Tennis training: simple drill for peak performance

by | Nov 25, 2017 | Performance

For a couple of sessions, lately, my tennis coach Iris has had me play a game in which the court area is halved and the body is also constrained by disallowing shots from either the backhand or forehand side. This game directly addresses the second 33% of the tennis game.

In the diagram below, only the green zones are “in”, hitting everywhere else is an error. In this example, if both players are right-handed, only forehands are allowed. Groundstrokes and volleys are acceptable, but both must be hit on the forehand side.

The game makes my brain sweat. The benefits, however, are enormous. Several mental skills are sharpened:

Observation

The limited court real estate and removal of half of my arsenal (in this example: no backhands) forces me to appreciate the nuances of a tennis point, for instance:

  • Ball height
  • Ball depth
  • Ball speed variations
  • Ball spin variations
  • Maximizing court geometry

Awareness

By recognizing the nuances mentioned above, I can develop an eye for what the opponent is doing. In his book Winning Ugly, Brad Gilbert emphasizes the importance of knowing “who is doing what to whom”. Without this skill, it is virtually impossible to turn around a match.

Intention

Similar to awareness, once I understand the nuances of a point, I begin to see how every single shot should have a purpose, and also that every shot does not have to be equal in speed, depth, height, and spin as the previous shot. Every ball element can be combined with a smart use of court geometry (e.g., short balls, angles, high ball down the line) to get to the net and finish with a volley.

“Finish with a volley”… haha sounds so simple! 😉

Patience

One additional characteristic is that, in the absence of unforced errors, limited tools and limited court surface result in each point lasting much longer than a regular one. The reason is that having your opponent “on the run” is way more difficult. So you must learn to be patient, there is no alternative.

I’m hoping that combining patience with observation, awareness, and intention will make tennis less of a nightmare.

 

A note on chess: King Pawn vs King Endgame

It was either on a Tim Ferriss or James Altucher podcast where I heard about the importance of learning how to checkmate or defend when there are only three pieces on a chessboard: a king and a pawn on one side, a lonely king on the other. (Wikipedia link here).

They said that this exercise teaches fundamental knowledge about the entire game of chess.

If you notice, it is exactly the same technique: by removing tools or adding constraints, we are forced to apply ourselves harder and ultimately see things more clearly.

It’s poetry.

0 Comments

Leave a Reply

Latest from the Blog

2018 Homework Log

In 2018, I want to explore and learn the world of content creation for websites. I came up with a wishlist: As a way to maintain the motivation, discipline, and direction, I defined very simple rules: Dedicate at least one hour every day to this initiative...

read more

Developing a mental map of WordPress

Saturday January 20, 2018 Learning the building blocks of Wordpress I'm new to the Wordpress world. I set up this website in one weekend by purchasing the Divi theme and a child theme called Ally. I have added a few plugins that other bloggers recommend: Smush, Yoast...

read more

28 May 1453 at dusk | Byzantium | The Decline and Fall

Imagine yourself crossing the threshold of Hagia Sophia as a random tourist visiting Istanbul. You’re wearing your blue jeans, white sneakers, and a t-shirt with the Nike logo on it.

Now imagine yourself crossing the threshold after having read the above passage. The distance is unmeasurable, isn’t it?

Now imagine you are entering the church on 28 May 1453.

read more
Share This

This Area is Widget-Ready

You can place here any widget you want!

You can also display any layout saved in Divi Library.

Let’s try with contact form: