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What? No Practice?
By:  Scott Baker | Tennis4you  | Tennis Forum  | E-mail

I just got done talking to one of my co-workers at who plays tennis, and he (unknowingly) inspired me to write this article. I of course listened to his tennis woes and provided help where I could. This gentleman has been playing tennis for several years. He has very flat ground strokes and wants to learn to hit topspin on his forehand. He plays a lot of doubles and wants to hit the ball more at the feet of his opponent. (Of course a smart play!)

He told me that he has been trying to hit the ball with topspin, but when he does the ball either drops too fast and hits the net, or he is hitting the ball with the frame or anywhere else but the sweet spot. It has been causing him some trouble for some time now. I was talking to him about ways to hit some drills against the wall, or even in warm up. All of the sudden it kicked in! All this guy plays is matches. He never goes out to the court to practice, ever. He steps out on the court, and 10 minutes later he starts a 4 set marathon of doubles, and then goes home as soon as the match is over.

So there you have it. Every problem has a solution. This guy needs practice!

It is very tough to learn how to hit certain strokes during match play. Practice is a very important part of tennis. I am not talking about the 10 minutes of warm up you get before the match either. During a match, if you are trying to work on your technique, you will experience all kinds of problems. There is too much to do and focus on in the middle of a match than having to worry about making sure your technique is correct. Technique needs to be second hand nature. The best way to work on that is in practice.

In practice you will hit more balls in a concentrated amount of time. You will be able to focus on your technique and execution with out the pressure of hitting the ball in or not. In match you need to be worrying about what your opponent is doing, how he/she is reacting and tons more!

If you don't have the time to practice and you just want to play matches, try coming out to the court 30 minute early and hitting with a partner or against the wall and use that as some practice. Or stay after the match and work on your shots.

Make sure that you get practice time on the court. I personally do not think that practice is as much fun as a match, but it needs to be done. It is still fun, relaxing and great exercise, plus you get a chance to improve your strokes. If you look at the pros, you can bet your last dollar that they spend the majority of their time on the court practicing. I once read that Monica Seles would hit her backhand 5,000 times in one day if she was not happy with her backhand. I am not suggesting you need to go out and hit 5,000 shots in one practice session, most of our arms would fall off if we did that. But take it from the pros that practice is vital to any good tennis game.

Good Luck on the Court!
Scott Baker
Tennis4you.com