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Buddy System

Maybe because we're a developed nation (with greater per capita disposable income than other countries) so we don't need to, or perhaps because we are becoming increasingly anti-social, it seems that nowadays not too many juniors participate in group- or split lessons. Unless they are corralled at some high-priced academy, it seems like every developing player has his or her own private coach; one player leaves his lesson before the other player comes in for training. 

Although private training is beneficial for focusing on certain aspects of the player's game, I've found that the best way to train is by having 2 (sometimes 3) players on the court at the same time. Both the Navy Seals and the French Foreign Legion incorporates buddy-system training in their regimen. These elite units have found that a two-member unit is best for building morale, support and healthy competition. After all, seeing someone going through tough training alongside you makes it easier to deal with the pain.



Tennis players can benefit from the buddy system by incorporating a few 2-on-1 (i.e., two players + coach) practices in their weekly workouts. A lot of weaker/softer players, particularly, will be helped by this system when couple with a somewhat more advanced player (although not too much older as this could be intimidating and overwhelming for the weaker player). The concept is that the players will think "if HE can do it, then so can I". In addition, the players - if they care about tennis and are somewhat more competitive in nature - will push each other by always trying to outdo one another in the drills and various patterns.

Furthermore, after the drill portion of the practice, the players can play points and the coach can watch and critique the playing (rather than moving on to the next lesson). In addition, other benefits include that the payers can play twice as long for the same amount of money and, lastly, that the players will bond and become more involved in each other's development (for purposes of training on their own, warming on before matches or cheering each other on during tournaments). So find someone your own age and comparable skill and see if you can incorporate some shared practices into your normal workout routine. Done right, you will see your level improve exponentially. 

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