Thursday, 22 March 2007 15:33
From an article on the WTA Sony Ericsson site, with some guidelines, not only to the top players but also grassroot players.
"Every tennis player from those just learning the game to those competing on the Sony Ericsson WTA Tour must balance playing matches with practicing their skills to improve. Not all practice is good practice and the goal is to have fun and win matches. Smart practice strategies help you reap the rewards you deserve."
LISTEN TO YOURSELF
What do you need? Your ability to read yourself, physically, emotionally and mentally is the key to success.
VARIETY AND RECOVERY
Variety will keep your body and mind balanced. Experience another sport and cross train for fun and performance benefits. It will keep your body active and stimulate your nervous system. Try swimming, bike riding, in-line-skating and team activities like soccer.
Recovery is critical for you as active person. Include regular massage, hot and cold hydrotherapies and daily stretching. Mind-body activities like Yoga and Tai Chi may also assist your body, mind and soul to recover faster.
BALANCED ON-COURT TRAINING
On-court practice sessions are important to maintain and develop your game: to understand the way you need to play to win and how you maximize your strengths and address your weaknesses appropriately for the level at which you are competing. It is important to ensure your time on-court is effective and efficient.
Include these aspects into your on-court training program to keep your mind and body stimulated:
Choose a variety of practice partners. Different players will stimulate and challenge you with distinctive patterns with styles.
Include sessions that involve drills and activities aimed at building confidence and self-belief. Target your weaknesses as well as your strengths. For a Sony Ericsson WTA Tour player, mental training on-court is a major part of success. Training mental skills is important for any level of play.
Point and Match play to continue to hone the aspects of your game that you wish to improve.
Practice After Matches- Is it Necessary?
Although many players continue to hit after a match, you can be physically, emotionally and mentally exhausted, especially if you lose.
Post-match is usually not the best time to learn, make changes or address an issue in your game.
Wait 24 hours to reflect on what needs to be improved.
Sometimes players mistake skills for confidence or visa versa. If it is confidence you lack, it may only take a short, properly structured time on court (20 minutes) to have you feeling great about a certain stroke or situation.
Effective learning and practice occurs in many ways. Use mental training, such as visual and verbal feedback using match tapes, diagrams and conversations and visualization techniques. This mental training is used by Champions. It is effective and does not overload your body. Try it!
As an athlete, you need to listen to yourself, make smart choices about how you are feeling and modify your training and practice schedule accordingly.
WHEN YOU TRAIN, ENGAGE YOUR BRAIN!
Content supplied by Craig Morris, Manager, Coach Education at Tennis Australia and modified by the Sony Ericsson WTA Tour