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JAK'S MONTHLY ESSAY SERIES: Achieving Your Personal Best

Get your JuJu on

By Jak Beardsworth

Yes, you actually have magical powers relative to your existing game right now! We all do to one degree or another. It’s your own special brand of “Juju” – a term sometimes used in sports to refer to an athlete having it all working at a high level, i.e. he/she had their juju on.

But that’s only going to happen if you first tap into this potential magic physically. In tennis match play that especially means not standing around in between points aimlessly in a static state of match disconnection…”leaving the building” as the expression goes.

You’ll be dead in the water, unfocused, and unprepared to play the next point. Weak body language. Bodies in motion get going very quickly with an accompanying stimulated, alert mind. Bodies at rest are very s-l-o-w to get going with approaching balls potentially already traveling 30,40,50, 60 feet before you get your boots on. Asleep at the wheel.

Did you realize that the vast majority of the time spent on-court is actually in-between points? That time must be well spent to remain engaged all the time.

Maintaining motion after a point ends, while waiting for the start of the next, is key in staying truly connected to the action that’s about to begin again, over and over, all match long. An in between point choreography if you will.

This means pacing back and forth, tiger in the cage, in your positioned area and then ramping it up, energizing in place once the point is about to start. Even servers utilize this on tour currently. Think Bryan brothers generally – not sure what that reference is? Go to YouTube and watch the Bryan Brothers energize between points.

All this is particularly relevant in doubles - versus singles - where you might go an entire game with your partner serving without connecting with a single ball. Nonetheless, you’re keen and ideally ready to go in the event you do get one.

Also, a few minutes prior to your match start time it’s never a bad idea to get pre-energized by going for a slow, brief jog (around a court’s inside perimeter will do nicely) to get both your core body temperature and your heart rate up to be physically ready to play and also automatically more focused on the task at hand.

Finally, avoid watching teammates play points on an adjoining court when in between your points. Don’t be looking to see who’s in the stands. Pick at your strings like the pros to stay focused on the task at hand and in the moment on your match on your court.

Engage!

Copyright© 2007- 2024 by Jak Beardsworth Tennis. All rights reserved, including the right of reproduction in whole or in part in any form.

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Past Essays

  • June 2024 - KNOW YOUR DOUBLE’S IN-POINT SITUATION WHEN BACK or RETURNING SERVE
    [read more]
  • April 2024 - Coulda, shoulda got that: The Art of Poaching
    [read more]
  • March 2024 - Get Your JuJu On
    [read more]
  • February 2024 - Giving Opponents too Much Respect
    [read more]
  • January 2024 - Rally Ball Or Pull The Trigger
    [read more]
  • December 2023 - The Forgotten Stop Volley
    [read more]
  • November 2023 - "You're Only as Good as Your Second Serve"
    [read more]
  • October 2023 - good misses vs bad misses
    [read more]
  • September 2023 - Why good players are good players!
    [read more]
  • August 2023 - On poaching and fake poaching: Becoming a Force at the Net in Doubles
    [read more]
  • July 2023 - The Beautiful Game is Getting Ugly
    [read more]
  • June 2023 - The Approach Dropper: Lob Killer
    [read more]
  • May 2023 - Why club players don't practice
    [read more]

Essay Archives

Click a year to view more essays

2023

  • April 2023 - DON'T FIGHT TIGHT
    [read more]
  • March 2023 - Classic finish line failure
    [read more]
  • February 2023 - Defending the lob over your net partner - The "Switch"
    [read more]

2022

  • December 2022 - E. I. D. - Extended Impact Duration
    [read more]
  • November 2022 - Movement Enhancement to Stay Better In-Point Connected
    [read more]
  • September 2022 - Advanced Visualization 301
    [read more]
  • August 2022 - Tennis' uniqueness: warming-up the enemy
    [read more]
  • July 2022 - Extracting Double Faults Through Receiving Positions... and more
    [read more]
  • June 2022 - Consider Serve and Volley
    [read more]
  • May 2022 - How the Toss Primes the Serve Relaxation Pump
    [read more]
  • April 2022 - Ball Watching and Science
    [read more]
  • March 2022 - Caving
    [read more]
  • February 2022 - Kenny G and Emmo
    [read more]
  • January 2022 - The Knees
    [read more]

2021

  • December 2021 - The Match is with You
    [read more]
  • November 2021 - The Backup Racket in Your Bag
    [read more]
  • October 2021 - Every Tennis Player Can and Should Have a Weapon
    [read more]
  • September 2021 - LEARNING NEW SKILLS: First the Process, Then the Results
    [read more]
  • August 2021 - The Challenge of Visualizing… For Some
    [read more]
  • July 2021 - Playing with both your feet and your hands
    [read more]
  • June 2021 - Finding the Range
    [read more]
  • May 2021 - The Focus
    [read more]
  • April 2021 - About Your Butt Cap
    [read more]
  • March 2021 - The Essential Forehand and Backhand
    [read more]
  • February 2021 - On Being a Doubles All-Courter
    [read more]
  • January 2021 - Same Grip Volleying Myths
    [read more]

2020

  • December 2020 - On mechanics and style
    [read more]
  • November 2020 - THE BIG 3: The Glue That Keeps Your Best Game Together
    [read more]
  • September 2020 - Protocol and Game Tradition Revisited
    [read more]
  • August 2020 - As Good as Your 2nd Serve
    [read more]
  • July 2020 - Shot Shaping
    [read more]
  • June 2020 - Getting a Point in Jeopardy Back to Neutral
    [read more]
  • May 2020 - A Positive Mind-Set: On and Off the Court in Today's C-19 Reality
    [read more]
  • April 2020 - The Zombie Tennis Creed – Top Ten
    [read more]
  • March 2020 - A Roadmap Into "The Zone"
    [read more]
  • February 2020 - The service toss: myths and realities
    [read more]
  • January 2020 - Shot Gazing
    [read more]

2019

  • December 2019 - The Dreaded High Bouncing Moonball Dilemma
    [read more]
  • November 2019 - Chalk Flew: Troublesome Line Calling without Hawkeye in Clubland [read more]
  • October 2019 - In the Spirit of Don't Drink and Drive… Don't Think and Hit [read more]
  • September 2019 - Old School vs New School [read more]
  • August 2019 - Getting the Ball Where You Want It [read more]
  • July 2019 - Taking Points Off…What? [read more]
  • June 2019 - Confidence Is Confidence: Take It Wherever You Can Get It [read more]
  • May 2019 - TENNIS INNOVATION IMPLODES [read more]
  • April 2019 - Defending the Court with Older Bones: A Club Player's Guide to Saying "Nice Shot" Less [read more]
  • March 2019 - Do You Have Doubles Rally Tolerance? [read more]
  • February 2019 - I Knew Jimy Van Alen: A Historical Look Back [read more]
  • January 2019 - The Mind is a Terrible Thing to Waste: Mental Toughness Skills [read more]

2018

  • December 2018 - Less Bling is the Thing [read more]
  • November 2018 - Anatomy of a Doubles Serve Return…from the Inside Out [read more]
  • October 2018 - Older Dogs and New Tricks: Still Improving at Any Age [read more]
  • September 2018 - The All-Important Dynamic of Gripping [read more]
  • August 2018 - The Cinemascope Syndrome: Undermining Your Ball Watching [read more]
  • June 2018 - Serving and Returning Better with a Quiet Eye [read more]
  • May 2018 - The Man Who Breathed for Two [read more]
  • January 2018 - Rituals Anyone? [read more]

2017

  • December 2017 - Why Serving is so Difficult in Clubland [read more]
  • October 2017 - Managing your body and mind in tennis space [read more]
  • August 2017 - Why Bother Breathing to Improve Your Game [read more]
  • May 2017 - The "Maintaining" One's Game as One Ages Fallacy [read more]
  • February 2017 - Punta Gorda Tennis Clubs: Setting the Bar [read more]
  • January 2017 - State of the Club Game: The Growing Death of Sportsmanship [read more]

Check back often for more essays.