PDA

View Full Version : Arrggg! I canít close!


Oxford
10-13-2007, 12:35 AM
I am a work-in-progress 3.0-3.5 player and coming along well in learning new skills. I try to play a few times a week and work hard at developing a strong attacking game.

But I seem to have a problem. During my social matches I choke. Really bad! There is a guy (good pusher) who always beats me (never won) and I had him 5 games to 2 games and I am at 40-love. And he comes back and wins. Geezz. 7-6!!

And last night I am playing a 4.0 woman and had her 40-love in a few games and she won them all.

I never have been a choker in other sports. I shoot competitive archery and love the close matches and usually win by just focusing on my fundamentals and let the other guys come unraveled. But with tennis it must be different in my head.

When I know I am ďabout to winĒ, I guess I tighten up and force some shots. I donít like to rally very long and look for put-aways. But often they go long or into the net when things are critical.

Any suggestions are appreciated in dealing with this. Iíve worked really hard to master many strokes, serves and strategies which has put me in the position to win matches with players who have always owned me in the past. I just need to close out these games without choking my brains out.

Thanks
OX

hyogen
10-13-2007, 12:39 AM
if you've worked hard to master those strokes, don't try to put the points away early. rally with the person..let them make the error, unless you can confidently put the point away. try to hit cross-court most of the time b/c it's a higher percentage shot for you (lower net in the middle)--and it makes them run from side to side :)

don't be afraid to push the ball (if that's what it takes to win the point). I lose many a point because I don't feel it's "right" to push the ball back into play. But what usually ends up happening is I try to hit a PRO shot...and dump the ball into the net instead.

It's ok to push sometimes! I think I'm just a little ahead of you in the game right now. Progressing nicely as well :)

Oxford
10-13-2007, 12:53 AM
don't be afraid to push the ball (if that's what it takes to win the point). I lose many a point because I don't feel it's "right" to push the ball back into play. But what usually ends up happening is I try to hit a PRO shot...and dump the ball into the net instead.

HEY! Have you been watching my games?? :confused: :grin:

Yep that's me. :( I will take your advice and settle down on the end-game phase and try to bring it home. Lord knows nothing else is working.:-(

Thanks much for the advice.

OX

hyogen
10-13-2007, 12:59 AM
Hehe, I've gone through the same experience for a long while myself...man, I coulda won so many more matches in high school and college (intramural at Oregon State).

It's hard for you to work so hard to perfect your strokes and look like a pro--but then people don't necessarily GIVE you QUALITY balls to look at. So sometimes you have to "play ugly" and do whatever it takes to win the point.

Break down your opponent by making him run around and then look GOOD by putting away an easy passing shot :) Or make HIM look bad by making him make the unforced errors ;)

I think there's a tennis book about Agassi maybe written by him and his former coach-Brad Gilbert "Winning Ugly"...I want to read it, but I think I know what he's talking about in it.

(I'm not condoning ball pushers in any way shape or form ;))

Oxford
10-13-2007, 01:09 AM
Good points. ;)

Funny thing...in all my training, reading, DVD watching, lessons etc they teach all these great fundamentals etc...

But it's hard to find the quirks of the game except from folks on forums and such. Winning Ugly? Hey I'm down with that :)

The folks I play don't make alot of UE and are good returners (read: pushers) so if I want points I have to earn them with "PRO" shots which are coming more often now...except when the scoreboard starts making my ears ring. :-(

ox

HERE IS THat book (http://www.amazon.com/Winning-Ugly-Mental-Warfare-Tennis-Lessons/dp/067188400X)

BTW-- I just ordered it :)

Tennis_Monk
10-13-2007, 05:44 AM
I personally dont think reading books is going to help close out matches.Its a little mental thing and it also has to do with confidence and some skill. The more matches you play with players of varying skills , the better you will be.

I have a very good record in closing out matches . Before i got to this point i lost so many close matches. Even now i lose some close matches but overall closing %age is high. Experience is a gift.

Even in pro's you will see this. Take Kobe Bryant , arguably the best clucth player in current NBA. He lost so many close matches and he won even more. Initially his record wasnt stellar. he worked on it, never hesitated to take chances and played his game in close situations and became what he is.Mr Jordan, the best NBA player ever. Look at this record on how many close matches he lost (especially in the early stages of his career)

In Tennis, Pete Sampras lost quite a few close matches before he turned it on. So did so many other Pro's.

The point iam trying to make is, losing close matches in early days of learning tennis isn't bad as long as you are playing with the right mind set. I wouldnt advocate pushing but i would advocate playing on the merit of the ball. If the ball is there to be hit for a winner, it should be. One shouldnt go for unneccessary risks.

Eventually it will work out and you will see that you will close out matches just the way you would normally play.

Cindysphinx
10-13-2007, 08:47 AM
I've been improving on this, especially with regard to holding serve. I'm ahead, so I get "conservative" and before you know it serves are being pushed into the bottom of the net.

What is helping is deciding in my head that I'd rather go out in flames than go out with a whimper. So I try to serve each point under pressure bigger than the last. If I miss the first serve, I do another first serve. I might double-fault, but I was double-faulting when I was holding back anyway.

This is really helping me hold when I feel myself tightening up. The other thing that helps is knowing the other player is feeling tight too.

fuzz nation
10-13-2007, 08:55 AM
I routinely suggest reading some sports psychology, either general work or stuff that's specific to tennis. It's been greatly beneficial for me and also for a few of my friends and students. Lots of folks have enjoyed Brad Gilbert's Winning Ugly and I'm also really big on the wisdom of Vic Braden. He's a long time guru of the game, but also a liscenced psychologist and his reading is really entertaining - I'd say he's a borderline tennis comedian, but his lessons are invaluable.

It takes a lot of discipline to do no more than focus on the point we're about to play while disregarding any distractions that are either tangible or conjured up in our heads. Remaining indifferent to the score and managing every point with the same purpose and clarity sound pretty simple, but doing it can require some serious willpower. I think that good mental practices help us to not make stress so that we can play smart and loose, but that's often a routine that needs to be learned. Check your bookstore for anything that might look useful and if it helps, don't be afraid to tell us about it.

hyogen
10-13-2007, 09:20 AM
Good points. ;)

Funny thing...in all my training, reading, DVD watching, lessons etc they teach all these great fundamentals etc...

But it's hard to find the quirks of the game except from folks on forums and such. Winning Ugly? Hey I'm down with that :)

The folks I play don't make alot of UE and are good returners (read: pushers) so if I want points I have to earn them with "PRO" shots which are coming more often now...except when the scoreboard starts making my ears ring. :-(

ox

HERE IS THat book (http://www.amazon.com/Winning-Ugly-Mental-Warfare-Tennis-Lessons/dp/067188400X)

BTW-- I just ordered it

Wow, i can't believe you bought that book on my suggestion Cool! I should go buy it now.