One of the advantages of being given the opportunity to write
this monthly article is the chance to get feedback about my
ideas from all over the world. There is no one way to teach
a shot or learn a particular stroke or strategy. Rather,
there are several ways to interpret each tip or lesson.
That is what makes the job of teaching tennis so interesting
- each player and his/her strokes are unique and figuring out
the best improvement strategy is a welcome challenge.
Although a teaching professional can help you correct a stroke
or strategy problem, it is important to let your instructor
know what YOU feel is giving you a problem. Most students
rely on the professional to direct the lesson and work on a
shot the professional feels needs work. Your instructor can
certainly analyze what you are doing wrong during the lesson
-- but that is not necessarily the same stroke that gives you
problems in your match play. If you've read my previous
articles, you know how much I emphasize the need for practice
between lessons. I think it is very important to spend quality
time in match play trying to use what you've worked on in your
You know your game better than anyone. Your instructor can
help you understand your capabilities and limitations but
he/she can't see all of your matches. By telling your
instructor more about what you think you need to work on, you
will be setting your goals so that you can best receive your
instructor's help in achieving those goals. Think about your
last tennis lesson for a moment - did you spend time on what
bothered you in the last match? Have you set a game plan to
improve on your weaknesses during the next few practices?
Personally, I like it when a student comes in and tells me what
he/she would like to work on in a lesson. It lets me quickly
develop drills, point situations, etc. to focus on that
particular area of the player's game.
I bet giving your teaching professional more feedback about
your practices and matches between your lessons it will help
him/her help you. That means faster improvement in your game
by letting you be the guide!