Mixing up your practice partners for optimal results
  | By Margie Zesinger

What is the ideal training environment for a tennis player? An obvious response would be the ideal environment is one that offers the most individual attention and one-on-one coaching. Individual training is important, but it is only a piece of the puzzle. The optimal training atmosphere should also include a variety of players to spar with and compete against on a daily basis. From junior tennis players through the professional ranks, the ability to choose amongst a variety of peers for live ball hitting sessions or practice matches is a priceless asset.

My instructional tip
Learn how to handle different types of balls (varying speeds and spins) by hitting with a variety of players. Mix it up and compete in practice matches against players who are better than you, at your level or below your level from day to day. At IMG Academy, it is a goal for the player to establish a 3:1 win/loss ratio in practice. The wins give the player necessary confidence, while the loss challenges them to improve specific areas of their game.

On the ATP or WTA Tour, there is often one tennis coach sitting in the player’s box. Although not visible in the box, bear in mind how many other people helped the top professionals along their journey through the endless hitting sessions and practice matches it took to get the player to the highest level of the game.

Margie Zesinger

<p>Margie Zesinger has been coaching tennis at IMG Academy since 2004. Prior to joining IMG, Margie played tennis for James Madison University where she was the number one player at her school. She may be reached by e-mail at <a href="mailto:margie.zesinger@imgworld.com">margie.zesinger@imgworld.com</a>.</p>