Practice Partners

Joel Drucker
Joel Drucker
“Thanks for sending me your list of drills,” writes Newk Camp mate Joel Drucker, “They are very helpful, though it is tricky to find practice partners who are willing and able to execute them.”

My friend Joel is among the relatively few club tennis players who actually do practice the sport we play. I would guess that no more than half of you spend any regular time on the practice court. And if you do, the challenge as Joel points out is to find someone who…

• Is willing to do formal drills for an hour or more,

• Understands the nature of practice is to be cooperative and not smack winners all the time,

• Recognizes that some drills focus on “the other guy” and their job is to feed them the kind of ball they are trying to hit, (and then you switch roles)

• And that they must have weaknesses they need to work on so they take responsibility for their part of the practice agenda.

How about you… do you practice regularly? Also remember, it is not “Practice makes perfect,” it is “Perfect practice makes perfect.” In other words, if you drill using a poor technique, that is what you will perfect.

P.S. Some of my favorite drills are in Chapter 6 of my book; but if you would also like a Word doc with all my collected drills, drop me an email.

The Harrison Brothers

For those of us who had the fun of hitting with these two talented Americans at Newk’s when they were training there, this piece from the USTA Florida will be of interest:
“If you get to feeling sorry for yourself when sidelined from tennis with injury, ponder the saga of Christian Harrison, the 20-year-old brother of American pro Ryan Harrison, who trains at the IMG Academy in Bradenton. Tagged by some as a can’t miss prospect, Christian has over the last two years had surgeries on both hips for labrum tears, shoulder surgery, wrist surgery, and surgeries on each leg for abductor issues. This followed a serious leg ailment that sidelined him for two years as a junior, and on top of that of late he has dealt with mononucleosis and sinus surgery. This year he is slowly working his way back.”

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7 thoughts on “Practice Partners

  1. Closer to impossible to find drilling partners. On top of that, the practice has been discouraged by the “powers that be” at our club, believe it or not. 🙂

    Kevin – What possible reason could your club have for that??? george

  2. Drills? Great idea. Love to do them even. But nearly impossible to find a like minded partner. Best alternative is the wall but you can’t practice nearly as much there.

    Marty – in fact, i was on the wall yesterday. it is OK, but not as good as a good practice partner! tks, george

  3. and the perfect practice partner is ……… Jack Lease in Naples, FL!

    Bob – I agree… one of the best! george

  4. George, I try to practice a certain shot while playing at the club, and do not worry about winning. I also, most of the time use my ball machine for practice.
    Anthony Rasile

    Anthony – the ball machine is an excellent “practice partner”! george

  5. I am very fortunate to have 2 fellows that like to practice!! The one fellow never plays but will hit whatever shot you want as long as you want.
    I try to put in some 11 point games each at the end of the session.I find myself “practicing too much” and not playing as often as I should. I try to have 2 practice sessions for each match in the off season and a 1to1 ration during the season.

    Ron – you are right… you can practice too much! Putting some “game pressure” into the mix is a good idea. george

  6. The ONLY reason to NOT encourage practice because it “looks too much like a lesson” is sensitive Pros. The practice court is more important than the playing court, it is where we all develop positive change. No practice insures players who are proud that they have been a 4.0 since 1983 and there USTA League team has all the same players it started with.

    Patrick – AGREE! george

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