Today’s post is written by Coach Todd Widom. Enjoy!
I think there is a misconception in the tennis world that you need to be playing with higher level tennis players, junior or professional, in order to become a higher level tennis player. Level does not equal level. If you want to maximize your potential, you need to put your blue-collar work ethic on and get to business. This is something that should be done in a disciplined manner. The tennis player needs to understand how they are going to attain their dreams and goals. What are the strengths and weaknesses of this particular player, and what is the timeframe that the student and coach are dealing with so that this student can play either college tennis or professional tennis. Anyone can look at a certain player and figure out what they do well or not so well, but they need to think about how the student is going to progress and in what timeframe. This includes how many hours and repetitions it is going to take to get the player where they would like to be.
Tennis is not a team sport. Every tennis player at all different levels has certain things that they must improve upon to attain their goals. If you have a player who can stand in either the backhand or forehand corner of the court and can put the ball in the court, will greatly benefit you since you will be able to get a greater workout and work on the different aspects of the game that you need to work on. As a junior tennis player, I was exposed to all different types of tennis players to train with. I hit with adults, juniors, and on the rare occasion with professionals. My coach made it very clear to me that my job was to run for every ball whether it was in or out, and to focus on the aspects of the game that I was trying to get better at. If you would like to achieve your goals at tennis, it is a never-ending pursuit by trying to improve day in and day out.
During my professional tennis career, I was blessed to compete and train with some of the very best tennis players that the United States produced. On one instance, I was invited to train with one of the American professionals that was top twenty in the world. I was excited for this workout and two hours later when it was over, I left thinking that it was a waste of my time. Reading this you are thinking to yourself that how could this be possible? The drills we did had nothing to do with what I was trying to improve upon in my game. I would have been better off training with a high-level college player or a low level professional.
So remember that you need to have clear objectives about what you are working on and it does not really matter who is across the net. Tennis is not a team sport and it is all about you and how you are going to get to the next level to be able to achieve your goals and dreams. Stay focused, stay on track, and only be concerned with yourself and not who is across the net training with you.