April 7, 2017
If you have watched enough tennis in your life like I have, you start noticing patterns in match play. There seems to be a certain predictability in how points end up. What is surprising to me is the lack of preparation for these patterns in recreational players. I often see players "practice" on the court by blindly hitting ground strokes one after another. I say blindly because they are either hitting for pleasure or they are not cognizant of what makes up 80% of points. That is, predictable patterns. For example, we often neglect the fact that most baseline rallies have a player on the defensive and a player on the offensive (sometimes switching roles mid rally). So why not prepare more for this? It has been a lot easier to coach my team during matches when I can simply refer to our last practice that relates to a pattern that we practiced for and is happening right now in their match. This way the players do not have to think but just act with instinct as they have practiced these patterns before. Maybe it's time to try this in your practice!
Strategies On Adding Patterns to Practice
For my doubles players, I like to isolate the 4 players on the court to implement strategies that allow a chance of winning more points. For example, if a player on a doubles team has not held serve for two straight times, we need to try a different formation or strategy to better their chance of winning on the serve. This is the same on the return as often times one opponent is harder to break than another. By practicing this during practice, players can be equipped with the tools to have a way to problem solve their way through a match.
This is the same for singles. Check out this video that explains one drill that can help you be more comfortable in your singles points.