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by Grace Leake
PTR Certified Tennis Professional

A year ago, I was preparing for a lesson with a new student. As we walked onto the court I asked her about her tennis history, and what she wanted out of our lessons together.

Her answer caught me by surprise. She told me that she had been taking lessons for so long that I would not be able to teach her anything that she hadn’t heard before.

I wanted to ask her why she wanted a lesson with me in the first place, but instead I said, “What is one thing that you already know you need to be doing, but that you aren’t doing?”

After thinking for a moment, she told me that she doesn’t get low enough for her ground strokes and it had been a problem in her game for the last several years. All we focused on for the next hour was making sure she was bending her legs low enough before she made contact with the ball. After our hour was over, she told me it was one of the best lessons she had ever taken.

Most players approach lessons differently than this woman. We expect to learn some new tip or trick to take us to the next level. While I am a huge proponent of using professionals to further your development, too often we pay for a professional to tell us something we may already know!

The solution is not to stop taking lessons, but to learn to think for yourself on the court. Next time you head out to play, I want you to ask yourself this question: What is one thing that I already know that I need to be doing more of? Is it watching the ball? Is it getting lower? Is it taking my racket back quicker?

Trusting your instincts and focusing on this part of your game will give it the jump start that it needs without having to go take a lesson.