Hard work is not enough: the importance of training smart

Jose Altur: "You need to know what to train"

by Federico Coppini
Hard work is not enough: the importance of training smart
© Getty Images Sport - Clive Brunskill

In this article, we will discuss the importance of training smart, not just hard. As Jose Altur, a Spanish tennis coach, says, "it's not just about working hard, but working well."

Many players train hard, but they don't get the results they want.

This is because they are not training the right things.

Most players try to train everything: attacking, volleying, points, angles, closing the ball, Federer's short slice, lobs, down the line, cross-court, high balls, low balls, drop shots, parallel defenses, cross-court defenses, playing with weight, playing in advance, returning, changes of pace, changes of height, first serves, second serves, slice serves, kick serves, flat serves, and even Kyrgios' underhand serves, forehand and backhand volleys, volleys from mid-court...

This is too much to assimilate, even for the most talented players. It is better to focus on a few things, but do them very well. When we train only a few things, we can focus on them and really improve. We can also develop a simpler game strategy, which will allow us to make faster and more confident decisions during matches.

So, what are the things we should train in?

The answer depends on each player, but there are some fundamental things that everyone should consider: - Our favorite shot: the shot that gives us the most points and that makes us feel most comfortable.
- Our weakest shot: the shot we need to improve the most to be more competitive.
- Our serve: the serve is a fundamental shot in every tennis match.
- Our return of serve: the return of serve is another fundamental shot, which allows us to gain points and put pressure on our opponents.

In addition to these fundamental things, we can also focus on other aspects of our game, such as mobility, endurance, and focus. The important thing is to find a balance between training fundamental things and training more specific things, based on our goals and needs.


It is important to train smart, not just hard. By focusing on a few things, but doing them very well, we can improve our game and achieve our goals.