA. He may be reached by e-mail at StevenJKaplan@aol.com.