Lou Holtz once said, "When you stop growing, you start dying." As humans we all want to see improvement in the things we do. That is no different in tennis. The feeling of seeing all your hard work pay off on the tennis court can push you to want to keep improving. But what happens when you don't see those results? All players run into ruts and it's important to identify the cause so you can focus on having more efficient and effective practices. If you are struggling on your improvement, there are two main categories that you need to identify that would cause your lack of improvement.
First Factor: Physical
Is your body not able to do the things you want it to do? We all have capacities to how well we can move but most of the time there are areas we can improve upon. For example, if you feel a bit run down before playing your matches, your nutrition could be a limiting factor. If you feel a bit stiff while moving on the court, there needs to be an added level of stretching and conditioning to ensure that feeling goes away. Whatever the case may be, identify it and make a plan to improve upon it a few times a week. Once you start seeing the results on the court, you'll be motivated to keep it going.
Second Factor: Mental
A coach once told me that the best way to improve your mental game is to "face your fear." For example, if you are having trouble winning tight matches, the only way to improve your chances of winning these is to consistently play matches with opponents that are very close to your ability. Whatever the fear is, you need repetitions of exposing yourself to the fear so you can manage it when it matters the most.
Also, consider how you are practicing. Sometimes we get in a "mind numbing" hitting session where there is no engagement to keep assessing your performance. Try to have goals while you are hitting or specific drills that can help you work on staying focused longer. For example, simply counting how many rally shots in a row you can make is a way to keep you focused and hopefully improve your ability to stay focused for a longer period of time. If your opponent is the same level as you, who ever can stay focused the longest will most likely win the match!
Time Management and Commitment
We have 86,400 seconds in every day. This is a lot less when you are only considering the time you practice. Using those precious practice sessions to concentrate on the parts of your game that you need the most attention on can make all the difference in your ability to keep improving. Start with the question, "Is it physical or mental?" After that, you can move forward to a very focused practice to get you the results you want.
Don't forget...my book is coming soon!
I am excited to wrap up the interview section of my book on teaching yourself tennis. I feel confident you will get some great insight on improving your game through this unique perspective of combining research and experiences to give tips on all aspects of your tennis game. Details coming on when you can order it! Want to vote on the book cover? Click here!
Here's how to use the black hole to your advantage in tennis!