| By Steve Annacone


First of all, you will not be able to warm-up properly in the five or 10 minute warm-up just prior to starting your match. Try to get on the court before the match and hit some balls, run around, and do an extended version of the short match warm-up.

If this is not possible, do some jumprope or footwork and movement drills off court to get your feet moving and heart rate up. When you begin the match warm-up, remind yourself to start slowly, striving for three or four balls in a row on as many rallies as possible. Sometimes this will not happen since it is up to your opponent as well as yourself to execute.

When it does happen, it is okay to hit a ball more aggressively after you have made the first few shots. This is a good mentality to bring into your points once the match starts. Make sure you hit groundstrokes, volleys, overheads, and serves, all with the consistency idea in mind. Also, remind yourself to move your feet and go after as many balls as possible (within reason) even in the warm-up so you get the same footwork and reaction that you want to have in the actual point.

Finish your warm-up with both first and second serve practice, and make sure that the last serve you hit feels good and lands in the box. This will give you a good positive feeling when you start the first point.


Steve Annacone, USPTA Elite Pro, is the Director of Annacone Tennis, www.annaconetennis.com and MyHamptonsPro, www.myhamptonspro.com in East Hampton, NY . Steve is also a tennis professional at Ventana Golf and Country Club in Tucson, AZ. In addition, Steve and Miguel Coelho have introduced the JET (Junior Elite Tennis) program at the Tucson Jewish Community Center for high level players ages 8-18. Please contact Steve at info@annaconetennis.com