Do you spend hours on court with little improvement ? While your friends or other players are improving with lesser time on court. Why is that?
A great question indeed. For someone like me, who started tennis late at 13 years old, I have always been trying to catch up to more experienced and better players.
At the beginning, i lacked proper tennis knowledge and did the same drills over and over again, for example ( hitting 500 forehands in a row ).
As i got older and learned from many fellow full time players and academy coaches, i slowly experimented during my own sessions with my Dad ( who is not a fantastic tennis player ) and realized the keys to improving with less time on court.
So, how to practice tennis effectively?
You need a GOAL and a PLAN
When many players train or hit, especially casual players, they just rally down the center of the court, maybe some serves and then start playing matches.
If a player has a problem they need to work on be it technical or tactical or mental, then this will not help tremendously in any way.
A player has to know what is wrong with their game or stroke then create your sessions based on what you want to solve.
If it is possible then ball feeding is the best option for stroke mechanics > then moving on to live drills > then match play drills.
If your partner for the day only wants to play sets then:
For example: When i travel to play ITF FUTURES events, 90% of the time my buddies and me would usually just rally baseline down the center, cross-courts, volleys, overheads, serves then play a few points or a set.
HOWEVER, we have a specific goal in mind, for example: if my net game has been feeling a little off, during the volley warm up, i would spend a few more minutes there, being extra focused.
And when it comes to the practice set, I would try to go to the net more often, trying to get more confident with the positioning, transitioning, contact point and so on.
If your partner does not mind doing live drills to improve as well then:
This is the best situation for improvement, so for example: I feel like my forehand cross courts have not been on point lately, I am missing long, hitting the net, not able to find my rhythm.
I would warm up on the baseline, starting out a little slower, finding my rhythm then increasing the pace, continued with only forehand cross courts until i get more and more comfortable, then i would start playing some points, using more of my forehand, more inside out forehands etc.
Even better if you have someone who can feed baskets of balls to you:
This is great if you are a beginner – advanced level player. For example if your backhand is suffering from unforced errors on high balls.
Ask your partner to feed slow paced slightly above head level balls in sets of 6- 12 balls to your backhand close to you so you can focus on contact point, movement backwards, how much spin to put on the ball and so on until you feel solid, then progress on to tougher drills like one short backhand, then move back to hit a high ball on the backhand.
Some pointers on HOW to > LOCATE YOUR WEAKNESS
Which shot causes the most unforced errors
What shot do I lack confidence in
What kind of balls give me the most issues for my strokes
Is it my footwork or my fitness
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