Watching tennis on TV can be not only entertaining but also a great help to your game.
The French Open 2017 is underway and the Tennis Channel is broadcasting the qualifying rounds. Below you can find 5 ways to optimize your tennis watching experience and use it to become a better player.
1) Focus on the footwork. Forget the ball for several points and focus on only one player's footwork. Watch how he/she adjusts before hitting every shot and how many times their feet hit the ground between one stroke and the next.
2) Observe how they play the clutch points -- game points, break points, set points and match points. Look how the player with the edge behaves versus the one playing from behind. Do they play conservatively or are they more aggressive? Mainly observe how the more experienced players handle these moments as opposed to the newcomers or underdogs.
3) Pay attention to the margin of safety. As opposed to what most people think, the Pros do "not" go for the lines all the time. Watch how their shots land 4 or 5 feet inside the the baseline and singles sidelines when they are rallying and still building a point. You may see a shot closer to the lines only when they feel it is time to try to end the point.
4) Watch the shot tolerance. Shot tolerance is how many balls a player is willing to rally and stay in the point before they feel the need to finish it. It varies greatly from player to player. Rafael Nadal's shot tolerance may be at least 15, while Roger Federer's, for instance, may be around half that.
5) Watch doubles. Thankfully TV broadcasts way more double matches these days, which is great news for the club player (or any player, for that matter). Pay attention to things like how they serve and volley, how they attempt to return the serve low, and how they try to win points at the net by poaching and closing in to volley. Also notice how they communicate with each other all the time and how they are supportive and have a positive attitude towards their partners.
With these tips in mind, you will find watching tennis on TV much more fun and useful than just watching the ball go back and forth. Have fun!