May 6, 2016
As a tennis instructor, 100% of my lessons are based on the technique of swinging at a ball using various strokes. Fixing a forehand or a backhand is just one of many examples that a tennis player will ask me about. The problem I see is that many players do not understand the importance of movement. If you physically cannot get to the ball in time, your "text book" groundstrokes do not matter. Most tennis players associate tennis practice as hitting tennis balls as they work on certain shots. Not me. Let me explain first why just hitting tennis balls won't get you to the next level.
Nature follows the path of least resistance. We will practice on things that we already are good at because it's easy. We feel accomplished and it wasn't difficult in the level of concentration we needed to have for that practice session. Research has proved that deep practice in which you are mentally exhausting yourself with specific and difficult practice makes you better. This is not easy and 99% of us avoid it. So hitting tennis balls every day is only going to get you so far.
There is Only So Many Hours in the Day
With how busy I get and how little time I can put into the sport of tennis, I cannot rely on the method of hitting tennis balls to get better. Yes, it is important to hit as often as possible, but it cannot be the only thing you do. I eat incredibly well, which gives me focus, confidence, energy and strength that I can put into my hitting sessions that will be at a high level for a long period of time. My workouts are also directly related to tennis. I've interviewed top trainers (including one that worked with Andy Murray's trainer) and have put together a regimen that has made me feel and move incredibly well.
Going Back to Jerry Rice
Jerry Rice is considered one of the best football players to ever player the sport of football. He wasn't the fastest or had the highest buzz around him in when he started in the NFL. In fact, the 49ers selected him as the 16th draft pick. The question is obviously how did he do to get so good? But I think we forget the most incredible feat that Jerry Rice did was play until he was 42 years old. This is unheard of in the physical sport of football, especially for a wide receiver. Both questions can be answered with one thing: work ethic. He put in countless hours in movements and workouts that were associated with his sport. He built up his endurance and created his regimen that was habitual. His workouts became so legendary that other NFL teams asked for what he did for workouts. The 49ers trainer never disclosed what he did for fear that people would get hurt. Although all football players worked out more off the field than on the field, Jerry Rice's training was even more lopsided, meaning he put in way more hours on improving his football game OFF the field. His drive and commitment to the sport of football is what made him so good. If it was a talent that he had, it was a talent of hard work. Think about what you can do to be the Jerry Rice of tennis and watch your game improve!