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nadalfan!
01-17-2009, 04:39 PM
How come when you're playing in practice you play so well, yet when you start playing a match you play like garbage? I watched the pro's and it happens to them too but I'm really trying to balance it out you know? I love how I hit in practice but my match play doesn't even come close to how good I play when I'm just hitting... I don't think that it is the amount of matches I play because I play a lot of matches for Jr. Team Tennis and Tournaments but sometimes there is a period of time when I keep progressing more and more and then all of a sudden I am stuck into a zone that for some reason I can't get out of. Before my HS season I played well and improved greatly but during my HS season I should have played much better. During states I was in the quarters against the #1 seed and lost 6-0, 7-5 when I was up in the second set 5-4 and serving. I should have at least won that match. I played well but I knew I could have won it.

I have some vids of me but they are not too good in terms of visibility. Next time I go on court I'll try to make a good vid. I am struggling with my volleys and serves. My first serve percentage is terrible yet sometimes I serve like a monster! I have never had the greatest volleys in the world but I think that is major part of my game that is holding me back. Those two things are impacting my game in the worst conditions at this time.

P.S. I am not an amateur and can play very good, but I think if my match play improved dramatically I would have much better results in USTA. I was top 50 in B14's in my state but I could beat people in the top 20. So, please help me out! :(

fuzz nation
01-17-2009, 05:00 PM
Pretty much when we're practicing, our mistakes don't matter so we concentrate on swinging away and hitting our best shots. When we play points, there's more incentive to not miss and it's easy for focus to shift toward playing it safe. I like to insert an occasional tiebreaker in my hitting sessions so that both my playing and hitting frames of mind are more similar. It's very helpful for me to be more consistent in a singles match when I shift my attention from playing too aggressively to staying in "rally mode" where I am (mentally) in my hitting sessions.

A number of the better players around here who play for the HS state champs are specifically coached to use a spinner/kicker for a first serve instead of a heater so that their percentages are higher. In this age bracket, it's made a huge difference for these guys - they've owned the state title for a decade.

nadalfan!
01-17-2009, 05:14 PM
Pretty much when we're practicing, our mistakes don't matter so we concentrate on swinging away and hitting our best shots. When we play points, there's more incentive to not miss and it's easy for focus to shift toward playing it safe. I like to insert an occasional tiebreaker in my hitting sessions so that both my playing and hitting frames of mind are more similar. It's very helpful for me to be more consistent in a singles match when I shift my attention from playing too aggressively to staying in "rally mode" where I am (mentally) in my hitting sessions.

A number of the better players around here who play for the HS state champs are specifically coached to use a spinner/kicker for a first serve instead of a heater so that their percentages are higher. In this age bracket, it's made a huge difference for these guys - they've owned the state title for a decade.

Good advice, only problem is my kick serve doesn't kick... :( Sometimes it kicks at good height but only sometimes... :cry:

CoachingMastery
01-17-2009, 05:14 PM
This is easy...practice, there are little to no ramifications for missing. Matches, every shot has weight. Those players who "Practice" using pressure situations, (rewards, penalties), can improve their ability to play under pressure.

Those who play matches (tournaments, etc.) and focus on where they want to hit the ball (instead of the ramifications of missing, winning, losing, etc.) will tend to play better in competition because they are focused not on the outcome, but on hitting a specific shot. They will seldom "choke"...yes, they can miss but they seldom let a miss (or a great shot), have an effect on their next shot. (Which is why so many players double fault after hitting an ace! They are focused on what they did instead of what they want to do next!)

Good luck with your competitive play!

nadalfan!
01-17-2009, 05:21 PM
This is easy...practice, there are little to no ramifications for missing. Matches, every shot has weight. Those players who "Practice" using pressure situations, (rewards, penalties), can improve their ability to play under pressure.

Those who play matches (tournaments, etc.) and focus on where they want to hit the ball (instead of the ramifications of missing, winning, losing, etc.) will tend to play better in competition because they are focused not on the outcome, but on hitting a specific shot. They will seldom "choke"...yes, they can miss but they seldom let a miss (or a great shot), have an effect on their next shot. (Which is why so many players double fault after hitting an ace! They are focused on what they did instead of what they want to do next!)

Good luck with your competitive play!

Thanks for the adivce. You may have unlocked something in me. I usually think about the score and the next points. Like "Ok, your up 30-15 get the next two points and you got the game and your back on serve, after that you can go up 2-1..." I tend to do this but I can't help myself I guess. Any ideas on how to stop this? I do have a Jr. team tennis match tomorrow so I can try new things...

Ballinbob
01-17-2009, 05:26 PM
coached to use a spinner/kicker for a first serve instead of a heater so that their percentages are higher. In this age bracket, it's made a huge difference for these guys - they've owned the state title for a decade.

This is really good advice for getting that first percentage up. My flat serve is around 100mph but I only get it in around 55% of the time. But lately I've been hitting aggressive kick serves for both my serves and its been working beautify. My first serve percentage is around 85-90% and I never double fault. It took me awhile to learn this, but a consistent kick serve to the backhand that kicks 6ft is alot better than a 100mph serve into the forehand of my opponent. Try this for your first serves, it works! It will get your confidence up while serving when your making all your serves in. Sure its slower but the spin will make up for it.

Also, what helps me in matches is to have a short term memory and forget about everything except the next point. When I start playing badly I take my time when serving/returning and settle down then try again. Alot of people get tentative when going for there shots, and you definitley dont want to do this. This may be easier said than done I guess. I pretty much play a Gonzalez type of game so I don't have this problem lol. Just go for your shots and see what happens. You have to try something new

LeeD
01-17-2009, 05:36 PM
I think each and every one of us can hit better in practice with a friend than we can play against equal, but unknown opponents.
That's just a fact of competitive shelflife.
So concentrate on yourself and your strokes. You know what you need to do to win a point. Do it. Don't worry if the opponent makes a great winner, you can only do what you can do and control.
As for your game currently. It's hard to win or change momentum without a complete game. For that, you need good volleys, great movement and placement on second serves, a variety of first serves, and a mental outlook that enables your game to be at it's best.
That'sa lot of factors to insure YOUR game is at it's best.
Every good player loses plenty of matches before than break into the "bigtime". They learn from the lose's, learn what NOT to do, what not to feel, what not to compensate. And they learn what they NEED to do, what they need to strategize, and learn how to approach the mental part of the equation.
Providing they already have all the strokes.

Okazaki Fragment
01-17-2009, 05:37 PM
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sGksmlTWCFE

nadalfan!
01-17-2009, 05:45 PM
This is really good advice for getting that first percentage up. My flat serve is around 100mph but I only get it in around 55% of the time. But lately I've been hitting aggressive kick serves for both my serves and its been working beautify. My first serve percentage is around 85-90% and I never double fault. It took me awhile to learn this, but a consistent kick serve to the backhand that kicks 6ft is alot better than a 100mph serve into the forehand of my opponent. Try this for your first serves, it works! It will get your confidence up while serving when your making all your serves in. Sure its slower but the spin will make up for it.

Also, what helps me in matches is to have a short term memory and forget about everything except the next point. When I start playing badly I take my time when serving/returning and settle down then try again. Alot of people get tentative when going for there shots, and you definitley dont want to do this. This may be easier said than done I guess. I pretty much play a Gonzalez type of game so I don't have this problem lol. Just go for your shots and see what happens. You have to try something new

Again, great advice from experience but like I said my kick serve doesn't kick. It's more of a slice serve... :(

nadalfan!
01-17-2009, 05:47 PM
I think each and every one of us can hit better in practice with a friend than we can play against equal, but unknown opponents.
That's just a fact of competitive shelflife.
So concentrate on yourself and your strokes. You know what you need to do to win a point. Do it. Don't worry if the opponent makes a great winner, you can only do what you can do and control.
As for your game currently. It's hard to win or change momentum without a complete game. For that, you need good volleys, great movement and placement on second serves, a variety of first serves, and a mental outlook that enables your game to be at it's best.
That'sa lot of factors to insure YOUR game is at it's best.
Every good player loses plenty of matches before than break into the "bigtime". They learn from the lose's, learn what NOT to do, what not to feel, what not to compensate. And they learn what they NEED to do, what they need to strategize, and learn how to approach the mental part of the equation.
Providing they already have all the strokes.

Thanks for this but I need help on the technique of the volleys. Something happens and I usually miss hit my volleys or badly placed. Sometimes I even overpower them. So what's the basic cycle for the best volleys?

LeeD
01-17-2009, 05:52 PM
Some would know better...
Basically, one grip, continental.
When the ball leaves the opponents racket and you know it's not a lob... turn shoulders first, thus getting racket towards hitting side, if you have time, move forwards.
The racket swing is a punch with UNDERSPIN. Not lots, but some for control of height of the ball.
You're already close to the net, so opponent doesn't have time to really load up on the passing shot. You don't have to hit hard, just hit firm and deep, well past the service line right up to the baseline if possible.
Practice against soft balls, medium balls, and hard balls.
Watch TV and see the pros.

Ballinbob
01-17-2009, 05:53 PM
Again, great advice from experience but like I said my kick serve doesn't kick. It's more of a slice serve... :(

Oh sorry I didn't read that post. I'm just saying though, using a kick serve for the first serve really works well. As for volleys, here are some tips:

1. Step into your volleys with the opposite foot for power. If your going to hit a forehand volley, step in with your left foot and vice versa
2. Don't swing, and don't have a big follow through. It should be a really short punching motion
3. Split step when your opponent makes contact with the ball
4. Hit the ball infront of you
5. Always volley into the open court, don't go for too much with them
6. Stand in the middle of the service line and net so you don't get lobbed.

Also, what's wrong with your kick serve? Maybe we could help you a bit if you described what's happening. This really is a good serve to have, and i think it would really help your game

nadalfan!
01-17-2009, 06:05 PM
Some would know better...
Basically, one grip, continental.
When the ball leaves the opponents racket and you know it's not a lob... turn shoulders first, thus getting racket towards hitting side, if you have time, move forwards.
The racket swing is a punch with UNDERSPIN. Not lots, but some for control of height of the ball.
You're already close to the net, so opponent doesn't have time to really load up on the passing shot. You don't have to hit hard, just hit firm and deep, well past the service line right up to the baseline if possible.
Practice against soft balls, medium balls, and hard balls.
Watch TV and see the pros.

Thanks for the help man. I'll try it out tomorrow. I'll throw in a couple serve and volleys for my oppenent to throw him off and we'll see how it goes.

nadalfan!
01-17-2009, 06:09 PM
Oh sorry I didn't read that post. I'm just saying though, using a kick serve for the first serve really works well. As for volleys, here are some tips:

1. Step into your volleys with the opposite foot for power. If your going to hit a forehand volley, step in with your left foot and vice versa
2. Don't swing, and don't have a big follow through. It should be a really short punching motion
3. Split step when your opponent makes contact with the ball
4. Hit the ball infront of you
5. Always volley into the open court, don't go for too much with them
6. Stand in the middle of the service line and net so you don't get lobbed.

Also, what's wrong with your kick serve? Maybe we could help you a bit if you described what's happening. This really is a good serve to have, and i think it would really help your game

My kick serve never really developed. I knew 2 types of serves: flat and slice. My slice is ok but not as great as it can be and my flat serve is a beast when it goes in but again the low first serve %. The kick serve is very complicated for me I guess. I went to a tennis camp and there I started to get some sort of kick serve with their help but then I went on vacation and played tennis once in 3 weeks. (I couldn't play much more and it was on artificial grass. It was a sweet surface though...) After I came back I focused on getting my groundstrokes back to where they were before and improving my footwork. So, I never really got back into starting the kick serves. I did serving practice too but I didn't focus a lot on kick serves. Mostly wanted to increase consistency of the slice and flat serve as I don't know exactly how to make my kick serve actually kick and become a high percentage of going in the box...

Ballinbob
01-17-2009, 06:19 PM
Alright then, just work on getting your slice serve down first. I suggest keeping your slice serve for matches and working on the kick serve in practices. From experience, this serve is really, really nice to have. The hardest part of me was the swinging up part, as I thought I was going to hit it like 50ft in the air lol. In reality though, the faster you swing upwards the better the serve and the less chance of double faulting.

Anyway, for tomorrow, if your volleys really aren't your strongest point then don't S&V too much. You don't want to just give free points to your opponent like that. If your groundies are your strong point, hit a slice serve to get the receiver out of position and pound away.

nadalfan!
01-17-2009, 06:26 PM
Alright then, just work on getting your slice serve down first. I suggest keeping your slice serve for matches and working on the kick serve in practices. From experience, this serve is really, really nice to have. The hardest part of me was the swinging up part, as I thought I was going to hit it like 50ft in the air lol. In reality though, the faster you swing upwards the better the serve and the less chance of double faulting.

Anyway, for tomorrow, if your volleys really aren't your strongest point then don't S&V too much. You don't want to just give free points to your opponent like that. If your groundies are your strong point, hit a slice serve to get the receiver out of position and pound away.

I am struggling on the hitting up part too. Thanks for the help and I will pound away! If my volleys are doing in I'll try a few S&V's on first serves only though.

CoachingMastery
01-17-2009, 07:51 PM
Thanks for the adivce. You may have unlocked something in me. I usually think about the score and the next points. Like "Ok, your up 30-15 get the next two points and you got the game and your back on serve, after that you can go up 2-1..." I tend to do this but I can't help myself I guess. Any ideas on how to stop this? I do have a Jr. team tennis match tomorrow so I can try new things...

There is a strategy called "Parallel Mode Processing" by Scott Ford which is discussed in a series of his articles on TennisOne.

In a nut shell, try this: everytime you hit the ball consider the ideal hitting zone and then say "yes" if you recognize you hit it in that zone, say "no" if you recognize you were early or late. This simple strategy takes your focus on where it should be, the contact of the shot.

Obviously, there are many other variables that come into play. I recommend to my high performance players to picture where they want to hit the return or the serve...in addition to think of the type of shot planned: topspin, slice, drive, drop, lob, etc.

Having a "Plan" prior to the shot takes your mind out of the ramification focus, ("I hope I don't miss this; I hope I don't choke; I don't want to let my partner down; what if I get behind; etc.)

Remember that nothing can change the past shots/score. Focus only on the next shot in the manner I described. Even if you are behind, this type of mental strategy at least gives you the chance to change the momentum of a losing match. You never know when your opponent will start thinking about their own future focus...giving you the chance to change the complexion of your match.

Good luck in your team match tomorrow!

nadalfan!
01-18-2009, 08:19 AM
There is a strategy called "Parallel Mode Processing" by Scott Ford which is discussed in a series of his articles on TennisOne.

In a nut shell, try this: everytime you hit the ball consider the ideal hitting zone and then say "yes" if you recognize you hit it in that zone, say "no" if you recognize you were early or late. This simple strategy takes your focus on where it should be, the contact of the shot.

Obviously, there are many other variables that come into play. I recommend to my high performance players to picture where they want to hit the return or the serve...in addition to think of the type of shot planned: topspin, slice, drive, drop, lob, etc.

Having a "Plan" prior to the shot takes your mind out of the ramification focus, ("I hope I don't miss this; I hope I don't choke; I don't want to let my partner down; what if I get behind; etc.)

Remember that nothing can change the past shots/score. Focus only on the next shot in the manner I described. Even if you are behind, this type of mental strategy at least gives you the chance to change the momentum of a losing match. You never know when your opponent will start thinking about their own future focus...giving you the chance to change the complexion of your match.

Good luck in your team match tomorrow!

Thanks again man! I am going to my match in less than 4 hours! :D

nadalfan!
01-18-2009, 03:09 PM
Back from my matches and i won 5-2 and 7-6 in dubs. I didn't play that bad but its still not where its supposed to be. I had like 12 double faults over the 2 matches... :( I would like to keep on progressing so i can get better because I really want to and know I can. I did try not thinking about the score and it got me better. I'm open to more and more advice! :)

Ballinbob
01-18-2009, 03:46 PM
Back from my matches and i won 5-2 and 7-6 in dubs. I didn't play that bad but its still not where its supposed to be. I had like 12 double faults over the 2 matches... :( I would like to keep on progressing so i can get better because I really want to and know I can. I did try not thinking about the score and it got me better. I'm open to more and more advice! :)

That's good to hear:) Having a short term memory is good in tennis, and it looked like you did good (not thinking too much about points). About those 12 double faults....I think you know what I'm going to say lol

nadalfan!
01-18-2009, 03:49 PM
That's good to hear:) Having a short term memory is good in tennis, and it looked like you did good (not thinking too much about points). About those 12 double faults....I think you know what I'm going to say lol

As soon as the weather gets better here (snowing and its cold as heck) I will work on my kick serve 24/7...

Ballinbob
01-18-2009, 03:54 PM
Atta' boy :-D:-D

orangettecoleman
01-19-2009, 12:15 PM
when we practice we tend to hit the balls we like, and the strokes we like. when we play people make us do things we don't like and don't practice.