Gary Sherby is tennis director at Racquets and Togs Tennis Center, 115 Bradford St., just off the downtown square. His tennis tips appear Sundays.
Watch any accomplished player and you’ll see a remarkably consistent set of ritualistic behavior between points.
For example, before each and every serve, good servers repeat the same rituals time and time again: a shrug of the shoulders, a routine bounce of the ball, a deep breath, a spin of the racket, a menacing glare, etc.
All of these individual characteristics have absolutely nothing to do with the actual stroke the player is about to use, but absolutely everything to do with that player’s habitual behavior on the court.
More rituals? Unsticking the feet, hopping, blowing on a sweaty palm, tapping the bottom of the shoes (to remove loose clay?), grunting, making annoying screeching sounds, etc.
Your own rituals are as personal as your signature and you should not deviate from them in a match. When you change your regular rituals, you’re probably losing.