I recently received a text message from a student that I had to share with you because it highlights an incredibly important principle of tennis improvement.
She and I had just completed two days of private, high focus, intensive coaching working on every part of her game.
We’ve actually been working with this student for several years now so its always a pleasure to see her come back, track her progress, and show her the next steps to take in her game development.
On this particular trip we made a number of breakthroughs that she was especially excited about and we wrapped up day two in high spirits.
The next morning, while we were having breakfast together, she received a text from a local friend who need a forth for a doubles match.
She finished her tea, packed her bags, and headed over to the club.
Later that afternoon I received her text…
“The old me came back!!”
She described how several of the big breakthroughs we made in the previous two days went back to the way they used to be.
“The ‘old you’ will always come back until she is trained away for good!”
This is such a big part of why tennis players get frustrated, slow down their progress, and ultimately give up trying to improve.
Here’s what they don’t understand:
- Learning a new concept doesn’t change your habits.
- Doing a new skill correctly for the first time doesn’t change your habits.
- Having a breakthrough in your understanding doesn’t change your habits.
- In most cases, practicing a new skill every day for a week doesn’t change your habits!
Changing your habits takes commitment.
It takes a combination of quality and quantity of repetition.
It takes a consistent investment in effort, focus and discomfort.
When my student had back to back days of fantastic training it was really tempting for her to walk off the court assuming she was “cured” and all her bad habits were gone for good.
The reality is it’s just the beginning!
That’s why we work hard to provide every player we see on the court with guidance, resources, and a personalized plan for them to follow back at home.
The improvement journey never ends and how fast we progress depends on our ability to stick with it.
Unfortunately heading out to play a match with a “new toy” immediately after learning it usually leads to reverting back to what you normally do, the habit you’ve grooved for years or maybe even decades prior.
Please know that’s totally normal!
This particular student has been working with us long enough to understand how the process works…
…but just this once she was hoping those bad habits would magically disappear forever.