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View Full Version : Today, I nearly quit tennis. Mental recovery advice, please.


ogruskie
01-09-2009, 10:36 PM
I played with a friend and out of 3 sets, only won 3 games. That's a total of 3 games out of 18. That's ****ing pathetic.

He hit **** balls that landed right at the service box, sometimes behind it. I used full strokes, I used half strokes, I used volleys, everything went out. He's a very strong, built guy, but he played with the pace of 7 year old girl. My forehand strokes were sending the ball like an inch past the baseline. He kept hitting **** serves to my backhand that bounced about a foot above ground and I just couldn't do anything about it except slice, and that went into the alleys and the sky. To summarize this paragraph, the balls he hit bounced about a foot above ground and I was utterly helpless.

I practice and practice and I just get NO results. I still lose. A guy at the club said my strokes looked very good, but what the **** is the point of having pretty strokes if I can't win? I just don't know what to do. I CRIED. I had tears rolling down my eyes and I was sniffling and ****. It was very embarrassing in front of my friend and all those guys.

I thought, why do I even play? I won't quit, that's definite, but I sure felt like it. I just feel hopeless.

joshburger
01-09-2009, 10:42 PM
just take a few days off from tennis, and if this happens again when your playing, during a changeover try to think that it is a new match and focur really hard, and your re****s should improve

Captain Tezuka
01-09-2009, 10:43 PM
Hi,

Firstly I say ask your coach if you have fine strokes then maybe all you need is to relax and calm down is all I'm saying. :)

Then if your coach is unsure post more threads on here and see if you can get a answer out of some of the pros who go on here.

Also my advice is to read or go online about Mental strategies in Tennis. :)

Mick
01-09-2009, 10:47 PM
...He's a very strong, built guy, but he played with the pace of 7 year old girl...

sounds like you were playing against:

"2 c. - Soft-Baller Baseliners are tireless players with excellent footwork and anticipation. They always seem to be where they need to be to cut down your angles of attack. You cannot get them to engage you in a power exchange. They seem to absorb all the power of your shots and redirect it with good deep placement, but they won’t give you any pace to work with. You must always supply your own power. This player exhausts you ... physically and mentally."
-- kaptain karl

apparently kaptain karl was right when he said "this player exhausts you ... physically and mentally."

Solat
01-09-2009, 10:47 PM
#1. everyone has had that day, it sucked, many have broken racquets, and made complete tool's out of themselves

#2. its human to give a ****, at least you care enough to get emotional, and now to want to improve yourself

#3 Get back to basics, play smart, hit a tonne of balls, smack a lot of them to get cathartic then grind your way thru ball machine drills or pummel the wall

hellonewbie
01-09-2009, 10:53 PM
Seems like your friend just has way more match experience than you. He knows what works and not just what looks pretty. Low balls are hard to handle if they are placed properly. You should have more respect for your friend and try to play him more often and figure how to beat him. He may be hitting "girly" shots but he's doesn't need to try too hard with you self-imploding.

The_Question
01-09-2009, 10:55 PM
Sounds like you had a very bad day. This guy is a defense player, just hit the ball back to you, hope & pray you'll over hit it.

When he serve those flat low bounce ball to your backhand, give him a nice slice drop shot. Make him come in, then target his body, that will make him more aggressive with his shots, which he will mistakes...

NamRanger
01-09-2009, 10:56 PM
Your mental game is weaker than his. That is why you lost. When playing a soft baller, the worse thing you can do is get angry.




You must stay focused and stay positive. Remember, a soft baller puts you under 0 pressure. The only pressure you have is from yourself. The easiest way to beat a soft baller is to play with controlled aggression.



Here's a few easy tips :

1. S&V against these types of players. They hate it. Typically they do not have strong return games. Well placed serves along with a solid volley will usually result in 95%+ holds for you. This allows you to take more risks on your return games.


2. Chip and Charge on the return, or attack with a deep and aggressive shot. Take the soft ball player out of his comfort zone. When you see an opening, attack the net. Do what it takes to get to the net. You do not need an incredible netgame to defeat a softball player. You just need to do enough to put the ball away.



3. Hit to his weaker wing, constantly. Pick on that side until you force him to camp that corner. By doing this, you severely limit your opponent's already passive game. Your opponent already has a limited amount of options. By constantly attacking his weaker wing, you get easier balls to attack, and you force him to stay closer to that side, which results in more predictable ball paths for you.

NamRanger
01-09-2009, 11:02 PM
Mental Tips :


1. A soft baller does not put you under pressure. Remember, all the pressure comes from you. No need to overcook the ball. If he beats you with a shot, he beats you. Don't get mad over it. Just play percentage tennis, and you will win more times than not.


2. Beat your opponent at his own game. A soft baller is basically challenging you to a mental game. That's all it is. Whoever mentally cracks first, loses. Don't show negative behavior when playing a player like this. Show positive behavior; dishearten him through fist pumps, come ons, whatever you want to do to pump yourself up.


3. Use safe but aggressive strategies. Instead of going for the inside in forehand, go with the inside out forehand. You know the drill. Play the high percentage shot. You will win if you have a safe shot selection.



4. Take him out of his comfort zone. Typically, soft ball players love to run left and right. However, they usually hate running forwards and backwards. Use the dropshot and the lob, or moonball. Force them to run backwards and forwards. Drain them of their energy, physically and mentally.

tsongaali
01-09-2009, 11:17 PM
try doing a bunch of come ons and fist pumps like hewitt. That was the only reason why he made it to the 2005 AO final: by ******* off all his opponents. You may lose all your hitting partners, but you will develop a stronger mentality. Your choice, but trust me it really works:)

hellonewbie
01-09-2009, 11:34 PM
try doing a bunch of come ons and fist pumps like hewitt. That was the only reason why he made it to the 2005 AO final: by ******* off all his opponents. You may lose all your hitting partners, but you will develop a stronger mentality. Your choice, but trust me it really works:)

Yea, being an ******* is like the dark side of mental toughness, we usually want to promote light side for the good of humanity :-)

jasoncho92
01-10-2009, 12:27 AM
Damn man you cried.

Being serious though, it happens. I remember playing against a guy who pushed but had decent control. I was 100% certain i would 6-0 him but he beat me 6-4. Next time i played him, i fixed my mistakes and won 4-6. It seems that you arent used to hitting low balls at all. Its harder to hit topspin on low balls because there is much less space for a low to high movement in the space between the ball and ground. Add in having to hit a higher ball to get it over the net, balls go out more often. Try to see if you have a form problem or just focus completely on topspin.

Failed
01-10-2009, 12:59 AM
You aren't just used to his playing style. If you are slicing a slow serve that bounecs low to the alleys you are really trying too much. Also if you can't finish the point of at the net it might become a problem. Then again, in a baseline rally you could try hitting high topspin balls to his backhand and get to the net. Don't try to kill the ball when you get to the net, but simply put the ball away. Make sure your contact point is in front and that you are in balance and don't SWING at the ball.

Sometimes you feel like quitting(never happened to me in tennis). But that is only a sign of giving up. What are your goals in tennis? What do you want to achieve? Do you want to be recognized? Do you want to turn pro? I'd really recommend you to read the books Winning ugly and The inner game of tennis. Remember not to critize yourself, this is what I learnt from the books. You are still a work in progress. We don't judge a seed for not being a flower already, we must give it some time to grow. As soon as you stop critizing yourself you'll discover new things about you and your game should get better. Just enjoy, work your butt off and profit.

quicken
01-10-2009, 01:35 AM
Yes, those are the moments.
Welll you know, sh*t happens.
Even Federer has hiccups.
You are improving, no doubt. Keep up the good work.

goober
01-10-2009, 05:48 AM
Just come to the net and win. This type of "softball" player cannot beat good net game. Stand well inside the baseline- chip and charge and S&V.

If your balls are always landing out when your hitting from the baseline then go for safer shots- more topspin. Just be patient and look for the right time to attack the net.

ttbrowne
01-10-2009, 06:03 AM
I practice and practice and I just get NO results. I still lose. A guy at the club said my strokes looked very good, but what the **** is the point of having pretty strokes if I can't win? I just don't know what to do. I CRIED. I had tears rolling down my eyes and I was sniffling and ****. It was very embarrassing in front of my friend and all those guys.

I thought, why do I even play? I won't quit, that's definite, but I sure felt like it. I just feel hopeless.

I am guessing that you are going for your shots and that it's still not working.
Happened to me. I was told this by a pro, but I found a great article about it.

http://www.tenniswarrior.com/archives/2004-07.htm

SaunderS
01-10-2009, 06:38 AM
Everyone has their bad days, dont they?

phoenicks
01-10-2009, 07:29 AM
I am guessing that you are going for your shots and that it's still not working.
Happened to me. I was told this by a pro, but I found a great article about it.

http://www.tenniswarrior.com/archives/2004-07.htm

great article, great read.

And I myself generally care less about winning actually and I lose to a lot of people whose stroke is inferior to me, , but the main thing is just to get more match experience while keep improving yourself, when everything get downs to place, you'll see a whole new level of you.

fuzz nation
01-10-2009, 07:47 AM
You're enduring what will probably turn out to be one of the most valuable learning experiences in your tennis career. You got owned by a pusher!!! If you think that nobody else here has felt the sting of that sort of humiliating loss, think again mah bruthuh. There's material on these boards for dealing with this sort of tactic, but the biggest issue when you play one of these "nudge masters" is to keep your head. They're playing more of a psychological number on you than a physical tactic and half the battle for you (or anyone else) is recognizing that.

Let me just say this about your emotional reaction to this recent shellacking. It's only evidence that the game means a lot to you and that you've invested a lot of yourself toward getting good. I part time teach and coach tennis myself and I had one of these horrible outings a couple of years ago that left me set on hanging it up for at least the rest of the summer - my case was a member/guest tourney where I spent the ENTIRE day embarrassing myself in front of all the local "new money snobs". Couldn't put two shots together... seriously. If I'd been seriously hung over or recovering from open heart surgery, at least I'd have had an excuse!

Without those kinds of tragedies on our personal list of accomplishments in tennis, we never quite know where we stand or how much we can deal with out there. If you didn't much care about this match you lost, you wouldn't stand to learn anything from it, right? Most pros will teach players plenty about technique and strategy, but it's usually up to us to go learn good psychology on our own. With the high school kids I coach, at least half the battle is keeping their heads in the right direction with positive focus. Do a little of your own research and you'll probably find some really helpful material. I'm a big fan of the wisdom of Vic Braden, but there are several good writers around - I'm actually going to order Dave Smith's book Coaching Mastery pretty soon.

bad_call
01-10-2009, 08:13 AM
I played with a friend and out of 3 sets, only won 3 games. That's a total of 3 games out of 18. That's ****ing pathetic.

He hit **** balls that landed right at the service box, sometimes behind it. I used full strokes, I used half strokes, I used volleys, everything went out. He's a very strong, built guy, but he played with the pace of 7 year old girl. My forehand strokes were sending the ball like an inch past the baseline. He kept hitting **** serves to my backhand that bounced about a foot above ground and I just couldn't do anything about it except slice, and that went into the alleys and the sky. To summarize this paragraph, the balls he hit bounced about a foot above ground and I was utterly helpless.

I practice and practice and I just get NO results. I still lose. A guy at the club said my strokes looked very good, but what the **** is the point of having pretty strokes if I can't win? I just don't know what to do. I CRIED. I had tears rolling down my eyes and I was sniffling and ****. It was very embarrassing in front of my friend and all those guys.

I thought, why do I even play? I won't quit, that's definite, but I sure felt like it. I just feel hopeless.

sounds like u need to work on hitting short balls that stay in. if u can't do that with your current equipment then look into something else. also seek out a good teaching pro who can help u with these strokes/equipment. pick yourself up man. it's all about the journey. :)

Noaler
01-10-2009, 08:26 AM
Exactly, short balls and accuracy, just make your strokes to the point where you can get everything in, hit deep and maybe some drop-shots if you are good at them.

wishsong
01-10-2009, 10:50 AM
Tennis is really mental, you can't get mad.

Frankauc
01-10-2009, 11:24 AM
well i guess you have to work on your strokes cause it cant be good if you were hitting outside the lines with his slow midcourt balls. Sounds like your mental in game is poor too. That's just reality. Now that you know that. Work harder on these aspects

split-step
01-10-2009, 11:36 AM
OP is weak.
You played someone who exposed glaring weaknesses in your game and so you want to quit.

What this should have shown you is how much more work you need to put in, to actually be the tennis player you think you are.

WBF
01-10-2009, 11:36 AM
You need to realize that you played a better player than yourself. Don't get angry when you lose, just set out to improve where it will help. I used to get furious when players who "couldn't hit a decent ball," would somehow beat me. The problem was, they were better than me. Having nice looking strokes or an awesome shot that doesn't go in consistently every time is worthless. Keep in mind tennis is a game of statistics. You aren't going to win through power, you are going to win through consistently winning points, games, and sets.

tenzinrocks
01-10-2009, 12:25 PM
I played with a friend and out of 3 sets, only won 3 games. That's a total of 3 games out of 18. That's ****ing pathetic.

He hit **** balls that landed right at the service box, sometimes behind it. I used full strokes, I used half strokes, I used volleys, everything went out. He's a very strong, built guy, but he played with the pace of 7 year old girl. My forehand strokes were sending the ball like an inch past the baseline. He kept hitting **** serves to my backhand that bounced about a foot above ground and I just couldn't do anything about it except slice, and that went into the alleys and the sky. To summarize this paragraph, the balls he hit bounced about a foot above ground and I was utterly helpless.

I practice and practice and I just get NO results. I still lose. A guy at the club said my strokes looked very good, but what the **** is the point of having pretty strokes if I can't win? I just don't know what to do. I CRIED. I had tears rolling down my eyes and I was sniffling and ****. It was very embarrassing in front of my friend and all those guys.

I thought, why do I even play? I won't quit, that's definite, but I sure felt like it. I just feel hopeless.

LOL Ok do the math, 18 games? well each set goes to 6 games and you got 3. You got 3 games out of 21 games

ronalditop
01-10-2009, 12:34 PM
i experience somtehing similar. i played with a friend that ive always beaten, but that day was different. i had a problem with the grip, it shrunks a lot and the gripsize was very small, so everytime he hit a somehow fast ball the racquet completely twisted in my hand, and i end up losing 0-6. i was sad but i knew the reason why i lost, so it wasnt a big deal to me. then i played him another day and beat him again.

Djokovicfan4life
01-10-2009, 12:42 PM
Man, you actually started crying? I think you need to realize that in the end, tennis is only a game. Lighten up.

I doubt it's actually true that all your practice and hard work have really given you NO results. Remember that off days tend to be much more memorable than the gradual improvements you are making over a period of many years. I think it may be helpful to get a video of yourself playing now. That way when you start to doubt yourself in the future, you can watch the video and see how much you've actually improved without even realizing it.

oneguy21
01-10-2009, 03:14 PM
Your mentality - the one element of tennis that is often underrated by many players. I gotta admit. When I play tournaments, I never focus too much on the mental part of my game. It is far too often neglected by players because everyone thinks it's all in the shot techniques and strategies. That would be true if tennis was played by robots, but we're human. Psychology has determined the outcome of matches and has defined the careers of many tennis players. Our mental breakdown will lead to the breaking down of our strokes and our determination which will then lead to a loss.
For my next tournament I'm going to do the following:

1. Get up that morning and write down my strategy on paper.
2. Repeat the strategy to myself throughout the day.
3. Know that my goal is to make my opponent feel as miserable as possible. The match will be a mental game, the one who shows any negative emotion will lose!
4. Get excited and shout "c'mon!" when I win a point with the same or more intensity then Hewitt (Even if it's embarassing just do it!) My opponent will be apprehensive after this.
5. Be stoic when I lose a point. (Be Hewitt when you win a point, be Borg when you lose one)
6. Repeat mentally "I'm a better player than that *******!"
7. Grunt!
8. Aggresively confront my opponent about an unsure call.

I suggest you do EXACTLY the same in your next match. If you do, I guarantee good things will happen. :)

dotorman
01-10-2009, 03:44 PM
Read NamRanger's both posts 10 times, I think that is what you need. I play axactly same type of player and I felt the same as you did after loosing to this soft ball player I play with for months!! What helped me? Positive attitude and everything NamRanger has written in his post. No need to cry and don't even think of taking a break or quit, go out tomorrow play with him again but this time be very positive, dont get mad over your bad shot and tell yourself before every point that " I will win this point" Good luck.

futuratennis
01-10-2009, 03:59 PM
i had a day like this about a month ago, just take a break from tennis for a few days... the next time i played i felt alot better, even though my strokes felt a little awkward, i got through it... i also nearly cried, as i regard tennis as my biggest passion in life, but now.. a month later, im playing the best tennis ive ever played in my life, and im feeling extremely confident about my game, im in the mental stage now, which is kinda like being in-between, by that i mean, i recognise the good shots, and feel good about them, however i dont get all cocky about it and try to do them every shot. i recognise the not-so-good shots, but i dont dwell on them, i just learn from my mistakes... just remember, you're always gonna lose sometimes in tennis, or any sport, so just try to learn from it. just before that day when i "blew up" i wasn't judging my shots etc. like mentioned before, but then the next day i played a shocker.. i won the 1st set 6-0 and i was up 5-1 in the second and he came back and won the set... just gotta see what i did wrong, and improve on it :)

phoenicks
01-10-2009, 03:59 PM
5. Be stoic when I lose a point. (Be Hewitt when you win a point, be Borg when you lose one)



this is quite simply impossible, if you're celebrating when you win, then you'll have just allow the demon in when you lose, you can only be Borg when you remain cool when you win a point. So, if you become Hewitt when you win a point, you'll surely be Safin when you lose 1.

oneguy21
01-10-2009, 04:07 PM
this is quite simply impossible, if you're celebrating when you win, then you'll have just allow the demon in when you lose, you can only be Borg when you remain cool when you win a point. So, if you become Hewitt when you win a point, you'll surely be Safin when you lose 1.

Not necessarily. Maybe I should've said be Nadal. I mean he becomes intense when he wins a point, but still keeps his cool when he loses one.

Djokovicfan4life
01-10-2009, 05:21 PM
Your mentality - the one element of tennis that is often underrated by many players. I gotta admit. When I play tournaments, I never focus too much on the mental part of my game. It is far too often neglected by players because everyone thinks it's all in the shot techniques and strategies. That would be true if tennis was played by robots, but we're human. Psychology has determined the outcome of matches and has defined the careers of many tennis players. Our mental breakdown will lead to the breaking down of our strokes and our determination which will then lead to a loss.
For my next tournament I'm going to do the following:

1. Get up that morning and write down my strategy on paper.
2. Repeat the strategy to myself throughout the day.
3. Know that my goal is to make my opponent feel as miserable as possible. The match will be a mental game, the one who shows any negative emotion will lose!
4. Get excited and shout "c'mon!" when I win a point with the same or more intensity then Hewitt (Even if it's embarassing just do it!) My opponent will be apprehensive after this.
5. Be stoic when I lose a point. (Be Hewitt when you win a point, be Borg when you lose one)
6. Repeat mentally "I'm a better player than that *******!"
7. Grunt!
8. Aggresively confront my opponent about an unsure call.

I suggest you do EXACTLY the same in your next match. If you do, I guarantee good things will happen. :)

Saying c'mon after every point won is lame. Most of us are men here, we don't need to repeat some cliche phrase over and over just to pump ourselves up.

oneguy21
01-10-2009, 05:29 PM
Saying c'mon after every point won is lame. Most of us are men here, we don't need to repeat some cliche phrase over and over just to pump ourselves up.

Of course not all the time. Just when you win the big points or if you just feel like saying it.

naylor
01-10-2009, 05:34 PM
Sorry, the only advice on mental recovery I will give you is that you figure out why you lost and then what you have to do not to lose against that kind of play again.

If you lose against a pusher, it's basically because you cannot inject pace on his ball to up the tempo of the match to something that suits your game better. Some people have already suggested playing S&V - which is fine if you can play that game well, because you inject pace and direction and your contact point is above the net (so you're hitting down into your opponent's court, rather than up to first clear the net). But you have to win your service points quick, otherwise your opponent can impose his pushing game. Still, that only takes care of your service games, you still have to win some of his to win overall.

Some people have already suggested you start playing shorter balls to move your opponent up to the net. That works fine provided your opponent just camps on the baseline, but if he doesn't and can get to short balls reasonably well, then you will find that - if he plays short to you (I seem to remember he didn't give you good length) and you return short - he'll start playing short AND moving up to the net to anticipate your return. The result is that you then have to start playing decent passing shots off a no-pace ball of his, which gives you a smaller target down the sides than when he simply pushed from the baseline.

Frankly, everybody hates playing against this kind of opponent. The good thing is that he'll never blow you away from his baseline. Hence, you can afford to camp on your baseline or even inside the court to help you get to his shorter balls earlier - anything that he manages to hit longer to your baseline, you have time to retreat back and then move into the shot.

The key to beating them is to inject pace on your shots, whilst still keeping them in. For this, getting to the ball early, with the right footwork, and hitting it early is key - if you're consistently late, with sloppy footwork, and hit the ball when it's about to bounce twice, it's virtually impossible to hit upwards with pace and topspin to make it clear the net and then dip on the baseline. Or, to put it the other way, if you do manage to hit that shot, just imagine the kind of shot you could hit if you got to the ball at the top of the bounce, with the right footwork, so you can play both the 'obvious shot' but also - if he's already moving to that corner - you have that extra split second to see his movement and place the ball to the opposite corner (just place, no need to power it hard).

The moral of the story - against such player, you have to be prepared to work very hard, but on your own footwork and movement, to get to his balls early. So, it's all in your own hands (or rather, legs and positioning and swing), because his shorts won't have much weight to hurt you.

Okazaki Fragment
01-10-2009, 05:39 PM
Sounds like the guy underpowered you. Is it worse than being overpowered? At least you dictated the points, right?

Just practice paceless shots more.

ogruskie
01-10-2009, 06:38 PM
Thanks for the support guys. I'm still reading through all the posts and I'll take notes later on.

Tennis is my primary focus right now. My only goal for senior year of high school is to make the varsity team, I don't care much for anything else. Basically I thought, "These are the types of people I'll be playing during tryouts. If I don't win, then I won't make it. If I win, then I'm all set". I lost and thought, "****, is this how tryouts are going to be?" In addition I'm stressed out with school/work, and barely getting by on 6 hours of sleep every day. So I guess last night was a mental crash of EVERYTHING.

As a note, I've played and beat pushers before. Except the pushers that I played actually hit the balls near the baseline, and hitting those is not a problem for me.

Another note, I ALWAYS play with this dude, except we just really. He really beats the hell out of the ball during practice, but I beat him sometimes too. So while playing a set, I except him to rip a crazy topspin forehand, but got a dinky dropshot behind the service line.

RoddickAce
01-10-2009, 07:36 PM
Actually, its 3 out of 21 games; since he won 6 x 3 games and u won 3, which is a total of 21. That's 14.29% games won. The first time i played in a match I lost 8-1 in a proset, that's 11.11% games won on my part. Everyone has their bad days.
One thing you should never do is tell yourself "forget about it", because all that will do is remind yourself of it. For example, try this: "don't think about a white polar bear." Can you not think about a white polar bear after I told you not to do so? Pretty hard, because by attempting to suppress this thought, you are forced to be conscious about the bear. So just do other activities and play some normal rallies with your friends and let that take your mind off the topic.

ogruskie
01-10-2009, 07:48 PM
I always tell myself "Don't sweat the technique", and that usually helps me. Instead of thinking HOW I should hit the ball, I just do it.

When I practice, I always keep these 4 points on mind to stay consistent:

1. Look at the ball
2. Hit the ball in front of you
3. Bent your elbow (on forehand)
4. Move your feet (this is a check-point whenever I get to the baseline)

It helps, but when these bulletproof techniques start to fail me, I'm done.

Right now I feel angry. I think I'm going to play 2 hours every weekday and about 6 hours on the weekend. The only option I can see right now is to practice so much that I have no room for doubt in my mind.

ttbrowne
01-10-2009, 09:57 PM
If your forehand is "going an inch long", DO NOT change anything!

Hit it just as you were doing. You will not win but you will...soon. The key is to improve...not win.
Winning will come later.

ogruskie
01-10-2009, 10:03 PM
Here's a question, is a windshield wiper forehand effective against low no pace balls? I essentially hit about a foot above the net and the ball is penetrating. I mean I really like the ball to stay looooow and just "skid" across the ground because its hard for my opponent to return. Essentially I hit like my friend, except with pace and depth (balls land near baseline)

This is only effective when the ball is in my hitting zone, and clearly I had no success with that. So if I had a really topspinny windshield wiper forehand, would that somehow pick the low ball up and spin it in?

naylor
01-11-2009, 12:50 AM
You have to start by understanding what gets your balls to land inside the base line when you play your normal game and hit them with pace. If it's "a good swing" - technique - that enables you to put good topspin to make the ball dip, then you already have the technique to play against a pusher. You just have to work on your positioning and footwork to make sure you can hit his ball consistently in your hitting zone, and then play around with the less-power-or-more-topspin dials. But if it drops in just because it's a horizontal missile that runs out of pace and gravity takes over, then what you need to do is improve on technique.

If you change your swing to a more WW action, then it might be effective when hitting a slower ball, because you have more time to hit the ball. Basically, the more WW you swing - around, but in a vertical plane - the more difficult it is to time a ball coming into your vertical hitting plane. If the incoming ball is slow with little horizontal pace, then you can adjust yourself so that your WW swing catches the ball in your vertical swing plane. But you still have the problem of making sure that your mostly-vertical swing gives the ball enough horizontal momentum to go over the net and land close to the baseline. When your eye is well in, you can do that, but the ball is a spinny, loopy forehand that doesn't have much pace - definitely not penetrating, not low and no skid. Hence, you stay in the rally, even hitting a good depth, but you lose what you already consider to be good in your forehand in your normal game - so your game actually goes backwards... welcome to pushing! When you're eye's not in and you mistime it, you frame shots or you put too much spin and you play loopy balls that either go into the net or land short and are asking to be pushed. And when you play against players that put more pace on their shots, that ball is coming a lot faster horizontally into your vertical WW swingplane. Timing becomes a lot more difficult (and even with a "good" WW forehand, you end up pushing against their pace), but the chances of hitting a "bad" one increase dramatically.

You should note that most modern forehands do look WW when looked from in front or behind, because the follow-through often ends up below the left shoulder rather than high over the shoulder. But when you look from the side, you can see that the rackethead has moved from low (and behind the rackethand) to high to low, but the hand has moved from about level with the right hip, through to about a foot out and in front of your chest (with your arm straightening through) at impact, and then moving further ahead of you but coming back to being down and level with your left hip at the end of the follow-through. It is this movement of the rackethead that generates the topspin (from low up to hip-waist level at impact, and continuing higher) and the forward momentum (from behind to 18 inches or more in front of your chest at impact, and then continuing further in front in the follow-through). And the more you flatten things vertically to take out forward momentum, the more difficult it becomes to get consistent depth with some pace, and the more you struggle against pacier players - because you need to put some forward momentum of yours to counteract the momentum their ball comes with.

Jim A
01-14-2009, 09:33 AM
everyone has days and opponents like this regardless of level, recently I played someone in a ladder and really expected to wax them only to walk off the court 2 and 0, we had tons of his service games go to deuce but he would slice and dice me off the court with short shorts that seemed to stick to the ground and i'd either pop them up or hit the netcord while trying to topspin. even with a plan it wasn't my day, but it gave me insight on what to do next time

DavaiMarat
01-14-2009, 10:44 AM
Listen, I feel your pain. We've all felt at some point that we've lost to a soft baller or someone who you felt that your strokes are superior too.

Tennis is 90% mental. This is where he excelled and beat you, he got you out of your comfort zone and you play into his hands.

I'm sure if you were trading groundstrokes from the baseline you would have been in much better shape.

1st thing you gotta do is respect the pusher, once you disrespect him you've lost. Once you've deemed his ball's not worth to hit then well, you won't and you'll lose and be frustrated.

2nd you have to identify what's he doing to you. He's hitting the ball short so you have to get out of your comfort zone. What do you do? Take him out of his. Softballer's hate to do one thing. Be forced into doing something. They wait till you make a mistake and thier objective is simple to keep getting ball back until you implode. However, attack the net and suddenly...oh wait I'm going to have to pass and make something happen. It's a complete roll reversal. If you hit a penetrating approach (notice I didn't say a winner)....he's going to do one of two things....commit an error, hit a short lob to you or pass you. Money's on 1 or 2 but even if you get pass don't get frustrated. Attacking the net takes it toll on the defender by constantly putting pressure on them in the point. It will pay off eventually.

There's my advice. Control your anxiety and respect all your opponents. And always recognize what's happening in the match. THere's always a solution if you sit and think about even if just on the change over.

Bungalo Bill
01-14-2009, 10:54 AM
If your forehand is "going an inch long", DO NOT change anything!

Hit it just as you were doing. You will not win but you will...soon. The key is to improve...not win.
Winning will come later.

Keep at it. Take a break for a bit to gather your emotions. Part of being mentally tough is handling bad days knowing good days are around the corner.

Take a break and then get your butt back out there like the rest of us have to do.

wihamilton
01-14-2009, 11:41 AM
Here's a question, is a windshield wiper forehand effective against low no pace balls?

Yes, it is. If you're going to hit w/pace, you'll need extra topspin to pull the ball into the court because you're hitting up on the ball to lift it over the net.

GeoffB
01-14-2009, 12:18 PM
Power and directional intent mean nothing without without control in tennis. Some people resolve this problem by never learning to use power or direction. They just put it back soft and reasonably deep up the center. It works for a while, but they fade around the 4.0 level.

This is both a good and a bad thing for our sport. It's bad because it means that attempts at playing exciting, aggressive, strategic tennis often produce losing tennis few years before the technique is there. But it's great in that it means that tennis has a unique rite of passage - when you can beat the "pusher" reliably, you've crossed the bridge. It means that you play at a high enough level that strategy, pace, placement are the key to winning a match.

How this will happen is up to you. You may use a combination of skills. Slow but deliberate point building, breaking down the backhand, strong serve and net play, baseline blasting - these are all ways to do it.

In some ways, it's great to play a pusher, because you get to dictate the style you will play. I'm mainly a point builder - I'll use a series of strokes to try to open the court before going for a winner - but if I play a serve and volleyer, or a baseline blaster who goes for an all-or-nothing winner by the second stroke, I don't get to work on my game. Nothing like an old fashioned pusher/retriever to give me the opportunity to build a point over and over, until I've mastered it.

itisgregory
01-14-2009, 03:18 PM
Clean up the language so that you can write an intelligent piece. Using expletives is usually a sign of weak vocabulary.

ogruskie
01-14-2009, 07:40 PM
Thanks for the help guys. I played some pushers today. I won some, and lost some. I realized that topspin and sharp angles are good for defeating pushers, as they don't like moving around much.

Before playing, I basically told myself, "You're going to suffer, and they WILL irritate you. But don't explode, just stay calm". I won against the first pusher because I never showed signs of weakness, but I lost later because I imploded then exploded.

Another thing I learned is, I need to give myself more credit. I'm a good player, I just need to get my mentality together. Today I've witnessed what a good mentality does, and how a bad one brings me down.

Itisgregory - thank you for contributing to this topic. I didn't know English professors visited online tennis forums.

samster
01-14-2009, 08:38 PM
I played with a friend and out of 3 sets, only won 3 games. That's a total of 3 games out of 18. That's ****ing pathetic.

He hit **** balls that landed right at the service box, sometimes behind it. I used full strokes, I used half strokes, I used volleys, everything went out. He's a very strong, built guy, but he played with the pace of 7 year old girl. My forehand strokes were sending the ball like an inch past the baseline. He kept hitting **** serves to my backhand that bounced about a foot above ground and I just couldn't do anything about it except slice, and that went into the alleys and the sky. To summarize this paragraph, the balls he hit bounced about a foot above ground and I was utterly helpless.

I practice and practice and I just get NO results. I still lose. A guy at the club said my strokes looked very good, but what the **** is the point of having pretty strokes if I can't win? I just don't know what to do. I CRIED. I had tears rolling down my eyes and I was sniffling and ****. It was very embarrassing in front of my friend and all those guys.

I thought, why do I even play? I won't quit, that's definite, but I sure felt like it. I just feel hopeless.

You lost to a pusher. Welcome to my world!

samster
01-14-2009, 08:39 PM
Thanks for the help guys. I played some pushers today. I won some, and lost some. I realized that topspin and sharp angles are good for defeating pushers, as they don't like moving around much.

Before playing, I basically told myself, "You're going to suffer, and they WILL irritate you. But don't explode, just stay calm". I won against the first pusher because I never showed signs of weakness, but I lost later because I imploded then exploded.

Yes, this is the attitude you need to take. You need to make it as painful as possible for them as they are for you.

Punisha
01-14-2009, 09:14 PM
Try drinking your sorrows away... works for me!

ogruskie
01-14-2009, 09:39 PM
What's funny is that the guy who lost got ****ed, swore, and hit his racquet against the ground. I felt pretty good about myself.

teppeiahn1
01-15-2009, 10:41 PM
You might not understand this but.... experiences like these actualy makes your life worth living.

jmjmkim
01-15-2009, 11:41 PM
I like this thread, as it applies to me. Also, I like the fact that this bothered you enough to make you post how you felt. We've all been there, but not everyone takes it the same way. As for me, when it happened to me, I cried, not because I lost, but because the event represented exactly how I felt about how my life was going. It was more than a mere tennis game for me, a recreational tennis player. What really bothered me was, here I was, having put a lot of investment in time and money into equipping myself with what I called a "game". The problem was, I couldn't put it altogether to beat my opponent's grandma.

On a simpler note, here is how I overcame this. You see, I secretly have three passions in sport. 1. tennis 2. golf 3 snow skiing

I ended up giving up tennis for about 5 years altogether and worked on my golf game. I became a better golfer (so I thought) until the same kind of thing happened in golf. So what then, I now switched over to tennis again, and it's like starting fresh, except I already know how to play. I just choose not to remember the "bad habbits" I used to have, and only reuse the elements that worked. eg. my topspin backhand, slice backhand, chip approach. I dumped my forehand altogether and reinvented it with a brand new grip and a brand new swing. Man, it's the best I ever had.

The one thing you gotta remember though, if you love the game, you'll be back sooner than 5 years like me.

futuratennis
01-16-2009, 01:15 AM
I always tell myself "Don't sweat the technique", and that usually helps me. Instead of thinking HOW I should hit the ball, I just do it.

When I practice, I always keep these 4 points on mind to stay consistent:

1. Look at the ball
2. Hit the ball in front of you
3. Bent your elbow (on forehand)
4. Move your feet (this is a check-point whenever I get to the baseline)

It helps, but when these bulletproof techniques start to fail me, I'm done.

Right now I feel angry. I think I'm going to play 2 hours every weekday and about 6 hours on the weekend. The only option I can see right now is to practice so much that I have no room for doubt in my mind.

playing that much youll get burnt out, then youll play bad again, and then youll feel like quitting again, play alot of tennis, but dont overdo it, play 3-5 times a week

SmAsH999
01-17-2009, 02:34 PM
same thing happened to me several times, except it was slightly different. I've been suffering for tendonitis for about half a year, and I'd lose to NTRP 4-4.5 players who I should've beat 6-1 or 6-2. The losses were getting to me, and I considered quitting the sport that I'd loved for years. But I stuck with it and am back on my game and I am hopefully on my way to winning more tournaments. Being a true athlete means loving the sport and playing it in good times and bad. That's what makes athletes great.