Hi Coach, I have a particular problem. My technical level is pretty high but I often lose in match play intermediate/lower level players. I have been training and updating my technique the past couple of years mostly through multiball but barely play any matches and single ball practice. Now I am playing matches now, I find myself losing a lot of games but fairly close in points. I find that my serves don’t really set up my attacks and often make mistakes retuning serves. Another thing I noticed is that my footwork seems to be ok but during matches it seems much more slow. Any advice how I can bring my match play up to match my techniques?
This is a very common problem with people we coach who have a good technical level but struggling in match play. I would say the main thing you need to do to improve this is a lot of irregular drills in training so you don’t know where the ball is going and you get used to adjusting to these random placements and making decisions quickly which is a big factor in games.
This will also help the footwork speed that you mentioned because in training if you know where the ball is going then it’s easier to move well but in matches you never know where the ball is going so you need to work on this speed of movement with unexpected changes in your training.
Also doing a lot of work on the serve and then playing a strong follow up, as you mentioned you don’t managed to set up your attacks and the serve and first ball is often key in matches. I would suggest really trying to focus on a few serves and understanding what players usually do and how the ball often comes back after them so you can get used to preparing for that return and getting in your attacks.
So really focus on what your strengths are and how to get them into play more often with your serving game. Also as I mentioned a lot of irregular and serve & return drills which replicates what happens in games. After some time you will see a difference in your match level I’ve got no doubt! 🙂