Transforming the Practice Court

There is a revolution coming and I say that it’s already here among us. Today more than ever, coaches, players, and parents are waking up to what actually happens on the match court with regards to point length. The numbers are in, most points are short rallies.  2 out of 3 points in match play end within the ‘First 4 Shots’ (0-4), it’s the Serve, Return, the S1 and R1. The conventional wisdom of grinding and hitting balls up and down the middle of the court is slowly being replaced by more intentional practice of patterns that make up these 4 shots. Numbers are straight-forward and they reveal the truth about point play rally length, that points end just after they begin! If you’re looking to capture a distinct and powerful advantage over your opponents, there are innovative ways found in this book to practice the ‘First 4 Shots’ more effectively. You’ll develop powerful patterns of play that share a direct relationship with the data and win more!

The revolution started with me on a beautiful Fall day in September 2012. I’m watching my top two junior players, both with State rankings, playing a practice set. Suddenly without warning – I noticed something. Something so obvious and yet hidden from plain sight. Wait a minute, what I think is happening is not really happening. Points are not lasting longer, there are ending before they even begin! It’s a serve, a return, and then an error on either of the next 2 shots. I’m remembering those long points because they are long. As a result of this enlightened moment, my quest began to discover a way to track points. A simple and easy system that would uncover this powerful truth. The system I developed over the next year would track momentum from point to point with counting every successful shot. I called it the Point Tracking Chart and away our team went to begin tracking points.

This transformative revolution is here! Many coaches across the globe are changing the way they train their players on the practice court. They are having their players focus to play more tactical and strategic shots rather than just making more balls over the net.  If you read my book, ‘7 On Court Strategies To Experience Your Play State’, you know that I believe repetition is absolutely vital to improving a skill. Exceptional technique with regards to stroke production and court movement is so important for a player to achieve high levels of performance. At the same time, my good friend and colleague Craig O’Shannessy often says:

How you hit the ball matters, where you hit the ball matters more!

As a player, if you want to win more points, more games, and more matches – practice in the manner in which you will perform in a tennis match. The First 4 Shots is where the action begins and ends.

 

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