What’s the secret to improving your tennis game? Many coaches and students subscribe to the idea that you just need to play and hit enough balls and just by sheer repetition you’re going to get better. But that’s just not true and I have research to back it!
If this were true then everyone that drives a car everyday would be able to drive like a nascar driver. They spend hours and hours driving and repeat the same fundamental mistakes over and over again.
In the book “Peak” by the researcher Anders Ericsson he spent the better part of his career researching how anyone can become exceptional at anything. What he discovered is that there is a common pattern to what the best people in all fields do to improve.
3 Steps To Improving
They focus on something very specific to improve on
They find a way to get feedback on what they are doing
- They fix it by doing drills to address the issue that they are having trouble with.
So the next time you go out to practice make sure that you are focusing on something that is very specific. For example, instead of focusing on working on your forehand or serve.
Focus on loading your outside leg on your forehand or creating the shoulder over shoulder action on your serve. You can see how these are more specific than the broader topics of forehand or serve.
Feedback may seem simple but before you can get feedback you have to know how what you are doing is supposed to look when it’s done correctly. This is why most students rely on a coach. So they can point out any flaws in their technique or thinking. Another way that students can get feedback is by using video. This is a powerful tool that everyone has access to if they have a mobile phone these days. I recommend Coaches eye as an app that you can buy for your phone or tablet. This will help you slow your footage down and compare it with the pros.
Having a good coach that can point out what you’re doing wrong or how you could do something better is still only half the process.
The final part is for the coach to give you drills or instructions on what and how you need to do the action differently. To me this is the measure of the coach's experience or knowledge of how well that can clearly give you feedback and design drills for you to do to improve.
If you want to see the entire process in action check out this virtual coaching I did with Meng
If your interested in doing virtual coaching make sure you check out virtual coaching here