Earlier this week I was training with a player who is in the process of doing his prelims or mock exams as you may know them as. These are for his highers (Scottish equivalent to A levels) and are therefore pretty important. Ace your highers and all sort of doors can be opened for you at university. Flunk them and you may have to go down a road you may not want.
I asked the player if he had a strategy for how he studies. To my slight surprise he did and it was extremely strategic and logical. It got me thinking about how many of our junior tennis players really prepare for their tennis exams. Every tennis match is an examination of where their game is at that moment.
Imagine the results in an exam if a pupil purely relied on the time spent on the subject at school with the teacher present. I’ll be very honest here, that is what I did and although I got semi decent results in my exams I did not perform anywhere near my potential. I was too busy studying for another subject….. tennis!
In my opinion the amount of time tennis players spend ‘studying’ outside their coaching/training is minuscule compared to what it used to be. The result is players are often under prepared for the exam as they have not actually practiced exactly what they are about to experience, points, games, sets all wrapped up in a match.
So my conclusion is simple, if you don’t actually practice what you are going to be examined on then it is not a surprise you may under perform in the test. However the reality is most juniors do this so it evens itself out. Logic would suggest if we can persuade our players to study outside their teaching and training sessions then they may just have the edge when it comes to the exam.
What do you think?