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The 3 most important shots in singles tennis are the serve, return of serve and cross court groundstrokes, in that order. So, how do you spend your practice time?
Is that a one liner? lol
Well, hard to find partners who will spend more time on the first two. Usually, endless rallying is what happens.
No doubt, like minded practice partners are worth their weight in gold. Or, at least worth being very nice to. The question becomes: Why do you play tennis? If you play to get exercise, socialize, a suntan, etc., etc., then this isn't very important or relavant. But, if you play to win matches, then it seems to me that your practice time should be spent on those aspects of the game that will most improve your match play.
I have a very consistent rally friend with a very bad serve. Solid 5.5 drive forehand and low 4.5 double handed backhand. He will NEVER practice his 3.5 serve.
Been trying to reduce my practice time with him, but boy is he persistent. lol
I know the frustration of finding and keeping good drilling partners. And, the older you get, the harder that gets. I've had some very good practice partners in the past, and I always played my highest level when doing drills regularly. The good news is that I don't need a partner to practice the most important shot in the game, which is why my serve has always been my best, most reliable shot, and my biggest weapon. It's nice going in to a match knowing that, if you serve well, you can get in to a tie breaker. You can always pay a coach to stand at the opposite service line and smack serves at you. But, it's not the same as practicing returning real serves.
True indeed. The return can be almost as important as the serve, especially if you're a counterpuncher.
The way I see it is this: According to Vic Braden, the average point in professional men's tennis lasts for 3 shots in play, that's serve, return and one more shot in play which is either a winner or draws an error (much more likely to draw an error). The average amateur point is barely 2 shots in play, serve and return. You can see how important the return of serve is. At the amateur level, just getting your return back in play puts the odds heavily in your favor of winning the point, on average. Even moreso if it's a deep forceful return. Yet, serves and returns are among the least practiced parts of the game.
Ah, Vic Braden! I went to his academy for five days. Learned a great deal.
I try to find partners who will do the following: practice points out without keeping score, so the serve and return is practiced. The guy serves as many times as he wishes, and the point is played. This way, attention can be given to the form of the serve and the form of the return. Also, point construction is also developed.
Tie breakers where one player serves the whole tb is a good drill.
I'll try that one server tiebreaker deal then!
" there is no way I can win when shots like that go in!" - Derek D
27:40 backhand Miss-hit lob winner.