Throughout my years playing tennis, I have found that varied experiences are the best teacher. The more I was able to change my learning platform, the more versatile and effective player I became. In order to be a skilled tennis player there needs to be a varied, yet balanced, approach in how you improve your game.
Here is a list of crucial playing and training options for developing a tennis player’s game:
- Group Lessons - Tennis, while sometimes considered an individual sport, has many group components. Playing with an age and/or ability group provides greater learning opportunities. Often, errors are hard to recognize in one’s own play. In a group setting, the opportunity to observe and internalize other’s mistakes is a benefit. Another group lesson advantage is the opportunity to develop rallying and ball reading skills.
- Private Lessons - Playing in a one-on-one environment helps players to learn at their own pace. Moreover, a coach may pin-point specific weaknesses that can’t be effectively addressed in a group setting. Directly addressing the specific needs of an individual player provides targeted technical help. This tailored training can really help a player excel.
- Match Play - There are aspects of tennis that can only be learned during match play. This setting allows players to construct a point without being told how. Coaching and instruction are important to improve, but there is also something to be gained learning from one’s own mistakes. At the RAC, match play is a great balance of individual play combined with coaching reports following the contest. The value is that players are provided guidance as well as analysis following the game.
- Tournament Play - Similar to match play, tournament play allows for individuals to test their skills and construct points without direct coaching. In addition, tournament play creates a dynamic atmosphere where players learn to compete as individuals or in partnerships. It puts an individual’s skills into a competitive context and can enhance a player’s mental and emotional growth.
- Ball Machine and Solo Practice - The obvious benefit from using a ball machine would be the exercise repetition. If there is a particular stroke that needs improvement, using the ball machine repetition is an excellent way to progress it. For example, if a player is typically uncomfortable at the net, the ball machine settings can be fixed to a challenging, yet achievable speed, to practice net strokes. Ball machine practice is an excellent option for improving tennis skills.
- Playing Just for Fun! - Arguably one of the most important, but underrated learning platforms is simply to get on a court and have fun! Participating in a special tennis event or getting together with a group of friends are perfect examples. While remaining competitive and working hard is important, tennis is a lifelong sport that promotes physical fitness, comradery and good sportsmanship as well as providing a pleasurable atmosphere.
While all of these platforms of play are important, use of each will vary based on an individual’s tennis development. If you have any questions about which learning platform you should explore, feel free to connect with any RAC tennis professional for help. Here is a link to our Meet Our Pros webpage.
I hope to see you playing on the court soon!
Katie was born in Eustis, Florida. She grew up in Florida and California, eventually landing in Minnesota where she attended Rochester John Marshall High School and then Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota. She was a dual sport athlete in both high school and college playing softball and tennis. Now after graduating she continues to coach both sports. Katie enjoys traveling, sports, family, and friends.
Contact Katie Krull
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