Practice or Matches which do u like ?

Discussion in 'Adult League & Tournament Talk' started by RogerRacket111, Aug 4, 2010.

  1. RogerRacket111

    RogerRacket111 Semi-Pro

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    When I say Practice I mean hitting or rallying and when I say Matches I mean playing sets. I don't make a distinction between practice sets and real matches.

    For the longest time I used to enjoy practice a lot more than sets. I would hit for hours and not play many sets. I used to feel like I had to have every stroke down perfect before I played matches. I would feel like I reach amazing heights and get in the zones. I would have 3 or 4 types of forehands I could choose to hit on every shot. But I ended up not doing well in matches. Then I realized matchplay is something totally different.

    Now I find myself in the other side playing mostly sets and my practice is the 15minute warm up. I'm so much better at matchplay now but I still wish I could practice a lot more. I feel like my strokes are not perfect but I can win with what I have on a given day. There are many shots that I don't have in my bag because of the lack of practice.

    How do you guys split up your practice and sets or matchplay? Which do you enjoy more?

    Do you make practice sets an opportunity to work on certain strokes ?
     
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  2. JRstriker12

    JRstriker12 Hall of Fame

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    Maybe it's time to make that distiction between practice sets and match sets?

    In a practice set you work to integrate new strokes/shots into your overall game in a competitive setting. This can give you a guage of how ready that new skill is for match play.

    Of course you can do this in match play too, but you might have to take your lumps before it clicks.

    As for practice vs. match -

    When the USTA season ends, my practice to match ratio is probably closer to 4 to 1. Durring the summer, I tend to get out and hit with friends, set up drill sessions, or play competitve practice games (21, tie-breakers, etc). I'll also get some USTA combo or local singles ladder match play in about once a week. If I have time, I may squeeze in a tournament or two. At this point, most people are either recovering from or trying to up their game for the next USTA league season.

    When the weather gets cold and I go indoors or when USTA season starts, my practice to match ratio is probably closer to 1 to 3. I might have a once a week clinic, but due to court costs and availablity of indoor time, it's a lot easier to do USTA or singles leagues at the local clubs.

    I enjoy both. Sometime practice with a friend is more fun, but sometimes it just gets dull and you want to play some matches. I think I get a good mix of both.
     
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  3. bodieq

    bodieq Rookie

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    I prefer hitting but where we treat it like a real point (i.e. from the rally exchange we play out the point, but don't keep score).

    I like it as a middle-ground between simply rallying versus playing full sets/matches.
     
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  4. Ripper014

    Ripper014 Hall of Fame

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    Stepping stones... practice > practice sets > match play

    But no matter what, practice is key... and practice mean focusing on something specific... not just hitting the ball over the net.
     
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  5. J011yroger

    J011yroger G.O.A.T.

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    I like to practice more, but I make myself play sets.

    I suppose ideally I would be at 50% practice, 25% singles matchplay, 25% Doubles matchplay. Maybe 30/20 singles/doubles?

    J
     
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  6. hrstrat57

    hrstrat57 Hall of Fame

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    ....been practicing for about 50 yrs or so since I was a wee lil nipper...

    I always preferred playing...and I always hit my best tennis shots in match play in regards to both pace and technique.

    ...but I like hitting lotsa balls too....my motto has always been the one that hits the most balls wins....same holds true for golf.
     
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  7. mm916157

    mm916157 New User

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    set sets sets. Practice is good, but you need the full speed, high pressure, need to win this point scenario of a set. I do at least.
     
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  8. thejuice

    thejuice Hall of Fame

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    Ummm, that isn't so true for golf. The one that hits the fewer amount of balls wins (unless you mean hitting balls on the range). :)

    To the OP, this is a great topic. I actually HATE practice, or at least feeling like I'm practicing. I do realize the importance of practice though so I've learned to both enjoy and take advantage of practice sets. I have a few people that have different hitting styles that I will play practice sets with. I work on things that help me as I play their particular styles and they do the same when playing me. I am a lefty with a big serve and forehand and likes to play the net A LOT. I am working on making my 1hbh more of a weapon and getting more consistent with my second serve. When I play one of my hittnig partners that has a mean return, I try to work on hitting a lot of kick serves (for both first and second serves) because it benefits both me and him. Same thing when I play one of my partners that can lob the hell out of Yao Ming with no problem. I will make sure to S&V all set which helps me with my footwork and placing my serve more accurately. Even when I'm hitting with my son I will play only one serve for myself and it has to be a spin serve of some kind. This helps him with catching the ball on the rise and puts the pressure on me to get my serve in (a la the same pressure I feel when hitting a second serve in a real match situation).

    I think you get my point. Think about what you want to work on, find out what your hitting partner wants to work on, and figure a gameplan that helps you both achieve your goals. This way, you both feel like you've accomplished something and you will want to continue playing practice sets. You may even start putting more pressure on yourself like betting on who buys the beers or after set buffalo wings.

    Sorry for the long reply, I just really like this topic.
     
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  9. polski

    polski Semi-Pro

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    I like to hit for about 40 minutes and then either play a set out or a few tiebreakers. Generally, if I can find a solid hitting partner it will go something like this:

    2-3 minutes - mini tennis
    5-10 minutes - baseline, down the middle...consistancy over pace
    5-10 minutes - crosscourts, both sides
    5-10 minutes - down the lines, both sides
    5-10 minutes - side to side volley rallies w/ both at net
    Hit 20-25 serves
    Play some points
     
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  10. mlktennis

    mlktennis Semi-Pro

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    I will go on streaks of practice and very little match play to lots of match play and less practice. Ideally I would do 3 practice to 1 match. BUT, practice with a purpose and not just to hit balls back and forth ( after 10 min, I can't take it and feel like I'm wasting time and energy)

    I find that matches takes its toll on my body and I end up playing less or more prone to injury while I can practice at a pace my body can deal with and stop when I want and yet still hit lots of balls.

    My take is that I still have a long way to go on refining my strokes, balance, and footwork and so more practice than matches for me. Over the last month, the few matches I have played have shown overall improvement. And every once in a while my body just does something I practiced -perfectly and automatically- Wow- what a feeling that all the work put in is not wasted.
     
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  11. tnnsman7

    tnnsman7 New User

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    My first post!

    I vote for a mix of both.
    Years ago, I was on a team and we would do a 2 hour drill with a pro once per week on Tuesday nights, then play a practice or real match once per week as well, usually on Saturdays. My game peaked during my time on that team. That club closed and we all scattered to other clubs around town and ended up on different teams.
    My current team mates hate to drill, they only want to play sets for practice. My game has slipped down a level and I can't get it back up. I'd join a drill myself if I could, but we play twice per week as a team and I can't spare an extra night yet - kids still at home and for some reason the wife wants my help once in a while!
     
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  12. thejuice

    thejuice Hall of Fame

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    Welcome to TT!!! I can totally understand and empathize with the family thing!!!
     
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  13. larry10s

    larry10s Hall of Fame

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    i think the percentages change based on level. 3.0-4.0 still need alot of technical imrovement so more drilling than matches.this phase to me you are learning how to hit the ball more than how to play
    4.0 -5.0 drilling to keep working on weaknesses and building strengths but more match play to learn how and when to use your skill.this phase is learning how to play.more than learning how to hit.
    5.0 and above more of the same except they do it all so much better.
     
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  14. Jim A

    Jim A Professional

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    has to be both, I mean if you had all the strokes you would be on the tour and then just play points with your hitting partners after a warmup..

    I like to work on things with a ball machine first...get the stroke down..then use it when hitting with others and finally move on to trying it in some practice tiebreakers/sets..big difference between hitting it on the machine and while at 15-30 in a match..

    I play more practice sets inbetween seasons and more practice drills during since I'm getting my match play already via league/tournaments
     
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  15. saigonbond

    saigonbond Guest

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  16. Sherlock

    Sherlock Rookie

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    I agree with this poster. I also divide up practice into some subcategories: fed ball drills, live ball drills, and hitting. In my opinion there are 5 distinct methods of improving your tennis: the three above combined with practice matches and real matches. Each provides it's own unique pyschological and pysical way of allowing you to work on your game, and NONE (including fed balls) should be ignored.

    I think a good starting point would be to give each of these areas equal time, 20% each. Of course it is not easy to get someone to feed you balls an equal amount of time to the amount of real matchplay you would typically get. I would prefer live ball drills to hitting, where one partner is working on something specific and the other is just cooperating. So maybe a more realistic distribution of those 5 areas would be

    Fed balls 5-10%
    Live ball drills 20-30%
    Hitting 10%
    Practice matches 20%
    Real matches 30-40%
     
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  17. anantak2k

    anantak2k Semi-Pro

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    Playing sets = 80% of the time
    Practicing = 10%
    Fooling around = 10%

    For some reason when I am just practicing, I can't motivate myself to try my best, which basically leads to me messing around. I prefer practicing during real matches in which I have no business losing to my opponents. Every now and then I lose, but that's okay. It nice to see my opponents who normally don't beat me get very happy.
     
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  18. anantak2k

    anantak2k Semi-Pro

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    I do however love to practice my volleys (probably because I really want to improve this aspect of my game and am extremely motivated to do so). Ground strokes... I can't motivate myself to move my feet during practice. Serves... I find it too boring to practice, which is probably why my serve is not that great.
     
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  19. polski

    polski Semi-Pro

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    In a normal week, I practice 1 or 2 times per week & I play 1 match.

    In an ideal week, I would practice 2-3 days per week & play a tournament on the weekend (3 or 4 matches?).
     
    #19
  20. jatmallet

    jatmallet New User

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    I'm new around here, and I have to agree with the above. I'm recently gotten big into tennis as opposed to just playing USTA leagues and never practicing. Being a 3.5- or so, I've found that practice, and not playing practice sets but actually working on consistency and placement is key. I've been practicing with friends, family, pretty much whomever I can nag into hitting with me 4 days a week, and I'm hoping these drills pay off come match time this winter!
     
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