Coaching tips

Each month we will bring you a new tip that may help you with your tennis with Stephen on a Wednesday/Friday/Saturday or when you are playing on your own.

The first tip is about the princples of practice.


Principles of Practice

I believe that there are no great secrets or quick fixes to becoming proficient at any sport or activity in the world. YouTube is awash with videos of quick fixes for golf, tennis, and guitar or pretty much anything you can think of! What it boils down to is can you put in the hours to make yourself better? Time spent on court making mistakes and attending to those mistakes on your own or with the help of a coach is the only way to make permanent changes to your game.


Try, Fail, Try again, Fail better

Five rules of deep practice


  • Chunk It Up: Absorb the whole thing properly, break it into chunks and slow it down

Case Study: Spartak Tennis Club: Imitatsiya – rallying in slow motion without a tennis ball. Slow simple precise motions with an emphasis on tekhnika (technique).

  • Repeat it: Nothing is more effective in building skill than executing the action, firing the impulse down the nerve fibre, fixing errors, honing the circuit. Try to ensure repetition is situation specific.
  • Learn to feel it: You don’t learn by gliding, feel it and attend to mistakes.
  • Practice makes permanent: It is not good practising non-stop without stopping to think or address problems as you will only ingrain bad habits further.
  • Time: It takes time to become proficient so embrace the chaos of making mistakes. If everything looks too calm and proficient, chances are they are not learning.


Every person is different and as such you need to try and find the sweet spot whereby you are making mistakes, but not in such a way whereby you get disheartened!

Good luck and enjoy!