PDA

View Full Version : dealing with pressure


T1000
12-28-2008, 11:47 AM
Hey guys

I was playing an U18 tournament this weekend and I won my first match 6-0 6-4. The problem starts with my second match. I'm playing a kid who's top 80 (18s) in New England and i'm top 150 in the 16s. I started out alright trading games until i broke him at 3-3. I held to make it 5-3. He was playing his best and i was around 70-75%. I should have ended it there, but ended up losing 8 straight points to make it 5-5. I broke him at love again and lost my serve to take it to a tiebrake. I could have held twice or broke once and the set would have been over. In the breaker, i had 4 set points, lost them all, and he won the first one he saw. I ended up losing my cool and lost 6-2 in the 2nd. I probably should have won 3 and 2, but i lost because i caved in to pressure. Any ideas how to deal with this problem. I do about 2-3 tournys a month and do a match play session every weekend.

Morrowreze
12-28-2008, 12:20 PM
Ha ha, I was going to say you might just need to play some more competitive matches and get used to the pressure but it looks like you are getting quite a bit of practice at it. So were you nervous and tight when you were losing these leads or what?

T1000
12-28-2008, 12:34 PM
^^^^^ i guess, i was double faulting a lot, missing easy reuturns. he didn't play any better

Morrowreze
12-28-2008, 12:43 PM
Maybe this will help, just my personal experience. I used to get nervous a lot (I still do and play tight many times, but am steadily improving) and it was because I was focusing on the score too much. I was worried that I was down 5-3 or that I was facing a breakpoint, then I would start playing and have no idea what I wanted to do. I didn't know if I was going to play aggressive, try and get to the net, stay back and make him miss, hit cross court, down the line, flat, with spin, etc. So now before games or points that I would consider "big" I remind myself of how I'm going to play the next point, and focus on that instead of the score.

mordecai
12-28-2008, 12:44 PM
What is there to say? You know what you did wrong. You were afraid of winning. Next time you're in the lead, don't just try to keep it, get it in your mind that it's time to close out and you not only want to win, you want to crush the guy.

I deal with pressure by turning it into focused aggression. Figure out how to channel it instead of forgetting to breathe and forgetting to play.

tenzinrocks
12-28-2008, 12:57 PM
What my friend told me once was to pretend you're down in the set. Even if you're up 4-2, pretend like it's reversed and you're 2-4 so you'll try harder. Most people don't try as hard around the end of the set because they know they're going to win. Others know they're going to lose because they're down 1-5. Take Nadal as an example, just focus on one point at a time, don't worry about the score.

futuratennis
12-28-2008, 01:54 PM
i was playing the other day.. and what u said happened twice
1. i was up 5-1 and he ended up taking the set
2. i was up 4-0 and i lost 4 games in a row, but ended winning the set 6-4

as for dealing with pressure.. i guess just take a deep breath, try not to think much, and practice

OhDear
12-28-2008, 05:46 PM
Well I guess it depends on what kind of "pressure" you're feeling. Are you caving because you realize you can actually win this thing, or because he's starting to catch up and you're getting nervous?

If it's the first, I usually just ignore the score, and tell myself I'm down, this makes me work harder and keep my lead.

If it's latter, just calm down, you're winning, you've been doing the right thing so far, so keep on doing it.

Not much else I can say really.

downdaline
12-28-2008, 06:48 PM
I guess you were thinking too much about the score.

Play it one point at a time. Focus on the present, focus on what you need to do and execute with confidence.

yellowoctopus
12-29-2008, 08:09 AM
Hi: All the advice so far are very insightful--I applaud all.

For me, one of my strength is my serve. I am comfortable with hitting serves, flat or spin, to the backhand side (right-handed) or down the middle (jamming my opponent)-it has gotten me out of many troubles and also helped me close out matches. I recently picked up some great advice from this forum for adding more dimension to my serve (a lot of people on this forum give very useful advice)--but enought about that.

My point here is perhaps you should consider making your serve part of your bread-and-butter shots, meaning the part of your game that is reliable and give you confidence. I realize that serve is one of the more complex strokes, but it is also the one you are in control and, unless you are playing Connors or Agassi, your opponent is really just responding to what you do. With a good service motion, you are in control of the ball, when and where you want to hit; your focus can completely be on the ball and not worry too much what is happening with your opponent or the surrounding.

I'm pretty sure the good people here can suggest a drill for service under pressure situation.

Best of luck

LuckyR
12-29-2008, 10:22 AM
Hey guys

I was playing an U18 tournament this weekend and I won my first match 6-0 6-4. The problem starts with my second match. I'm playing a kid who's top 80 (18s) in New England and i'm top 150 in the 16s. I started out alright trading games until i broke him at 3-3. I held to make it 5-3. He was playing his best and i was around 70-75%. I should have ended it there, but ended up losing 8 straight points to make it 5-5. I broke him at love again and lost my serve to take it to a tiebrake. I could have held twice or broke once and the set would have been over. In the breaker, i had 4 set points, lost them all, and he won the first one he saw. I ended up losing my cool and lost 6-2 in the 2nd. I probably should have won 3 and 2, but i lost because i caved in to pressure. Any ideas how to deal with this problem. I do about 2-3 tournys a month and do a match play session every weekend.

Huh?? Maybe I'm missing something. You're #150 in the 16s and he is #80 in the 18s. He is playing his best (?) and you are playing about 70% of your best and you figure you should have won 3 and 2.

JavierLW
12-29-2008, 11:39 AM
Hey guys

I was playing an U18 tournament this weekend and I won my first match 6-0 6-4. The problem starts with my second match. I'm playing a kid who's top 80 (18s) in New England and i'm top 150 in the 16s. I started out alright trading games until i broke him at 3-3. I held to make it 5-3. He was playing his best and i was around 70-75%. I should have ended it there, but ended up losing 8 straight points to make it 5-5. I broke him at love again and lost my serve to take it to a tiebrake. I could have held twice or broke once and the set would have been over. In the breaker, i had 4 set points, lost them all, and he won the first one he saw. I ended up losing my cool and lost 6-2 in the 2nd. I probably should have won 3 and 2, but i lost because i caved in to pressure. Any ideas how to deal with this problem. I do about 2-3 tournys a month and do a match play session every weekend.

Usually if you are dealing with the pressure, it helps not to think things like "how I should beat this guy 2 and 3", etc....

Many time choking comes from a fear of losing the match. Which is counter productive because if you are playing your best and are playing as well as you have to get you to the final point where you can close the match out, you merely should just relax and continue to play your best.

But a lot of people worry about losing and they think about it too much, or they sit there envisioning their victory (maybe reciting their post on the TW Message Forum) and then they tighten up and lose.

As far as getting mad, obviously getting mad doesnt help. I see a lot of people cave in like that, and it's obvious that's how they are and that's what they do. It's hard to say "dont do that though" because sometimes that's just the nature of how people react.

Either way though it's bad, because it's all symptomatic of the same thing, it's the "fear of losing". A winner has no such fear.

If you see someone who wins pretty much all the time, they could be down 1-5, and you will notice that they are calm and not worried and probably there isnt any thought in their mind that they are going to lose that match, and it helps them to identify what is going on and get back in it.

I think if you are aware that you are starting to slip into this state of mind (and most of us probably do at some point off and on), you just need to try to tell yourself to not worry, and just go for your shots and play your game just like you have been for the entire match.

If you miss, you miss, there really isnt anything you can do about it other than play your best whether it's the first point or the last point of the match.

Bungalo Bill
12-29-2008, 11:44 AM
^^^^^ i guess, i was double faulting a lot, missing easy reuturns. he didn't play any better

Sounds like perhaps some technique issues or a focus problem. Losing focus at times in the match can be a culprit to dropped matches. Losing intensity can also be a problem.

I have found that nothing replaces hard core physical training for tennis for syncing the mind to the task at hand for a long duration of time.

I have often said that at first the tennis player goes through suffering because the feet, the stroke, and the mind are not in sync. While the mind is saying "stop", the feet are just trying to get the player somewhat close to the ball for a swing at the ball.

Over time, as these three things become one, the players confidence, ability to handle nerves, and their mental tenacity sync to form a tennis player that can out last their opponents physically and mentally on the courts.

From what I have found, attacking the legs, the heart, and the mental tenacity of the player brings out the wolf in them to finish the match.

It also doesnt hurt to know where you errored most and setup practice sessions to improve this area for matchplay, like your double faults. However, just by saying this, it sounds like your 1st and 2nd serve need work.

fuzz nation
12-30-2008, 09:18 AM
It's definitely not uncommon the "check out" when you find yourself on the brink of a big breakthrough. It can be a result of seeing the score and switching to cruise-control before you've finished the set, but it can also be a case of not being ready for that big win as mordecai pointed out. Neither of these scenarios is especially rare, even with the pros.

One healthy habit for me has been learning to use a routine from point to point where I try to make each one into its own problem that I have to solve. Worrying about the overall score has less impact when I try to "wipe the slate" in my head and figure out how to go after each new point. Nothing more here than maybe thinking over whether I'll serve and volley, stay at the baseline and rally to the backhand, or return deep and crosscourt. Just a simple plan with some positive encouragement to myself - this routine is good for keeping me focused in a positive direction regardless of the score. As simple as it might sound, it does take some discipline.

One of the fundamental keys to becoming a better player is changing your perspectives. Take some time to think over your expectations when you compete, especially in a situation like the one you described here. Confront whatever seems to make you nervous about playing a tough opponent - it's important to dispel the feeling that too much is at risk for you on the court. You have to want to be there and be happy for matches against tougher opponents. Understand that while you may get knocked around in the short term by some of these sluggers, you need that so that you can learn how to run with the big dogs. Think it over.

Zach
12-30-2008, 02:19 PM
In these types of situations, most of us do get nervous. We think, "holy crap am I really about to take a set off a guy who's ranked this much higher than me and in another age group?" The key here is to have match toughness.