USTA, the United States Tennis Association, is a nation-wide league comprised of competitive athletes of all skill levels who wish to improve their game. Whether you are a long-time member or have recently joined, it is important to know how to get the most out of your USTA experience. Here are some tips and tricks to enjoying the game and avoiding drawbacks of highly competitive play associated with USTA leagues.
There are a few ways to avoid the pitfalls of an overly competitive USTA opponent. If you are unsure of how to deal with bad calls, you can easily avoid them if you are playing on a clay court. If your opponent is insisting that her shot was in and it clearly wasn’t, circle the ball mark. Clay courts ensure an obvious mark that cannot be negotiated. Circling the mark trains your opponent to do the same, which can promote fair play. An effective and magnanimous way to avoid competitive bickering with opponents is letting them have the point. Getting worked up about the accuracy of a call is not worth your time or effort.
Rather than winning, an overall goal for your USTA experience should be becoming a better athlete. There are many ways to do so. Work on perfecting your style of play rather than winning or losing a point. It is better to lose while establishing good habits than win with sloppy tactics. Make mini goals for yourself that will eventually lead to becoming a better athlete. This, in turn, will result in more wins. One mini goal you can set for yourself is lengthening play. This means having the patience to continue the rally in order to force errors from your opponent. If you start thinking about hitting winners to end the point quicker, you make more unforced errors.
Overall, USTA, while being very competitive, should be a fun experience that helps make you a better tennis player. The USTA rating is just a number, and not a real level. You can make the most of your season by taking a holistic approach to your game. By improving your style of play, you will win more matches.
About the Author:
Gino Carosella is the Director of Adult Programs at the Nassau Tennis Club in Skillman, NJ.