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Improve-Your-Tennis.com Newsletter---Sharing from GPTCA Conference Part 2
December 09, 2012
Let me continue my sharing from the GPTCA Conference. In today's newsletter, I'm going to share some ideas to improve your concentration on court.
Believe me, you are going to love this newsletter and if you try to implement these practices in your training, you are going to more focus in your game.
According to the trainer, Alberto Castellani, the meaning of concentration is the ability to focus on the centre of attention. To illustrate what is centre of attention, say for example, if you are rallying with a partner, your centre of attention is the ball. If suddenly someone scream behind you, your centre of attention shifts to the person behind.
This shifting of attention is what causes players to lose their concentration.
To improve your concentration, you have to understand 4 types of attention.
1. Attention that is internal of you. For example, how you breathe, is it deep breathing or shallow breathing?
2. Attention that is external of you. For example, your movement on court, are you balanced or out of position?
3. Attention that is narrow. For example, when you are rallying, you are focusing on the oncoming ball. The attention on the ball is narrow.
4. Attention that is wide. For example, driving a car where you need to check the road, mirrors, change gear etc. This is a high level of attention.
Due to these 4 types of attention, if the player is not well trained to adjust and change the mental state at the right time, it will cause a lost of concentration.
Therefore what we need to do is to change the elements of practice to practice on attention.
What I am going to do now is to share 4 variations that you can use to practice on court. What you need to do is just to get a partner and rally with you from the baseline.
Drill #1: (Practicing the internal attention)
Rally with your partner from the baseline. I want you to focus on your breathing by breathing out loud upon hitting the ball. You can produce the sound "ahh" when you hit the ball. The key is to breath out loud until your partner can hear you.
Drill #2: (Practicing the internal, narrow attention)
Rally with your partner from the baseline. Call out the type of ball that is coming to you. For example, if the ball coming is a topspin shot, shout "top". If the ball coming is a flat shot, shout "flat". if the ball coming is a slice shot, shout "under". The key here is to shout the word once the ball crosses the net.
Drill #3: (Practicing the external, narrow attention)
Rally with your partner from the baseline. Put a ball or a marker about 4 feet in front of the centre mark of the baseline. Your partner should do the same as well. During the rally, aim at the ball or the cone that is in front of your partner.
Drill #4: (Practicing the external, wide attention)
You need a third person for this drill. Get him or her to stand at the net post. Rally with your partner from the baseline. When the third person raise his hand, change the rally to backhand cross court rallies. (you can change the variation if you want) If the person put down his hand, you resume to the normal rallies.
Bonus drill #5:
Change Drill 1-4 randomly. The purpose is the change the centre of attention so that you can practice your mental flexibility.
You know what, I have actually tried these drills on my students. The feedback that I received was that they are so focused in the drills that they are totally unaware of what is happening outside the court. At the end of the practice, they were physically tired but importantly, they were MENTALLY tired as well. With more practices on these drills, I am sure their mental flexibility will be greatly enhanced and their concentration level will surely increase too.
One quick tip I want to share with you is if you lost your concentration in a match, bring the attention back to yourself. Think of drill #1, breathe out as you hit the ball. You will find that you are back in control.
I hope you will try out the drills that I shared with you. These are cutting edge training practices used by the pros.
I am also looking forward to hear your feedback and sharing.
Committed to your tennis,
p.s. if you like this newsletter, forward it to your friends or anyone who wish to improve their tennis. I am sure it will benefit them.
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