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View Full Version : I want to hit a million shots


HunterST
01-03-2010, 10:32 AM
Andre Agassi's father's philosophy was that if he made Andre hit a million shots a year, then he would be unstoppable. I did some rough math (it was hard to guess how many balls I hit at a lesson or in a match) and discovered it would take me about 19 years to reach a million balls at my current playing rate which is 1 lesson and 1 match per week (2 if I'm lucky).

What do you think is the best predictor of playing level? Time playing in years, Time spent playing per week or amount of balls hit? Obviously they will overlap, but say someone has been playing 2 years and has hit 100,000 balls, and another guy has been playing 6 months and has hit 200,000 balls, who would your money be on?

How many balls would you guess you have hit and what is your playing level?

Any ideas on how I can get more playing time? I really can't afford to hit with the ball machine more than once a week and I have virtually no one to hit with.

blue12
01-03-2010, 10:39 AM
If your finances are limited and you have don't have anybody to hit with i would say do what some of the best old school pros did. Hit the wall! Laver, Edburg, Gilbert and many others all hit the wall.

ALten1
01-03-2010, 10:49 AM
The old "hit a million" line. That is said in golf, billiards, and all other sports. I remember an old pro pool player once giving advice on how to become a pro, he said, "divorce your wife, quit your job, and pocket a million balls!" Fact is most people aren't ever going to that good at whatever they do. The tell all for me is at about 6 months of doing something if you do it regularly. By that time, if you're honest with yourself you can guage where your abilities are. Of course a persons drive counts for something but its hard to overcome physical ability. I would'nt waste my time hitting a million of anything unless I was 4 years old and a prodigy.

HunterST
01-03-2010, 11:16 AM
The old "hit a million" line. That is said in golf, billiards, and all other sports. I remember an old pro pool player once giving advice on how to become a pro, he said, "divorce your wife, quit your job, and pocket a million balls!" Fact is most people aren't ever going to that good at whatever they do. The tell all for me is at about 6 months of doing something if you do it regularly. By that time, if you're honest with yourself you can guage where your abilities are. Of course a persons drive counts for something but its hard to overcome physical ability. I would'nt waste my time hitting a million of anything unless I was 4 years old and a prodigy.

I'd have to agree that the number a million isn't some miracle number that will transform anyone into a pro tennis player.

However what the "hit a million" line suggested to me was that maybe practice is more important than years playing. Meaning someone who hit a million shots over a 2 year period could be at the same level as someone who hit a million balls over a 10 year period.

HunterST
01-03-2010, 11:19 AM
If your finances are limited and you have don't have anybody to hit with i would say do what some of the best old school pros did. Hit the wall! Laver, Edburg, Gilbert and many others all hit the wall.

Yeah that's a good idea, I always think about adding that to my practice. My only concern is that it would not replicate hitting perfectly and mess up my strokes.

ALten1
01-03-2010, 12:28 PM
However what the "hit a million" line suggested to me was that maybe practice is more important than years playing. Meaning someone who hit a million shots over a 2 year period could be at the same level as someone who hit a million balls over a 10 year period.[/QUOTE]
I agree that practice is very important....and how you practice is even more important. I've seen people (not necessarily tennis) practice with no goal in mind and all they are doing is wasting time and money.
I've seen people in pool rooms practice all the time and never get past a certain point, and then walks in a teenager and within 6 months is better than the guy thats hit 50,000 more shots than him.
I believe the golfer Greg Norman within 6 months of picking up a golf club could shoot par at the country club where he was allowed to play.

You asked about predictor of playing level. I say (short) time is one predictor. In billiards (across the south in late 80s-early 90s) I've played people with a lot less exprerience that were gifted and people with a lot more that were less gifted. Of course money makes your arm tighten up a little.
I do have a friend that teaches high school and can't make any of the athletes participate in class but of course someday they are all going pro in their respected sports.

ALten1
01-03-2010, 12:30 PM
new at this and screwed up above reply. I somehow left out shaded quote.

tennisguy2009
01-03-2010, 10:25 PM
Andre Agassi's father's philosophy was that if he made Andre hit a million shots a year, then he would be unstoppable. I did some rough math (it was hard to guess how many balls I hit at a lesson or in a match) and discovered it would take me about 19 years to reach a million balls at my current playing rate which is 1 lesson and 1 match per week (2 if I'm lucky).

What do you think is the best predictor of playing level? Time playing in years, Time spent playing per week or amount of balls hit? Obviously they will overlap, but say someone has been playing 2 years and has hit 100,000 balls, and another guy has been playing 6 months and has hit 200,000 balls, who would your money be on?

How many balls would you guess you have hit and what is your playing level?

Any ideas on how I can get more playing time? I really can't afford to hit with the ball machine more than once a week and I have virtually no one to hit with.

quality of coaching and quality of opponents are the 2 biggest factors in improving your tennis....

after that conditioning / strength training

after that repetitive training (like practice wall, drills, yada yada)


that's my opinion and I will stand by it.

mtommer
01-03-2010, 10:55 PM
Andre Agassi's father's philosophy was that if he made Andre hit a million shots a year, then he would be unstoppable. I did some rough math (it was hard to guess how many balls I hit at a lesson or in a match) and discovered it would take me about 19 years to reach a million balls at my current playing rate which is 1 lesson and 1 match per week (2 if I'm lucky).

What do you think is the best predictor of playing level? Time playing in years, Time spent playing per week or amount of balls hit? Obviously they will overlap, but say someone has been playing 2 years and has hit 100,000 balls, and another guy has been playing 6 months and has hit 200,000 balls, who would your money be on?

How many balls would you guess you have hit and what is your playing level?

Any ideas on how I can get more playing time? I really can't afford to hit with the ball machine more than once a week and I have virtually no one to hit with.

Don't forget the other parts in Andre's book. Namely, he had a brother and sister that did NOT succeed in tennis. Why was it that Andre succeeded then where his siblings did not? What was it that his dad saw and even Andre acknowledged that he possessed that apparently his siblings did not? His ability to track moving objects. Also, every one of those balls Andre hit he had a father sitting there yelling at him every time one went out or into the net. So, it's not merely a formula of 1,000,000 balls. It's a formula of 1,000,000 balls hit with diligence, stress and attention to consistency/placement and pace.

ALten1
01-04-2010, 04:48 AM
I believe an athlete in the top 100 of their respected field are about 1 in a million. No matter how much a person practices or how much drive is in them sometimes it just comes down to natural ability. Thats why I got a job, bought a house, had a kid and I am now pushing her like a government mule to hit a million balls and make me some dang money!

paulfreda
01-04-2010, 08:25 AM
I don't think McEnroe hit a million balls before facing Borg in 1981.
He is just naturally talented.
Conners had to work at it much more IMO.

So the number of balls to hit to become a top level player is quite arbitrary.

skiracer55
01-04-2010, 09:41 AM
...if you hit a million balls, but they're all shanks, what good did it do you? Improve yourself as an athlete, get your technical fundamentals down path, then hit as many balls as you need so you can (a) do what you want with the ball...pace, spin, placement, and so forth and (b) do it often. A killer forehand that goes in one in 20 times is worthless, a strong, deep ball that goes right down the middle all the time is going to beat most people most days.

Agassi's dad and Nick Bolletieri both pushed Andre early on in the direction of "heavy ground strokes on both sides, that is all you need to know." Yet Andre had an overall losing record to Sampras in their rivalry. Why? Because the two most important strokes in tennis are the serve and the return, in that order. Andre arguably had the better return, but Sampras clearly had the better serve...so all he needed was a just okay chip return most of the time, and when he saw his opening, he could take a rip at a return or two and get the break, knowing he could always hold his serve.

So when you think about what you're doing on the court and where you want to go, quality is always more important than quantity...

larry10s
01-04-2010, 10:09 AM
...if you hit a million balls, but they're all shanks, what good did it do you? Improve yourself as an athlete, get your technical fundamentals down path, then hit as many balls as you need so you can (a) do what you want with the ball...pace, spin, placement, and so forth and (b) do it often. A killer forehand that goes in one in 20 times is worthless, a strong, deep ball that goes right down the middle all the time is going to beat most people most days.

Agassi's dad and Nick Bolletieri both pushed Andre early on in the direction of "heavy ground strokes on both sides, that is all you need to know." Yet Andre had an overall losing record to Sampras in their rivalry. Why? Because the two most important strokes in tennis are the serve and the return, in that order. Andre arguably had the better return, but Sampras clearly had the better serve...so all he needed was a just okay chip return most of the time, and when he saw his opening, he could take a rip at a return or two and get the break, knowing he could always hold his serve.

So when you think about what you're doing on the court and where you want to go, quality is always more important than quantity...

your advice and insight is always excellent:) thanks for posting

gameboy
01-04-2010, 10:56 AM
Based on scientific research, it takes about 10,000 hours of practice for you to become an expert at any endeavor. That translates into about 15 to 25 years, depending on how often you practice.

More details here: http://www.answers.com/topic/domain-expertise

skiracer55
01-04-2010, 11:49 AM
your advice and insight is always excellent:) thanks for posting

...and it's always free, too!

larry10s
01-04-2010, 12:00 PM
...and it's always free, too!

you get what you pay for. lol JUST KIDDING

Shaolin
01-04-2010, 01:04 PM
Get a ball machine.

Focus on quality not quantity.

Spinz
01-04-2010, 01:12 PM
The amazing thing with Andre is that with all of that, he still almost quit the tour before he made it (when he and Phil were going around in a car). That's how hard it is to make it in tennis.

mtommer
01-04-2010, 01:34 PM
Get a ball machine.

Focus on quality not quantity.

You need both. Quality won't make hitting shots as natural as breathing. Quantity with no quality means you need an respirator in order to breath.

HunterST
01-04-2010, 01:43 PM
The amazing thing with Andre is that with all of that, he still almost quit the tour before he made it (when he and Phil were going around in a car). That's how hard it is to make it in tennis.

Yeah, I thought of that too. Even with his Dad forcing him into unreasonable amounts of practice and even though Andre could beat grown men and local college players at age 10 there were still kids around his age that could beat him and he still almost didn't make it.

Open is an awesome book for anyone who hasn't read it by the way. I usually don't like memoirs or autobiographies, but Open is great.

ttbrowne
01-04-2010, 05:24 PM
Great book!

I don't think it's the same...you wanting to hit a million balls vs Andre's Dad MAKING him hit a million balls. You're talking about hitting til you're give out and then someone forcing you to keep hitting.
Keep this in mind while you're hitting.

crash1929
01-04-2010, 08:42 PM
i've been thinking about that million balls hit line in the agassi book.for the past couple of months that book is all i've been thinking about. 2,500 ball per day for an 8 year old kid is a lot of work. comes out to just under a mil though.

my philosophy is it couldn't hurt. i just hit serves for three hours.and all to shots to targets.... the most i've ever done. trying to push myself.

again federer told me the best way to improve is to have a good coach and confidence. don't forget that.

HunterST
01-04-2010, 09:02 PM
i've been thinking about that million balls hit line in the agassi book.for the past couple of months that book is all i've been thinking about. 2,500 ball per day for an 8 year old kid is a lot of work. comes out to just under a mil though.

my philosophy is it couldn't hurt. i just hit serves for three hours.and all to shots to targets.... the most i've ever done. trying to push myself.

again federer told me the best way to improve is to have a good coach and confidence. don't forget that.

wait a second....I think you need to elaborate on Federer personally telling you something!

crash1929
01-05-2010, 08:02 PM
those are federer's exact words to me personally! i feel pretty lucky. on his site, which i haven't visited in a long time he used to have a page where you could ask him questions and he actually would reply to some!

i asked him; "is the best way to improve by playing people better than you?"

he replied: "the best way to improve is to have confidence and a good coach"

confidence is everything. remembering to always be confident and project confidence is key. supremely confident at all times on the court. it helps me stay relaxed and loose to get those big popping shots. and thats the challenge of tennis for me. staying confident and cool in the midst of adversity. not easy to do sometimes.....but this is were the true beauty of the game lies!

darthpwner
01-05-2010, 08:57 PM
Depends on your talent level. I personally liked all his descriptions about Pete kicking his *** on almost every occasion

skiracer55
01-06-2010, 08:58 AM
you get what you pay for. lol JUST KIDDING


...I set you up good for that one, didn't I? I have another idea...let's you and I hammer a nail into a board. Here...you swing the hammer, I'll hold the nail...and when I nod my head, you hit it, okay? Wuddia think?

larry10s
01-06-2010, 09:24 AM
...I set you up good for that one, didn't I? I have another idea...let's you and I hammer a nail into a board. Here...you swing the hammer, I'll hold the nail...and when I nod my head, you hit it, okay? Wuddia think?

works for me. great idea. we make a good team:):)

charliefedererer
01-06-2010, 11:44 AM
Yeah, I thought of that too. Even with his Dad forcing him into unreasonable amounts of practice and even though Andre could beat grown men and local college players at age 10 there were still kids around his age that could beat him and he still almost didn't make it.

Open is an awesome book for anyone who hasn't read it by the way. I usually don't like memoirs or autobiographies, but Open is great.

Forget about practicing to be a pro. The odds are a million to one against it.

Tennis is a game that you can enjoy for the rest of your life. It can be the "carrot on a string" that keeps you in shape and leads to healthy eating, a healthy lifestyle and a host of friends.

It sounds like you need to figure out how to get more hitting partners. But don't negect that hitting against the wall advice in the meantime.

skiracer55
01-06-2010, 12:11 PM
works for me. great idea. we make a good team:):)


...unfortunately, you're where again? And I'm in Colorado, where this is the first winter on record we can't play outdoors in January (high of 10, low of minus 2 tomorrow)...but the good news is that the skiing is incredible...

HunterST
01-06-2010, 12:17 PM
Forget about practicing to be a pro. The odds are a million to one against it.

Tennis is a game that you can enjoy for the rest of your life. It can be the "carrot on a string" that keeps you in shape and leads to healthy eating, a healthy lifestyle and a host of friends.

It sounds like you need to figure out how to get more hitting partners. But don't negect that hitting against the wall advice in the meantime.

Yeah, I'm trying to figure out some ways to find people to hit with. Just to be clear, I in no way think I have even the slightest chance of being a pro. I would just like to reach the highest level I possibly can.

charliefedererer
01-07-2010, 12:35 PM
Yeah, I'm trying to figure out some ways to find people to hit with. Just to be clear, I in no way think I have even the slightest chance of being a pro. I would just like to reach the highest level I possibly can.

Good for you.

One of the enjoyable things about tennis is that tennis is hard to master. It's hard even to be decent.

Therefore there is a sense of accomplishment at making even slow progress.

And yes, if your dad made you hit 2500 extra balls a day from a ball machine cranked up to make you hit it on the rise, you would be advancing faster.
But you probabley would be as miserable as Agassi was.
On the other hand, it sounds like you are enjoying your tennis.

ALten1
01-07-2010, 08:15 PM
Good for you.

One of the enjoyable things about tennis is that tennis is hard to master. It's hard even to be decent.

Therefore there is a sense of accomplishment at making even slow progress.

And yes, if your dad made you hit 2500 extra balls a day from a ball machine cranked up to make you hit it on the rise, you would be advancing faster.
But you probabley would be as miserable as Agassi was.
On the other hand, it sounds like you are enjoying your tennis.

I am broke and happy. I am ready to try rich and miserable