Why You Should Work On Tennis Technique
In today’s video I want to talk to you about why I think you should work on technique. Now, when you are trying to improve your game, you basically have to make a decision about which area of the game you’re going to invest your limited amount of time in. You can work on the technical side of things, which is how to hit the ball. You can work on the tactical side of things, which is where you hit the ball. Or you can also work on the physical side of things, which is how you move to the ball and last, but not least, you can work on the mental side of things which is how you think about the game, your belief system and so forth. So, the big question to answer really is how do you invest your limited amount of time to maximize your improvement. To answer this question, let’s talk about all four areas of the game individually. Let’s start talking about tactics. So, where do you hit the ball. Now, you have a lot of options on the tennis court. You can hit high balls, you can hit fast balls, short balls, angles and you can hit your opponents weaker side and so forth. Generally, adjusting your strategy according to your strengths and opponents weaknesses is a smart thing to do and you can often times win more matches when you work on this. Now, there’s one very important thing to keep in mind with working on tactics though. Your tactical options are heavily dependent on your technical abilities. So, let’s say you have a weak forehand and a weak backhand. Then you essentially have no tactical options. All you can do is put the ball back in play and try to run down as many balls as possible. Now, a more common scenario, is a player with a strong forehand and a weak backhand and this player can try to get as many forehands as possible, you can adjust your serving strategy so that you get more forehands after your serve. You can also adjust your baseline strategy to hit more forehands and so forth and once again, you can probably win a few more matches that way. Now, that being said, I’m going to argue that you can achieve a lot more in the same amount of time by working on technique and simply improving that weak backhand. Now, in order to do that, you of course have to have the right instruction. Effective instruction that is going to quickly improve your backhand. I believe there are two reasons why working on tactics is so popular. Number one, players have had bad experiences working on technique and this usually results from not receiving the right instruction where you can feel the incremental improvements right away and then to see the long term goal of improving that weak backhand, for example. Now, the second reason why I believe that working on tactics is so popular is because it is relatively easy. It’s not rocket science and so anybody can go out there and work with you on tactics and you can definitely make some good improvements. So, working on tactics is important, but most of the time working on technique can get you better results in the same amount of time. OK. Let’s talk about the mental side of the game. The mental game is extremely important and something I think every tennis player should work on. Now, the ultimate goal of course is to be calm and confident on the court. But, the big question is how do you get there. I believe that there are two aspects that we have to keep in mind here. Number one, you have to have skills as a tennis player in order to be calm and confident. So, you have to have a technique, you have to have a basic understanding of tactics and you have to be able to move around the tennis court if you want to be calm and confident. What I see a lot is tennis players that think that they have mental problem when really they have no forehand and no backhand and no serve and how can you become confident on the court if you don’t have any of these strokes mastered. Now the second aspect and that’s really what the mental game comes down to is what’s called your inner game. So, you’re belief system about your tennis improvement, about tennis in general, how you judge yourself when you make mistakes, how learning oriented you are vs. results oriented and so forth and this is absolutely crucial to work on if you want to maximize your improvement in a given amount of time. Now, that being said, I believe this can be worked on and should be worked on a lot off the court and your on court time is still usually better spent working on the technical side of things and improving that. OK. Let’s talk about the physical side of things or how you move around the court. If you can’t move well around the court, I don’t care how well you hit the ball, you’re not going to win a whole lot of tennis matches. So, I highly encourage all of my students to work on court movement and simply doing a basic leg strengthening program can often times transform your tennis game. So, I encourage you into looking into doing that. Now, with my high performance tennis players, we spend a lot of time working on court movement and strengthening the legs. But, with my recreational students, I usually do not spend a whole lot of time on that and there are several reasons for that. Number one starts again with efficiency. Where is your on court time better spent. Your on court time is limited and we can get a lot done on the technical side of things. The other reason is, working on the physical side of things is, once again, relatively simple and you can get a lot of that done working off the court if you’re motivated enough to do that. You don’t need an expert along the way all the time to work on this. What you need is a basic program that works for tennis players and then you can use that and execute it on your own and the other thing is most recreational players love to play tennis and the time is limited so the really prefer to work on the tennis when they’re on the court instead of working on gym type of stuff and that’s why I usually focus more on technique rather than the physical side of things on the court. So by now you know that I believe working on technique is usually the most effective way of improving your game and the best way to spend your limited amount of court time. Now, most recreational tennis players have at least one major technical flaw. So often times it is there weak serve or the weak backhand. Those are the two most common that I see over and over and having just one really weak stroke like that really limits you in the terms of level of play that you can compete at. See, for recreational players, great technique is even more important than for professional players and the reason for that is coordinated talent. Now, professional players usually have a lot of coordinative talent and what that does is it allows them to still contact the ball well with inefficient technique and recreational players usually cannot make that adjustment. So, if you have a weakness on your backhand, but at the last second just before contact you get the racket face in the right position because you have a lot of coordinative talent you can still hit the ball well. The problem is that most recreational players don’t have that coordinative talent. So, efficient technique is even more important for you and that’s why I spend so much time working on technique. Technique is usually the most difficult thing to teach and yet the most effective and I believe most of the time your better off spending your time working on technique when you’re on the court. 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