Morning! What's up? Soupy foggy morning so far here in Moraga. It'll burn off by 9:23
So, I play singles from time to time with a good friend of mine.
He's a solid 4.5 player who loves to serve & volley, chip & charge returns of serve, and is always looking to approach so that he can end up at net when the point's over.
A great strategy for sure.
And he's been diligently working on his game.
Getting high quality coaching on a fairly regular schedule. Plus, he studies. He watches what the other top age group players do, absorbs it all in, and is doing all of the right stuff ... except in one area.
And that one area is right after he makes an unforced error --- a mistake.
I'll be the first to admit that what he does is what I used to do --- a lot.
But first ... let's look at what he does when he plays a good shot that ends up winning a point. Maybe doesn't hit an outright winner, but puts some pressure on me that 'forces' me to miss my shot.
He's got this walk ...
It's not a cocky strut, but it's an air of quiet confidence. You know that walk. It feels good, it feels strong, it feels like you're in control ...
But when he makes that unforced error or a mistake, his walk changes.
There's a slight cocking of the head to the side, an extremely slow walk back to the baseline, and the body language is very clear --- how is it possible for me to miss THAT shot?
It's a look of being defeated. It draws attention to him. It's pure negativity.
And it doesn't help him make slight adjustments and play the next point with a clear head.
I mentioned this to him recently. As a friend, as a coach ... I just told him what I observed and why I thought it was hurting his improvement process.
And like you, he wants to try and play at a little higher skill level. Who doesn't?
And there are two things I suggested ...
1) When you make a mistake, ditch the negative walk.
I'm not saying you have to skip to my Lou back to the baseline, but just do the same walk you'd do as if you'd just played a nice little drop volley for a winner.
2) As you're walking back, consider what's the correction you want to make for the next time.
If it's something to do with your forehand groundie for example, take a couple of rehearsal swings to 'feel' what it is you want to correct.
Or that correction could be something as simple as let's go for a target that's further inside the lines. No technique correction. Just a slightly bigger target.
And the correction is that you're going to trust that bigger target.
Sometimes my correction is simply --- "hey, nice swing. Keep that front shoulder in there a hair longer". And I'll rehearse the feeling of that front shoulder with a couple of deliberate practice swings. Easy ...
But whatever you do ... it's never negative self talk --- or negative walk.
Improvement requires slight corrections after the fact. You obviously have to know what those corrections should be, and if you don't, then how can you ever self correct?
Pretty tough ...
Get a teaching pro online and/or off line who knows and teaches fundamentals. Become a student of the game. Study what the other top guys / gals do
What's on your mind?
Come on now ... get out THERE wherever you are and help someone else have a great day
P.S. - your topspin serve. Is it sitting up over there? Darn. If so, I've got a comp video that'll help you combine power with spin that results in a nice high bounce --- possibly even a kicker.
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