A common coaching technique especially in doubles training is that players are taught to play the game at different tempo’s. So players are coached to slow their shots down a little but keep their activity and tempo of moving about the court high.
Players have to learn that moving about the court and hitting the ball are two different skills entirely. If you move quickly into position then you can afford more time to play your shot. This drill of fast vs slow is hard for a student to get to grips with, they normally play their shot at the same intensity as they move. But in reality, if you watch the professionals playing, they always seem to have time to play their shots, and why is this? Because they have learned the art of moving fast and hitting slow.
Players tend to mistake that settling themselves down to play a slower shot means that the speed of the ball is drastically slow. But the truth is that the ball is only travelling a fraction slower than usual. Slowing their shots down is not just a physical action, the true benefit is that it also slows the brain down.
Most tennis players hit the ball whilst their brain is racing and are under the impression that everything is happening faster. That is why the “move fast and hit slow” drill is so important, so that the player moves fast but keeps their mind under control. Once a player gets to grips with this concept then their overall play becomes far more relaxed and in turn they play with more accuracy.
Most shots are missed as players minds are racing and not under control, thus their shots are rushed and not timed properly.
Benefits Of The Drill
The “move fast and hit slow” drill has many benefits once a player has mastered it. As stated above it can definitely improve accuracy. Also players play with a far more relaxed mindset which helps their concentration. This way of playing also saves energy allowing you to store up vital power for later on in the game.
Players who have mastered this drill also tend to move with a great deal more fluidity about the court and not to over play too much.
This drill instills confidence in a player, you mind is comfortable with what is perceived as doing less and getting more out of the game. To master “moving fast and hitting slow” needs a great deal of work, practise it with your tennis coach until you are comfortable with playing this way. It is a very advanced way of playing so don’t expect to grasp it overnight.