In my last blog, I wrote about being unhappy with my serve. I felt like my focus on having the proper timing when going up for the serve and tossing the ball at 1 o clock normally works well for me. I realized that I didn’t do these two things consistently when I watched myself on camera during the match. My toss was pretty inconsistent ranging from 11 to 1, and my timing when going up for the serve was inconsistent also. The answer to this problem is pretty easy in my mind: Make the effort to watch myself a little more on film rather than watch other people. A lot of film sessions during the tournament last week was spent scouting my opponents, which is great. However, I will need to do more film study on myself if I want to better improve. It’s very easy to feel like I’m doing one thing on court only to find out I'm doing a different thing when I watch myself on camera.
I’m currently at the USTA in Orlando, Florida and yesterday was my first training day. There is Playsight on all of the courts here, so I will get record every practice. Max also loves watching film, analyzing himself, and being a student of the game. We will be watching our practices together as a team. Yesterday, we had a practice at 8am and 2pm. We had our lift at 4pm, and we watched our practice and took notes on it around 9pm. Our whole week will look like this. Max also ordered a camera that attaches to the top of the fence of the court, so we will also get to record our practices even when we aren’t at USTA. It will be easier to avoid developing bad habits when I watch myself more consistently on camera. Another positive benefit to watching myself is increased confidence. First, it feels nice when I watch myself execute properly, and I gain confidence from it. Second, a lot of times I feel like I didn’t do a particular thing well on court only to find out later that I executed just fine from film study. Film study almost forces me to give myself credit on a more consistent basis, which also builds confidence. Max and I have a lot of potential as a doubles team. We are big guys with good serves and volleys. We both come to the net frequently and play aggressively. We are capable of holding serve easily and forcing our opponents to feel increased pressure to hold serve as a result. We want our opponents to feel that the set is over if they play a bad service game and get broken. Its up to Max and I to work hard, so we can bring that vision to life. We will achieve this vision by spending the majority of our practice on our strength as a team which is serving, volleying, and taking middle as a servers partner. If we are sharp in these areas, we will hold easily and be able to apply increased pressure on our opponents to hold. We also spend the majority of our practice hitting returns. 70 percent of points in doubles are decided by the serve or return. Each successful professional relies on their strength win the majority of their points and dedicate a lot of time to it as a result. They also learn how to manage their weakness by developing a plan on how they will use it until they can play to their strength again. After they have mastered their strengths, they look to start improving their weakness to not make it as big of a liability. The remaining 30 percent of our practice will be used on a different variety of ground strokes. Outside of our individual practices, Max and I will try to find a different team to play each afternoon. We will record those matches and do film study on it as a team. Yesterday was very productive, and I’m excited to improve every single day for the rest of the week. See you guys next time.