Typically, when players miss a ball during practice, they tend to feed the next ball in quite quickly (generally a couple of secs) without intentionally refocusing before the start of the rally.
When players do this, however, they miss out on a great opportunity to develop basic competitive skills.
Here are 2 activities I complete with players regularly to help them practice intentionally refocusing and committing to a helpful process for each new rally.
Activity 1: 5 Secs Between Rallies
When players miss a ball they must take approximately 5 secs before they are allowed to feed the next ball
Players are instructed to use this time to ensure that they are explicitly focused and committed to a helpful process before starting the next rally.
The Benefit: Although players actually hit less balls during a session, they will actually hit more with quality during the same amount of time.
Additionally, this activity helps players partially practice their discrete point-by-point routine within a rally environment, which is incredibly valuable for overall mental toughness.
Activity 2: 0 Secs Between Rallies
As an extension to this activity I also sometimes choose to challenge a player's ability further...
To do this I tell them that when someone misses I am going to feed the next ball immediately with the goal being for the player to refocus on their helpful process immediately a point finishes (rather than getting caught up in difficult internal experiences such as frustration).
The Benefit: This activity powerfully develops a player's skill in noticing the difference between being caught up in difficult internal experiences such as frustration or refocused on a helpful present moment target for the next rally...
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