If you’re like most players, your idea of practice is getting in a few sets. While there’s lots to be said for that, the problem is that we tend to play to win these practice sets and therefore don’t make an effort to do the very thing that practice is supposed to be about: working on the weaker parts of our game.
But there’s an easy way around this dilemma, one that simulates the situations you might face in a match while de-emphasizing the pressure to win. Play points instead of sets.
Try this: The server must win three points in a row to win a game; if you lose any of the points before reaching three, your opponent gets a chance to serve and win three consecutive points. This forces both of you to concentrate and become dominant. You’ll find that there are times when players compete for hours and never win a game.