Do tennis coaches hate coaching adults?

Badmrfrosty

Rookie
Maybe it's just the private lessons I've had but I always get the impression coaches really only want to coach juniors. Is this the case? Seems tough to find a coach that is invested in improving adult rec play.
 

time_fly

Hall of Fame
Good coaches definitely prefer to work with junior “prospects” more than anyone else for obvious reasons. Teaching adults and unathletic kids still pays the bills. But there are still good coaches for adults to work with out there - dump anyone who treats you like you aren’t worth it.
 
Maybe it's just the private lessons I've had but I always get the impression coaches really only want to coach juniors. Is this the case? Seems tough to find a coach that is invested in improving adult rec play.
I second @time_fly: there are great coaches out there but you have to find them. They aren't a dime a dozen. And your learning style has a lot to do with that also: what's "great" for one student might not be for another.

Maybe also a lot of them are jaded by adult students who take lessons but never practice so they never improve but blame the coach. If you show that you are motivated to improve and not just interested in quick fixes, their attitude should change also. Tell your coach what your plans are for improvement and plan a roadmap together. The more both of you are invested, the more likely both of you will get out of the relationship what you want.
 

OnTheLine

Hall of Fame
I second @time_fly:

Maybe also a lot of them are jaded by adult students who take lessons but never practice so they never improve but blame the coach. .
This!
I am at a club that has a robust adult program. There are over 40 clinics each week for adults only. That is on top of all the league teams practicing and playing out of the club. And of course, private lessons.

We have 5 coaches that solely work with the adult players plus a few who cross-over with the juniors. Some will do a one-off lesson, others will only take on an adult student in a package ... and if you aren't practicing in between will drop you. Their reputation and therefore future livelihood is on the line based on whether you improve or not.
 

Ft.S

Semi-Pro
There are different disciplines in coaching, and for adults the path is slightly different from a certification perspective. I think junior coaching, technically, maybe tougher than adults.

I think the main issue regarding the extent or limitations around adult programs is more to do with the financials. Adults by nature are irregular customers, hence maintaining predictable income to solely dedicate yourself to adult coaching is very difficult.
 

FiReFTW

Legend
There are some really good coaches out there, the ones who have alot of passion about tennis and their students and want the students to improve as much as they want it.

You will know when you meet a coach like that because he really invests in you, invests his time even outside of that private hour and really tries to help you as best he/she can.

But they are rare, 95% of them are just horrible and only care about getting paid for that 1 hour, sadly.
 
This is definitely the case with high end coaches that deal with an active junior cohort at their club.

I am a serious adult learner. Most rec coaches really like to coach me.
One guy even stopped charging me, since he dealt with little kids at the club all day.

But, there is a guy at a local club who I've wanted to take a diagnostic lesson with. Roadmap for the summer.
I am trying to hand this guy $125 and he has shown zero interest.
Replies are simply "Busy today." No follow up or alternative dates/times. LOL.
 

Cindysphinx

G.O.A.T.
If you want your pro to work with you, you have to work. So that means get in shape, practice, and above all, do what they say. Deep down, any decent instructor finds it rewarding when a student improves.

I have seen so so so many adults just refuse to do something because they think their way is better. Like, they insist on volleying or serving with the wrong grip. You do that, and the pro isn’t going to take you seriously.
 
If you want your pro to work with you, you have to work. So that means get in shape, practice, and above all, do what they say. Deep down, any decent instructor finds it rewarding when a student improves.

I have seen so so so many adults just refuse to do something because they think their way is better. Like, they insist on volleying or serving with the wrong grip. You do that, and the pro isn’t going to take you seriously.
The general attitude is "I want to improve significantly but I don't want to change anything." The coach will think "Harry Potter and Roger Federer wouldn't be able to fix your game with that approach."
 

Badmrfrosty

Rookie
There are some really good coaches out there, the ones who have alot of passion about tennis and their students and want the students to improve as much as they want it.

You will know when you meet a coach like that because he really invests in you, invests his time even outside of that private hour and really tries to help you as best he/she can.

But they are rare, 95% of them are just horrible and only care about getting paid for that 1 hour, sadly.
95%!!!! *&#*... I don't even know if there are 20 coaches in the city, sigh.

Might have to just start posting videos here instead.
 

FiReFTW

Legend
95%!!!! *&#*... I don't even know if there are 20 coaches in the city, sigh.

Might have to just start posting videos here instead.
The coach needs to be super passionate about tennis, love the sport and love teaching people play and developing them and really care about making them better and their success.. thats not rare only with tennis coaches its rare in life in general, most people are selfish and don't really care much about others success.
 

Shaolin

G.O.A.T.
Affluent adults are a good continuing source of money, because they never improve but will take lessons forever because they can afford them and also as an exercise and something to do.
^^This is BS.

@TimeToPlaySets is correct. Serious adult players are fun to teach. I coached for about 15 years and loved working with anyone as long as they came out on court committed and wanting to get as good as possible.

I never had an adult player that wasn't motivated. Contrary to what sureshs said above, adults can easily improve. I've taken guys from 3.5 to 5.0 and it's really fun to see.
 

FiReFTW

Legend
^^This is BS.

@TimeToPlaySets is correct. Serious adult players are fun to teach. I coached for about 15 years and loved working with anyone as long as they came out on court committed and wanting to get as good as possible.

I never had an adult player that wasn't motivated. Contrary to what sureshs said above, adults can easily improve. I've taken guys from 3.5 to 5.0 and it's really fun to see.
And theres a serious relationship and friendship thats also built in this long process, afterall you spend alot of time with a student if hes serious and have fun times together, also talk off coaching hours alot probably aswell, and have other means of contact and maybe even doing other stuff, so wonderful!

And must be cool to see someone progress through the years and then you think back 5 years ago how he couldn't hit 2 shots like that, now hits 20 in a row at 3x higher pace etc... I find it very intriguing the whole thing.
 

Nacho

Professional
Maybe it's just the private lessons I've had but I always get the impression coaches really only want to coach juniors. Is this the case? Seems tough to find a coach that is invested in improving adult rec play.
Some really great coaches out there that work with Adults. And I think a lot of them would rather work with an adult player then a JR with a parent griping on the side of the court. The problem is most adults aren't working to be better, they just want to be drilled or run around. Coaches get so much of this, or adults that aren't open to suggestions; it leaves adult players guilty by association. And many good adult players that care don't bother or want to pay for coaching, so coaches usually don't know how to approach an adult who is good and wants to improve. But they are out there and in every city
 
Yes, my first coach was a D1 player (UTR13)
One season, I hit with him maybe 4x a week.
The friendship progressed beyond tennis, and we still stay in touch.

There are different calibers of adult players.
The "3.0 clinic people" are never going to improve
They are mostly housewives who will never get beyond bunty strokes.

I've also noticed that once an adult male attains "heavy strokes",
they pretty much stop taking lessons.

I have never heard of a 4.0 or 4.5 taking regular lessons.

A common adult lesson profile is the experienced 3.5 trying to get to 4.0 (but with 4.5 looking strokes)
I count myself in this camp. (Not to be confused with the more popular pusher/junker 4.0 who reached 4.0 after 30 years of match smarts)

So, when a hard hitting 3.5 comes for lessons,
I think it's a massive breath of fresh air for the club/rec coach who coaches 2.5 tots/housewives all day long.
 
If I were a coach, I would loathe coaching hapless adults
Or, I would do it, and accept that it's a complete waste of time, as far as results go.
Adults simply can not learn this game, the way it's meant to be played.

There is nothing wrong with a coach not liking to work with adults.
It is a total waste of time, in 99% of cases.
Once you coach real players, juniors, who play SEVEN days a week, it is hard to take a bunging adult seriously.

You need to be young enough to train 5x a week.
You need to have the schedule of a teenager or retired guy
Yet, you to have $1000's to invest in tennis development

This is a perfect storm Venn diagram that not even 1% of rec players have.
And 1% of the 1% even understand that coaching is the ideal way to build correct strokes.

I have made above average strides in my strokes, and I don't even take myself seriously.
Just a sad hapless adult in the quest for 4.0 game. Too little, too late.

There is massive self-delusion in tennis.
Even after several years of work, I doubt I will ever reach the next level, and it is mathematically impossible for anything beyond that.

Therefore, for me, the process is the entire point.
Outcome based thinking will quit within a few months of lessons with no match results
(And still getting crushed by the 30 year junker with 2.0 looking strokes, LOL)

Want to fix your strokes? Playing 2x a week won't do it.
https://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/index.php?threads/want-to-fix-your-strokes-playing-2x-a-week-wont-do-it.591728/
 
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Dartagnan64

Legend
I think any coach is fine with a coachable student no matter the age.

Frustration comes with dealing with the incorrigible. They either don't believe the coach, are unwilling to get worse to get better or have no body awareness to effect a proper change. I don't think anyone likes coaching those people. I certainly don't like trying to educate them.
 
The main thing is to make $200 a day--or you're gonna' have to become a stock broker or go into marketing--along the way marry a couple of rich women with solid alimonies who's tennis never improves by sleeping with the coach. And, there's the duties to the lonely club housewives--And, then you get fired for doing your job too well--and have to rotate around moonlighting on the public courts. It helps if you have a cute foreign accent, especially French.
 
IAdults simply can not learn this game, the way it's meant to be played.
By "the way it's meant to be played", do you mean a certain UTR or the ability to hit strokes and move a certain way or...?

Adults can absolutely learn how to play; whether it meets your minimum standard is another matter. But I doubt they are using your metric to measure success.

There is nothing wrong with a coach not liking to work with adults.
It is a total waste of time, in 99% of cases.
Once you coach real players, juniors, who play SEVEN days a week, it is hard to take a bunging adult seriously.
Everybody who plays is a real player. Again, you have a certain minimum standard that is quite high and excludes the vast majority of people.

As far as taking adults seriously, a good coach works with the material he has; he doesn't waste time lamenting that his student can't do X or Y or Z or has bad habits A, B, & C.

Whether it's a waste of time depends on what your goal is: if it's to get the person to 5.0, the odds are very low so you could interpret that as a waste of time. But if it's to improve, that's a completely different question.

You need to be young enough to train 5x a week.
You need to have the schedule of a teenager or retired guy
Yet, you to have $1000's to invest in tennis development

This is a perfect storm Venn diagram that not even 1% of rec players have.
And 1% of the 1% even understand that coaching is the ideal way to build correct strokes.

I have made above average strides in my strokes, and I don't even take myself seriously.
Just a sad hapless adult in the quest for 4.0 game. Too little, too late.
I'd say you made tremendous strides in the last few years but it's only because you committed to the process. The average adult doesn't commit like that and so will see less improvement. But they'll still see improvement.

There is massive self-delusion in tennis.
Even after several years of work, I doubt I will ever reach the next level, and it is mathematically impossible for anything beyond that.

Therefore, for me, the process is the entire point.

Outcome based thinking will quit within a few months of lessons with no match results
(And still getting crushed by the 30 year junker with 2.0 looking strokes, LOL)
Except you didn't get crushed the last time out; you basically played an even match and can identify where you could improve to do even better.

I'm not sure why you continue to insist improvement is impossible when, even by your own example, you've shown otherwise.
 

5sets

Semi-Pro
I love my adult clients. Tennis means different things for different people. A lot of adults I coach have risen from total beginners to solid intermediates and are content with that. I guess it depends on the person. I can see if a high performance coach who has a lot of talented juniors was put on the court with a 50 year old woman beginner he wouldn’t enjoy it or be helpful.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 
Even after several years of work, I doubt I will ever reach the next level, and it is mathematically impossible for anything beyond that.

Therefore, for me, the process is the entire point.
Outcome based thinking will quit within a few months of lessons with no match results
It just occurred to me that if you as a student can adopt a process-based philosophy ["it's not the level I achieve that's important but the improvement process"], then why can't the coach with respect to his students ["It's not whether the junior achieves a certain ranking but the work he put in to get there"]?

If the coach took the attitude based on your dismissal of 99% of adults as being hopeless, he would do similar weeding out of his juniors [ie mentally give up on most of them because they'll never achieve the level he wants].
 
By "the way it's meant to be played", do you mean a certain UTR or the ability to hit strokes and move a certain way or...?
Ability to hit hard and not bunt and look good
I believe that is most rec players goal.

Match results are a whole different universe of tennis IQ than pretty strokes.
For match results, ironically, you never need to take a lesson.
Just learn to be a pusher/Junkers/Santoro, and you will dominate 3.5 and 4.0 level tennis
 
I second @time_fly: there are great coaches out there but you have to find them. They aren't a dime a dozen. And your learning style has a lot to do with that also: what's "great" for one student might not be for another.

Maybe also a lot of them are jaded by adult students who take lessons but never practice so they never improve but blame the coach. If you show that you are motivated to improve and not just interested in quick fixes, their attitude should change also. Tell your coach what your plans are for improvement and plan a roadmap together. The more both of you are invested, the more likely both of you will get out of the relationship what you want.
You need to exercise to play tennis, not play tennis for exercise. That's the crux of the problem. The adults need to do a better job of teaching. Honestly , most coaches are horrible. anyone can feed balls.
 
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Anyone can feed balls, but no one does.
I was doing mutual feeding yesterday, but most people want to rally or play sets.
Almost no one wants to drill like a lesson.
Easier to pay a coach.
 
Anyone can feed balls, but no one does.
I was doing mutual feeding yesterday, but most people want to rally or play sets.
Almost no one wants to drill like a lesson.
Easier to pay a coach.
totally disagree. You can feed, do live ball drills etc. You need to have a plan. You have to be in shape to play tennis.
 
totally disagree. You can feed, do live ball drills etc. You need to have a plan. You have to be in shape to play tennis.
Disagree all you want. At 3.5 and 4.0, maybe 1 in 20 players will agree to practice drills with a Hopper. Maybe less. These hitting partners are gold. 19 out of 20 want to play tennis, not practice
 
Disagree all you want. At 3.5 and 4.0, maybe 1 in 20 players will agree to practice drills with a Hopper. Maybe less. These hitting partners are gold. 19 out of 20 want to play tennis, not practice
You are wrong. As i said, you need to have a plan. Practicing is part of tennis. How can it not be? Try again.
 
Yes, Captain Obvious, you need to practice to improve at tennis.
That's not my point.

I said that it is almost impossible to find hitting partners who practice tennis.
1 in 100 people practice tennis.

What am I wrong about?
Almost no one practices tennis.
Almost no one has a plan.

1 out of 20 players even take lessons.
Even fewer players will drill with a partner with a hopper feed.
Maybe in 1 in 1000

99% of tennis players never get better.
That's because 99% of tennis players never practice.
They only play.

At 3.5 and 4.0, maybe 1 in 20 players will agree to practice drills with a Hopper. Maybe less.
These hitting partners are gold. 19 out of 20 want to play tennis, not practice
 
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Dartagnan64

Legend
Isn't playing tennis still practice. I mean as amateurs, aren't all our matches just glorified practice. It's not like we are there to earn money. We are there to have fun and get better. You can get better doing drills, you can get better playing sets. You can get better reading tennis books. You can get better watching instructional videos.

What you need to get better is an idea of what you are trying to improve. You can do that a variety of ways. But it all starts with a teachable spirit. People don't fail at getting better because they don't drill. They fail because they are poor learners.
 
F

FRV

Guest
Adults think they r really talented.
Actually have zero talent.
Bad coordination.
Yet arrogant like yeah
I believe the average person is talented enough to go D1 in any sport if they have the proper coaching and practice from a young age. I don't think the talent level of adults should matter.
 
Isn't playing tennis still practice. I mean as amateurs, aren't all our matches just glorified practice. It's not like we are there to earn money. We are there to have fun and get better. You can get better doing drills, you can get better playing sets. You can get better reading tennis books. You can get better watching instructional videos.

What you need to get better is an idea of what you are trying to improve. You can do that a variety of ways. But it all starts with a teachable spirit. People don't fail at getting better because they don't drill. They fail because they are poor learners.
Dead wrong.
You will never change your strokes by playing, or videos, or reading.
The reality is that most people play for 40 years and never get past 3.0
Meanwhile, a person taking lessons and drilling can get to 4.0 in a few years.

One is not even aware of what you are doing when playing.
This is why video is shocking to everyone.

You fix your strokes with deliberate practice.
 

Max G.

Legend
Isn't playing tennis still practice. I mean as amateurs, aren't all our matches just glorified practice.
Not really. The key in practice is repetition. You pick a thing you want to work on, and do it over and over again. You don't really get that in matches.

In practice, you try and fix your errors and improve. Like, if I want to improve my forehand, I've got an idea for what to do either from my coach or from watching a youtube vid or something... probably the first time I try it I mess it up, because the change made my timing all off. Heck, maybe the first 3-4 forehands I hit with the new technique my timing's off and I spray them. Then maybe I'll hit a few good ones - great, that means I'm on the right track! That means I can add complications, now instead of trying it off an easy ball I'm gonna hit some that I have to move for, and then try to hit a bunch to get consistency.

You'd never get that in a match, of course. Opponents won't give you the "learning progression" - start with an easy shot, get some rhythm, then add pace and movement as you've got the basics down. Opponents won't give you repetition - they'll try to disrupt your rhythm and make sure you CAN'T hit the same shot twice, rather than giving you the same shot a bunch of times so you can practice it.

And of course lastly, just by playing matches, you'll never get better at shots that you hit rarely. If you want to improve your passing shots, playing matches where your opponent comes to net 3-4 times a set won't work. If you want to get better at overheads, you'll never improve if you're just playing matches and the guys prefer to mostly try to pass you rather than lob you.

It's not like we are there to earn money. We are there to have fun and get better. You can get better doing drills, you can get better playing sets.
Those are not interchangeable, though. If you never actually practice shots and just play matches, you'll never be able to make any changes to your technique big enough to require "learning from the basics", and you'll never improve shots that you only get to hit 5-6 times a match. If you only do drills, you'll never learn to deal with match conditions. And so on.
 

ptuanminh

Professional
Isn't playing tennis still practice. I mean as amateurs, aren't all our matches just glorified practice. It's not like we are there to earn money. We are there to have fun and get better. You can get better doing drills, you can get better playing sets. You can get better reading tennis books. You can get better watching instructional videos.

What you need to get better is an idea of what you are trying to improve. You can do that a variety of ways. But it all starts with a teachable spirit. People don't fail at getting better because they don't drill. They fail because they are poor learners.
Probably not.
An example is: I was drilling with a hitting partner of mine yesterday for 2 hours. We focused on hitting deep, lots of topspin. It worked great for 2 hours.
Then we decided to play a tiebreak. The moment the point started to count, my hitting partner started to go back to hitting short balls inside the service box. It was funny that only 30 minutes before, he was hitting with depth and power.
 

Nostradamus

Bionic Poster
Good coaches definitely prefer to work with junior “prospects” more than anyone else for obvious reasons. Teaching adults and unathletic kids still pays the bills. But there are still good coaches for adults to work with out there - dump anyone who treats you like you aren’t worth it.
I have been coaching mostly kids that parents are looking to get lessons and find out if they will be gifted pros. Most of them are clumsy but I do like seeing the improvement in the kids, that is rewarding. Once they are good enough, I will put them into high performance junior development and see how far they can really go................ But all the time though I stress and emphasize Academics first and foremost... I know this is their parent's job but I do play a role.
 

Nostradamus

Bionic Poster
Probably not.
An example is: I was drilling with a hitting partner of mine yesterday for 2 hours. We focused on hitting deep, lots of topspin. It worked great for 2 hours.
Then we decided to play a tiebreak. The moment the point started to count, my hitting partner started to go back to hitting short balls inside the service box. It was funny that only 30 minutes before, he was hitting with depth and power.
One thing I do find very frustrating is lack of discipline among many parents. I had this fairly talented kid who just got really upset and he started to bounce his racket and even tried to hit the other kid with his forehand, kind of like Lendl used to do to Macenroe. I asked him what the heck he was doing and he thought the other kid cheated and called a ball in middle of the baseline Out thus giving him the service break. So he thought he was justified. So I told him ,, "you saw the ball clearly on the baseline from noman's land where you were standing ??" NO WAY, plus it doesn't matter even if he did cheat, you don't behave that way. I told him you need to control your emotions and that is all part of improving your tennis and life.

Anyway, I told his father what went on and I told him it might be a good idea to ground him for 2 weeks, it is just long enough to get the point across. But then the father said,,,, "well,,, other kid made some questionable calls, so he had right to be mad",,,,, I said What,, are you kidding me ? That is not the point... and his father just shrugged it off.................... WOW....
 
One thing I do find very frustrating is lack of discipline among many parents. I had this fairly talented kid who just got really upset and he started to bounce his racket and even tried to hit the other kid with his forehand, kind of like Lendl used to do to Macenroe. I asked him what the heck he was doing and he thought the other kid cheated and called a ball in middle of the baseline Out thus giving him the service break. So he thought he was justified. So I told him ,, "you saw the ball clearly on the baseline from noman's land where you were standing ??" NO WAY, plus it doesn't matter even if he did cheat, you don't behave that way. I told him you need to control your emotions and that is all part of improving your tennis and life.

Anyway, I told his father what went on and I told him it might be a good idea to ground him for 2 weeks, it is just long enough to get the point across. But then the father said,,,, "well,,, other kid made some questionable calls, so he had right to be mad",,,,, I said What,, are you kidding me ? That is not the point... and his father just shrugged it off.................... WOW....
Well, at least they're consistent...
 

Dartagnan64

Legend
Dead wrong.
You will never change your strokes by playing, or videos, or reading.
The reality is that most people play for 40 years and never get past 3.0
Meanwhile, a person taking lessons and drilling can get to 4.0 in a few years.

One is not even aware of what you are doing when playing.
This is why video is shocking to everyone.

You fix your strokes with deliberate practice.
Plenty of people with unconventional strokes hitting hard and playing 4.0. Even 4.5. They didn’t “change their strokes”. They just modified their natural swing to gain control over years of play.
I know very few 40+ year tennis players that aren’t in the 3.5 to 4.0 range. I don’t know any guys that played in junior programs that aren’t 4.0-5.0. The few perma 3.0s I see take more lessons than the 4.0s but are just tragically uncoordinated.

Again, teachable spirit is the number one requisite to improvement. If you have that you can learn any which way and improve. Nothing however beats starting a sport as a child.
 

Dartagnan64

Legend
A match just demonstrates what you can already do.
There is no learning or practice during a match.

Hitting 300 serve returns in a row is called practice.
Which is what I just did today.
Practice makes permanent. Doesn’t make you better.

If I work on my serve in a practice match, how is that worse than hitting a basket of serves on your own? I’m still working on things, it’s just someone hits it back.
 

OnTheLine

Hall of Fame
Practice makes permanent. Doesn’t make you better.

If I work on my serve in a practice match, how is that worse than hitting a basket of serves on your own? I’m still working on things, it’s just someone hits it back.
You know I agree with almost every post you write .... but not on this point.

One cannot efficiently practice in a practice-match or any match.

For serves, it is definitely worse than hitting a basket on your own.
When I practice I am going to hit 50-75 serves at the bare bare minimum and I am really going to get that rhythm and make small tweaks until I am hitting my spots 9/10 times, varying pace and spin

You simply cannot do that in any match situation .... at most you will have a monster deuce game and hit 10-12 serves with other stuff in between .... then wait until it is your service again, relatively quickly in singles, could be a long time or never in doubles depending on the match. You will never get the reps in.

Same with absolutely any other stroke.
 
Practice makes permanent. Doesn’t make you better.

If I work on my serve in a practice match, how is that worse than hitting a basket of serves on your own? I’m still working on things, it’s just someone hits it back.
Exactly, practice makes permanent.
That is why people play tennis for 40 years and stay at 3.0

You are not getting corrective feedback during a match.
You only rep your current strokes in a match.

You also have no idea what you are actually doing, only what you THINK you are doing.
If you're not using video, you are basically living in a fantasy world of tennis.

There is a reason ATP players hire coaches for millions of dollars.
 
You know I agree with almost every post you write .... but not on this point.

One cannot efficiently practice in a practice-match or any match.

For serves, it is definitely worse than hitting a basket on your own.
When I practice I am going to hit 50-75 serves at the bare bare minimum and I am really going to get that rhythm and make small tweaks until I am hitting my spots 9/10 times, varying pace and spin

You simply cannot do that in any match situation .... at most you will have a monster deuce game and hit 10-12 serves with other stuff in between .... then wait until it is your service again, relatively quickly in singles, could be a long time or never in doubles depending on the match. You will never get the reps in.

Same with absolutely any other stroke.
I'd argue they are both useful: solo serving allows repetition to groove the stroke and matches test how well you can capture that stroke when you don't get an unlimited # of attempts. Would I use a practice match for a stroke that I just started learning? Probably not.

But a match situation forces you to focus in ways that are difficult to simulate when serving a bucket of balls. Maybe I'm trying to get at a "quantity vs quality" idea?
 
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