Time to find some other practice partner?

Discussion in 'Tennis Tips/Instruction' started by syc23, Jan 13, 2012.

  1. syc23

    syc23 Professional

    May 20, 2011
    There was an interesting post a few weeks ago about asking whether people have picked up tennis later in life

    I am one of those who decided in Aug '11 that I wanted to play the game I've always watched since I was a kid (i'm 34 now). and you know what? I'm so glad I did because I love the game more now I play as I can relate and appreciate the game more.

    The beginning picking up the basics was extremely tough, I did a 4 day intensive course on the fundamentals and from then on, I played a few games with friends and work colleagues - it snowballed from then on and I joined a local club in Sept and was introduced to the club coach and was paired off with one of the members (Dave) so I have someone to practice and play games with.

    From Sept to Christmas, I've been playing against Dave 2-3 times a week who is 7 years my junior and have been playing tennis since he was 12 so he is a pretty good player and no surprise beats me 9 times out of 10. I still try and get some 1-to-1 lessons with the coach in between the games as I still need to drill my shots, serves, footwork and positioning and groove these so I could apply these in my games.

    I've got to the point now where our matches are more competitive but I know that practice/drills and lessons is crucial in my early development. For the initial 6 months of this year, I want to focus on this rather than just playing sets.

    Now Dave is the type of guy who likes to win a lot and takes enjoyment beating someone but seem to be only interested in playing sets only and blasting winners all day. I'm all for a competitive game but I want to spend quality time developing and drilling good form.

    I always want to start with 30mins warm up hitting, practice a few serves before moving onto games but he starts to moan 5mins in and wants to start the sets.

    Having explained this to him, he started ranting about playing games and getting beat is the only way to learn to become a better tennis player. WTF! Gaining match experience is one thing but in any sport, you also need to practice and build/develop skills and THEN apply these to real match situations - I've been there before as I've played basketball all my life in highs school right through to college so I know the importance of training.

    With that in mind, I feel maybe it's high time I should find someone else to practice and develop my game further.

    What do you guys think? Please share your experience on how you started and tips to improve.
  2. Spokewench

    Spokewench Semi-Pro

    May 22, 2008
    There is nothing wrong with playing with Dave; but you need to find different kinds of players to hit with.
  3. Boricua

    Boricua Hall of Fame

    Feb 22, 2011
    Playing matches is good but just hitting the ball continously is the best way to pefect your strokes and improve your overall conditioning.
    I would hire a 5.0 level or above player and pay him just to practice without match play. Do this at least once a week if you can afford it, youll be surpriced.
  4. user92626

    user92626 Legend

    Jan 27, 2008

    It's just different mindsets.

    Like Dave, I find that so called "practicing" at public courts (sorry, not sure what environment you guys have) can be dreadful more often than not, generally speaking. Why? This kind of practicing, without proper coaching, is very unsystematic, and soon when it gets a little tiring people get lazy and stop running.

    If you're not motivated to run and try harder in a match, you're not gonna be motivated to do any of that in practicing.
  5. syc23

    syc23 Professional

    May 20, 2011
    I am motivated to win any games that I play but I also want to practice and drill different strokes and focus on other technical aspects of the game. I'm all for playing more matches as it gives players experience of different game situations which you won't encounter in a unstructured hitting session (that's certainly not what I want to do more).

    It isn't always possible to be practicing a certain shot in a proper match as there are so many variables depending on how your opponent play so practice/drills/lessons certainly adds value in that regard.

    I do have 5 lessons arranged with a coach starting next week to sharpen different parts of my game and will try and find other hitting partners to get more experience playing different types of players but ultimately I did not agree that you drill good form only during matches and practice is regarded as a waste of time.

    FYI, I normally play at my local tennis club. I do occasionally play games with other friend's / work colleagues on public courts.
  6. bukaeast

    bukaeast Rookie

    Sep 15, 2007
    1. People that have been doing something for a long period of time forget how difficult it was to get down the basic skills.

    2. Many adults just do not like to do/learn using basic repetitive drills, but prefer to learn in a competitive situation.

    3. When you take lessons you need to practice what you have been shown to ingrain the muscle memory.

    You know what you want to do and the way you want to accomplish it. It is a reasonable approach.
    Ask the coach who set you up to get someone else who shares your philosophy on learning. If he thinks that is a foolish idea, find someone else to ask.

    Yes, you may need to pay a hitting partner if you cannot find a practice partner, but you may not. There are people out there looking for drilling partners.
  7. rkelley

    rkelley Hall of Fame

    Sep 28, 2010
    I was hitting against a guy last night and we just pounded backhands for like 30 minutes. I had gotten into a bad groove of not getting shoulders turned enough and not stepping into the shot and I was losing power (which he had been punishing me for). I just needed to regroove: move to the ball, chin on shoulder (to insure the shoulder turn), step into shot and rip it. And while I was at it, look at the stupid ball all the way to the racquet.

    When I did all of those things I gave the ball a pretty good ride. You just can't do that kind of practice in a game situation, and it's the only way to really raise, over time, the basic level of your game. I also enjoy that feeling or ripping 3, 4 ,5 really good shots in a row instead of hitting one or two good ones and then messing-up.
  8. gregor.b

    gregor.b Professional

    Aug 9, 2009
    Drilling consistently and continuously is the best way to 'groove' a shot. You do need to develop a 'feel' if you want to hit the shot well. Once you do this you will gain the confidence to fully stroke the ball. When this happens your feel for the shot will improve. Unfortunately it is a vicious circle. It should not matter if you are on a public court or not if you are focusing on what you are doing.
  9. qwanta

    qwanta New User

    Jul 18, 2011
    Get a ball machine.
  10. nacolo

    nacolo New User

    Dec 6, 2007
    I would keep Dave as a "Play Set" partner. He is nice enough to "Play Set" against a lower skill level like you. Enjoy him and make sure he has FUN.
    Find and hit/drill/practice with others when you are not in the court with Dave.
  11. Bagumbawalla

    Bagumbawalla Hall of Fame

    Jun 24, 2006
    I agree with your viewpoint- you need to practice, hone your skills, work on strategies... to improve as a player.

    You, also, need a sort of "benchmark" to gauge your improvement. So, I, also, agree with nacolo (above). Find some other partner who likes to drill, but continue to play Dave on occasion to judge your level of improvement and for some competitive excercise.
  12. user92626

    user92626 Legend

    Jan 27, 2008

    In my experience, players like Dave is actually kinda rare. I find overwhelming majority of average or above players are hesistated to play singles sets. The guys at my court always make a big deal about playing singles against another. Rallying and doubles are plenty!
  13. gindyo

    gindyo Semi-Pro

    Oct 21, 2007
    OP, here is my advice - buy a ball machine. If you are really serious about getting better and honing your technique that is the best investment you will ever make. There is so much information, videos and what not, on the internet, that paired with a decent ball machine and lots of enthusiasm will sky rocket your game in no time. I have been playing tennis for about 15 years and I just bought a machine this last fall. Boy how much I regret being cheep and not polling the trigger on one of those 5 years ago. I cant wait for the spring to go and get in real shape for once :)

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