There is nothing wrong with recognizing the need to get help improving your tennis game. It is commendable you are willing to seek a tennis pro’s feedback to help you address these less adequate parts of your game. You’re humble and responsible enough to acknowledge your game’s flaws, and you’re brave enough to face them head on. We salute thee.
But stop pedestalizing your tennis pro.
It’s true the tennis pros of the royal families of aristocratic France were called the ‘second estate’, having the ear of royalty and expertise they sought.
But your tennis pro is not a savior.
You pay for your tennis pro’s time: to give instruction that is planned and executed progressively so you can make consistent and lasting improvements in your game. He/She can put you in competitive situations to test how much you’ve internalized. your pro can link you to instructional videos to help you continue your learning, as well as assist you in devising a structured practice plan.
But your tennis pro cannot perform miracles.
“It felt so good when we played, but when I got in the match, it was like I was starting over from scratch. I don’t know what happened.”
That’s a true quote from a real client, and I’ve heard many variations on the theme, too. Here’s what happened: You haven’t internalized it yet. You haven’t spent more than an hour to an hour and a half practicing that skill. The bottom line is, you still have a lot of work outside of lessons to do.
Improving your tennis game is still hard work, even with improvements in everything from technology, equipment, fitness, and instructional knowledge. You still need to put in the work. It’s not just for juniors, collegiate players, and professionals. Hard work works for the player trying to move from 3.5 to 4.0. Or that player looking to perform well at the 3.0 State Qualifying Tournament.
Tennis is not microwaveable. Matches are great. Your ladder and flex league matches work well for your game. They help you build resilience and problem-solving abilities on court. You develop a clutch muscle, and figure out ways to win, even when your not playing your best. Or you reflect on what you can do better in your next match, and what still needs work.
Purposeful practice is a complement to match play. You practice focus. You start to see progress in marked results. You sweat through mistakes, then experience the joy when something begins to “click” for you. Ultimately, your love of the game increases, as your knowledge base and skills base allow you to do more of what you want to do to win. Wait until you learn doubles and singles strategy, if you haven’t been introduced already. It will change the way you even watch TV tennis.
Your tennis pro’s expertise and feedback alone are not enough. Take charge of your learning. Stop leaving your tennis game’s development in the hands of others.