What is the point of endless blathering on about a wider stance for a weight exercise or the foot position for a forehand or the racket grip for a dropshot? You know that tennis player on the next court who is always yelling and swearing at themselves for making the same mistake over and over again? They probably don’t keep a training diary. Acquiring the skill to play a sport is a matter of making endless small adjustments every day. If you take the time to write down the adjustments you need to make, two things will likely happen. First, you will automatically begin to make the adjustment without thinking about it. Second, in the middle of a match, if you’re stroke is off, you will remember the adjustment, implement it and be able to improve your play.
You aren’t likely to turn into Alex Rodriguez any time soon, he probably takes batting practice 5 times a day and has a body you could only dream about, but making these same daily improvements is the same way he became the athlete he is.
Practice and Competition Report: worked out at the gym for one hour and a quarter
1. The rhythm of arm raises is 4-2-1: 2 counts to raise the dumbbells, 1 count hold at the top, 4 counts to lower the dumbbells. After the 4 count, I need to go right back up, not rest at the bottom.
2. I need to widen my stance for the side stance lunge else I can’t sit back far enough and I hurt my knee.
Average Rating: 4.6 out of 5 based on 295 user reviews.
I got really nervous as the wind blew and the second deuce sudden deaths kept piling up. Finally I had a bit of a meltdown and missed a bunch of easy shots. As soon as the match was over the nervousness was immediately gone.
I know many figures in sports who absolutely hate to lose. Don Shula comes to mind. His daughter said the family kept their distance from him after a Miami Dolphin loss because he took it so hard. Is it necessary to hate losing to be a winner? I think that the process of wallowing over a loss is similar to being obsessed by a previous point while playing a match. If I am thinking about something that already happened, I cannot possibly concentrate on what I’m supposed to be doing at the moment.
After I lose a match, particularly if I lose due to a meltdown, I think about the improvements I need to win next time and then come up with a plan to make these improvements. Here is my current plan: do the nervousness affirmation again, mentally rehearse thinking about where I want the ball to land instead of thinking about technique, mentally rehearse taking my time to hit a solid return of a soft second serve.
Next, I lift my head up out of the puddle I am wallowing in and write down the things I did well because there are probably a lot of them.
I considered jumping into a sty with a bunch of pigs and wallowing to my heart’s content. Completely exhausting an emotional response is a good way to get past it and the silliness of wallowing would probably become very apparent to me.
Practice and Competition Report: I started league play today, we play one set of doubles and one set of singles: 7-6 (7-4), 5-7
1. looking for a solution to getting nervous. Possible solution: use the directive affirmation for nervousness again. Obviously it didn’t work the first time.
2. looking for a solution to the problem of losing my stroke during a match. Possible solution: clear my mind of any strategy for the time being and think only about where I want the ball to land when I hit it.
3. looking for a solution to rushing the return of my opponent’s soft second serve. When I rush this shot, the ball ends up in the net or somewhere else it shouldn’t go.
1. I had only one double fault at a time when the wind blew and the sun was directly overhead.
2. My reactions were very good, I flicked my racket out there and caught a good number of balls cleanly. I also ran down a lot of balls.
3. I realized that I just had to keep the ball in the court instead of going for a lot of winners because my opponent was making enough mistakes without my help.
Average Rating: 5 out of 5 based on 204 user reviews.
Tennis acts as a touchstone, something that provides continuity in my life. While other things may be falling apart completely or coming together spectacularly, tennis remains a day in and day out practice. Sounds like meditation doesn’t it?
Practice and Competition Routine: Jose was gracious enough to play tennis with me while I am visiting his household in (freezing) Oakland. We played two rally games: 15-5, 15-8.
Solutions Analysis: we were sitting on the bench between games and Jose was remembering his tennis teacher’s instructions, “Move your feet, step into the ball…” Then I remembered, “Step into the ball.” From then on, my ground strokes were deeper and harder. We like it like that.
Success Analysis: after spending the week moving from one house to another, finishing the various paint and stain jobs in the new house, holding two parties in one night and then driving to Oakland the next day for a (did I say already?) freezing cold pool party, I am happy to say that I had enough left to move my feet and and get around the court really well. I was able to anticipate shots and use my footwork to come to the net very effectively.
Average Rating: 5 out of 5 based on 275 user reviews.