I was recently asked: “How can I get my students to stick with the technique I teach them and not poke at the ball once they begin playing games?”
This is a very good question because I remember doing this as a kid only for the sake of winning a match. In my attempt to not miss I would just “push” the balls over the net.
The upside was that I was winning matches playing this way… in the beginning.
The downside? Well, this kind of play does not lead to real progress in the long term.
Poking the ball will annoy your opponents first but they will soon figure you out and make you work hard for the points.
The players should understand that developing relaxed and full swings will benefit their tennis in the long run.
A player who cares for their proper development knows that in the beginning it’s not about winning. They are patient to develop a comfortable technique that allows them to swing at the ball with power and less effort.
Many people want to sacrifice the process of properly developing a solid technique for the sake of winning a few matches.
As a coach, you must not allow players to become “sloppy” when playing; especially after a lesson where you put so much effort into teaching them the proper technique.
With my students, every time I see them not following the technique we studied, I stop and ask them to do shadow strokes (swing with correct technique, without a ball). I do this with them until they know that not sticking with the proper strokes will interrupt their fun games. (:
If you follow this method, you’ll see that the players will develop a better awareness of how they swing and for the proper tennis technique.