How to survive training regimes
Marcin Bieniek explains how you can stay motivated while 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 the training is engaging. But what about those repetitive drills we have to do? Do you have an inborn eagerness, possess intrinsic creativeness to kill the boredom, and are you able to motivate yourself to complete these "boring drills"?
We are all keen on carrying out impressive drills, but the most straightforward exercises 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 many repetitions, etc. In this article, I want to give you some ideas about how you can manage and motivate yourself to perform these drills.
Using 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 three repetitions of a drill to complete and your motivation is dropping, you can quickly refocus your motivation with words like come on, let us go, vamos, etc. Motivating words can be used to achieve excellent results in seconds, but they must be saved for special occasions. If a term is used too often, it will not be seen as unique and will not have that desired motivating effect.
Creativeness is vital as it kills boredom, it creates something new, and it is personal. On the court you may think we have limited possibilities, not right, it depends on your 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 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 of work, in reality, has only lasted two minutes. So, what can we do? It would help if you gave 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 suppose you are:
Counting is the best way I find to motivate myself. It provides a point of focus and makes you work. Example: You have to complete eight repetitions of a specific drill. Set a target of four repetitions. Apply your best effort for the four repetitions. When you complete them, set another target of two repetitions, work a little harder on these two repetitions. When completed, set another target of two repetitions, and work even harder on these two repetitions (eight 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 further in each of the 5-minute windows.
Another option is spotting. Execute ten repetitions at one location (spot) on the court, perform the next ten from another site, and finally, the last ten repetitions from a different location. Example: You have to complete 30 repetitions of a drill.
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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 globally.