Relaxing under pressure: Consistency

Building on my article Relaxing under pressure I can explain the benefit of my focus on consistency.

Last year I tried too hard which led to injuries, first in my wrist then foot. I have since learnt that better technique and recovery would have avoided it all. So that’s what I’ve been doing. The problem has then become a lack of play. I was used to playing 4-5 times a week so reducing this  to 2-3 times meant I lost

  • feel
  • fitness
  • technique.

It was becoming noticeable in matches. I really improved my footwork this year. Instead of improving my racquet technique I decided to improve my positioning and lower body technique. To the point that I can’t hear myself moving around the court. I’m really getting there and it’s showing in both results and wear and tear. I’m not pushing my body as hard as the year before and yet I am moving far more. Constantly repositioning myself and generally putting myself in better position for the return than before. Making the resulting shot easier and requiring less effort. This directly takes the strain off the rest of my body.

This change has worked so well that I just had the most intense 4 days of play for years yet I feel fine afterwards

  • 4 intense sets of singles on the sunday, including a league match
  • 2 sets on monday,
  • rest Tuesday
  • 7 sets over two sessions on Wednesday including a 2 set singles match, 2 more sets of intense practice, 3 sets of doubles

That my legs feel absolutely fine the next day is wonderful news. That my wrist is sore again is less worrying than last year. I have come to feel that tendons are like muscles. Being sore is natural, they just need time to adjust and strengthen before you push them again. That is the approach I’m now using. I’ll just play left-handed today.

My wrist was fine all the way until the match last night and I know exactly why it is sore. My opponent was fantastic so I had to bring all my game out and hit the biggest serves I can because he swatted away everything else. This means I start to extend my wrist much more under pressure and that seems to be what hurts it most.

I will work on technique but also just train the tendons ability to handle this tension under extension.

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