How to survive training regimes
Marcin Bieniek explains how you can stay motivated whilst performing those boring tennis drills.
All tennis players want to play in the final of a major tournament - US Open, French Open, Wimbledon. We want to achieve our tennis goals, so we train every day to be better than yesterday. We work on our technique, speed up footwork, narrow our focus, build up stamina or groove decision-making and we are happy to do so if especially if the training is interesting. But what about those repetitive drills we have to do? Do you have an inborn eagerness, possess an intrinsic creativeness to kill the boredom and are you able to motivate yourself to complete these "boring drills"?
We are all really keen on carrying out interesting drills, but the simplest drills must be done every day so how can you manage these boring drills? Firstly, I should explain what I mean by "boring drills". For me, they are indoor cycling, forehand or backhand crosscourt rallying, basket drills with a lot of repetitions etc. In this article, I want to give you some ideas as to how you can manage and motivate yourself to perform these drills.
The use of a word or phrase to help you focus is well known but I think it only works well for a short-term focus. For example, if you have 3 repetitions of a drill to complete and your motivation is dropping then you can quickly refocus your motivation with words like come on, let's go, vamos etc. Motivating words can be used to achieve great results in seconds but they must be saved for special occasions. If a word is used too often it will not be seen as special and will not have that desired motivating effect.
Creativeness is really important as it kills boredom, it creates something new and it is personal. On the court you may think we have limited possibilities, not true, it depends on your own creativeness. When practicing your forehand or backhand shot you can place marks, cones, racquets, balls around the opponent's court for you to aim your shot at.
It is similar to creativeness, but you use it in your own head. Imagination works well for me when I do indoor cycling. Cycling indoors is boring and time never seems to go as fast as it does when cycling outdoors. When we are bored we keep looking at the clock and what feels like 5 minutes work, in reality, has only lasted two minutes. So, what can we do? You must give the brain something else to focus on, so I could imagine I am in the Tour de France in the leading pack and aiming to make a break. On court when you could imagine you are the top player, keeping the racquet's head up, nice tall posture and moving smoothly around the court.
Counting is the best way I find to motivate myself. It provides a point of focus and really makes you work. Example: You have to complete 8 repetitions of a specific drill. Set a target of 4 repetitions. Apply your best effort for the 4 repetitions and when you completed them, set another target of 2 repetitions, work a little harder on these 2 repetitions and when completed set another target of 2 repetitions, work even harder on these 2 repetitions (8 repetitions completed). You can apply the same approach to your gym exercises (sit ups, press ups etc). When cycling set time windows. Example 15 minutes of cycling - set targets of 5-minute windows and see if you can cycle a little bit further in each of the 5-minute windows.
Another option is spotting. Example: You have to complete 30 repetitions of a drill. Execute 10 repetitions at one location (spot) on the court, perform the next 10 from another location and finally the last 10 repetitions from a different location.
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About the Author
Marcin Bieniek is a tennis coach from Poland and a former professional player (Polish National Juniors Team). He is a certificated tennis coach by the Polish Tennis Coaching Association and the Professional Tennis Registry. Marcin has worked with many of the top 20 Polish Juniors and top 150 players in the world. He has a coaching tennis forum at http://2beacoach.forums-free.com
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