Practice session created to reflect tournament’s conditions

Practice sessions are necessary to improve own level of performance. Players train to learn new skills, sharp individual strengths or to correct mistakes that cost them many points during the match. Without working hard it is impossible to achieve great results during the tournaments so quality of practice sessions has to be maintained to achieve expected result.

The major problem that many players have is the fact that they are not able to play at the same level during the competition as they present on a daily basis while practicing. Forehands that are winners in own club fly behind the baseline while playing the first round. Serve that forces training partner to miss many balls don’t even go into the service box when trying to save the break point in the final set. Big confidence during every exercise changes into lack of self-esteem when playing in front of more people in other location. That is the difference between practice environment and tournament experience.

Tournament for tennis players is the most important event. Of course during practice sessions skills get better and player develops but competition is the real test and it shows all the strengths and weaknesses of a given player. It doesn’t really matter how well you play in your club because if you constantly underperform while fighting for the trophy you won’t be happy with your results and your level of tennis too. However there is a reason behind this situation and it is crucial for players to understand it and implement proper changes to be able to deal with competitive demands and present own best level when it really counts.

There is no doubt that tennis competition puts a lot of pressure on the participants. Players have to deal with stress because they really care about own development. They want to do what they can to get on the court and win round after round to finally lift the trophy. This is not an easy task because every opponent has exactly the same goal. Additionally player has to fight against other external factors like new location, different weather conditions, different balls, audience, opinions, own doubts or cameras. All these factors can hurt player’s performance so when he is not prepared to counter these obstacles his game has to deteriorate.

If you want to increase your chances for quality performance during competition you have to make sure that your practice session reflects conditions that you are going to meet while competing. Here are the areas that have to be included:

 

Playing points

This is the crucial area. Playing points and competing in specific games can’t be performed just for the last 10 or 15 minutes of the practice. Tennis match is based on points so the more we practice this scenario the better we get at it. We learn what decisions we have to make, we learn how to solve on-court problems as also we understand how to analyze opponent’s game so we can use this information to achieve better effectiveness.

 

Developing solid responses to 3 situations

During every match players will be hitting offensive, neutral and defensive shots. Even when your style prefers only one area to be used as often as possible the ball of your opponent will force you to show your skills in 3 of them. Without proper preparation and experience players can miss a lot of balls during the match and lose to even less advanced opponent.

 

Dealing with mental pressure

Competition means stress. Players spend a lot of money on tennis development. They really care about what results they can achieve. Additionally they would like to also have fans behind them so they can help them through the tough moments in the match. However player can never be sure what to expect during the match and when getting on the court things can get even worse. That is why practicing different scenarios that put pressure on players (for example giving penalty for losing or missing specific ball) is an effective way to develop needed mental skills to compete effectively.

 

The beginning of the point

Most of the exercises during the practice sessions start with player or coach feeding the ball. That is not what we can meet during the tournament. In competition every point starts with serve and return so to develop good skills that will allow players to not miss first shots it is necessary to start exercises with serves and returns. This way players will get more comfortable with these 2 aspects and they will definitely increase the quality of these shots both during the training sessions and competitive matches.

 

Practice is not always a remedy for all competitive problems. If the practice goals don’t include specific areas related to competition it won’t help with improving the level of play. If you take part in competition make sure you practice and possess skills that are necessary to deal with many adversities. Equipped with these weapons you can go to the tournament and be sure that even when you lose it won’t be against yourself.