Want to fix your strokes? Playing 2x a week won't do it.

S&V-not_dead_yet

Talk Tennis Guru
If you can, you should look into joining a USTA team and start playing formal matches if you haven't already. All the coaching and theory, videos, and practice gets flushed down the toilet on your first match. But it will be all part of your growth and improvement.
I've suggested that as well but he said he's not interested in joining USTA. Not sure why as it would vastly increase his tennis network and exposure to various styles and levels.
 
I've suggested that as well but he said he's not interested in joining USTA. Not sure why as it would vastly increase his tennis network and exposure to various styles and levels.
1) Money grab. I'm not paying $1500 to some indoor "team" just to play indoors in the middle of Spring.
2) I'm not driving 30+ min. to play tennis, when I can bike to my local courts.
3) I am not ready to play matches. I prefer to build the fundamentals first. Cart. Horse.

Straight beginner.
The correct answer is someone that has actually picked up a tennis racket.
 
A

Attila_the_gorilla

Guest
There could be players out there who have become better players by following a "watch and learn" technique without real-time correction and feedback from a coach (or someone acting like a coach).
If they have done it, the only thing it really proves is that they have spent too much time re-inventing the wheel and spending money more than what was necessary (indirectly by not earning what they could have by working on their business).
Do you think it shows/proves anything else?
The long process of self-learning is a lot more fun than making money. Happiness is not what you have but what you do.
 

S&V-not_dead_yet

Talk Tennis Guru
1) Money grab. I'm not paying $1500 to some indoor "team" just to play indoors in the middle of Spring.
League fees are $1500/season? Yikes.

But you said money was no limitation and that you've already spent $3000 on lessons. What's another $1500?

2) I'm not driving 30+ min. to play tennis, when I can bike to my local courts.
True, but the competition will be better and the exposure much broader. For someone like you who is that dedicated to improvement, I would think the 30+ minute drive would be worth it.

3) I am not ready to play matches. I prefer to build the fundamentals first. Cart. Horse.
Well, to each his own. Your discipline is admirable. Personally, I think a mixture of lessons, practice, drilling and match play is better [and more fun].
 

mcs1970

Hall of Fame
For those who don't want to spend much money or those who don't have the time available for rigidly scheduled club related activities, meetup groups are a great option to play with tennis players of your level. Quite a few of them organize different meetups every week based on levels. Check out if any such group operates where you live. You might even find a few folks there close to your levels with whom you can form a regular rotation with to hit and get better.
 

KenC

Hall of Fame
1) Money grab. I'm not paying $1500 to some indoor "team" just to play indoors in the middle of Spring.
2) I'm not driving 30+ min. to play tennis, when I can bike to my local courts.
3) I am not ready to play matches. I prefer to build the fundamentals first. Cart. Horse.
Then you are just wasting your time and money. Real tennis is played competitively in tournaments. Don't think for a moment that you can develop a certain level outside of tournaments and then enter a tournament and play at that level. No one plays their best tennis in a tournament match. First you have to learn how to win matches at the beginner levels, and you develop from there. I question your comittment, as it seems like you don't want to be a competitive tennis player; maybe you just want to seem good at the local park and on TT? If so, that's really sad. It's like winning the "smartest moron" prize.

Aspire.
 

S&V-not_dead_yet

Talk Tennis Guru
Then you are just wasting your time and money. Real tennis is played competitively in tournaments. Don't think for a moment that you can develop a certain level outside of tournaments and then enter a tournament and play at that level. No one plays their best tennis in a tournament match. First you have to learn how to win matches at the beginner levels, and you develop from there. I question your comittment, as it seems like you don't want to be a competitive tennis player; maybe you just want to seem good at the local park and on TT? If so, that's really sad. It's like winning the "smartest moron" prize.

Aspire.
Have you seen his prior posts and videos? Whatever else he lacks, it's not commitment: he's got that in spades. I may disagree with how he's directing his energies but I don't question his commitment.

Maybe he doesn't aspire to tournaments? You equate commitment to competitiveness and the two are not equal: one can commit to many things like improving that don't necessarily mean competition.

YMMV.
 

stapletonj

Hall of Fame
several observations:

1. Most importantly, you do not play tennis to stay in shape, you stay in shape to play tennis;

2. Once you reach a certain level, playing the same matches over and over against the same people will not improve you, indeed, it may slowly HURT your game.

3. (Related to 2) Get your game looked at an analyzed by a good pro. Spend the money for this. LISTEN when the pro tells you what you need to improve.

4. Go work on those things, in the mirror, drop and hit, ball machine, practice with a partner feeding, then hitting to you. IN THAT ORDER.

5. NOW go play sets with others again, trying to use the newfound skills.

6. Understand that it won't work for awhile, keep doing it, don't go back to the "old way" because "at least I got it over the net"

7. NOW enjoy your improved tennis game.
 
meetup groups are a great option to play with tennis players of your level. Quite a few of them organize different meetups every week based on levels.
Yes, a great way to find players.
Often, you will find a subset whom you can schedule hitting outside of the group.

However, this thread is about getting better. Fixing strokes and making new muscle memory.

Merely playing tennis for fun does not make you better. It only reinforces your current skill set.
You do not fix strokes in a meetup social. Or even a group clinic.

Drilling tennis is what fixes your strokes.

If you miss an approach shot in a match, that's it. You may or may not miss the next approach shot. You are not deliberately improving.
In practice, you have a coach feed you 50 approach shots in a row.

While developing your strokes, the main thing playing others is good for is to identify what to address at your next lesson.

Last match I played, I blasted a bunch of short FH shots into the net (when I had the entire court wide open). I was not unit turning and was totally open.
The next lesson, I spent 30 mins. hitting that same shot over and over again. First thing I did was turn. TURN. TURN. I hit less hard, and with a higher target.
Next time I played, I played that shot much better.
 
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Then you are just wasting your time and money. Real tennis is played competitively in tournaments. Don't think for a moment that you can develop a certain level outside of tournaments and then enter a tournament and play at that level. No one plays their best tennis in a tournament match. First you have to learn how to win matches at the beginner levels, and you develop from there. I question your comittment, as it seems like you don't want to be a competitive tennis player; maybe you just want to seem good at the local park and on TT? If so, that's really sad. It's like winning the "smartest moron" prize.

Aspire.
Like I said, cart before horse.

For a young kid learning to ride a bicycle, do you tell him that he MUST do a competitive road race on day one?

Right now, I don't need formal matches. Opportunity cost.
I prefer to direct my time and money towards drills this year.
I know enough 3.5 players to play casual matches and see what weaknesses need addressing.
Matches will always be there, and are for a later stage of development.

I never said I will never play matches, just not this year.
 
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Ft.S

Semi-Pro
Like I said, cart before horse.

For a young kid learning to ride a bicycle, do you tell him that he MUST do a competitive road race on day one?

Right now, I don't need formal matches. Opportunity cost.
I prefer to direct my time and money towards drills this year.
I know enough 3.5 players to play casual matches and see what weaknesses need addressing.
Matches will always be there, and are for a later stage of development.

I never said I will never play matches, just not this year.
Hello,

As this is the case, I'd like to ask, how do you even know you are a 3.5? You learned by now that tennis is hardly about the techniques you use to hit the ball, but equally or more importantly, about the mental game. NTRP is based on competitive match results, not techniques. There are great levels of difficulties faced when playing in a tournament with the pressure that you can be eliminated with a single match result. Similarly in league play, your dynamic NTRP is impacted by how many games you win or lose in addition to match results. Ratings are not about 'I can hit the ball similarly to 3.5 or 4.0 level players."

So pardon me, but just because you play with few 3.5 people casually does not mean you are actually a 3.5, and not to mention you regularly insult their game without even putting the struggles yourself. Before you claim anything, go out and play in a league, tournament or something to earn a rating, then experience the difficulties in keeping it and advancing; then come and criticize all you want, at least you can claim to know what you are talking about.
 

GuyClinch

Legend
I regularly play sets with 3.5 players.
I win some, they win some.
That's practice bro - practice. I win some points of the teaching pros - does that make me 5.0? If you don't EARN your rating - YOU DO NOT HAVE ONE.
 

SinjinCooper

Hall of Fame
Let the poor SOB have his number. Even the USTA would ask him to self rate when he starts.

If I have to start using phrases like "advanced beginner," and, "low intermediate," all the time, I'm gonna go through life with sore thumbs.
 

mcs1970

Hall of Fame
Yes, a great way to find players.
Often, you will find a subset whom you can schedule hitting outside of the group.

However, this thread is about getting better. Fixing strokes and making new muscle memory.

Merely playing tennis for fun does not make you better. It only reinforces your current skill set.
You do not fix strokes in a meetup social. Or even a group clinic.

.
Well...I was actually trying to give you an alternate path to get feedback on your lessons, without playing tournaments, since you seem averse to doing that. You don't get better merely by doing drills either, because once you get into a competitive match it's not about who has the more fancy strokes as much as whose strokes hold up under pressure. Your beautiful looking topspin shot might break down whereas the ugly forehand across the net is consistently landing in with good depth. I've experimented with a few different forehands and most of them work fine when doing drills or just practicing with someone else, but what I've discovered is that an old school Lendl/Sampras type high elbow forehand is what tends to break down the least for me in games. If I didn't play games and just focused on drills, I'd not know that part. My flat serves work great in practice. A spinny hard serve is what consistently works in games when nerves are also at play.

So, IMO, it has to be a mixture of match play and drills, for you to know what really works for you. You can use that feedback in a couple of different ways. If you really like something you're doing that's not working out in games, you can see how to fix it to make it better or OTOH if you don't like a particular shot that well, but it's working in games, then you can use practices to make it even stronger. Either way, IMO that feedback you get during games is extremely important to your development as a player.
 

ChaelAZ

G.O.A.T.
I'm talking about 3.0 player who wants to be 4 or 4.5 player in a matter of a couple of years.
Here is DIY experiment to check how far self learning will take you. Take a tennis sensor and measure your top spin rate. If it's less than 30 pct, try to double it in 3 months without one-on-one coaching.
I went from a self-rated 3.0 to playing 4.0's in about that, but I am a bit more athletic than some and a very good self-learner. Most of the original 3.0 and 3.5 guys I play with are all in 4.0 and 4.5's these days. Some will never improve but more because they don't put in the time and train to do so. Anecdotal, but anyway...

Talked to a lot of the coaches I hit with the last week and it is as interesting a discussion with them as here. I simply asked if a player can self-coach and improve. Great input there.
 
Well...I was actually trying to give you an alternate path to get feedback on your lessons, without playing tournaments, since you seem averse to doing that. You don't get better merely by doing drills either, because once you get into a competitive match it's not about who has the more fancy strokes as much as whose strokes hold up under pressure. Your beautiful looking topspin shot might break down whereas the ugly forehand across the net is consistently landing in with good depth. I've experimented with a few different forehands and most of them work fine when doing drills or just practicing with someone else, but what I've discovered is that an old school Lendl/Sampras type high elbow forehand is what tends to break down the least for me in games. If I didn't play games and just focused on drills, I'd not know that part. My flat serves work great in practice. A spinny hard serve is what consistently works in games when nerves are also at play.

So, IMO, it has to be a mixture of match play and drills, for you to know what really works for you. You can use that feedback in a couple of different ways. If you really like something you're doing that's not working out in games, you can see how to fix it to make it better or OTOH if you don't like a particular shot that well, but it's working in games, then you can use practices to make it even stronger. Either way, IMO that feedback you get during games is extremely important to your development as a player.
I am playing 2 set matches several times a week against 3.5 to 4.5 players.
The matches drive what I drill during lessons.
Match -> Identify weakness -> Drill at lesson.
 

mcs1970

Hall of Fame
I am playing 2 set matches several times a week against 3.5 to 4.5 players.
The matches drive what I drill during lessons.
Match -> Identify weakness -> Drill at lesson.
This para from one of your previous posts was confusing, which is why I thought you were exclusively doing drills and not any matches....not sure what 'casual matches' mean:

"I know enough 3.5 players to play casual matches and see what weaknesses need addressing.
Matches will always be there, and are for a later stage of development.
I never said I will never play matches, just not this year."

I guess you meant you won't play tournaments this year with the last line.
 
I have hit/played/practiced 29 out of the last 33 days.
Taking a hitting lesson almost daily, and sometimes playing 2x a day.

Body has fully adapted to new demands.
My muscle memory is now exhibiting permanent changes.
 

Traffic

Hall of Fame
I have hit/played/practiced 29 out of the last 33 days.
Taking a hitting lesson almost daily, and sometimes playing 2x a day.

Body has fully adapted to new demands.
My muscle memory is now exhibiting permanent changes.
If you're enjoying the sport, having fun and have the means to pay for lessons, good on you. At the end of the day, that's what it is about.

But I would also say, that if you have the time and the means, you may want to balance out your tennis; Lessons, casual play, solo practices, friendly matches, organized matches and general fitness.

Like I said, cart before horse.

For a young kid learning to ride a bicycle, do you tell him that he MUST do a competitive road race on day one?

Right now, I don't need formal matches. Opportunity cost.
I prefer to direct my time and money towards drills this year.
I know enough 3.5 players to play casual matches and see what weaknesses need addressing.
Matches will always be there, and are for a later stage of development.

I never said I will never play matches, just not this year.
I think you're analogy of entering the kids in a road race is correct. I would not enter them into a competitive road race if they were learning to ride a bike. But, I did enter my daughter in a kids triathlon. She is a good swimmer, she knows how to run and she can ride a bike. BUT, what the competition showed her was that she didn't know how to pace herself. She beat everyone in her heat in the swim, did very well on the bike ride, then ran out of gas on her run. But she learned what it's like and what she needs to work on the next time she attempts it.

I have two kids that play tennis and swim. Both were in swim classes since an early age. It wasn't until we joined a swim team and attended league swim meets that it pulled all their swim lessons and practice together. It provide focus, it showed strengths and weaknesses. Their swimming really took off.

For my son, again, he's been in tennis classes for years and started private lessons. But it wasn't until he started playing in organized tournaments that his tennis really took off. He had mental breakdowns when he lost a close fought set. He would back off on serves when he had a few double faults and increased the problem. He would pull back on his swings and either T it up for his opponent or drive into the net. Just everything he learned was tossed out the window. But after a year of consistent tournament participation, he is a very strong player. He will lose 2 out of 3 sets to his classmate in a friendly match at our club. But when they both go out to Champs tournaments, my son will climb the draw while his friend loses both matches due to lack of tournament experience.

I know that I self rated myself much higher than I thought. My sister who has played in USTA for years agreed with my self rating. However, when I played organized matches, it was like I forgot how to play tennis. Competitive play is so different than casual play. Yes, it's the same tennis. But now that you are actually being "measured" there is more at stake and it really tests your mental strength which is a huge part of the game.

Now, you can play tennis for the rest of your life without joining USTA and be perfectly happy enjoying the sport. But if you are really serious about your tennis progression, it should be one of your goals as I believe it will really help pull all of your hard work together.
 
I discovered the burnout threshold.
Starting in late May, I've played (serves, lesson, sets, etc) 49 out of 54 days.
This includes a recent run of 24 out of 25 days. Some days I played twice (sets and lesson)

At the very end of that 25 day streak, I would begin a lesson and be exhausted within 5 mins.
So, I just took 3 entire days off and came back at 100%.

Played twice yesterday, and will continue trying to play daily.
 

ChaelAZ

G.O.A.T.
First you have to learn how to win matches at the beginner levels, and you develop from there. I question your commitment, as it seems like you don't want to be a competitive tennis player; maybe you just want to seem good at the local park and on TT?
I'll actually agree with you for once.
Excellent point.

Just because I can practice and look good hitting with 5.0 players, doesn't mean anything when I continually get 1 and 0'd in matches.
 

Traffic

Hall of Fame
Just because I can practice and look good hitting with 5.0 players, doesn't mean anything when I continually get 1 and 0'd in matches.
+1. I so agree with this.
I can look pretty good hitting against my son just rallying. Heck, I can look good against him if we were practicing hitting for points in a tie-break format with serves. It would seem that I would hang with him 6-4.

But if we were to play a formal match to establish a formal ranking, he would beat me 6-0, 6-1. And the 1 would come from a couple double faults and a few lucky points. And he would be very pissed at himself for not double-bageling me.
 

ChaelAZ

G.O.A.T.
I learned just how flawed my strokes were, and just how much I needed to fix.
  • Too close to the ball, not extending arms
  • No legs, all arms.
  • Swinging way too hard
  • Wristy topspin with no depth and very low net clearance
  • Not following thru above my shoulder
  • Not doing unit turn
  • Not swinging out
  • Wrong grip for BH
  • Not turning for approach shot
The list goes on and on.....
I just re-read this. Is this from your coach? Honestly, this sounds like what a Chiropractor does to keep you coming back. They give you all kinds of things to work on. Hopefully your coach is prioritizing things and isn't overwhelming you with technique nuances.

Good coaches and players who can self-analyze will find major flaws and find ways to coerce them into submission, which in turn usually help align and fix smaller problems. Looking at your list more than half of those are fixed with proper footwork and positioning for the ball. Then you can work on proper kinetic chain, load and swing.

Just a thought.
 

GuyClinch

Legend
Just because I can practice and look good hitting with 5.0 players, doesn't mean anything when I continually get 1 and 0'd in matches.
This.. Took me forever to learn what you really have to do to win matches at your level. Again I think MOST tennis players rely on outhitting guys - just believe they can outclass other players.

And this works - as long as you are better then they are - more athletic or have better strokes. But winning when you are equal or worse - that's the real challenge IMHO.
 
I'll actually agree with you for once.
Excellent point.

Just because I can practice and look good hitting with 5.0 players, doesn't mean anything when I continually get 1 and 0'd in matches.
Typical loser cop out mentality of TT to justify continuing to play with their broken strokes.
Why practice if I can still lose? Yup, therefore, practice is pointless. Keep on hacking!
 
I just re-read this. Is this from your coach? Honestly, this sounds like what a Chiropractor does to keep you coming back. They give you all kinds of things to work on. Hopefully your coach is prioritizing things and isn't overwhelming you with technique nuances.

Good coaches and players who can self-analyze will find major flaws and find ways to coerce them into submission, which in turn usually help align and fix smaller problems. Looking at your list more than half of those are fixed with proper footwork and positioning for the ball. Then you can work on proper kinetic chain, load and swing.

Just a thought.
The list basically describes every 3.5 ever, and people who've never taken lessons. "Natural" tennis, if you will.
Yes, I've addressed most of that list in the last 2 months.

Typical loser mindset of TT. Yes, coach is out to scam you, like a therapist.
While I agree most coaches can't coach worth a ****, a good one is priceless, assuming you want to get better.
And I can assure you that you will NEVER reach your potential without a good coach, and hitting 5x a week.
 

ChaelAZ

G.O.A.T.
Typical loser cop out mentality of TT to justify continuing to play with their broken strokes.
Why practice if I can still lose? Yup, therefore, practice is pointless. Keep on hacking!
Someday you'll understand once you can get past yourself amigo. Most like not soon for you, but I have faith. Cheers.
 

Bender

G.O.A.T.
Agree with OP mostly, but you do need some recovery time and time off to shed bad habits, as well as some time to do off-court training, eg weights.

I can only play twice maybe three times a week but I play as high an intensity as I can, and run down everything if possible to give myself as many chances as I can to practise hitting balls that aren't ideal.

The other thing is that since I'm fairly aware of the theory it's a matter of being able to make the ideal motion that certain strokes require, and mimicking shots and techniques that I see players doing on the courts. Good thing for me, I can mimic pretty well, just need time to commit new things to muscle memory, which is where my hitting twice a week for two hours each doesn't particularly help.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

wangs78

Legend
Definitely agree with OP and other posters that regular lessons are key to getting better, but that's the ideal scenario. Most people don't have the time to get on the court that often. Others may not be able to afford all those lessons. And the other thing about tennis is, if you don't play, you will lose your skills. And lastly, the better you get, the harder it is to find a coach or hitting partner to help you keep improving. So unless you're a touring pro or a person with lots of cash and LOTS of time, pretty much no one can fulfill their full potential.
 

GuyClinch

Legend
Depends on how much natural athletic ability/proprioception you have. Good coaching will not help if you can't make your body do what they are asking/showing you.
This. And its not a cop out. An eighty year old man is never going to play 5.0 tennis. It doesn't matter how much coaching he gets. In reality its a curve..
At a certain point depending on talent and fitness level - more coaching will only lead to slight better results at your level. So even a great deal more play and coaching will get you no where.

Tennis players figure this out - and adapt. The less talented stop taking lessons and enjoy the sport - not at their maximum potential - but at level that won't cost them much or use up all their time. For most this level is 3.5 - for some others it might be 4.5 or 3.0.

Its not a big deal. Most people improve like 1 NTRP - and that's already plenty..If you start at say 3.0 and are 50 years old like OP - well getting to 4.0 is doing fantastic. Anything beyond that would be really costly unless they had extra-ordinary talent.
 

Traffic

Hall of Fame
I just re-read this. Is this from your coach? Honestly, this sounds like what a Chiropractor does to keep you coming back. They give you all kinds of things to work on. Hopefully your coach is prioritizing things and isn't overwhelming you with technique nuances.

Good coaches and players who can self-analyze will find major flaws and find ways to coerce them into submission, which in turn usually help align and fix smaller problems. Looking at your list more than half of those are fixed with proper footwork and positioning for the ball. Then you can work on proper kinetic chain, load and swing.

Just a thought.
There's a few of these threads open and active so I sometimes lose track. But I think it really comes down to what your tennis goals are.
To say, "I want to improve my tennis" is such a broad statement it's almost meaningless.

If it's, I want to play tennis with my friends and don't want to bother with any organized tennis matches, then I guess having a private coach (only) could be a way to make your shots look pretty and hit consistently against a comfortable opponent.

Tournaments is where you test your abilities. It's where you take all your skills, drills, coaching, practice, videos, daydreaming, air serves, blah blah blah and showcase what you have and who you are. It's what makes it clear where you flaws are and what your strengths are and how strong you are mentally to hold things together and play your best. Otherwise, it's rather meaningless.

Now don't get me wrong. If you want to say, "I play tennis" that's totally true. "I'm improving", that's also true. But to say that you are a 3.5 and berate others for being spazzy and not following a good regimen for improvement is exactly the same as me saying, all this is for nothing without entering formal competition. You are improving for what? To get 4 games off a 4.5 in a friendly match at a local park? That 4.5 is not going to play his best against you. He's going to show you a few good shots but in general play down to your level to make it a fun time. Offer to pay him $100 if he can play seriously his best against you for the entire duration of the match; Allow no more than 1 game on each set or even bagel both sets. See how differently he plays.

I see it in the juniors all the time. Various players look like they are close in skill levels in practice. But the ones with tournament experience are on a different level when start playing formal matches. And toTTPS point, yes, those that enter tournaments usually have private coaches, are in classes and play on their own. But it's the tournament performance that sets the bar for what these kids are striving for. Without it, it's just playtime in class.

"Everybody's got a plan until they get punched in the mouth." -MT
 

Carefree

Rookie
This. And its not a cop out. An eighty year old man is never going to play 5.0 tennis. It doesn't matter how much coaching he gets. In reality its a curve..
At a certain point depending on talent and fitness level - more coaching will only lead to slight better results at your level. So even a great deal more play and coaching will get you no where.

Tennis players figure this out - and adapt. The less talented stop taking lessons and enjoy the sport - not at their maximum potential - but at level that won't cost them much or use up all their time. For most this level is 3.5 - for some others it might be 4.5 or 3.0.

Its not a big deal. Most people improve like 1 NTRP - and that's already plenty..If you start at say 3.0 and are 50 years old like OP - well getting to 4.0 is doing fantastic. Anything beyond that would be really costly unless they had extra-ordinary talent.
I'd agree with this. Personally, I've improved quite a bit, just this summer, but it was mostly from getting over the hump in match play. That was the part of my game that was really lacking. My strokes have been pretty good, and haven't changed much. But, what's improved were my shots while playing points.

Back to the point, the question is really, what happens now? Do I think I can get to the next level? I enjoy playing, and I even enjoy drills, but what kind of balance between enjoyment, time, $, age is right for me? And what's right for me, doesn't mean it's the best answer for everyone. Everyone has different lives. Some people are content to play 3.5 league doubles once a week. Some, are probably going to stay at that level, but want to play higher lines so they practice a bit more. Some people are happy playing competitive 4.0 matches, but can't commit to getting to 4.5. After a while, drilling and coaching get diminishing returns (not to say that it isn't useful).

At 3.0-3.5, it's fairly easy to improve and get large gains in all strokes because for the most part, none of them are that great. You could spend a few years getting your forehand from a beginner level to a 4.0ish, but it would take that much time again to get it from 4.0-4.5. Once you get to a certain level, all of that practice time will be devoted to particular shots: slice DTL approach shots, wide kick serve, first volley off the serve and volley, etc.
 

Traffic

Hall of Fame
I'd agree with this. Personally, I've improved quite a bit, just this summer, but it was mostly from getting over the hump in match play. That was the part of my game that was really lacking. My strokes have been pretty good, and haven't changed much. But, what's improved were my shots while playing points.

Back to the point, the question is really, what happens now? Do I think I can get to the next level? I enjoy playing, and I even enjoy drills, but what kind of balance between enjoyment, time, $, age is right for me? And what's right for me, doesn't mean it's the best answer for everyone. Everyone has different lives. Some people are content to play 3.5 league doubles once a week. Some, are probably going to stay at that level, but want to play higher lines so they practice a bit more. Some people are happy playing competitive 4.0 matches, but can't commit to getting to 4.5. After a while, drilling and coaching get diminishing returns (not to say that it isn't useful).

At 3.0-3.5, it's fairly easy to improve and get large gains in all strokes because for the most part, none of them are that great. You could spend a few years getting your forehand from a beginner level to a 4.0ish, but it would take that much time again to get it from 4.0-4.5. Once you get to a certain level, all of that practice time will be devoted to particular shots: slice DTL approach shots, wide kick serve, first volley off the serve and volley, etc.
Right. I think you need to understand what's your goal and what fuels your enjoyment. Unless you're making money on it, this is your hobby; in whatever form.

For some, it's the ability to participate once a week playing organized doubles match play. You get out of the house, you run around with other middle-aged guys, and come back home with a smile.

For some, it's starting out 3.0 and getting to 3.5 by the end of next season.

What I have a harder time understanding, is working so hard at improvement without any real goals. To improve...just to improve? This I don't get. Maybe because I lack resources like time and money. If I had all the time and money in the world, sure, I would improve just to improve. Or until I got bored. But since my resources are limited, my goal is to get to solid 3.5 rating (that's 4.0 on the forums) and participate in social league play. Also, be at least good enough to be a sparring partner for my son and daughter when they need one.
 

GuyClinch

Legend
What I have a harder time understanding, is working so hard at improvement without any real goals. To improve...just to improve? This I don't get. Maybe because I lack resources like time and money.
It's the nature of athletics and sports. They operate on a different curve then academics and it causes burnouts and anger in some - and wasted money in others.

In academics - they start is often difficult - but it gets easier and progress grows faster. In tennis - people make very good initial progress - often a half an NTRP in a few weeks or months. But then progress slows - and depending on talent it will eventually halt as compared to time spent.

Basically guys come in - imagine they will be awesome (because of the fast start) and then quit when that is not realized. A guy like TTPS is a likely burnout victim.
 

LeeD

Bionic Poster
Maintainance also depend on your level of play.
A 3.0 can play once a year and stay the same.
A 4.0 might need 2-3 days a week just to maintain his standard of performance.
A 6.0 would probably need more, and much higher practice levels.
 

bertrevert

Legend
Maintainance also depend on your level of play.
A 3.0 can play once a year and stay the same.
A 4.0 might need 2-3 days a week just to maintain his standard of performance.
A 6.0 would probably need more, and much higher practice levels.
Good stuff it's not about grand statements and one-offs, saying "I will get better..."

It's about gradual improvement. I for one am always looking in the wrong spot, looking at the tech, the specs, the new stuff to buy... doesn't make me better at winning points. I mean it can help however there is nothing like coaching and practice really is there.

But what are the busiest forums - the tech!
 
You get diminishing returns via practice the better you get. The improvements get smaller and smaller, and it can be frustrating. So I try to have the attitude that I'm playing for fun and exercise. Aging is taking its toll on my game too.

I remember I took up golf in my 20s and I was able to work on my game and go from shooting 100+ to shooting in the 80s. I loved it and I loved practicing. But once I got to where I was shooting mid-80s it was really difficult to improve. Had I the money to get coaching and play even more I probably could have lowered my score a few strokes or more, but I had kids so I couldn't justify spending money on lessons AND simply playing so I ended up getting frustrated.

Tennis is no different. You get solid strokes from both sides, a solid serve and volley, and on any given shot you can put the ball where you want it, but you're an amateur so you'll still make more mistakes than hit winners. The only real way to improve is to play good players and perhaps get some coaching too. And the improvements will be small and hard to see because they will mostly be developing more consistency.

Just enjoy it. Enjoy the exercise you get having some fun instead of trying to stave off boredom in the gym on a treadmill.
 
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