top pros can consistently get great results because
they are capable of repeating basic, solid shots
set after set. It's no accident that they can do
this; it's the result of hours of drilling certain
patterns using targets at an early age. Because
they are sure they own these shots, they don't often
break down under the pressure of match play. They
can execute the right shot at the right time, because
they've practiced this way. Accuracy in practice
means consistency in tournaments. Additionally,
they've done the physical work to make sure their
strength doesn't fail under duress.
always amazes us that some juniors just don't
get it. When we comment on their uncontrolled
shot-making in practice matches, they say, "I
don't play this way in tournaments." It's
as if they hope somehow they'll be able to hit
screaming winners at will, though their ratio
is not even close to 50% under no pressure. Practicing
to hit at a solid pace with no mistake yields
confident, strong play in clutch situations. Dead
ball drills with targets, fed well with varying
heights, spins and depth improves shot selection,
as does consistent live ball hitting with a partner.
The disciplined players, who try to repeat stroking
patterns to specific targeted spots, are much
more likely to be in the finals of important tournaments.
And the other kids are coughing up excuses as
to why their results are lagging behind.