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Build a Foundation - Practice Consistency

Andy Scorteanu is the Director of Tennis and Fitness at Monterey Country Club in Palm Desert, CA. He is also the head of ASTA - the Andy Scorteanu Tennis Academy ( www.astennisacademy.com ). As a player, Andy finished his junior career as #1 player in Southern California and attained a top-30 NCAA Division 1 ranking at Fresno State University. He has competed on the professional circuit and served as hitting partner for Pete Samras, Martina Hingis, Jelena Jankovic, Ana Ivanovic, Dmitri Tursunov and Jim Courier.
Do you find that you're practicing like a champ and playing matches like a chump? Is your coach constantly feeding you balls? Well maybe that's the problem. Leave the basket a home and grab a can (3 balls max). Perfect practice makes perfect, so hold yourself accountable and learn how to keep the ball in play. Many times, coaches feed balls to the players in order to work on very specific shots. These drills are tailored to elicit focused footwork, preparation and ball-strikes under narrow circumstances. However, in live-ball scenarios, the players find that their balls are going everywhere but in the court. What does this teach? No magic will bring the ball in the court. Often times, the mistake happens because the player was unable to adjust to a specific speed, spin or trajectory of a "live" ball. As a result, players, specifically juniors, need to learn how to hit against the "unclean" shots from their peers (the same ones they will face in a match condition). Doing so will not only make them better players but also better practice partners which in turn will make them a sought-after commodity for other players looking to improve (and more playing = better resutls). In addition, in today’s game, the ball is struck harder partly because of technology (racket/string) and more physical strength. At the end of the day Federer, Nadal, Murray & Djokovic have 20 ball rallies (repeatedly). Work on precision and consistency first; pace comes later in your tennis career. STOP trying to hit like the professionals when you're just starting out; control your impulses. When you get older, power is easier to come by than control. Remember that you are not a professional until you, in fact, are one. Pros have hit millions of focused shots and can control the ball at a high pace (or any pace, for that matter) and spin. By rallying against players your own age, you will learn to play within yourself and will manage to hit the ball at a pace that you can control CONSISTANTLY within a designated area (precisely, Watson).
ASTA Love it. Live it. Breathe it.

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