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The WebTennis Show Podcast - #62 - The Curse of Perfection

Too often we think we can perfect a certain stroke in a way that it'll never ever break down in a match.  

Just not realistic.  In fact, when you practice that much on just one stroke, you build up excuses to NOT play until you think you've got it perfected.

Getting close to perfection is all we can expect, and when you play, or put yourself out there, that's when you'll learn way more about that stroke than just drilling all day long ...

Would love to read in the Comments section below what's on your mind after you listen to this episode of the "WTS" ;-)

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Thanks.   Brent



  • Hi, this is Bottle who always writes about his freshly minted strokes at . You are always good, Brent, but this lesson with commentary was maybe your best. My only fear on this subject is that such good sense and arguments always for better footwork, etc., might discourage someone from actual invention of strokes.

    And when it comes to invention, a person doesn’t have to be brilliant all the time. If they keep on inventing— relentlessly— they are going to come up with something good— eventually. And it will, as you suggest, probably involve less technique rather than more.

    And then, when even the great new shot starts to go sour, it will be time to invent some more (at least in my outlook). While paying equal attention to footwork, strategy and every other facet of the game of course.

    John Escher
  • Hi Brent:

    Thank you. So many of us in the same situation as your friend. You’re “right on” about the shots hit in a doubles match that you cannot practice on a ball machine or in a doubles clinic with a pro. As someone who played at the 5.0 and 4.5 level in singles, I became quiet proficient in consistent stroke production. I used to count my shots and knew that if I played four high quality “safe” shots and not “go” for any until #5, I’d win.

    Fast forward 30 years. A little slower. A little less muscular. Scoped knees. NTRP 4.0. 4 times a week versus 7 days a week. Only playing doubles which is a completely different game and getting beaten by toads with horrible stroke production but they UNDERSTAND doubles because they’ve been playing doubles forever. For me, its not stoke production. I can’t begin to tell you how many doubles players that have beaten me that I refer to as " a serve and a forehand". They have developed useful patterns that work for them. The key is “useful patterns”. They know what they are going to do all the time. It’s my job to hit uncomfortable shots not in their pattern repertoire.
    So, lately I have immersed myself in the “learning” of doubles from you, from Gigi, Martina, from too many places.
    Gets noisy in my head.

    Here’s my takeaway from all this. Do not try to hit a finishing shot for at least three strikes of the ball (Unless a poach). It should probably be four or five but I’m not that patient like I was in my singles days. Don’t improvise on the spot…..hit the high value, high percentage shot that I’ve patterned for so many years. Stroke production to hit a normal high percentage shot is easy for me with the exception of things like high backhand volleys, half volleys at my feet and other difficult shots that I don’t regularly practice.

    Mark Brodeur
  • Brent – couldn’t agree more !!!!

    Major Dan