Having a tennis pitching machine is a great way to improve your game. It helps you get the right feel for your backhand, forehand, etc., and makes you a better tennis player. Most tennis clubs give you access to this device and there is nothing wrong with using it over and over but the best way to get better is to play the game for real, to play against an actual person. And an even better way to improve is to play against someone better than you are, so you increase your knowledge of the game when they teach you and it makes you step up your game to compete at their level.
But who is this person? And how reliable will they be? This is almost as important as their knowledge of the game because if they can not be relied on to show up on a regular basis, it does not matter what they can teach you because you will rarely see them enough. Getting the right tennis playing partner can be tough but when it happens, it becomes a very important aspect to your overall progression in the sport.
If you can afford one, get a tennis coach. Hiring a professional that has years of experience not only playing but teaching others can pay huge dividends down the road, even if you only play the sport as a hobby. Anything worth doing is worth doing right, yes? You need adjustments to your swing, you need someone to see what’s best for your particular body type, you need someone to teach you the basics or you waste time figuring it out on your own. It’s not free, don’t get me wrong, but if you are serious about playing tennis in a more competitive way, it’s worth it.
For those of us not choosing this route, finding the right person, a friend or someone you might meet on the court, to play with is essential. The first thing this special person can do is keep you accountable on your practice schedule. You are less likely to skip a practice when someone is counting on you, and you are counting on them, to be there. You both must show up to make it happen. It can make the whole experience more enjoyable as well; when two people of like mind come together with the same goal it adds a sense of fun to the situation.
Having a tennis partner keeps your tennis game fun and stimulating. You are more likely to step it up in terms of practicing on your own, your general conditioning program, keeping your equipment in order, on and on, there are tons of little bonuses that add up once you have someone supporting you in your quest towards becoming the best tennis player you can.
In competition, we are at our best. When you have a playing partner that is better than you are at tennis, it makes you better. You learn from them, you step up your game in order to compete with them. It’s human nature to want to be better. It’s in your best interest to work hard to be better, to grow at everything in life, not just your tennis game.
So how to find a good partner? On the court where you play would be the best bet, considering that’s where you’ll be most of the time playing right? So start there. Ask around for someone that might be looking for the same thing as you and you might be surprised that there are others in the same predicament or have the same need.
There is also the internet of course. Websites like Craigslist are great for finding people that need things or are offering things. Make sure you are careful about meeting people online and test it out first with a casual meet or phone call and once you feel comfortable you can move on from there.