Winter training session - 3 things I'm focusing on
With the winters around here it's tough to get out. Don't get me wrong I'm very grateful to live near indoor courts and they are a lifesaver in the winter, but it's still very easy to slump into a 3 month off season on the couch.
I recognized that the only way I'm ever going to improve to new levels is to just start now, not wait until spring. So when we're lucky enough for the sun to come out in February we throw on the shorts and t-shirt and head off to the courts. Let's take a look at 3 key things that are working so far with these early training sessions.
1. Warm up for real
I used to think warming up was a waste of time, but when your body is in a deep freeze for two months you have to thaw it slowly. So we took an extra emphasis on a complete warm up - and it's working.
I'm finding that warming up, range of motion exercises, and stretching is really paying off, your body just feels so much more in tune and relaxed. Get a solid short court session in there and really ease into the intensity, upping the racket head speed with each stroke. I'm going to keep this one going for sure.
2. Spin to win
Although it looks cool on instagram, trying to hit every feed as hard and flat as you possibly can isn't realistic for game time. I'm actually trying to replicate point scenarios.
So while the temptation is there to get the best winner on video I'm going for spin when hitting these feeds. This is the spin that will get your ball in as your swing speed goes up, and the spin that will lead you to confidently winning more points.
3. Aim 3 feet in DTL
On the down the line shots again the goal is not to paint the lines and let's be honest - these are easy to spray because you are usually changing directions and trying to hit a cold winner out of excitement.
One thing that is working well for me is aiming 3-4 ft inside the alley when hitting the dtl shot. Use the alley line as a guideline to visually square your trajectory up, but imagine the width of another alley inside the court. This will give you plenty of room for error on these shots, and don't worry if you hit a decent ball you don't even need to hit the line - 3 ft is plenty to do some serious damage or set up an easy winner from there.
I've found using the 3 ft in trick is also a great "mental trigger" when you choose to hit this dtl shot, you automatically default into going 3 ft in and will hit the shot more confidently, "see" the shot earlier, the target will appear larger - and you'll go for it more often. Remember that in match play things are a lot tighter so we need the extra 3 ft there to help us mere mortals out.
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