You’re probably sitting in front of the screen (laptop, desktop, tablet) to read this article, and I have a question for you: “Could you be more comfortable?”
Just ask yourself if you could be more comfortable sitting now and see what happens…
In most cases, you will realize that, yes, you could be more comfortable.
As you bring your attention to your body, you become aware of any tension and tightness in your body and your mind/body knows what to do to get rid of those.
You became more comfortable simply by asking yourself one question.
The exact same process can be applied when you’re on the tennis court.
As you’re learning technique and hopefully other tennis skills like rhythm, hitting the ball in your ideal contact point, being on balance and so on, you will naturally try to do them as correctly as possible.
We could even say that you try hard to do it right.
While on one hand that’s great, on the other hand it always adds more tightness to your body.
And whenever there’s tightness, it feels like the body is locked and it stops moving naturally.
We stop the energy flow when we’re tight, and even though we’re theoretically doing things correctly, we cannot move fluidly and cannot execute strokes in a smooth fashion; therefore, the end result of our stroke is not a good shot.
Unfortunately that makes us try even harder, and we actually make things even worse. You end up in this magic spiral of doom from where there is no escape, not to mention how all that affects you emotionally.
It might even lead to total frustration and lack of any progress in that lesson.
Therefore, it’s very important to add the “Could I be more comfortable?” thought to any exercise you’re doing to improve your tennis or even when you’re simply rallying and reinforcing what you’ve already learned.
As soon as you ask yourself that, you’ll bring your attention to your body and become aware of any tightness.
And you’ll just naturally relax as your mind and body know exactly what to do to get rid of tightness.
I like to use the word comfortable because it triggers the right response of my body.
Every word we use triggers something different in our body, so it’s important to test for yourself how the words relaxed, loose and comfortable affect you.
The word relaxed may not be the right one because it makes you lose that alertness and intensity you need on the court to react and move quickly to the incoming ball, but also to recover quickly.
Loose may make you too limp, which again makes you lose that certain amount of tension and alertness that needs to be present while we play tennis.
So, while this article and video don’t go in-depth about a certain technical element of tennis and you may be deceived by its simplicity, it is in fact one of the most important things to work on in the long-term development of your tennis.
I have personally been trying to be as comfortable as possible for many years while I am on the court, and it has been in my mind ever since I discovered the many benefits of this approach.
Being comfortable while playing improves your balance, it unlocks any tightness you may have while executing strokes and consequently allows you to hit strokes with effortless power.
It also gives you much more control of the ball and brings back feel to your hands as tension always takes feel away.
It’s not a coincidence that I’ve listed “being comfortable” as one of the missing links in your game that you need to have in order to progress to the next level.
Just add this one simple question to every drill and technical correction you’re working on and see how it improves your end result.