Match Play vs Practice – What’s the Real Difference?

Why is it so hard for me to feel and play matches the same way I feel during practice and/or during warm up sessions? Have you ever heard that question? The answer is simple.

They are different scenarios. During match play everything will count: Sometimes in your favor, sometimes against you. On the other hand, in practice you are “free” to make mistakes which have no real consequences. Playing matches is about decision making. Not about technique.

So you should insert the decision-making process into your practice or warm up sessions. When in practice you should concentrate on hitting the ball in front of your body, visual awareness, your racquet coming from low to high in a clean trajectory and watching the ball when it bounces.

You must try to be consistent in executing the tasks you have decided to work on BUT please, just one at a time. This way you will be adapting your brain to a different process.

Some other tasks may include footwork, hitting the ball with different spins, at different heights, speeds or placing the ball in different spots. But remember, try to be consistent with ONE specific task for a few minutes.

This way when the real match starts, your brain will already be trained for game like situations and the right decision-making processes because you will have already worked on it. Of course, having a dependable tennis racquet can improve your decision making and on the court skills.

When you have to take decisions in match play situations, you have to deal with a different decision-making process. You have to play the percentages, lower your mistakes, force your opponent, play your weapons and so forth.

The most important concept here is to be consistent. Remember that consistency is not a word that just refers to hitting as many balls as you can.

You have to be consistent on the strategy and tactics you are trying to follow. Try to incorporate the decision making progress right into your hitting sessions and in your pre-match warm up. You will see the difference.

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