A READING LESSON
All through this book there are references to "reading" your opponent, anticipating where the ball will be hit. Some players simply dismiss or ignore these suggestions by explaining, "I have enough trouble just hitting the ball back twice in a row."
Well, hitting the ball back twice or twenty times in a row is easier if you know where the ball will be.
Reading what an opponent is going to do isn't very difficult. You can read the player, the personality, or the percentages.
READ THE PLAYER
Most club-level players are very readable. Pay attention to where they're hitting from and be sure to watch their racquets closely.
Most players also hit certain shots back to the same place fairly consistently. It may be different places for different players, but the individuals are usually fairly consistent.
Many players telegraph their lobs. They prepare differently for the lob than for a drive. It's an easy read.
READ THE PERSONALITY
The player who wants to beat you and to hit winners is very readable even with your eyes closed. If you appear to give these
opponents what looks like room to hit a winner to your right, then that is where they'll try to hit it.
The aggressive, offensive player will usually be more aggressive and take more chances when winning and fewer when things are even or they are behind.
The player who doesn't want to make mistakes will try to hit the safest shot available in any situation.
The player with the big serve can be challenged simply by your body language and positioning for the return.
PLAY THE PERCENTAGES
Most players have more confidence in their forehands, and they will drive their forehands if they have the chance.
The corollary is most players lack confidence in their backhands.
Most players prefer to hit their ground strokes cross-court.
Most players' second serves are noticeably weaker than the first.
So, you can read your opponents' bodies and you can read their minds. You can also simply play the percentages.
Most players are predictable as well as readable. If you are paying attention, you will know where they are hitting their shots. You can raise your level of play. You will have more time to cover the court effectively. You will be able to prepare earlier. You will execute more smoothly.
Not a bad reward for just doing a little reading.