I'm a big believer in setting specific goals in tennis.
I think it is a way to track your progress and note your
improvement or lack of improvement. Setting a goal is
similar to having a game plan for a match. It is your
road map to accomplish a specific objective. The same
players that usually approach a match with no game plan
are the same types that have few, if any, goals.
Your goals could be very simple. They could be to learn
a new serve, achieve a certain ranking, or defeat a
special opponent. Regardless of your end result,
setting the goal helps you to focus on what you are
trying to achieve. Then you can actually see your
progress and know if you are going in the right
direction. If not, then you might need some help in
achieving your goals. It is important to know your own
strengths and weaknesses so that you can establish
realistic goals. A high school junior that has been
playing tennis for a couple of years might have his/her
sights set on making the team. However, turning
professional before graduation is not a realistic goal!
Set long term as well as short-term goals and also list
your ways to achieve them. This could be done through
more competition, practice, etc. Think about how you
practice and if it is beneficial to you achieving these
goals. If you want to learn a slice backhand, do you
have time set up to practice it? Do you only
occasionally use it during a practice match? If it is
a shot you want to add to your game then it is something
that takes time and effort.
Write down your goals and track them along the way.
Sometimes it is a good idea to talk to your teaching
professional about what you want to achieve in your
game. You know from my previous articles that I think
it is important to go to a lesson with specific shots
to work on and achieve a small goal in each individual
lesson. By tracking your improvement you'll see that
you are more focused and improving at a faster rate.
Set your goal, set your map to improvement, and watch
your game improve over the winter.