How to train – a simple guide.
In the last post, I looked at the difference between exercising and training. In this one, I’ll examine more in-depth the training mode.
Training begins with exploration – exploration of yourself. Those questions that you worked with last time are an excellent beginning. After answering them, you are more conscious of the following subjects:
- What motives drive you? – in other words where your motivation comes from
- What do you want to achieve? – each journey needs checkpoints and an ending point
- Do you have any map/plan that shows the route?
- What is required to get where you want to go?
- What are the signs that tell you that direction is correct?
Let take a closer look at each of them.
Mmotivation is the most significant factor in taking our actions. Everything begins and ends there. Surprisingly many athletes are not aware of their reasons. Many says: I’ve started to play; it was rewarding, so I’ve just continued. In the beginning, your development is organic, so you improve every single time when you show up on the court. But this doesn’t last, and intermediate players usually experience that the development curve is flat after a few seasons. Naturally, this is frustrating – I often hear: “I train and train, and I never get any better.” The reason is simple – exercising is not giving progress. Einstein once said: “If you are looking for different results, do not keep doing the same thing.” Still, what happens on the court is that players choose to train the same way every day. So they expect to get better by doing the same thing over and over again. It’s a vicious circle. Knowing your motives comes as a tremendous help. If you are sure that you want to get better at something, then focusing on it, trying out new things is the only correct approach. Consciousness gives you energy and that forward drive. There is a difference between motives and goals. Motives are your feelings and dreams. They are often difficult to describe, measure, and sometimes appear unrealistic. Goals are more concrete – should be realistic and measurable. Let us take a closer look at goals.
Ggoals are another critical topic. Dreams motivates to take action. Next step is to make it more precise; in other words, plan a journey. Amazingly, many players travel without a clear destination for their journey; simply, they don’t know why they train. Training must start with goal setting! Clear goals give direction and motivation. Imagine that my goal is to visit Rome. The first thing I do is a map check where Rome is. Then figure out how to get there and plan the journey. What about my tennis destination? Is the concept different? Don’t things so.
Yet!? What do you want to achieve? I’m asking a player, and the answer is – “I don’t know” or, in better cases, “more reliable forehand/serve, etc..” Why do you need it? To be able to hit better balls. Why? To get better at tennis!? Because tennis is a complex sport, so the most reliable way to set goals is with competition in mind. In those tough situations, we can see what works and what doesn’t. Because every shot should have an intention, so it’s easy to evaluate the effectiveness of it in a broader perspective. Goals are your map on the tennis journey. If you get lost, you take it out and simply correct your course.
Resources are the next important subject. What do you need to realize your goals? It is like planning a journey. Usually, we make a list of resources, people, and things that are required to reach the destination point. With this list in hand, it is easy to start and have an overview of progress. In the training context, resources are the following: equipment, a place to train, economic support, people who are willing to help you – parents, coaches, others to play with. Only by knowing what is available makes you well prepared for your journey. You can use what is accessible and look for things that are missing.
Last but not least is orientating. Like through that trip, you will need signs and checkpoints to be sure that you stay on course. Nowadays, when we travel by car, we search for the route in a GPS device and have instant tracking. How to track on your tennis journey? That is a tricky part for many players, and I see that many get lost along the way. There are two useful tips. First is: goals are the primary tool here. Long, middle, and short term goals will always give you direction and will be an indicator if you stay on track. The second tip is to find a knowledgeable person who will guide you towards your destination. He or she will help you to plan the journey and will help you stay on course.
In the next few posts, I will give more detailed insight into particular topics. Motivation is coming next.