All athletes would like to play their best tennis every day. Or at least close to the best. It doesn’t matter if you are a tennis player or a basketball player you practice every day and you expect to show your abilities when it counts. Is it possible to maintain stable performance for many weeks? Definitely yes. Is it easy to do so? Definitely not.
When we look at top stars in the world it can look that it is so easy to achieve own best every day. Novak Djokovic beats almost everyone today. When we look at LeBron James’ executions it looks so effortless. Lionel Messi is another example from the soccer world which shows that it is possible to maintain stable performance for many weeks in a row. But then we get on the court and the fairy tale is over. We have one great practice and it looks like we are going to be the next champion but our next practice quickly gets us back to the earth and confirms that nothing in life is guaranteed. Bad practice follows the great one and we have mixed feelings. How is that possible? Why am I so bad? Why top players are able to maintain so good performance for many weeks? It is important to answer these questions and move on with planned steps.
Top players are able to play really well for many weeks in a row but it doesn’t happen all the time. Look at the example of Angelique Kerber in 2016. She unexpectedly won Australian Open and everyone thought that she is going to continue this perfect journey. The next several weeks were terrible and she couldn’t win anything at all. After few passive months she regained her best performance and won another Grand Slam title. Now she is number one in the world. So what does it mean? Can’t top player play well after so spectacular tournament as Australian Open? Why does she have ups and downs without any major turbulences? Before I answer these quuestions it is important to understand that if it happens on the top it will happen definitely more frequently at the less advanced level. That is why young players can’t give up and they have to learn how to make own performance as stable as possible. Because it is possible.
Would you like to play many great matches in a row? Definitely you would so I have a guideline for you on how to achieve this difficult task. Here are 2 steps that if you implement into your daily activities you will have a big chance to play your best day in and day out.
- Keep your basics stable
Your practice sessions reflect your tournament’s performances. If you don’t put the best effort during training you can’t expect great results. If you mix great practice sessions with poor ones the same will happen while competing. If you work really hard and maintain basics stable every day you will also keep your performance stable. So what do I mean by basics?
– Legs. If you keep your position low, you are active and run at your best. You have to be sure that this factor is checked.
– Decisions. If you make the same good decisions every day you will play at similar level every time. It doesn’t matter how you feel or what the weather is because your decisions have to be stable. Be strict to them and they will pay off in great performance.
– Best effort. Work hard play hard. That maxim gives you all. If you give your best there is nothing more you can do so you will definitely play your best. If you have some air left after the practice it means you don’t push yourself to the limits.
- Adapt to new day
Every day is different. If you lose the match the previous day there is a chance you will be sad. If you win big tournament it is possible that you would think you are the best and you don’t need extra practice. If you have photoshoot for your sponsors you can lose focus on tennis and think about some external factors during the practice. All these examples have negative impact on your game. That is why your performance is unstable. You have to learn how to adapt. How to react to wins, how to react to loses, how to react to tiredness, and how to react to pressure of being the number one. If you learn how to do it there is a big chance that your top performance will stay with you for many weeks. If you don’t you will play many great matches but also many weak ones.
Do you want to stabilize your performance? Now you know how. Take care of basics and adapt every day. It looks simple but it isn’t. It requires a lot of physical and mental effort from yourself. Are you ready to take this challenge? Would you do everything to play better? If yes start right now. No excuses!
Marcin Bieniek is a professional tennis coach and founder of instructional website http://tennisisland.us. Marcin has been working with USTA, top 100 ITF and WTA/ATP players. He is a frequent contributor to TennisPro and TenisKlub magazines and he was a speaker at International Coaching Tennis Symposium 2016 at Hilton Head Island, USA.