“Left foot in front of right foot and vice versa while moving towards the other sideline okay? my coach says as I wipe off my sweat, getting ready for another round of exercise drill. I started moving my left foot in front of my right foot while moving sideward, reversing the position along the way. As I was halfway through the court, coach shouted “Do that for 5 rounds!”“5 rounds? Is he really serious? How is this foot dance going to help me hit the ball properly?” I’m whispering to myself repeatedly. I’m running out of breath. I trip once in a while. This is not as easy as it looks like and that is why I hate it more. He said this is the last warm up exercise for today, but I’m pretty sure there will be additional drills for the next practices. Many players are doing different drills, a lot harder than mine.
“Alright! That’s enough. We’ll do the service now.” “Diagonal. Diagonal court.” I keep on repeating it inside my mind. I served the ball. “It’s just a serve? Don’t be too happy about it!” and there goes my coach. His mouth is a fountain of pessimistic words. I am now wondering why he got me to his training program.
The next drill I had is the battle with the wall. I thought it was something easy. I stood a few meters away from the wall and waited for my coach’s orders. He started out with forehands. I started moving and he threw a ball on the back of my knee. “Bend those knees.” I almost fell in surprise. I got back to my drill and still waiting for his next order. After 4 minutes, “alternate forehand and backhand. 4 minutes each.”
Each practice day, my training went from easy to really hard. Really hard because it is like I am being trained to be a professional, a lot of times faster than an average player normally would. I’m not even interested to join a tournament yet.
The next thing I knew, coach is pulling all my strength in service drills. He’s making me practice more than the average drill time. After 10 services, my coach told me that my average is just 50mph. I’m smiling because that is pretty fast. He hit me with a ball again and now on my shoulder. “That is far below the average of men’s serving speed!” And now I couldn’t imagine how fast a professional tennis player’s serve would go. A couple of service shots more and now I reached the average of 70mph. It became a part of our practice routine to record my service speed. The highest record on my tab is now 90mph.
After a month of grueling tennis training, I can feel the difference with myself now. I can keep up with other trainees who have been in the program for a longer time. Everything I hated with the training turned out to be the reasons why I keep on winning my practice games. My footwork, ball control and spins have improved a lot. My coach calls me a prince now. He sees my best and I will absolutely prove myself even more.