I can´t say it enough, play more practice matches!
How many times have you seen someone with a great technique losing to someone who´s technique isn´t that good at all? I have seen it many times and unfortunately this has happened to me many times as well back in the days as a junior player.
There is a big difference between players who are just good hitters vs players who really understand the game.
So why are practice matches so important?
A tennis match is all about problem solving. The more you are used about difficult situations on the court during training and practice matches, the better you will be able to deal with difficult situations during the real matches.
It happens a lot of times that coaches with their players only work on the technical part of the game. While it´s a super important part of tennis, it has no use to work on your game with the use of drills 5x per week. As said before, tennis is about problem solving, hitting balls from the basket all the time doesn´t require you to solve many problems.
In order for a solid player to be created. I´m not suggesting all you need to do to become a better player is to play matches, ofcourse not! There has to be a balance between working on your shots technically, physical condition, mental ability, tactics and match play.
I would suggest to play a practice match atleast 1 time per week. Try to focus on only one goal every practice match so you don´t overload yourself with too many changes at a time. You want to stick to your plan no matter what, winning or losing.
Tournament play is all about winning. You don’t want to lose the match and often we play not to lose instead of playing to win. This results in being very tight, not going for shots and we feel we are not performing as well as we can.
Use practice matches to work on certain shots and to use different match strategies without the result being of any importance. You want to work on understanding how you should construct your points in a better way. It´s ok to make mistakes during practice matches as long you are working towards improving your overall game.
Players need to use practice matches to become better tournament players. Eventually they will get more confident with the new skill they are working on. As a result, they will start using this newly learned skill during tournament matches.
Practice matches for juniors, YES PLEASE
For junior players especially the fun is the most important part of those practice matches. They should be able to go out there and for example try ´´stupid´´ shots. Making mistakes is part of the game, even a mistake like trying to hit a winner when in very defensive position doesn´t matter, as long as the player learns from it and tries to understand what works and what doesn´t. Don´t forget, it´s a practice match!
Parents shouldn´t worry about the results but instead let their child work on things to get better. It´s key for junior players to work on something new rather than just hitting the balls in to win. They should be encouraged to attack that shorter ball, or to try going to the net from time to time. Once again, the player that understands they game better, is most likely to win more matches than the player that just strikes the ball clean.
In the end if a player put’s the time and effort in by the time they are 17 and 18 year olds most will have sufficient strokes, but the ones that have learned to think properly as well, will be in a much better position to be successful as a tennis player.
Benefits of practice matches
- A practice match is an opportunity to improve your tennis in a match situation, but without the pressure of winning and losing.
- You get to work on your determination. Even when things aren´t going as you want yet, keep trying hard and stay focused on what you´re trying to improve!
- Playing many practice matches will make you a better tournament player.
This was our post on the importance of practice matches. NOW quickly text your tennis partner to arrange a practice match and become the tournament player you always wanted to be 🙂