How efficiently you use your tennis practice time will have a direct bearing on how quickly you will improve your shots. Going through the motion in practice, without any real thought process, can have a detrimental effect on your game, as you may well be encouraging bad habits.
Always leave the practice courts feeling that you have gained something from the session. You may have worked at your footwork, tried to improve your length, practised your topspin lift or grooved your sliced trajectory etc. Your session should consist of a mixture of general hitting, drills and point play. Whatever you are practising, quality repetition is what eventually perfects the shot. As a result of the hard work put in on the practice court, the shot will become second nature and therefore much more reliable in your match play.
It’s not only the matches that count!
You would be amazed at how often I have heard people state that they are “not too bothered about how hard they work practice, as it’s the matches that count”. BIG
MISTAKE! Your matches will mirror your practice sessions and the mental approach you have in them.
So how do you think you’ve played then?
It’s also very important to have a clear picture of what is happening in your practice session and for that matter, your matches too. You would be amazed at how many
people when asked after playing/practising, have an unrealistic view of how they’ve played. Sometimes completely oblivious to the fact that their length had been appalling or that they looked like they were falling over on every shot. By being aware of what is really going on, you are giving yourself a chance to work at it and improve it.
Boy, did Thomas Muster know how to practise!
Some years back, at an ATP Tournament in Prague, myself and a British Davis Cup player I was coaching, had to share a practice court with Thomas Muster and his partner. I was absolutely bowled over by the intensity of Muster and the way that he worked incredibly
hard in the available half court. He went on to obliterate everyone in the field to take the title and deservedly so. The French Open title soon followed.