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Tailor Practices/Strokes/Strategy to the Player

It is important for player and coach to come to an understanding regarding not only their respective goals but also their desires and motivations. Just like a square peg cannot be made to fit in a round hole, a player with certain physical and mental characteristics cannot be made to play in a way that does not fit his idiosyncrasies. For example, a tall and lanky player will have a difficult time moving side to side. Therefore, a more suitable game would be to have the player develop a game that is more aggressive in nature. Why should the player be made to spend hours and hours developing his baseline game just to be average?! Similarly, a player who lacks height may have a difficult time covering the net. As a result, this player may benefit more from baseline training than inordinate amount of volleys. Now, it's important for the player to know how to do everything well. As such, by no means should a player be relegated to a limited game style. However, its important - due to limited time and resources - for the player to maximize the practices for efficiency and effectiveness. 

With this in mind, the coach and player should discuss and come to an agreement as to who the player is - physically and mentally. Is the player fast? Is she strong? Is she quick changing direction? Does the player have an aggressive mind frame? Is the player defensive in nature? Is the player a fan of clever plays? In other words, the parties would figure out how the player likes to win points and work their practices backwards from that point. Take for example a player with a monster inside out forehand; a lot of this player's should be based on drawing that mid-court sitter from the opponent in order to capitalize with the player's weapon. As another example, a player who is mostly defensive in nature should focus more on developing a somewhat different set of skills. This player should have deadly returns, great angles and movement as well as the ability to absorb the opponent's power and redirect it to the open court. This player wants longer points whereas a more aggressive player's principal purpose should be to bully the opponent with power and timing. One size does not fit all when it comes to developing one's game and neither the player nor the coach should feel resentful from the experience. 

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