One of the major differences between practicing your tennis strokes and executing your tennis strokes is the pressure of the score in a “big match.” How can you work on overcoming that challenge? Here is a practice game that could help.
Providing Self Pressure
There is a story about pro golfer Phil Mickelson that I heard (that may be apocryphal or not) on how he practiced making five-foot putts. The story is that he would not leave the practice green until he made 100 in a row from that distance. If he missed at #99, he would have to start all over. A great way to put pressure on yourself in a practice situation.
John Newcombe Suggested …
At camp one year, Newk suggested that a good way to work on your second serve was to play a practice set giving yourself (and your opponent) just ONE serve. Well, here is a game that practice partner Tony Williams and I worked on that takes that idea one step further …
- You play either on the singles court or half court doubles
- Each game starts at 30-30
- The server gets only one serve, instead of two
- All else is the same.
So, you are starting every game at 30-30, second serve. Fault that serve or lose that point and you are immediately facing game point. Another benefit: it gives the returner practice at attacking second serves under score-pressure situations.
We did it, playing to a 5-5 tie… and amazingly, we both NEVER double faulted.
What practice technique have YOU used to mimic pressure situations?
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