Getting Better

Discussion in 'Tennis Tips/Instruction' started by Liv3 For It, Feb 17, 2009.

  1. Liv3 For It

    Liv3 For It Guest

    Ughhhh. I am tired of it.....

    Two weeks ago I have set out on a quest. I felt like I was so close to getting to the next level, or the next step. (Anyone have that feeling?) I have been so serious about getting better, (I really want to make my varsity team, or win a tournament maybe.). I have been running, researching tennis,playing tennis, and working out. But I just cannot get better!

    In fact, I think I might have gotten even worse. My coach rates me at a 3.5, but I want to get so much better and higher.

    I asked how to get better before, on this forum, and many people said
    "To get better, you must practice with a purpose. Its not the hours you put in, its what you put into the hours"

    Ok, I understand to practice with a purpose. But what are the purposes? One of my better friends told me to practice a new stroke only every time I practice. Is that a good idea?

    I dont know. I just want to get better...How? (Ill do anything...) I have so much determination.
  2. ThA_Azn_DeViL

    ThA_Azn_DeViL Semi-Pro

    Feb 9, 2008
    To me, your at the stage where:
    You finally develop a "love" for tennis, and tennis becomes your life (when people say you have no life.
    Like in your post, training is about Quality over Quantity.
    An important thing you should know is that you should always play UP on the NTRP level.
    Be patient, you still have a long way to go.
    Set goals for yourself, ex. Be more consistant by trying a 100 shot rally...
    Even when you give all the practice you can... Natural talent goes a long way, but usually determination is what makes people better.
    Good Luck on your quest.
  3. AlphaCDjkr

    AlphaCDjkr Rookie

    Sep 29, 2008
    West Covina, CA
    You have to ask yourself this. Why do you REALLY want to improve? Is it for personal satisfaction, pride, maybe for earning respect from others? You want to make varsity, win tournaments, right? Don't just ask how, how, how. Sit down and think about everything (and really, everything). What's stopping you from improving? How can you overcome your barriers?

    A key thing is knowing when to celebrate your achievements. When you make a breakthrough in your game, don't tell yourself that you STILL need to improve and blow it off. Take a moment to just congratulate yourself and tell yourself that you're that much closer to accomplishing your goals. When you ignore your achievements, you're telling yourself that you essentially can NEVER improve; there will always be more, more, and more to do. How can you improve when you can't? You need to get that feeling of accomplishment and pride, bask in it until you're in euphoria, and let it float away when it's time to keep working... through that means, you'll pursue your goals like a druggie out of crack. You won't stop, you CAN'T stop, until you get it again... but this brings up the point that you need to set REALISTIC GOALS. There is no use telling yourself that you want to jump from 3.5 to 4.0 in 1-2 weeks. If you could advance that fast, it would either be because you were already near the breaking point of reaching the next level, or you were on something.

    Go slow, and be realistic. There are those days where you might feel so agitated that you want to scream at the top of your lungs... while throwing everything within reach. On days like that, people will tell you to "just calm down". That isn't feasible. You can't just defuse like that. A great thing to do when you're feeling like that is, go play MORE tennis. Or run, or work out. Listen to some music, go watch a movie. Find a natural stress reliever, take your mind off things for a while. The idea is to relieve your stress in a healthy, controlled manner (and what better way to do that than play tennis with a friend?)

    I hope my advice can help, and good luck with your pursuits! (Put your mind to it, and who the hell needs luck?) :D
  4. mixertefera

    mixertefera Rookie

    Jan 26, 2009
    on the court after triping going for a winner
    don't try and mess around with different strokes try and make you best two shots deadly and get you others solid watch videos of pros. also don't get one dimensional lets say your forehand is your best shot and you hit it crosscourt great but dint hit it inside out very much ball then practice that so you can go etheir way and make your oppent gusse.
  5. mixertefera

    mixertefera Rookie

    Jan 26, 2009
    on the court after triping going for a winner
    wow i spent ten minutes to type that post I'm so slow
  6. Frankauc

    Frankauc Professional

    Nov 11, 2008
    at 3.5 level. Go for consistency, play from the baseline, get in long rallies, developp a game based on angles rather than on power. When you'll be able to beat all 3.5 players doing this, it will mean that you're ready for the next level. No young 3.5 players should go for the power shots all the time.

    At 3.5, you're not beating a player. Players are beating themselves. So consistency is key. You cant acquire good consistency rapidly by playing power tennis.

    At higher levels, you have to win the points, so you have to go for the shots. You'll learn that at this point, your game will have to improve to a more attacking style.
  7. 10nistennis

    10nistennis Rookie

    Apr 16, 2008
    Hard work beats talent when talent fails to work hard. What I mean is, even though you may not have any "killer" weapons or major keys to your game, you can still win with building your consistency and working hard. You are at the 3.5 level right now, and I've seen lots of 3.5 players that have lots of potential, but they just don't work hard enough to maximize their talents. If you do work hard enough, you will prevail.
  8. user92626

    user92626 Legend

    Jan 27, 2008
    Like I said before, just get a decent ball machine and a human spotter (pay him lunches or something). Hit shots with targets and pace. And since you cannot accurately judge them your human spotter will tell you and you adjust instantly. Then hit thousands of those shots. Repeat them in matches.
  9. snvplayer

    snvplayer Hall of Fame

    Aug 6, 2006
    So you are disappointed b/c you haven't improved since you went on a quest 2 weeks ago?

    A lot of times, improvement is a gradual process. So, it's unrealistic to expect suddenly move from 3.5 to 4.0 or 4.0 to 4.5. So be patient.

    Also, to practice with purpose means that you want to set a goal each and everytime you step onto the court.

    You can quantify the goal to measure your achievement. For example, you can say, after this session I want to be able to hit backhand crosscourt 10 times in a row. Or you could say, "I want to work on my backhand slice today, so whenever I am going to hit exclusively backhand slice today".

    Or it can be as simple as, just focusing on bending your knees on every shot.

    Sometimes, I don't think recreational players realize how difficult it is to improve even though it seems extremely easy for some people. Even look at professionals.

    They are THE TALENTED ones, and they have been living and breathing tennis for their ENTIRE LIFE. And they still don't perform as well as they could, and they aren't complete players by their standard.
  10. Liv3 For It

    Liv3 For It Guest

    Yeah, That is completely true. I started around a year ago and now I cannot stop. I want to play and improve very badly. I think I have the mind for it but my body wont follow through.....
  11. Liv3 For It

    Liv3 For It Guest

    I do celebrate and congradulate myself when I reach goals. Im not mad that I didnt improve in two weeks, Im mad that I got worse in two weeks. And i tried so hard during that time too
  12. Liv3 For It

    Liv3 For It Guest

    Yeah, I think that if I work on certain goals, especially consistancy that I cold get better. I just want to get better...If I post a vid, can you guys give me some more tips?
  13. Liv3 For It

    Liv3 For It Guest

    If you can, Could you describe a perfect 3.5/4.0 player? Describe like what he should look like or what he can door what shots he should have..

    For EX) A 3.5 player
    - should not be too concentrated on power as he should be on consistancy and angles.
    -He should be be able to pull people off the court with ease.
    - develop a good placement on the first serve

    A list like that..

  14. Sublime

    Sublime Semi-Pro

    Jun 25, 2008
    At 3.5 (and don't think I'm talking down, we're in the same boat) even your strengths have huge potential for improvement.

    So when you practice focus on something you want to improve on, even if it's something you think is already pretty good. For instance, I had a pretty big serve... a year ago I would have told you that was my strength. While it was fast, it was inaccurate and inconsistent, so I made the switch to a continental grip and proper form. In the midst of the transition I got beat down on the court consistently. I had to take a huge step back, to eventually move forward. Now I'm almost back to serving with the same heat on my first serve, but I'm far more consistent and have a good kick serve for my second.

    At this stage in your development, you need to be willing to make those investments and have the focus and drive to see them through. Don't just randomly rally and hope to get better. Pick something to improve on and don't be afraid of losing now, if it means winning at a higher level later.
  15. JRstriker12

    JRstriker12 Hall of Fame

    Mar 31, 2006
    As a current 3.5 looking to improve, one thing that has really helped me is taking some lessons. I'm not even taking private lessons, just a 2 hr clinic every week.

    I've done plenty of reading and hitting, but having an outside observer who knows what they are talking about is priceless. Knowing what I'm doing wrong and knowing what to correct has been a great help. Plus every clinic has a specific focus, such as foot work, working short angles, or how to attack short balls, etc. We take these goals and just pound them with drills and basket of balls.

    These 2 hours a week are worth more than 10+ hours spent hitting with other tennis players.

    Other than that, keep your eyes on the goal of improving and keep working. Even when you have a set-back, your work will pay off in the end.
  16. Nellie

    Nellie Hall of Fame

    Oct 4, 2004
    Well - practicing with a purpose does not necessarily mean practicing a new stroke everytime.

    Look back at your recent tennis and try to decide one thing that you want to improve, make a plan for improving (this is where an instructor would be really helpful), and then practice with that plan. This means, for example, if you want to hit more consistently on your forehand, this may be accomplished by hitting more topspin and height on your forehand. So practice with more topspin and height. If it is not working in practice, ask yourself what is going on and try to improve, or decide that your plan was flawed and pick out a plan B. What won't work for you is to hit balls back and forth with your friends or to smash the ball, where every other shot is out or into the net.

    Sometimes, your plan is very minor and subtle. For example, I can think of very minor and specific parts of my backhand strokes to work on, and I will run around my forehand to work on that point of the backhand stroke. This may mean, for example, that I lose every practice match for 2 weeks, but I will be improving my backhand.
  17. LuckyR

    LuckyR Legend

    Jun 2, 2006
    The Great NW

    You don't mention the age of your opposition, but this would be my $0.02:

    At 3.5 IMO the money is going to be on consistancy. Get a good feel for what quality of stroke (depth and pace-wise) is going to result in an extremely high percentage stroke for you right now. Make this stroke your routine stroke. Work on increasing the pace and depth of this shot while keeping the high percentage up there. As to where to hit the ball, read Pressure Tennis. It is the rare 3.5 who is familiar with these concepts. This should take you well into the 4.0 range.

    For a 4.0 I would use the above as a baseline. Next I would decide on where you want to go with your tennis style-wise. Going to 4.5 is going to vary depending on your style (strengths). Let's say you want to be a power baseliner. Then developing an inside out forehand and serious topspin as well as an aggressive attitude will further your progress in this area. A S&V is going to have other goals.
  18. raiden031

    raiden031 Legend

    Aug 31, 2006
    live for it,

    Do you know if you are using proper technique and footwork on all of your strokes? If not learn to do so either via lessons or videos ( is good).

    Also what are your weaknesses? How much effort have you put into improving them? Your weaknesses are what drag your rating level down despite some of the strengths you might have. You can either 1) improve those weaknesses and your overall game improves in a more rounded way or 2) you can develop a game plan that hides your weaknesses, but certain players will penetrate this game plan and you will always fall apart against them. The classic 3.5 player will follow approach 2), but I suggest approach 1) because its better to develop all aspects of your game rather than to neglect any if you really want to play high level tennis.

    You must have patience. Even the most naturally talented players won't hit 4.0 within a year of play. I think 2-3 years is a good range. If you take lessons with a good instructor and follow their advice, you can probably look at 2 years. Remember so much of tennis rating is determined by experience as well. So even if you develop good strokes, you have to have instincts during match play to do the right things and that can only be learned through experience.
  19. Ronaldo

    Ronaldo G.O.A.T.

    Feb 18, 2004
    A 3.5 player that eventually became a very good 4.0 had his wife chart his matches. Where he made errors and hit winners. He became one tough player, few errors.
  20. OvertheFence

    OvertheFence Rookie

    Oct 10, 2008
    Just keep practicing, and make sure you be picky of every little thing. Improvement comes slowly.
  21. Blake0

    Blake0 Hall of Fame

    Feb 17, 2009
    Im not at a very high level in tennis or anything but i'm improving at my own pace. Usually for me this is what happens. I start of at my regular level on the stroke or my whole game i want to improve. Then after awhile my level drops even though im trying to improve and practice with a purpose. I start to feel depressed and feel like quitting. When i'm about to give up i start getting back to my level and improve either a bit or by a lot. Then it stays at that level then falls back down and improves a bit. Theres this never-ending cycle (so far atleast). I think the key is to be positive throughout the part where your level drops and understand thats just a stage in improving. This cycle could take a week to a year maybe (longest for me would be a month I think). I'm only on JV though ranked #8, but i'm sure you'll get to your goal.

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