Originally Posted by Black Knight
Some really interesting comments here. The tempo of the point is something your never really notice unless you are actually playing it yourself. With each ball coming so fast and deep, time and time again, you have little chance I guess, to formulate a plan as it is happening, especially if you are not used to that kind of play. That's probably why Skiracer, you mentioned the need for that plan for each point before you actually get in to it. If you have an idea of what you want to do, and through practice you've gained confidence in your ability to do it each time, then you probably won't be put off as much by that kind of constant pressure.
I guess it is why a lot of the pros say they gain their practice from matches during the season.
Nice one! Your posts made for some interesting reading!
...I think you've got some good perceptions. John Newcombe used to call it "preacting." My former coach, Dave Hodge, used to talk about putting a videotape in your head of what you wanted to do on the serve...and then rerunning the video to make it happen.
There's a drill that another of my former coaches, Sam Winterbotham (now head coach of the Tennessee Vols men's team), used to do with me. And that is, without rushing it, whoever has a ball in his hand starts the point with a serve, play the point out, quick breath, start the next point. No score, the idea is to get the flow, the tempo, that you want in point play and keep it going, build on it.
Basic pattern play isn't a bad idea, either, as a drill. One I do with one of my hitting partners, just a bread and butter movement to the net point, goes like this: I chip a short ball to his backhand, he hits the approach down the line, I hit a pass to the center of the court, now the gloves are off, play the point out. Repeat 10 times, then switch to the other side. Even if you're not a player who likes spending a lot of time at the net, this drill is a good one because it will force you to (a) up-tempo your point play and movement (but you still have to stay smooth to make it work) (b) hit precisely under pressure...try it, you'll like it...