November 6, 2017 - Become Your Own Feedback

You should make it a habit to be aware of how you win and lose points. If you do this, it will become second nature, and you’ll have immediate feedback when you play on what you need to do to improve, both tactically (what you do in a given match) and strategically (how you develop your game).

For example, are you aware of how likely you are to get the shot you are looking for with each of your main serves, and how likely you are to win the point with them? How often you win with each of your receives off of each of the opponent’s serves? How often you win with the various placements of each of your shots? What types of loops, blocks, pushes, and other shots work, and with what placements (including depth), spins, and speed? The questions are seemingly endless, but all you need to be aware of are the main ones in any given match.

This doesn’t mean you rely completely on yourself all the time. You should also make it a habit after a match to sometimes ask opponents for their feedback, and have coaches or experienced players watch you play (or play you) and get feedback from them as well. In these cases, you are essentially getting feedback on your own feedback to see if it is accurate. You may find your own perceptions of what happens do not match what others see, or there might be something important that you are missing, and so you might have to re-evaluate your perceptions.

Ultimately, when you win or lose a match, you should know why – including both what worked and didn’t work in both wins and losses – and know what you need to work on to improve, both tactically and strategically.