Mental strategies for incorporating stroke changes into rally play/drills


I'm in the midst of making some significant changes to backhand and forehand with a coach I started working with a month ago.

When I get to group lessons or rallying, I find myself "lost" and can't find a groove. Basically, I'm shanking or feel completely lost af like baby giraffe trying to walk.

What have you all found as helpful mental approaches to working on incorporating changes into actual rallies / match play? Finding checkpoints in your strokes? Maintaining "idgaf where it goes" in your head?

Really feeling discouraged on translating the coaching into better rallies.

Thanks in advance.


For me, making bigger changes to strokes, strategy, or such, I just needed to give myself some grace and permission of 'fail' at the changes to actually improve and learn how to apply them. Easier said than done, but it does help me get out of my comfort zone and not get on my own azz about taking a few steps back in the short term to move forward long term.


1. Practice the new stroke over and over- in front of a mirror, or with someone tossing a ball into your "strike zone", or with a ball
machine, or while rallying with someone who can hit the ball back consistently.
2. Once you have "grooved" the new strokes and feel at ease with them, work on getting into position so you can execute them
effectively- striking the ball in the same relationship to your body, with the same motion every time.
3. Watch the ball, watch it leave your partners racket, anticipate its landing point, move to meet the ball as in #2, above.
Focus on the ball as you begin your stroke. Imagine a line through the ball, like an arrow, pointing in the direction of your target
and inclined (low to high) to impart spin. Those few inches of imaginary line
represent the path you must drive the racket head through the ball to give it direction, depth, height over the net and spin.
4. Do not force you stroke, or guide the stroke, or think of it as many individual motions cobbled together.
Work for an easy flowing, continuous motion.