Most people struggle to improve their tennis conditioning (recovery between points, endurance) on a consistent basis. They get to a point where things plateau or even worse tennis injuries occur. Is that you? Maybe you have been there before.
Having been tennis fitness trainers for over 20 years, we have found this can be due to a number of factors (poor technique, doing the wrong training, motivation, knowledge, application, attitude). I have found that when some simple questions are asked, players know at least 3 things that they can do better straight away to help them improve how they train and apply themselves to their conditioning training.
Finding these 3 things can get players going, boost their motivation, and push them forward. They are often simple things (you don’t want to get too complicated). It’s the realization that they can create change instantly, that is enough to shift their thoughts and will get them seeing things differently, and then the motivation kicks in.
Here is a rundown of how it should work, work through these 3 points, either with yourself or a player you work with.
1. What are 3 things you could do right now to improve yourself and your tennis? Don’t think too hard, keep it simple. Some examples could be; Following a structured tennis conditioning plan, showing up on time so you maximize your training time, having a better attitude, warming up, doing 1 extra tennis workout or tennis strength and conditioning training session a week.
2. Discuss the points you want to improve with someone and let them know how you are going to commit to them. Accountability is good, so have someone to answer to, someone who will keep an eye on you. This creates urgency and more of a willingness to get it done. Someone may even be willing to do an extra session with you!
3. Start the process straight away. Make some calls, create the change ASAP. The most important thing is to commit. Get out of your old habit and create the new one and just go for it! Nothing will ever change if you don’t change what you do! Having great recovery on the court and outlasting your opponents is a choice and it starts with doing the conditioning work away from the match court.
To get better right now, you need to change right now. Get used to finding 3 things you can change to make you better and keep them simple. Simple things are often the easiest to change and they often have a large impact. What I suggested to one of my players today after our tennis fitness session, was to do 10 mins of some tennis footwork drills 3 times a week as a warm-up before each tennis practice….so simple right!!! They felt better after doing it and asked if they could do it every session.
I have seen many players make big improvements in their game by making small and simple changes/improvements, even professional players. My encouragement to you is to always look for areas you can improve, set some targets, and let someone know what they are, so they can help keep you on track. This is what I call a "growth mindset". Having this mindset will allow you to be constantly looking forward and also looking for ways to improve what you do.
If you don't have this mindset the opposite can happen, you can become stuck where you are, with no direction or goal to chase. Even if it is a small/simple goal, it will create a sense of purpose and urgency, that will manifest into motivation and the willingness to work harder and be better!
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