Thursday, February 04, 2010

Practice Tired

While watching the Kansas at Colorado basketball game last night I remembered how important it is to practice tired. Execution and decision-making both suffer when players become fatigued. In tennis this generally happens late in long points and late in long matches. Therefore it's important to engage in drills that extend beyond the length of most points to train fatigued shot-making and decision-making.

Since most points are not very long (six hits total or less) most of a player's practice will be, and should be, focused on the early stages of points. After all, even long points start at the beginning! But it's important not to totally neglect the longer points. I think one general strategy to point play may be to play more conservatively the longer the point goes. Since at most levels the vast majority of points are lost and not won, playing conservatively all the time is probably a winning strategy. But supposing you don't play that way all the time, at least consider refraining from going big late in points for two reasons. You don't have as much control and as precise timing late in points so you're more likely to miss. Your opponent is more likely to miss as s/he tires. I guess if you both adopt my strategy here the point will never end as you both turtle and just get the ball back. Maybe pull the trigger on your 50th shot!

No comments: