Although tennis drills are lumped together as one activity, they can actually be broken up to three separate components. Your tennis coach will help demonstrate this a little more in detail, but in this blog we hope to demonstrate the difference between them.
The Repetitive Tennis Drill
This drill is exactly what you would expect, basically it is practising the same shot in the same situation, over and over again. This drill would normally be used when you are trying to learn or change technique. Many coaches believe that this is the only really practical way of doing this.
Repetitive drilling is effective but is boring, but if you want to change or master a new technique there is no way around it. It is because the brain needs to be told repetitively to change your body to react spontaneously.
However, there is a new coaching theory that this can now be achieved through a game-based approach, although this is still disputed. The goal is to get past repetitive drills as soon as possible.
Semi-Repetitive Tennis Drill
Once you have got to grips with mastering the same shot from the same situation and your technique is perfected then it is time to move on and start practicing the same shot from different situations, i.e low balls, high balls, fast and slow balls etc.
Gradually increase the speed and variation, perhaps only start with two types and then move on to multiple random feeds, but still only practicing the one shot.
Match-Oriented/Random Tennis Drill
These types of drill try to replicate as many match situations as possible. The drills should build you up to a level to work on problematic areas of your game. To practice these drills it is probably most effective during tournament phases and when you are not working on technique.
To play at your peak, your game must be instinctive when you are in “The Zone.”
Game Based Approach
The game-based approach is an effort to reduce the amount of drills you have to undergo. Students apparently learn through targets and games. For example the coach will put up a target on the court and direct you to hit there with a forehand shot and construct some sort of game around it.
The belief in this type of coaching is that the student will work things out for himself and find good technique without thinking about it. It does however, avoid an important part of teaching technique and can be dangerous.
Students prefer this type of work as it is more fun, what is probably best is a happy medium between drills and a game-based approach. Mix the two elements together to provide an overall balanced coaching session.