I was at the National Tennis Center yesterday watching the US Open. As I watched, I was surprised at how many errors the pros made. Of course errors are inevitable, but they were making “bad” mistakes and at that level, it is unacceptable. A “good mistake” is when you have the right game plan, but didn’t execute properly. At least you had the right intent. A “bad mistake” is when you make the wrong shot selection. Here are a few examples…
When in trouble, you go for a winning shot instead of hitting a defensive shot like a lob.
When you are playing doubles and you try to go down the line when you should be continuing to hit cross court.
You get an easy ball and you make an unforced error.
I also saw many players mis-hit the ball. That is a ball that hits off of the frame of the racquet. At that level, they should not be mis-hitting the ball, at least not on a fairly easy ball. That is just lack of focus.
So do you hit a defensive shot when you are in trouble? Do you keep going cross court in doubles until you get the ball you want? Do you win the point when you get an easy ball?
If you answered yes to any of those questions, you are better than some of the pros out there. Do that consistently and you are on your way to playing at the next level.
Homework: Watch the US Open and see if you can detect when they make a “good mistake” and when they make a “bad mistake.”