The FORCED ERROR: Hidden Key to Winning

The FORCED ERROR: Hidden Key to Winning image

Here’s a note from top tennis coach Will Hamilton to his Fuzzy Yellow Balls followers just after the completion of the 2018 Australian Open. In it he provides “proof” that creating FORCED ERRORS is the key to winning tennis. In Chapter 6 of Deconstructing Tennis, I write: “A FORCED ERROR is an error caused by the quality of either your own or your opponent’s shot. Typically a shot causing a FORCED ERROR is good enough to compromise an opponent’s balance without the risk of hitting right near the lines.”

Here are Will’s words:

If you're a competitive singles player...

Here's why this might interest you:

Did you know the #1 way to win points in singles isn't something you'd see in the box score?

You'd see winners.  You'd see unforced errors.

But what you wouldn't see is:


Here's the breakdown of how points end on the pro tour (give or take a few percentage points based on the surface - it's not a drastic swing):

Winners: 27%

Unforced Errors: 31%

Forced Errors: 42%

(Kudos to tennis strategy analyst Craig O'Shannessy for uncovering these numbers.)

CRAZY!  The #1 way to win points in singles - the biggest piece of the pie...

Was completely ignored until recently!

BAD NEWS: Trying to hit winners, or waiting for your opponent to make unforced errors, are both second-tier strategies.


There's one more thing:

The hidden benefit of this formula is you swap "hard winners" for "easy winners."

"Hard winners" are low percentage.  They get canceled out by the unforced errors you rack up going for them.  Zero sum at best.

But "easy winners"?

When forcing errors becomes the centerpiece of your game, sometimes you'll almost force an error, but your opponent will barely get the ball back...

Like a short ball.

Your next logical, high percentage shot is virtually guaranteed to be a winner.

An EASY winner that won't get canceled out by an unforced error when you go for the same shot later on.


The FORCED ERROR finally gets its due!

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