How to practice smart & not hard: What I learned from Nick Bollettieri
"Believe in yourself and never never doubt your ability to do it."
A few years back I was attending a tennis conference in Manhattan, NY and i got to meet the great and probably most famous tennis coach in the world, Mr. Nick Bollettieri. I am sure many of you have heard of him and his accomplishments. Just to name a few, he coached and developed players like: Andre Agassi, Jim Courier, Monica Seles. He has also worked with Maria Sharapova, the Williams sisters, Kei Nishikori and many, many others.
I've known Nick from my days in Florida and i have seen him around a bunch so i got to speak with him for a little bit and there was one question i have been meaning to ask him. The question i asked him was: "How do you practice smart ?". And by smart, i mean efficiently while improving your game.
Here is a summary of his take on my question:
- Purpose: You have to have a purpose when you are practicing. Most of the time your purpose should be directly related to your long term goal (whatever that is, improving your backhand, serve, etc.).
- Quality over quantity: Don't over do it ! Get in enough quality reps vs longer training sessions, that could sometimes be frustrating too.
- Work on your weaknesses: You should absolutely spend time working on your weaknesses. Your goals during every practice should be working on parts of your game that need to be improved. Think about parts of your game that need the most attention, focus on them and not your strengths.
- Practice match results: Be okay with losing a practice match. I always advise people to play more practice matches and not to worry about the outcome. You know why ? Because you are working on something specific, and the only way to improve it is by working on it and takings some risks, and yes you will lose some along the way but hey that's part of the process ! Focus on the long term, big picture goals and results.
To me personally this applies to a lot of things in life in general and not just tennis. I was happy to see Nick and to learn a few things from him. I wish you all the best and good luck out there. If you need my help with working on parts of your game please send me an email.
Stay safe !