Found the secret to improving at tennis as a rec player

StringSnapper

Hall of Fame
Play many many hours

Whenever you play have only one or two things max in your mind that you're working on

Be lean, build up specifically your leg muscles to avoid injury. Do dynamic stretches like leg swings to avoid injury. Dont go all out at the start, get your body warm first

In the warm up practice body positioning and timing, not power

You need to play competitively against people your level or better than you. But not way better than you. When you lose, you MUST reflect on why you lost and how you can do better next time. This should then become the one or two things you focus on mentally

Repeat the cycle
 

Hmgraphite1

Hall of Fame
Play many many hours

Whenever you play have only one or two things max in your mind that you're working on

Be lean, build up specifically your leg muscles to avoid injury. Do dynamic stretches like leg swings to avoid injury. Dont go all out at the start, get your body warm first

In the warm up practice body positioning and timing, not power

You need to play competitively against people your level or better than you. But not way better than you. When you lose, you MUST reflect on why you lost and how you can do better next time. This should then become the one or two things you focus on mentally

Repeat the cycle
Good advice, I think when I do the stats from a match I videoed will show some real weaknesses
 
Play many many hours

Whenever you play have only one or two things max in your mind that you're working on

Be lean, build up specifically your leg muscles to avoid injury. Do dynamic stretches like leg swings to avoid injury. Dont go all out at the start, get your body warm first

In the warm up practice body positioning and timing, not power

You need to play competitively against people your level or better than you. But not way better than you. When you lose, you MUST reflect on why you lost and how you can do better next time. This should then become the one or two things you focus on mentally

Repeat the cycle
The only thing I disagree with is your omission of playing those below your level: it trains you to win the matches "you're supposed to win", which isn't always easy. The pressure is on you because you're the favorite and that can cause some people to get tight and play horribly [yes, I'm talking about myself].

Maybe a mix of 25% down, 50% even, and 25% up?
 

FiReFTW

Legend
The only thing I disagree with is your omission of playing those below your level: it trains you to win the matches "you're supposed to win", which isn't always easy. The pressure is on you because you're the favorite and that can cause some people to get tight and play horribly [yes, I'm talking about myself].

Maybe a mix of 25% down, 50% even, and 25% up?
Yes

Need to practice those dead balls and junk balls too
 

FiReFTW

Legend
Biggest secret to improving is like you mentioned kinda @StringSnapper

Play a ton,
time, effort and dedication and money.

Some dont have enough time to play enough

Some dont have the effort to play enough

Some dont have the money to play enough (some places have expensive courts specially winter time)

Some dont have the dedication to be willing to do the things to improve even if they are boring

Good players like junior tennis players, they play/practice tennis15-20hours per week for 10-15 years

So it takes reaallly a long time and aloooot of reps
 
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user92626

G.O.A.T.
Play many many hours

Whenever you play have only one or two things max in your mind that you're working on
I like your other points, but I'm not sure how this point (above) will be carried out when it usually happens this way:

You forget or are (still) being very incompetent with other points (besides the one or two things you want to work on). So, when something crucial is missing your game or hitting breaks down, unplayable, you'll be looking for that missing piece or pieces, and become very distracted by that.

Are you still be able to work on one or two things that you plan?

Btw, that scenario above happens alot for rec players. That's how you see some people play so well one time but very badly the next time. Very inconsistency. In fact, the consistency of play level is rather rare because if consistency exists, rec players would have built and progressed upon last progress, so and so and their level would be very high per years, but the fact is people more or less stall after X years (anymore beyond that is a huge struggle and investment).
 
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Deleted member 23235

Guest
Play many many hours

Whenever you play have only one or two things max in your mind that you're working on

Be lean, build up specifically your leg muscles to avoid injury. Do dynamic stretches like leg swings to avoid injury. Dont go all out at the start, get your body warm first

In the warm up practice body positioning and timing, not power

You need to play competitively against people your level or better than you. But not way better than you. When you lose, you MUST reflect on why you lost and how you can do better next time. This should then become the one or two things you focus on mentally

Repeat the cycle
+1... couple of tweaks that i follow:
1. play many hours of focused specific practice... just playing for hours doesn't make you better, and just hitting around doesn't make you better... need to be actively making adjustments, pressure testing them, tweak again, etc... for example,
--i'll favor serve practice over random baseline rallying
--i'll practice shots from specific parts of the court to specific targets
--i'll choose practice partners based on what i'll looking to work on (eg. if i'm serving, i'll pick a good returner, if i'm working on s&v i'll pick a good passing shot or lobber, improve shot tolerance i'll pick a pusher, etc...)
etc..
2. you should also play against folks you usually beat, so you can pressure test ("easy" progression) the stuff you're working on in #1... work my way back to winning again... i did this when: i learned to s&v, fh grip change, bh grip change, learned a kicker, etc...

i have notes of every hitting session i've had going back to 2014 when i picked up tennis again after a 7y hiatus.
 

jga111

Hall of Fame
Play many many hours

Whenever you play have only one or two things max in your mind that you're working on

Be lean, build up specifically your leg muscles to avoid injury. Do dynamic stretches like leg swings to avoid injury. Dont go all out at the start, get your body warm first

In the warm up practice body positioning and timing, not power

You need to play competitively against people your level or better than you. But not way better than you. When you lose, you MUST reflect on why you lost and how you can do better next time. This should then become the one or two things you focus on mentally

Repeat the cycle
For me the most crucial, the most important factor for improvement - as a rec player or pro - whatever the level; is to understand what you did wrong when you lose a point. Every point.

Were you late?
Was it tactical? Out of position?
Footwork?
Bad choice of shot?
Too flat?
Bad swing path?
Too nervous and not enough follow through?

Loads of reasons. But if you can work it out, you know how to improve.

If you can’t? No matter how fit you are, no matter the quality of your execution - you will stagnate.
 

FiReFTW

Legend
For me the most crucial, the most important factor for improvement - as a rec player or pro - whatever the level; is to understand what you did wrong when you lose a point. Every point.

Were you late?
Was it tactical? Out of position?
Footwork?
Bad choice of shot?
Too flat?
Bad swing path?
Too nervous and not enough follow through?

Loads of reasons. But if you can work it out, you know how to improve.

If you can’t? No matter how fit you are, no matter the quality of your execution - you will stagnate.
I know why i miss every shot technically and mechanically, so thats good then.
 

ptuanminh

Hall of Fame
I have seen folks that play 10-15 hours a week for 10 years+ and still sh*t. Amazed at how many people don't know how to get better at sports.
 
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Deleted member 23235

Guest
I have seen folks that play 10-15 hours a week for 10 years+ and still sh*t. Amazed at how many people don't know how to get better at sports.
i've played for decades, still not a 5.0 :(
big issue is spending too much time focusing on the wrong things, or making the wrong corrections...
these days it's waaaaay easier to video (normal and slow mo) and compare, and lots of yt vids
 

ptuanminh

Hall of Fame
i've played for decades, still not a 5.0 :(
big issue is spending too much time focusing on the wrong things, or making the wrong corrections...
these days it's waaaaay easier to video (normal and slow mo) and compare, and lots of yt vids
focusing on the wrong things seems to be an issue when you are at 4.5. From that level and above, you only see people with athletic background or coaching since younger years. So you have to be doing the right things to beat those people, not easy.
For 4.0 and below, what i see is that people are not focusing on anything. on my 4.0 usta team, nobody practice volley, FH BH, serve... Same goes for other teams in the area. For them, practice is 10 mins hacking around and thats enough :).
 

user92626

G.O.A.T.
focusing on the wrong things seems to be an issue when you are at 4.5. From that level and above, you only see people with athletic background or coaching since younger years. So you have to be doing the right things to beat those people, not easy.
For 4.0 and below, what i see is that people are not focusing on anything. on my 4.0 usta team, nobody practice volley, FH BH, serve... Same goes for other teams in the area. For them, practice is 10 mins hacking around and thats enough :).
Isnt' that amazing? Some people don't need to focus on anything, don't need to practice and yet reach 4.0. And then there are people who have played for decades, trained, getting coached but only got half a level higher, 4.5!!!

So many different aptitudes!
 

ptuanminh

Hall of Fame
Isnt' that amazing? Some people don't need to focus on anything, don't need to practice and yet reach 4.0. And then there are people who have played for decades, trained, getting coached but only got half a level higher, 4.5!!!

So many different aptitudes!
hehe don't take me wrong, i didnt say the 4.0 never practice. I am pretty sure they practiced a lot before. But at one point they probably don't want to do it anymore and just stay there. those keep on doing it have a better chance to move up.
 

StringSnapper

Hall of Fame
Isnt' that amazing? Some people don't need to focus on anything, don't need to practice and yet reach 4.0. And then there are people who have played for decades, trained, getting coached but only got half a level higher, 4.5!!!

So many different aptitudes!
.5 a level is a dominant amount though. A good 4.0 will only beat a good 4.5 1/20 times, no?
 

user92626

G.O.A.T.
.5 a level is a dominant amount though. A good 4.0 will only beat a good 4.5 1/20 times, no?
I don't know.

Is that like ATP's top 10 vs top 20?

If I could give up .5 and not have to practice anything, especially paid coaching, many hours of training a day, I would gladly take it.
 

jga111

Hall of Fame
I know why i miss every shot technically and mechanically, so thats good then.
Good. And I’m confident you’ll improve quickly by the sounds of it - but make sure you play your fair share of matches. It’s a different world.

Check this out - fast forward to where Federer plays a set. Note his analysis and thought process.

We can take a lot from this.

 

ByeByePoly

G.O.A.T.
Play many many hours

Whenever you play have only one or two things max in your mind that you're working on

Be lean, build up specifically your leg muscles to avoid injury. Do dynamic stretches like leg swings to avoid injury. Dont go all out at the start, get your body warm first

In the warm up practice body positioning and timing, not power

You need to play competitively against people your level or better than you. But not way better than you. When you lose, you MUST reflect on why you lost and how you can do better next time. This should then become the one or two things you focus on mentally

Repeat the cycle
@Curious , @Keendog , @sredna42 (who did I miss?)

The secret to improving your tennis in your country is avoiding this guy:

 
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Deleted member 23235

Guest
Isnt' that amazing? Some people don't need to focus on anything, don't need to practice and yet reach 4.0. And then there are people who have played for decades, trained, getting coached but only got half a level higher, 4.5!!!

So many different aptitudes!
lol "only half a level higher"... every level up is a multiple harder to achieve than the level before...
ask @J011yroger how much commitment it took to go from 4.5 to 5.0 which is "only a half level higher"
even in utr, going 1.0 higher is a pretty big improvement (1-16 scale vs. 1-7 scale)
 

FiReFTW

Legend
lol "only half a level higher"... every level up is a multiple harder to achieve than the level before...
ask @J011yroger how much commitment it took to go from 4.5 to 5.0 which is "only a half level higher"
even in utr, going 1.0 higher is a pretty big improvement (1-16 scale vs. 1-7 scale)
Yeah people who have not gone through it or don't have experience with juniors have no clue.

Theres a massive difference and it takes a MASSIVE amount of effort and time to go even from a solid UTR9 to a solid UTR10, I can see it from the junior girls here that my coach trains, and they work insanely alot each day.. and each next level is harder to make the jump.

From the point you reach UTR9 to the point you reach UTR10 which is 1UTR level difference, you have improved massively in many areas of your game throughout this 1 whole UTR point, many improvements in many areas of your game.
 

tlm

G.O.A.T.
Obviously playing more will help you improve but there comes a point when just playing more is not enough. You have to determine your weaknesses and work on them more. But most adult players don’t have the time or desire to work on specific parts of the game.

They play a couple times a week and never do drills or work on their weaknesses. Which is fine and there’s nothing wrong with that but they will not improve much. It’s more fun to play sets than it is to go out and drill or just hit serves by yourself. But I have found if a player has the time and desire they can make some pretty good improvements by doing specific practice on their weak points. Which will still take a good amount of time to show results but it will help you improve much mire than just playing will.

Once it gets warm out I will try and hit with my ball machine around 5 times a week which is not near as fun as hitting with a partner. But it will definitely help my game, last summer I improved my 2 hand backhand a lot by hitting shot after shot with the machine. Then as I improved my backhand I gradually started using it more and more when hitting against partners and now I am using it more and more in match play.

If a player has the time and money to work with a good instructor that would be even better than just hitting with a ball machine but most players don’t have the time, money or desire to put that much effort into a hobby like tennis.
 

user92626

G.O.A.T.
lol "only half a level higher"... every level up is a multiple harder to achieve than the level before...
ask @J011yroger how much commitment it took to go from 4.5 to 5.0 which is "only a half level higher"
even in utr, going 1.0 higher is a pretty big improvement (1-16 scale vs. 1-7 scale)
Of course, that's because the person has reached his max potentials.

Going from 4.5 to 5.0 is not any harder for Jolly than from 3.5 to 4.0 for my woman co-worker who has played for over 10 years in USTA but has yet reached 4.0.

This speaks loudly to different aptitudes which is my point that you missed. Furthermore, another point ...I 'd rather enjoy my comfortable max 4.0 without any/much practice, focus (a point in ptuanminh post) than to invest hugely to attempt (and struggle) to gain .5. See my point?

In the end, 4.5 is just another rec level as is 3.5 or 4.0 or 5.5. The players are only swimming in their designated pool. That's all.
 
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Hmgraphite1

Hall of Fame
Of course, that's because the person has reached his max potentials.

Going from 4.5 to 5.0 is not any harder for Jolly than from 3.5 to 4.0 for my woman co-worker who has played for over 10 years in USTA but has yet reached 4.0.

This speaks loudly to different aptitudes which is my point that you missed. Furthermore, another point ...I 'd rather enjoy my comfortable max 4.0 without any/much practice, focus (a point in ptuanminh post) than to invest hugely to attempt (and struggle) to gain .5. See my point?

In the end, 4.5 is just another rec level as is 3.5 or 4.0 or 5.5. The players are only swimming in their designated pool. That's all.
The thing I think is missing for some is motivational
Fight for your life
Fight for your count pride- Davis cup, Olympics
Fight for a paycheck
Fight for a point against a human
Fight to launch yourself into an awesome shot against a machine when no ones watching.

Some need motivation some don't, and there's a grey area of various degrees for each example.
 

user92626

G.O.A.T.
The thing I think is missing for some is motivational
Fight for your life
Fight for your count pride- Davis cup, Olympics
Fight for a paycheck
Fight for a point against a human
Fight to launch yourself into an awesome shot against a machine when no ones watching.

Some need motivation some don't, and there's a grey area of various degrees for each example.
Yeah, to name a few. What about if you have all that motivation but are injured, overweight, physically weak, stressed from work, etc.

therre're jsut too many reasons for rec players to be where they are.
 

Hmgraphite1

Hall of Fame
Yeah, to name a few. What about if you have all that motivation but are injured, overweight, physically weak, stressed from work, etc.

therre're jsut too many reasons for rec players to be where they are.
Always impossible to know what others are going through, probably best not to speculate, even if they tell you, they may not be aware sometimes. Do what you can with what you have at the time.
 

Dou

Semi-Pro
Play many many hours

Whenever you play have only one or two things max in your mind that you're working on

Be lean, build up specifically your leg muscles to avoid injury. Do dynamic stretches like leg swings to avoid injury. Dont go all out at the start, get your body warm first

In the warm up practice body positioning and timing, not power

You need to play competitively against people your level or better than you. But not way better than you. When you lose, you MUST reflect on why you lost and how you can do better next time. This should then become the one or two things you focus on mentally

Repeat the cycle
until you get beat 0 and 0 by a good player and realize that none of these things matter at all.
 
Of course, that's because the person has reached his max potentials.

Going from 4.5 to 5.0 is not any harder for Jolly than from 3.5 to 4.0 for my woman co-worker who has played for over 10 years in USTA but has yet reached 4.0.

This speaks loudly to different aptitudes which is my point that you missed. Furthermore, another point ...I 'd rather enjoy my comfortable max 4.0 without any/much practice, focus (a point in ptuanminh post) than to invest hugely to attempt (and struggle) to gain .5. See my point?

In the end, 4.5 is just another rec level as is 3.5 or 4.0 or 5.5. The players are only swimming in their designated pool. That's all.
Perhaps but the pools are smaller: 4.5 is somewhere around the 90th percentile up to maybe 97th percentile. But 5.0 is smaller; and 5.5 is smaller still.

So improvement from 2.0 to 2.5 is a lot more likely than from 5.0 to 5.5.
 
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