Hey Coach,

I have been playing competitive tennis for three years now, and I seem to have hit a plateau. Although I feel like I am doing everything I can to get better, my win percentage seems to stay the same. How do I get better, faster?
– Love-30

Love-30,

For all athletes, there are times of rapid growth, and times of plateau. This is natural to any area of learning, and is not necessarily bad. But being stuck on a plateau is more likely to be about your routine, and less about your skills or drive.

When trying to move yourself off of a plateau, we recommend three different types of changes: change your training, change your insight, and change your competition.

  • Change your training – Are you training specifically for your sport? Training for performance is sometimes counter to a typical workout. For example, spending an hour running may help your cardio, but it does nothing for the explosive forces needed in tennis. High intensity interval training (HIIT) would be a better option to gain cardio and explosive power. Likewise, while general weightlifting may make you stronger, tennis players need more lateral stability training and flexibility than most routines provide. Discussion with a trainer that knows your sport should provide insight on a routine that will serve your needs.
  • Change your insight – Is the only feedback on your game your win/loss record? If so, you are overlooking one of the most valuable resources an athlete can have – an expert to help you along the way. For any sport, coaches are a key ingredient to getting you over the plateaus – good coaches have seen all the challenges most athletes face, and have tools, insights, and drills to help you get past them. In most areas of the country you can find a good coach to help you along, and many problems can be solved in as little as one or two sessions.
  • Change your competition – Are you playing the same people every week? Are they at the same level as you? Then most likely you will see the same results. Finding competition that is new will force you to adapt to new situations, a key ingredient for growth. A change in either direction can be good: playing someone much better than you can teach you drive, playing a beginner can teach you patience and accuracy.

As athletes, we all understand the frustration of hitting a plateau. But what separates the average from the great is how rapidly they seek out the next challenge or opportunity for growth. I’d encourage you to find a new challenge today!

– Coach Grant

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