Top mistakes of the modern training
Perfect practice makes perfect. Training is everything. You play the way you practice. All these wisdoms are great, and really motivating for players, coaches, and parents around the world. If the practice is so important should we spend almost all day on getting our skills better? In this article I will describe the top mistakes of modern tennis training that you should avoid if you want to have successful and long athletic career.
It is true that only day by day work can guarantee you the best chances for achieving dreams in any field you can imagine. If you consistently work hard you are going to see positive results sooner or later. Looking at the training aspect from the tennis perspective it is simple to notice that we need a lot of hours of practice on and off the court to reach our potential and compete at the highest possible level. Acquiring proper technical habits is a long-term process so only conscious effort can help us to achieve the goal. Tactical decisions are partly dependent on each opponent so playing tennis requires learning and improving on a daily basis. Building a strong and endurable body is complex task that it doesn’t happen overnight. If you want to have body like Rafael Nadal better prepare for many hours in the gym and on the track. To complement this already bumping road to theathletic excellence you can’t forget about diet because experts say that physical greatness is made mostly in the kitchen. Novak Djokovic is a great confirmation of these words because his gluten-free nutritional habits have made him the number one in the world. Adding to this already long list of skills topics related to mental preparation and recovery techniques we can have a perception that each day should have much more than 24 hours to get better in all these abilities. Modern sport is more marketable than ever so it is not surprising that big amounts of money are waiting for all the best athletes. That is why parents, coaches, and of course players try to do everything to get to the top, sometimes forgetting about the negative effects of this dangerous race.
Smart practice can get you tremendous victories but wrong practice can terminate your career and even break your life. There are many coaches, and parents who make blatant mistakes while coaching so make sure that you learn from these mistakes, and you don’t repeat them. The most common modern mistakes of the tennis practice that you should avoid like a fire are:
1. Too specific too early
Some coaches say that players start the tennis journey too early these days. I don’t agree that early start is the reason for many injuries or drop outs. In my opinion early specification is the real tempting danger that coaches and parents can’t resist. It is nothing wrong to work with your 4 years old kid on athletic skills but they have to be fitted to the kid’s needs, age, and abilities. If you spend afternoon on different activities with balloons, soft balls, and plastic racquet you can be sure that young tennis player is going in the right direction. On the other hand if your afternoon activities with 7 years old son are based solely on technical drills learned from the professional players, cross-fit exercises, and tournament match’s analysis I will be surprised if this player will stay with tennis till the age of 16. Tennis is a long-term project so don’t break it to make some insignificant early results.
2. Too much
I know many coaches who have great tennis players at the age of 10. They are able to beat decent opponents who are 2 or even 4 years older. Unfortunately these coaches (and parents too) forget about the progressive load rule. Progressive load means that we have to gradually add more load to the practice to maintain continuous development, and improvement. If the 10 year old kid spends 3 hours a day on the court and 1 hour a day in the gym what will the practice look like at the age of 16? If you put too much workload in the early stages you close the door for the healthy, long, and successful career for your players. Physical, and mental growths have to go together so always take into consideration the biological, and physical age of your players while preparing the practice schedule.
3. Too scheduled
Modern days are comfortable but they are also responsible for players’ laziness, and lack of creativity. When I was young I was spending a lot of afternoons on hitting the tennis ball against the wall. If I saw the opened tennis court I could call my friends, and play some points to have fun and get better. Unfortunately I don’t see these pictures anymore. Nowadays parents have more money, and less time for their kids so they falsely believe that hiring the best coach in the world is the recipe for success. It is not that simple! Players needs some unstructured time of practice to find own solutions for problems, and to learn new skills that are not addressed during regular practices with the coach. Additionally by motivating yourself to make some practice on my own players develop motivation, and self-belief at the level that is not possible to achieve even with the greatest coach. If the player says that he/she doesn’t have conditions to practice it has to be an excuse!
In XXI century we have more possibilities than ever to succeed in any sport. It depends on us how we are going to use these opportunities so I can honestly say that we are the only ones responsible for own dreams. Many times we get lost in this blind race for greatness so it is important to quickly discover crucial mistakes, and correct them. The more the better is not always the best solution so make smart decisions if you want to be the best!
About the Author
Marcin Bieniek is a tennis coach from Poland and a former professional player (Polish National Juniors Team). He is a certificated tennis coach by the Polish Tennis Coaching Association and the Professional Tennis Registry. Marcin has worked with many of the top 20 Polish Juniors and the top 150 players in the world.