Traditional tennis instruction tends to target four aspects of the game: technical, tactical, athletic
and mental. But using the Performance-Determining Factors approach is much more powerful.
Performance-determining factors in tennis are unique skills that ultimately define your level as
a player. Each one defines a specific area of the game that you should target to improve:
Consistency: The ability to hit the ball over and over with similar results.
Precision: The ability to direct the ball exactly where you want it and with the chosen
Footwork: The ability to move around the court efficiently.
Perception and Anticipation: The ability to interpret available information to help you prepare early for the next shot.
Variation: The ability to hit the ball with the desired combination of height, direction, spin, speed and length.
Spin: The ability to control the ball with different types of spins.
Ball Speed: The ability to hit the ball fast.
Camouflage: The ability to hide the characteristics of your shots.
Mental Skill: The ability to control your thoughts and emotions in order to play your best regardless of the circumstance.
Decision Making: The ability to consistently choose the shot that will give you the best probability of winning the point.
These factors are not in any order, but reading through the list, you have probably begun to understand that your current ability level is nothing but the average of your performance in each of these areas, and consequently any improvement in any one of these factors will make you a better player.
However, thinking in terms of Performance Determining Factors provides you with very specific areas that you can target. We tend to practice the same things over and over and forget to include other very important elements that with a little work could have a big impact on our games.
So, use this list or make your own and start working!