How to get better without getting to practice a lot

aj_m2009

Professional
I'm not sure if any of you have read my recent posts in the Sponsored thread but I don't get a lot of practice time, maybe 2 times a week. Does anyone know of a way that I can help improve my tennis without practicing a lot? I've been trying to get stronger physically by doing lots of exercises(sit-ups, a back exercise(I forgot what it is called lol), and then some various leg exercises). That has seemed to help a tiny bit but not a real big lot so far. Is this the only way that I can help improve my tennis with out actually practicing a lot?

Can anyone please give me any suggestions? Thanks.

PS
Sorry if something like this was already posted before. If there was please kindly point me to the thread(s). Thank you.
 

donnyz89

Hall of Fame
sit up?

well... take lessons. 2 hrs of pro lessons can really help your game. once a week is enough.
 

Grimjack

Banned
If you're going to spend a disproportionate amount of your time on physical fitness, rather than practice, remember that quickness and endurance will get you a lot further in this sport than raw, muscular strength.

That's not to say you shouldn't work out your muscles. But that doesn't take all that long, and it sounds like you have time to burn and are wondering what to do with it. Run. Or cycle. And don't just jog. Do wind sprints and interval training, to prepare your body for short bursts of high-energy, as you'll face on match day. Get your wheels and your lungs up to where you can run the lines on the tennis courts from dawn till the first geezers show up to play patty-cake with their snowshoes, and you'll be able to win most of your matches simply by virtue of getting to every ball, and outlasting your opponents. (Note that even if you're an attacker, an explosive first step and rush to the net is much more effective when your legs are fresh. Being in great cardio-vascular condition is good for all styles of play.)
 

montx

Professional
If you get a ball machine, you can practice during the strange hours, like really early in the morning or late at night if you book a court. I understand your frustration, I feel the same way. I haven't played in about 2 weeks and I wish I could play everyday because it gives me great peace playing tennis.
 

papa

Hall of Fame
Well, I don't think anything really matches being out on the court. Someone used to talk about playing something called shadow tennis which as I recall was simply pretending to hit balls with the racquet on or off a court. Maybe this works for some but I'd find it boring myself after a fairly short time but it might be something you coulld look into. Assuming you don't have a ball machine, you can hit against a basement/garage wall or make some sort of wall to use in a driveway.

The problem with tennis, as it it with many other sports, is thats its very difficult to simulate actual court conditions and or playing. Someday, I'm sure some computer savy individual will design "something" that will allow people to practice in their living rooms using their racquets - its probably not that far fetched either because they already have somethink like it for golf. You hit a ball into a screen and it tells you how far it went and actually allows you to play the hole - kinda neat in a strange way.
 

ssjkyle31

Semi-Pro
Sometimes the two times a week is good. But you should ask yourself these questions?

Do you just whack the ball back and forth as hard as you can? Do you have set drills? Do you concentrate on placement, power, and spin? Can you hit against topspin, flat, and underspin? Does the ball go where you want it to go? Do you look at your strength and weakness? Can you identify your mistakes? Can you make the correction or do you have the knowledge to make the correction? Who do you play? Are your opponent lower then your rating or higher? If you play lower then you, do play with a handicap (i.e. only one serve or 3 game spot per set)? If higher then you, did you learn anything to help you improve?
 
well I know what has made me significantly better without a whole lot of practice is just reading things about tennis on the internet and watching Tennis on TV whenever possible. I find that just reading these forums as well as some of the stuff on the Tennis section of About.com has helped my game a lot. Although I do have a really good memory so I don't know if this is for everybody. And one last thing is I do things that I like to do that indirectly help my tennis game like play ping pong for help with my strokes and stragety and reflexes. I find that video games greatly improve my net reflexes. And dancing improves my footwork.
 

aj_m2009

Professional
Thanks for all of the replys everyone, I'm sure they'll really help me.:)

andreh said:
Hilarious post, I must say! A discussion about getting better w/o doing the work? Come on!
I'm gald you found it funny.:roll:
 

montx

Professional
aj, just another thought, if you get a two week holiday in a year, why not go to a tennis camp also. Just a suggestion.
 

safin_protege

Semi-Pro
It has been scientifically proven, and backed up by my respectable varsity coach, that thinking about practicing, envisioning the correct strokes will help you get better. For our team, we spent one practice watching a tape of Stan Smith hitting the same strokes over and over again. Also, watching pros play will also help your game, if you envision hitting their strokes.

Our coach told us of the study and personal experience:
-A study had 3 groups of people throw free-throws. They all threw the same average (per group.) For one month, group A practiced free-throws an hour a day, group B thought about practicing free throws an hour a day, and group C did nothing. At the end of the month, both group A and group B's free throw average had improved by the same amount!
-My coach got injured and couldn't play for months. While layed up, he watched a lot of tennis. He told us that his slice backhand had never been good, but that he watched this particular pro who had an excellent slice backhand. When he returned to the courts, his slice backhand had drastically improved.

Pretty interesting, I suggest you give it a shot.
 

Grimjack

Banned
safin_protege said:
It has been scientifically proven, and backed up by my respectable varsity coach, that thinking about practicing, envisioning the correct strokes will help you get better. For our team, we spent one practice watching a tape of Stan Smith hitting the same strokes over and over again. Also, watching pros play will also help your game, if you envision hitting their strokes.

Our coach told us of the study and personal experience:
-A study had 3 groups of people throw free-throws. They all threw the same average (per group.) For one month, group A practiced free-throws an hour a day, group B thought about practicing free throws an hour a day, and group C did nothing. At the end of the month, both group A and group B's free throw average had improved by the same amount!
-My coach got injured and couldn't play for months. While layed up, he watched a lot of tennis. He told us that his slice backhand had never been good, but that he watched this particular pro who had an excellent slice backhand. When he returned to the courts, his slice backhand had drastically improved.

Pretty interesting, I suggest you give it a shot.
Lots more on this study and lots more in-depth info on "creative visualization" in the book Psycho-Cybernetics, the classic by Maxwell Maltz, IYI.
 

theace21

Hall of Fame
I had some friends who wanted to do well in school, but didn't attend classes or study the material...If you want to improve you have to find the time to put in good quality practice sessions...
 

MChong

Semi-Pro
Well, as the others suggested, you should try to watch tapes of pros on the freetime and to see what they do form-wise and strategy wise. It'd also be beneficial to work out if you have the time to do that, but just make sure the exercises are geared towards tennis.

It'd also be good to read the information and watch instruction and then on the few days you do go out to hit, make sure that you're focused and ready to have a real good practice; otherwise, I'd just leave the courts if I were you because perfect practice makes perfect while imperfect practice gets you nowhere.
 

twocents

Rookie
Buy/Rent the Tape "Visual Tennis" and watch it over and over. It breaks down each stoke into 5 segments. Watch it over and over. I was able to get it from our library for free.
 
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