Anatomy of a Point – It’s Not What It Seems

Question: When you’re in a tennis rally, do you know when in the rally most of your points are won/lost?  Is it…
a) 0-4 shots?   b) 5-8 shots?  or  c) 9+ shots?
(Note: this question applies to all players across the full spectrum of levels and ages:
juniors, high school players, college players, touring pros, league players – 2.5-5.0. Male/Female)

Answer: There is a mountain of tennis data and the data analytics which have been organized into three pools of different rally lengths. We’ve never had this tennis information before. Imagine, we can analyze the points, the games, sets, and matches. Why am I excited to share this information with you? Because maybe it will impact you the way it has me.

When I found out, I was blown away. Still am. It’s a game-changer. It’s a mindset changer.  The approach to the game will be different. The way tennis (singles and doubles) is taught will change. Our understanding of the game will evolve. I want you to know so,

  • you’ll know where most of your points are won/lost
  • you’ll concentrate on the most important area of a tennis point
  • you’ll know if lessons, clinics are relevant to your true needs and avoid going down the rabbit holes in your efforts to improve your tennis
  • you’ll improve and experience a greater joy from your tennis game

Okay. In which rally length do you think most of your points are won/lost?

  • If you guessed (c), 9+ shots, well, you’d be wrong. That’s where the fewest points are won/lost. Between 10-11% of your points are in this rally length. That’s one in ten points. So much for the long rally.
  • If you guessed (b), 5-8 shots, you’d be wrong too. Approximately 21-23% of your points come from this rally length.
  • The answer is (a), 0-4 shots! About 70% of your tennis points will be won/lost in the 0-4 rally length. That’s seven out of ten points within the first four shots!

What does this mean for your game? These are amazing numbers. It’s not my opinion. Not my observations.  Thank IBM’S “WATSON” for enlightening us. Welcome to Artificial Intelligence(AI). It’s permeating all aspects of our lives.  Tennis is no exception.  Credit for the tennis data I’m sharing with you goes to Craig O’ Shaunnessy of and fellow tennis teaching professional.

When it comes down to it, wouldn’t you want to know how you won or lost the match? What are your tendencies? I would want the hard facts. I’d want the tennis code to winning more, playing smarter…

I look at Craig O’ Shaunnessy as the benevolent fishing guide who is directing us anglers to the richest ponds teeming with fish.  If you have a penchant for the long rallies, you won’t catch many fish in that pond. The data says so. But, if you focus your energies on winning the points in the 0-4 shot pond, you can host a seafood festival for your tennis community.

Think on it folks. This stuff is powerful. Have I shaken up your tennis perceptions? I hope so.  There is more on this topic, but it’s beyond the scope of this post.  We’ll revisit this theme another time. In the meantime, stay open-minded. Keep learning.



By | 2017-11-03T18:37:27+00:00 November 3rd, 2017|Categories: Mindset, Tennis Nuggets, Uncategorized|0 Comments

About the Author:

Jose Benjumea is a certified PTR Tennis Professional who has been teaching the game since 1974, mostly in Virginia Beach. Jose graduated from Old Dominion University, where he played on the tennis team.