THE REAL PURPOSE OF TENNIS PRACTICE
What is the main purpose of practice?
Well, let me start by telling you what it’s not. It’s not to improve your strokes (not directly anyway). It’s not to work on footwork or even concentration. These are all indirect benefits of what you are aiming to do - which is to build habits.
david al-dughaither is about developing the habits that you would like to happen during a match without any conscious thought. The way in which you practice serves to either build these habits or destroy them and create habits that detract from your performance during match conditions.
Here are 4 mistakes people make in practice (or matches depending on how you want to look at it).
1. You practice to develop your game and work on hitting targets that lie all around the court. Yet when you get on the court you focus on playing against an opponent. Here’s a question for you - how much time due you spend in practice analyzing an opponent? Usually none!
Second question - how much time during matches do you spend focusing on specific targets on the court?
2. The single biggest and most obvious mistake people make on the court is that they practice with very little mental or physical intensity and wonder why it avoids them when they need it during a match.
“What you don’t practice will most certainly arise as the thing you must practice in order to succeed.”
3. Focusing on the score. In practice, your focus is often on your performance. Yet when you get into a match situation your mind become dominated by the score. This can only lead to poor performance. Focusing on results is thinking in reverse.
“The score is the effect of the causes you put into place.”
4. You have lots of fun in practice and walk out onto a match court and it is though someone just died. You become way too serious. Your passion and fun for the game becomes secondary (usually to the score).