Practice vs competition

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eaglesburg

Guest
Do you guys think that it is more effective for juniors to play matches or just hit?
I personally think just hitting is better because then you feel freer to work on things and experiment t. Obviously you still need to play some matches to see how things hold up under pressure, though.
What's your take?
 
I'm not a Junior or a coach of Juniors but to me it seems like match play would be very important. It's easy to have everything working in practice but match scenarios are completely different.
 

Dennylee60

New User
You really can't put one against the other since they are both important part of the game. I supposed if you want the player to just play and not worry about winning or losing matches then hitting is fine. The player really needs to learn how to deal with the pressure, how to stay ahead or how to come back, how to pick apart the opponent's game, etc. It is hard to work on the mental part of the game with playing lots of matches.
 
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Sirius Black

Guest
Oh no no no no no no no no no.

Match play will make you a much better player. The only way to get better in matches is to play them.

You ever see the guys who are great practice players but absolutely suck at matches (me). Don't be one of those guys.
 

Mac33

Hall of Fame
Played tennis for 10 years around 3-6 days per week and never practised once.

A warm up hit yes.

Decision making cannot be learned from hitting.
 
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eaglesburg

Guest
Do you guys think that it is more effective for juniors to play matches or just hit?
I personally think just hitting is better because then you feel freer to work on things and experiment t. Obviously you still need to play some matches to see how things hold up under pressure, though.
What's your take?
I don't think that there should be zero match play, just more hitting. What do you guys think is a good ratio/balance?
 

canuckfan

Semi-Pro
Both are important. I think a good analogy is F1 racing. On race day, executing the right strategy and driving well under race conditions wins you first place. You learn to maximize what you already have during the race. But if you want to build a better car that happens in R&D testing between races and during the offseason. Similarly in tennis, there is no substitute for match play and training yourself to execute under pressure against different opponents and conditions. But building better technique and making fundamental changes in your game takes place in practice.

In other words, in a match you make the best of what you have in your toolbox, but in practice you aim to expand that toolbox and add new/better tools.
 
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FatalStroke

New User
You guys have never experienced competitive hitting eh? Only thing i feel i miss in hitting vs a game is fair turns of serving, honestly i get better cardio from the hitting! As soon as a ball is going out we are feeding another in.
 

Lance L

Semi-Pro
In your title you talk about "practice" and then in the post you reference "just hitting". To me practice and rallying are not the same thing. Rallying is fine, and a lot of fun, but I don't think it helps much prepare for match play. Practice can include some rallying, but also working on technique and specific shots, etc. I have one guy, we will spend an hour playing points without keeping score.
 
"Just hitting" is very bad for development. In matches, you continuously run into situations where you try to implement a certain pattern of play. In just hitting, you well, just hit, so you don't face that pressure of execution on hitting sessions. Practice is good for development, but most of the practice should be done by focusing to a pattern of play, and learn to execute it perfectly. That's how you learn to execute even under the mental pressure of trying to do something.

Just hitting gives you a false relaxed "feel good" mode. Matches are never like that.
 

anubis

Hall of Fame
"Just hitting" is very bad for development. In matches, you continuously run into situations where you try to implement a certain pattern of play. In just hitting, you well, just hit, so you don't face that pressure of execution on hitting sessions. Practice is good for development, but most of the practice should be done by focusing to a pattern of play, and learn to execute it perfectly. That's how you learn to execute even under the mental pressure of trying to do something.

Just hitting gives you a false relaxed "feel good" mode. Matches are never like that.
This is why I like to at least apply some pressure to a hitting session, even if we don't have time to play an actual match. we'll play some point drills so that sloppiness is punished.
 

Dly

Rookie
Competition is VERY important, imo.

I used to never play tournaments, but I always thought my strokes were nice. I went into some tournaments and lost badly to people that I thought were inferior players. I just didn't have match experience. I couldn't hit like I did in practice.

Recently, I've been playing a lot more tournaments, and I've been beating people I probably couldn't have a year ago. I even gave last year's state champ a run for his money, when I probably couldn't gotten more than a game or two last year.
 

RyanRF

Professional
I used to never play tournaments, but I always thought my strokes were nice. I went into some tournaments and lost badly to people that I thought were inferior players. I just didn't have match experience. I couldn't hit like I did in practice.
This. Lack of match play experience is what allows the pusher/junker with ugly strokes to beat the guy with nice looking shots.
 

smalahove

Hall of Fame
When you practice, you learn new skills and/or hone existing ones, going through the 4 stages of learning (from unconscious incompetence to conscious competence). The practice arena is also ideal for learning match playing skills, such as diff. strategies and tactics, mental aspects/training, aso.

The competition arena is not a learning area, but a performance arena. This is where you play to win - and any thoughts regarding technique will easily have negative effect on your game.

However, the one aspect that is very hard to train, is the mental pressure present in match play. This, along technique-thoughts, are the two main components why many struggle with the practice to match transition. It is possible to train the pressure component, though: 25 pushups for a missed second serve, $10 penalty for each missed volley, aso.

This is clearly seen in golf, where many are able to produce great shots on the driving range and (training) putting green, but crumble under the self-imposed pressure on the course.

I read an amusing tip for training (golf) chip shots during winter time: set up in the living room, aim for the pillow in the armchair and put the (wife's) finest china in front. Pressure bonanza :)
 

Rafa4Ever

Rookie
the only time you should "just hit" is the warm up. Besides that you should be playing matches all the time. Outside of matches you should use drills to work on things with a coach to make sure bad habits dont get enforced.
 

ARKustom93

Professional
the only time you should "just hit" is the warm up. Besides that you should be playing matches all the time. Outside of matches you should use drills to work on things with a coach to make sure bad habits dont get enforced.
"Just hitting" during warmup is 'just wasting your time' ...
 
Do you guys think that it is more effective for juniors to play matches or just hit?
I personally think just hitting is better because then you feel freer to work on things and experiment t. Obviously you still need to play some matches to see how things hold up under pressure, though.
What's your take?
when you are Young working on technique is most important.

from about 14-15 technique should be almost "complete" (some fine Tuning will still be done but not huge changes) and then you work on other stuff.

match Play is important but also "Drilling". if you practice not "just hit" but work on specific things. for example if you serve don't just swing away but work for half an hour just on a specific serve (say a kicker to the BH from the ad court).
 

LuckyR

Legend
Doing drills improves your tennis much better than playing matches. Once you have the strokes down then playing matches will translate the strokes into winning matches (assuming you get good advice on how to do that).
 

volusiano

Hall of Fame
What I do in addition to playing matches, when I don't play matches, is to play points just like a match without keeping track of the score. You can serve 6 or 8 times (half on deuce court and half on ad court) and your partner takes turn, back and forth.

Doing this is much better than "just hitting" or "rallying". You get to also work on your serve, return serve, do second serves, and try your best to win the point doing whatever strategy you can. You only take some the pressure off keeping scores, that's all. But you still want to win the point, although at the same time learn to not play too timidly in fear of losing the point because nobody is keeping track of points.
 
Doing drills improves your tennis much better than playing matches. Once you have the strokes down then playing matches will translate the strokes into winning matches (assuming you get good advice on how to do that).
Playing matches improves handling of mental pressure. Doing drills with a purpose improves the technical part of your tennis. Just hitting does no good, but it does feel good.
 

volusiano

Hall of Fame
It also depends on your goal for tennis. If it's strictly for exercise and nothing then "just hitting" maybe OK. If you want to get better at it then "just hitting" is probably not enough.
 

GuyClinch

Legend
Playing matches improves handling of mental pressure. Doing drills with a purpose improves the technical part of your tennis. Just hitting does no good, but it does feel good.
This. Spend very little bit of time just hitting - mostly drills and match play.. This will maximize your tennis progress with a partner. Without a partner do ball machine drills..

The problem with match play is while you do get a chance to work on specific things - there could be one aspect of your game that is behind and you don't get a chance to fix it. For example overheads.. Alot of people have a suspect overhead and it won't get enough attention in a match..
 
Yes, it does, as far as that is concerned but it does a lot more. Tactics and strategy also are able to be worked on.
True. My first time ever to try S&V was in a club's inner league match. And believe it or not, it actually worked out pretty well in the end, with no previous tryouts in practices! :)

Now I use occasional S&V in most all the matches.
 

LuckyR

Legend
True. My first time ever to try S&V was in a club's inner league match. And believe it or not, it actually worked out pretty well in the end, with no previous tryouts in practices! :)

Now I use occasional S&V in most all the matches.
Brilliant move.
 

badkitty

Rookie
Practice is more important than match play, IMO. Most of the folks that go out and only play games and never drill to improve technique or patterns of play generally stay at the same level forever.

A good hitting session is to practice cross court ground strokes, down the line ground strokes, volleys, overheads, serves, and service returns.

Then finish up playing some live points, tie-breakers, or games.
 
Practise lots and play lots of tournaments if thats possible. Lots and lots of tournaments just to get used to the feel and mental view of it. Things always seem different on tournament days and its how you adjust to this difference that invariably reflects well or badly on your performance.
The objective is always to do your best. Not easy with the tension of match days but possible with much match practise.
 
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Deleted member 23235

Guest
in golf, I once read that for every hour you are on the course playing a round, you should be at the range a similar number of hours, practicing shots. (ie a 4hr round of golf means 4hrs of practice). In a 4hr round i hit say 100-120 shots... in 1 practice hour at the range I hit about 100 balls.

I found this ratio works for me in tennis. in an hour of practice I'm able to hit probably 5-10x the number of balls i hit in a match (due to all the start/stops/changeovers/etc... if a match), and experiment with making improvements without fear or losing a match.
 
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LuckyR

Legend
Crap practice makes crap.
Decent practice makes decent.
Great practice makes great.
Excellent pracky makes excellent.
Matchplay makes matchplayers.

Does anyone have the exact right ratio? Coach Avogadro? The golden ratio?
There is no single ratio. It all depends on where the stroke mechanics are. The lower the level of the player, the more improved stroke mechanics will help win matches compared to tactics, strategy and the Mental game (which are worked on in matchplay).
 

Sysyphus

Talk Tennis Guru
Both are absolutely essential in terms of improving as a junior.

Tournament-play is sort of the evaluation of where it's at, and a test of what holes that needs to be worked on (no pun) and so on. It also teaches to stay calm under pressure and all the mental aspects that can only be had during competition.

But the main groundwork in improving one's game should definitely be done in deliberate practice. Both deliberate drills and practice matches.
 
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