Repitition, repitition, repitition…. That is what many tennis coaches will drill into their students from day one. And there are valid reasons for this, just like primary school where your teacher makes you sing multiple arithmetic songs over and over again.
Your brain needs constant repetitions to remember to retain the information, in some easy cases this sticks but sometimes you have to continue the repetition on a regular basis even though you might have perfected it.
Tennis drills here will improve your mental abilities – concentration, perseverance, emotional control and so on.
Regular drills have extra benefits but their main point is learning to play at your best despite pressure.
Most players are at the best when they are in the zone, that is when the mind is empty. If a player has any thoughts when trying to play it will disturb his natural game and he will make errors.
Especially damaging are thoughts about a negative outcome just before the point, this is exemplified by thinking about double faulting just before the service, it is almost certain that a double fault will follow.
The main purpose of tennis drills is to show the player the zone state and how much better he performs in that state. This is actually the only thing besides effort a player can control, a player cannot become mentally tough by reading books or by just going to a sports psychologist.
A player needs to play practise matches, where he can practise technique and mental skills. The final stage are real tennis matches where at first a player is not too good with his mental skills, but by repetition and success they become automatic.
If a player wants to be successful in a real match, then he needs to practise his skills with a combination of drills and practise games. Some drills are more situation specific orientated, such as playing for points, but practising perseverance and playing under pressure.
Some drills are very match score specific, like playing games where the server starts at 30:40. These sort of drills are for the more experienced player who basically is fine tuning areas that need topping up.
The basic principle of tennis drills is to to provide physical and mental improvement by repetition. They can be used for almost any tennis event; technique, tactics, physical improvement, mental toughness, zone training etc.
Both the body and the mind respond to repetition, this is a non disputable fact. Although drills may seem to be, and often are boring, this is just a means to an end. By constant practise you will eventually play naturally without thought. Your mind will be in the zone and your tennis will be fluid.