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herosol
02-01-2009, 05:32 PM
How does one just get over the fear of losing even against people you can probably beat?

That's my problem. I play matches, but man i can never rid of the fear of losing, and i feel like my whole entire dignity is embarrassed if i lose to anyone.

Confidence issue? Probably. How do you just go out and play, hate to lose or love to win, but not be AFRAID to lose?

Djokovicfan4life
02-01-2009, 05:33 PM
I posted something on this very subject in the "mental toughness" thread below this one. I think it may help you.

LeeD
02-01-2009, 05:35 PM
Confidence can be really hard to attain.
Play the points, not the set score. Try each and every to your best ability, regardless of the score. Just call out the score, but don't embrace it's meaning and connotations.
When you play long enough this way, not only will your results get better, but your confidence soars because you DON"T care about the score.
Play more sets, practice hitting less often.

Djokovicfan4life
02-01-2009, 05:40 PM
Confidence can be really hard to attain.
Play the points, not the set score. Try each and every to your best ability, regardless of the score. Just call out the score, but don't embrace it's meaning and connotations.
When you play long enough this way, not only will your results get better, but your confidence soars because you DON"T care about the score.
Play more sets, practice hitting less often.

Yes, this is a great way of thinking. I just have one thing to add to this concept:

You can also use the score to your advantage at times. Learning how to "play the score", so to speak, is a great skill to have. For example, when you're up 30-love, that big T serve becomes a heck of a lot easier to hit, while you may have just kicked it in at 15-30 after a costly double fault.

JavierLW
02-01-2009, 05:53 PM
Yes, this is a great way of thinking. I just have one thing to add to this concept:

You can also use the score to your advantage at times. Learning how to "play the score", so to speak, is a great skill to have. For example, when you're up 30-love, that big T serve becomes a heck of a lot easier to hit, while you may have just kicked it in at 15-30 after a costly double fault.

Maybe this works for you so dont take this the wrong way.

But Ive found that whenever Ive played this way it's usually the road to "afraid to lose" more then anything.

I think that's where the OP is really onto something versus just a thread about "mental toughness" or "nerves".

For some people it really is just a matter of being afraid of losing.

Which doesnt work in a tennis match because you can only play one point at a time and there is no time clock like in other sports (unless you are in the Mid-Atlantic region playing league tennis).

I think if someone overcomes "fear of losing" then they should be able to hit that big serve down the T at 30-0 or 15-30.

You are right that it's easier to pull off at at 30-0, but if you are mentally holding back just because you are afraid because it's 15-30 that may not be the best play in that situation. (depending on your opponent)

I say that because Ive had the same problem as the OP, although my reaction to it is usually that I hold back on my serves and allow my opponent to get into the points and back into the match (sometimes they might of been down on themselves even but a few easy serves take care of that).

I had a doubles match recently where I was playing against two opponents that I know personally very well and my partner and I didnt think a whole lot of them. But everytime the score got tight I kept throwing up "safe" serves even though for much of the match they couldnt even get my serve back.

Anyways here's where I agree totally with LeeD. You have to train yourself to not consider the score and thus not worry about the outcome.

If my mind is right and I remember I try a little routine where as soon as the point is over I try to just focus on what my next task is, whether it's serving, returning, playing the net in doubles. And as part of that I try not to celebrate too many points won (plenty of time for that after the match), and I try not to cry about points lost.

That's the beauty of tennis (except in Mid-Atlantic where they have timed matches), until the match is over there is always another point to play and as long as you are out there playing tennis you havent lost yet.

Djokovicfan4life
02-01-2009, 05:59 PM
Maybe this works for you so dont take this the wrong way.

But Ive found that whenever Ive played this way it's usually the road to "afraid to lose" more then anything.

I think that's where the OP is really onto something versus just a thread about "mental toughness" or "nerves".

For some people it really is just a matter of being afraid of losing.

Which doesnt work in a tennis match because you can only play one point at a time and there is no time clock like in other sports (unless you are in the Mid-Atlantic region playing league tennis).

I think if someone overcomes "fear of losing" then they should be able to hit that big serve down the T at 30-0 or 15-30.

You are right that it's easier to pull off at at 30-0, but if you are mentally holding back just because you are afraid because it's 15-30 that may not be the best play in that situation. (depending on your opponent)

I say that because Ive had the same problem as the OP, although my reaction to it is usually that I hold back on my serves and allow my opponent to get into the points and back into the match (sometimes they might of been down on themselves even but a few easy serves take care of that).

I had a doubles match recently where I was playing against two opponents that I know personally very well and my partner and I didnt think a whole lot of them. But everytime the score got tight I kept throwing up "safe" serves even though for much of the match they couldnt even get my serve back.

Anyways here's where I agree totally with LeeD. You have to train yourself to not consider the score and thus not worry about the outcome.

If my mind is right and I remember I try a little routine where as soon as the point is over I try to just focus on what my next task is, whether it's serving, returning, playing the net in doubles. And as part of that I try not to celebrate too many points won (plenty of time for that after the match), and I try not to cry about points lost.

That's the beauty of tennis (except in Mid-Atlantic where they have timed matches), until the match is over there is always another point to play and as long as you are out there playing tennis you havent lost yet.

Oh, I absolutely agree 100%. But I wasn't referring to getting tight and not playing your game. I just meant knowing how to play your game based on the score. That example I gave was based on the assumption that the player had a nice kick serve, not one that's begging to be punished.

herosol
02-01-2009, 06:01 PM
eh yeah. thanks LeeD (had a nice pill didn't ya :p), Djok, and Javier

That's definitely a good way to understand what to do. I think my match play experience is still low, considering these days have been hard to play seeing how the sunlight is just dying oh so quickly, and with all the immense school work.

its like this fear of losing, even makes me reluctant to want to play a match, cause again i feel this ego-diminishing if i lose or think of losing.

what's funny is, all of this "fear" goes away if my opponent throws me against the defensive and has me scrambling. im a grinding kid, and I love to chase every shot, and that adrenaline makes me forget EVERYTHING, except "hit another one, another one, pass him, another one....."

But when all that finishes, that fear just looms.
And it shows. Everyone says my drills are 4.0+
But my match play is like 1.5

Dreamer
02-01-2009, 06:08 PM
How does one just get over the fear of losing even against people you can probably beat?

That's my problem. I play matches, but man i can never rid of the fear of losing, and i feel like my whole entire dignity is embarrassed if i lose to anyone.

Confidence issue? Probably. How do you just go out and play, hate to lose or love to win, but not be AFRAID to lose?

I had issues with this for a long time. What helps me is to remember that this is not the end point. That's the beauty of tennis, you're always progressing. I try to think of the game as just a stepping stone and not about winning, but just playing the best I can and becoming better. If you play your best, even if you lose it won't feel bad. I remember watching a juniors documentary with Marcos Baghdatis saying Tennis is about moving forward. You lose, but you keep going forward or you get left behind.

Edit: grammar

LeeD
02-01-2009, 06:10 PM
Everyone has their fear of losing moments.
Just today, playing a 7.0 mixed, I started out afraid to cut loose, got tight, and lost lotsa points the first 4 games, which put us in a hole.
Not that I ever dug us out, but just going back to basics like stroke thru, keep good posture, shoulder turn early, WATCH THE BALL, and some simple foundation reminders got me back into my normal game.
No, I didn't get the girl in the end :oops::oops:, but my tennis game the following 5 sets was actually pretty good.

sukivan
02-01-2009, 06:12 PM
you need to drop your ego

Djokovicfan4life
02-01-2009, 06:14 PM
eh yeah. thanks LeeD (had a nice pill didn't ya :p), Djok, and Javier

That's definitely a good way to understand what to do. I think my match play experience is still low, considering these days have been hard to play seeing how the sunlight is just dying oh so quickly, and with all the immense school work.

its like this fear of losing, even makes me reluctant to want to play a match, cause again i feel this ego-diminishing if i lose or think of losing.

what's funny is, all of this "fear" goes away if my opponent throws me against the defensive and has me scrambling. im a grinding kid, and I love to chase every shot, and that adrenaline makes me forget EVERYTHING, except "hit another one, another one, pass him, another one....."

But when all that finishes, that fear just looms.
And it shows. Everyone says my drills are 4.0+
But my match play is like 1.5

Another thing you should remember is that tennis is a strange sport in the sense that you can lose a set 6-0, yet still come back and win the match, unlike other sports like basketball where you're most likely screwed if you get down by 35 points at halftime. So don't get down on yourself when you lose a set. Your instincts will tell you to question your abilities and to feel embarrassed that you're losing to such an "inferior" player. Also, remember to always give credit to your opponents when credit is due. Don't lose to a player because you sold him short by telling yourself "I'm better than this guy". Respect is a critical aspect of tennis.

oneguy21
02-01-2009, 06:21 PM
Grunting during the match could help. It intimidates your opponent.

Djokovicfan4life
02-01-2009, 06:23 PM
you need to drop your ego
Great post.
Grunting during the match could help. It intimidates your opponent.

I hope you're kidding here. It may annoy the crap out of them and make them tell all their friends to never play you again, but that's about it.

I get the feeling that this fear of losing to "inferior" players is the root of your problems. Just how is it established before the match that you're the better player, anyway? Because of your awe inspiring warm-ups and hitting drills, haha? If they're a better match player than you than they're better than you, end of story. I know you don't want to hear that, but it's the truth.

The next time you lose a match, ask yourself what lost you the match. Then focus on those things in your next practice sessions. Rinse and repeat until you start winning more matches.

herosol
02-01-2009, 09:55 PM
Great post.


I hope you're kidding here. It may annoy the crap out of them and make them tell all their friends to never play you again, but that's about it.

I get the feeling that this fear of losing to "inferior" players is the root of your problems. Just how is it established before the match that you're the better player, anyway? Because of your awe inspiring warm-ups and hitting drills, haha? If they're a better match player than you than they're better than you, end of story. I know you don't want to hear that, but it's the truth.

The next time you lose a match, ask yourself what lost you the match. Then focus on those things in your next practice sessions. Rinse and repeat until you start winning more matches.

well i guess the inferior thing actually stems from the fact i acutally beat them...its the fact that im still afraid to play at times.

but i get what u say.

Mick
02-01-2009, 10:12 PM
this guy i know has a fool-proof strategy to overcome the fear of losing:
he would not play games with people who he thinks can beat him :)

tin
02-02-2009, 01:36 AM
maybe don't think about the result of the game too much..that whether you win or lose, doesn't really matter(though it really does) that win or lose, you know how good you really and how capable you are.and that a single match does not define who you are.just play and have fun....=)

jasoncho92
02-02-2009, 05:10 AM
You can never make it far if youre afraid of falling. Just man it up and play because it really doesnt matter if you lose.

ssjkyle31
02-02-2009, 05:17 AM
Just don't dwell on the past result. Just play it pint by point.

Djokovicfan4life
02-02-2009, 07:53 AM
well i guess the inferior thing actually stems from the fact i acutally beat them...its the fact that im still afraid to play at times.

but i get what u say.
Oh, I wasn't trying to put you down. Just giving you a little tough love in case you were just like all the other people on this board who can't figure out why they lose to pushers. Personally, I have never come across a true pusher, by my definition of the word. Even the 50 year old women I've played with had a LITTLE ooomph on their forehand, or backhand or at least SOMETHING. So when I see all these "lost to a pusher" threads, it just makes me wonder how good these guys really are when they say they struggle with pushovers like this. I guess most people mean a player who just waits for errors instead of going for winners all the time, but at the 3.5 level and lower that's just smart tennis.

There's a reason why people are afraid of them, whether they care to admit it or not. In some cases, they know deep down that these players will expose they're inconsistencies and they let it go to their heads. Once this concept is in their heads, they compliment this feeling by telling themselves that they can still win, because they're better players. So if they just play their game they think they can win easily. Not so. I call this the James Blake syndrome. Did you catch his loss to Nishikori last year? I remember Nishikori getting tight and beginning to crack mentally at the start of the third set, yet at 30-40 Blake failed to put a second serve in play because he was so focused on HIS game, so he was unable to tell that his opponent was incapable of even finding the court at the moment! A willingness to adjust your game to a variety of situations is one of the key factors to a strong mental game.

I think that Svetlana Kuznetsova is a great example on the pro tour of the very same set of problems that you are struggling with. She had Serena done and dusted in the quarter finals this year, yet lost the match with her head instead of her racquet. She netted easy backhands, tried to put a forehand volley too close to the line, and against Serena's defensive capabilities at that, hahahaha! It's not like she was playing a real speed demon such as Alize Cornet or something. And after she lost the second set, she gave up on the match because she couldn't see that in reality she was still dead even with Williams, a set apiece! Serena picked up on this and steamrolled her way to the semis.

Don't pay attention to the BS about grunting. That's just rude. A little grunt is OK if it comes from simply trying your best, but if I saw that someone was doing this to me I'd either just laugh at them between points if it was a friendly match, or just walk off the court if they were being serious. A real player doesn't have to resort to gamesmanship to win. Just who are those people that never prosper again? You may have to remind me. :)

What you do need to do is show your opponents that you are not intimidated by them, as though nothing they can do on the court can hurt you, no matter what the situation. I got this from one of the one minute clinics on the Tennis Channel and it really helps. Your opponents will feed on your frustration if you are willing to show it to them. For example, I'm a serve and volley player, yet I'd stay back and rally in a heart beat if I saw that my opponent had lost confidence in his strokes. You see what I'm saying here? It's not easy to do, by any means, but this is where match experience comes into play. It may takes hundreds of matches before you start to get this, but that's just life for you. You've got to put in the work if you want to be the best.

Look to Maria Sharapova for a perfect example of this, if she ever comes back, that is. Don't copy the grunting though. :)

Watch how she carries herself in between points. Back to her opponents, completely focused on the task at hand. When she bombs a big serve, she turns again to the back fence and focuses on the next point. When she flubs an easy volley at net, she does the same exact thing.

You see what I'm saying here?

Best of luck with that head of yours.

Matt

Jim A
02-02-2009, 08:47 AM
it can be harder to play people you *expect* to beat, nearly choked away a final in that same regard before righting the ship

there is a huge difference between how you play when you drill and your skills during matchplay

if you don't play matches on a regular basis you will continue to worry, the phrase "match-tough" or "match-ready" is rooted in experience

any match I play I figure there's an equal opportunity I'll win or lose, it could just be one of those days and everyone matches up differently (ie i beat you 0/2 lose to someone else 0/2 and you beat him 6/2). Either way I'm bound to learn something about my game

fuzz nation
02-02-2009, 06:13 PM
I get the impression that you're trying to work some things out and get rid of some clutter in your head. I suggest an honest review of your expectations of yourself in a tennis setting - see if you're in touch with reality. Think over why you play. Would you rather play and lose than not have to play or even be able to play at all?

Your description of the problem is that you're fixating on a fear of losing and it's making you play tight. Consider that for a second. You're deciding to "be afraid of losing" and that's making you lose. I've coached kids for several years now and I've become aware of a few types of mental blocks that can really unravel a game. As strange as it may sound, you may have a fear of winning. It happens at every level, including the pros, and it's not rare. When you chalk up a couple of significant wins, you suddenly have a new set of expectations to live up to and everyone starts gunning for you. Maybe you're even such a humanitarian that you don't want to inflict the potential pain of a defeat on your friends.

If you think about what you really want from your tennis for yourself, you should find a desire to "let it fly" and play your own way, win or lose. This means being selfish enough to spend quality time on the courts and play your own way. Instead of being afraid of losing, you'll only be worried about not playing loose and wasting your time out there, regardless of your scores.

ttbrowne
02-02-2009, 06:33 PM
but man i can never rid of the fear of losing, and i feel like my whole entire dignity is embarrassed if i lose to anyone.


You really should think twice about playing tennis. This is not a game/sport where your dignity is at stake. That has nothing to do with dignity.
It's walking out on the court and giving it your all and if you lose, you pick yourself up and do it again. I hit a losing streak this past year and it bothered me, but it had nothing to do with my personal outlook on myself.

I have a regular job...it's very competitive. More so than tennis ever could be. I have people trying to put me out of my house, make me move out of town, wishing the worse for me....that job is what I save my dignity for.

herosol
02-02-2009, 08:33 PM
aha i see guys. i guess i've really had this whole thing with the season coming up. And i know im not the greatest player, heck i haven't even played that long.

But i've practiced much, love to play, but i need to learn how to compete. I'm for sure playing singles, and I can't vouch that im the best, but i really love to pump up others, but i really want myself to set an example as someone who just does his best to compete.

ahk its complicated. but season is 3 weeks away. Im upping my match playing with multiple match plays 3-4 days a week. I hope this helps me out.

i jsut need to learn how to compete. and its such a struggle.

Djokovicfan4life
02-02-2009, 09:51 PM
aha i see guys. i guess i've really had this whole thing with the season coming up. And i know im not the greatest player, heck i haven't even played that long.

But i've practiced much, love to play, but i need to learn how to compete. I'm for sure playing singles, and I can't vouch that im the best, but i really love to pump up others, but i really want myself to set an example as someone who just does his best to compete.

ahk its complicated. but season is 3 weeks away. Im upping my match playing with multiple match plays 3-4 days a week. I hope this helps me out.

i jsut need to learn how to compete. and its such a struggle.
You want to be a role model for the other players, you say? Then look to your feet for the answer to this. Don't get lazy in practice or in matches alike and focus on getting in good position before the ball bounces. If you can learn this then the quality of your shots, amount of overall energy expended, and recovery time will all improve drastically.

Never, ever let up because you think you can. The coach is watching you and most likely watching things such as this as an important factor in how highly he will choose to value your game. Of course, there are plenty of coaches who just couldn't care less when it comes to such things, but a good one will not choose a player who just wants to keep "looking good in the neighborhood" by moving sluggishly around the court and hitting lunging squash forehands on every other stroke.

Matt

<3Tennis
02-02-2009, 10:30 PM
I personally think you get over the fear of losing, when you lose to the point where you can't lose anymore. Once you hit that point, you can play with no pressure as you've probably lost so many times that it won't matter anymore.

Djokovicfan4life
02-02-2009, 11:20 PM
I personally think you get over the fear of losing, when you lose to the point where you can't lose anymore. Once you hit that point, you can play with no pressure as you've probably lost so many times that it won't matter anymore.

Ah yes, the dreaded Kuznetsova syndrome, I guess? :wink:

I agree with your reasoning 100%. But let me ask you this: just how many players have you seen who actually have the desire to use this to their advantage? Nobody likes to lose, you know.

By the way, I worked with my little bro today on his mental game today. He'll be starting JV tennis at the top spot, however ordinary that may be as far as tennis in Stillwater is concerned. He's got all the strokes you could ask for in a 14 year old player: A powerful first serve, a nice kick second, decent volleys, and a terrific ground game, provided that he is active with his feet in all the above aspects. But his mental game has been an absolute joke up to this point in time.

I told him all about the I care/I don't care approach and the difference was quite clear from the get go. I also noticed that he tended to berate himself aloud about the reason he lost the points that he did, which I knew he could use to his advantage. I told him to ask himself why he lost the points that he did and to keep it inside his head rather than showing his frustration to his opponents and focus on that very idea in the next one. It was magic. He was able to put all of the excess baggage that he used to keep stored up in his head away and he remained focused throughout the set.

At match point, 40-15, he double faulted. But he just went about his business the same way as he would had he won the point. Got in a good rhythm on the next serve and hit an unreturnable for the win. We had to leave, so we only played to 4, but he beat me comfortably, 4 games to 1. He served and volleyed on all first serves and some seconds as well. His second was an aggessive kick, at least for our level, that was giving my backhand fits all day long.

It was just amazing how the concept of playing as if you don't care what happens did for his game. In fact, he said a couple of times "Are we really playing a set? Because it doesn't feel like we are". I said, "exactly".

ttbrowne
02-03-2009, 10:36 AM
.... but i really want myself to set an example as someone who just does his best to compete....

Now you've got it.
There was a blog just this morning where Nadal mentiones that he doesn't worry about being the greatest, he just concerns himself with just playing his best.

This is what you should remember and your tennis outlook will be better because of it.

plumcrazy
02-03-2009, 11:10 AM
How does one just get over the fear of losing even against people you can probably beat?

That's my problem. I play matches, but man i can never rid of the fear of losing, and i feel like my whole entire dignity is embarrassed if i lose to anyone.

Confidence issue? Probably. How do you just go out and play, hate to lose or love to win, but not be AFRAID to lose?

I don't know how old you are but when I was younger I use to have the same problem. I felt like winning was everything and if i lost I couldn't even look the other guy in the face or tell my wife that I had lost. Now that I am older and have kids, I know that winning isn't everything in the world. Believe me I want to win as much or more as the guy across the net. I actually use losing to my benefit. It makes me want to go right to the practice court with my ball machine and work on my game. When I changed to this mind frame as I got older. I actually started playing better and winning more matches. I actually won my first league champioinship this past fall and I have been playing tennis for about 20 years. Try to think about you and your game and forget about the guy across the net.

EikelBeiter
02-03-2009, 01:46 PM
1. Realise that it is a GAME, you're suppose to have FUN. You don't need to make your money playing tennis.

2. Don't be obsessed with the score. Play point for point. When you make an error think of what went wrong and try to change it.

3. Keep your muscles loose, try not to squeeze the handle and stay relaxed.

LuckyR
02-03-2009, 02:02 PM
I guess I would recommend developing a killer instinct rather than try to relax even more than you are already ie instead of getting over nerves by saying "heck it's only a game, don't worry" I would recommend even more matchplay than you are doing already and trying to crush your opposition, not be content with merely winning the match.

Fay
02-03-2009, 02:23 PM
this guy i know has a fool-proof strategy to overcome the fear of losing:
he would not play games with people who he thinks can beat him :)

This is too funny and caught me off guard ... nearly spit coffee on my computer ... ha ha ha

Fay
02-03-2009, 02:39 PM
I guess I would recommend developing a killer instinct rather than try to relax even more than you are already ie instead of getting over nerves by saying "heck it's only a game, don't worry" I would recommend even more matchplay than you are doing already and trying to crush your opposition, not be content with merely winning the match.

This works for me ... I was too easy going when I came to a match as a beginner and would get creamed. Then the match was over before I knew it ... Trying to relax made me play too soft and my shots were not penetrating enough.

I now go into a match with the idea that I am going to hit the ball as hard as I can and try to swing with abandon. On the so-called 'touch shots' I still hit hard but with a lot more spin.

This approach might not work for some, but for my personality it worked better than trying to go from big ground strokes to a touch volley. By hitting hard all of the time it took my mind off my opponent and the game and directed my focus toward the ball.

herosol
02-03-2009, 05:49 PM
hmm all sounds good.

I know my choking problems come at the End of my shots. And not the beginning. I've watched a video of a few points of myself, and i notice myself visually alert and then footwork wise very active.

But what is so intriguing is I just suddenly choke before i finish that little windshield to finish my stroke. I just suddenly get afraid to hit the simplest shot, lose my confidence, and hit it out/net.

It's just mentally it is such a barrier. U can ask anyone im definitely a hard worker, almost masochist at times haha. But truthfully i feel like i taste the feeling of getting across the mental block, and although seemingly impossible, i REALLY want to conquer it, cause i just can't really explain how much tennis has changed my life in so many ways.

<3Tennis
02-03-2009, 07:49 PM
Ah yes, the dreaded Kuznetsova syndrome, I guess? :wink:

I agree with your reasoning 100%. But let me ask you this: just how many players have you seen who actually have the desire to use this to their advantage? Nobody likes to lose, you know.


Well to me, this was the simple solution. I used to lose countless times to the same people who I knew that I could beat. I would mentally just blow up on the court every time because I couldn't play at my best, or near my best when I played these guys. It was just a mental block.

One day, it just changed. I probably lost like 5-6 times to the same guy in the past 4 months, and I just didn't care anymore. I mean, I basically played like I already knew the result, and guess what. ;p Best tennis of my life.

Djokovicfan4life
02-03-2009, 08:02 PM
Well to me, this was the simple solution. I used to lose countless times to the same people who I knew that I could beat. I would mentally just blow up on the court every time because I couldn't play at my best, or near my best when I played these guys. It was just a mental block.

One day, it just changed. I probably lost like 5-6 times to the same guy in the past 4 months, and I just didn't care anymore. I mean, I basically played like I already knew the result, and guess what. ;p Best tennis of my life.

Excellent! Yes, confidence is one of the keys to a solid mental approach to the game of tennis.

LuckyR
02-04-2009, 09:26 AM
hmm all sounds good.

I know my choking problems come at the End of my shots. And not the beginning. I've watched a video of a few points of myself, and i notice myself visually alert and then footwork wise very active.

But what is so intriguing is I just suddenly choke before i finish that little windshield to finish my stroke. I just suddenly get afraid to hit the simplest shot, lose my confidence, and hit it out/net.

It's just mentally it is such a barrier. U can ask anyone im definitely a hard worker, almost masochist at times haha. But truthfully i feel like i taste the feeling of getting across the mental block, and although seemingly impossible, i REALLY want to conquer it, cause i just can't really explain how much tennis has changed my life in so many ways.


You know yourself best but it sounds to me that rather than having a fear of losing per se' that you have a fear of looking bad hitting the ball out/in the net. This is incredibly common and results in hitting a shorter stroke to "tap" the ball in (seemingly a high percentage shot) which in reality leads to a miss-hit since you don't practice taps, you practice a longer stroke.

fuzz nation
02-04-2009, 08:48 PM
It sounds like a simple thing, but it can take a lot of discipline to play each point on its own. Experiment with that routine of "wiping the slate" after the last point and constructing a simple plan for the next one. Make each new point its own small battle so that you don't get caught up with trying to win the entire match with every swing of your racquet. If the last point was a problem to be solved, drop it once it's done and move on to the next one. With this more narrow view, it can be easier to keep playing hard when you're winning and also less discouraging when your behind since all you're after is this point that's right in front of you.

You can drill yourself on this routine by playing an occasional quick tiebreaker during your hitting sessions. This trains you to go to work on a new point without a match score to worry about and once it's done, get back to your grinding with that "playing mode" fresh in your head. Playing points become more of a regular thing and your practicing will have more purpose when you periodically switch in and out of a competitive setting for points.

Kaptain Karl
02-09-2009, 06:08 AM
I just read this whole thread. Like Fuzz, I'm a HS Coach. This is my contribution from that POV....

Everyone says my drills are 4.0+

But my match play is like 1.5This was the "key" information in your posts, IMO. The adage "practice makes perfect" is wrong. The truth is Perfect practice makes perfect. Most HS players get on the court and bash the ball back and forth with little thought to what or why they are doing. (Then they call this "drilling".)

That's not "drilling;" that's just wasting time.

I happen to love doing game-based drills. The benefit is ... deep in the third set of a real match, I can remind myself how my drills have conditioned me to the point where I *know* I can [tough-out long rallies / make *that* passing shot / be more consistent than the other guy / etc.]. And most of my drilling times are physically tougher than any one measily match....

Here are some Mahboob Khan tips:

-- With a partner, keep the rally long, let's say 100-300 strokes without missing. (Your ability to hit winner on a suitable ball depends on your ability to control the ball for a long period of time.) If you miss, start over again.

-- Start a rally with a partner. After six strokes, play out the point. From cooperation to competition; from technique to tactics!

-- Start a rally with a partner. But now you must finish (win) the point within six strokes! No 7th stroke.

My suggestion is to focus on purposeful drilling. Becoming adept at many game-based drills will help your game AND help your confidence ... because you've drilled tougher situations than the match can produce ... if you are really drilling correctly.

(There are a few threads on this, but I can never get SEARCH to work on the phrase "game-based drill." Try Copy/Pasting a key phrase from one of Mahboob's drills above into SEARCH.)

You still have time before your season starts. You'll have a "leg up" on the other players if you begin implementing game-based drills now....

- KK

halalula1234
02-10-2009, 04:19 AM
i always think about having fun on the court and enjoying the game even though if i loose i will still be happy knowing i had fun and tried my best. Its best to believe in your self rather than to scared.

herosol
02-11-2009, 10:09 PM
alright really upped my match play. wow i feel great.
i'm totally shut-up now. no talking to myself. lose or win, just play the next point.

my first serve percentages are skyrocketing, and my shots aren't great, but very few unforced errors in general.

i don't know, i just seem to be tasting alot more focus, where i just concentrate on playing the ball instead of watching it fly around...

just need some more match play before season swings around.

raiden031
02-12-2009, 04:11 AM
I used to have alot of fear of losing, and to overcome it I let it all go and I played every match with the expectation that I was going to lose. I played each match with the intention of working on my game, and not beating my opponent. I was playing 3.0 tennis and thought that it means nothing to beat these people, but what always mattered to me was that I can beat advanced players down the road. I realized that winning 3.0 matches presently was not a prerequisite to beating 4.0/4.5 players down the road. As long as I developed all areas of my game and got match experience (win or lose), I knew that one day all these people I was losing to would be beneath me. And suddenly I just started winning matches against both 3.0s and 3.5s and now I'm at a point where I need to rinse and repeat for 4.0/4.5 levels.

ckthegreek
02-12-2009, 02:20 PM
I'm not sure I totally agree with the 'expectation that I was going to lose' statement raiden031 but I think I know what you mean.

As a coach I try teach my students - both young and adult - some simple techniques.

Some general stuff:

1) What are you afraid of? Get over the fact that you are not going to win every point, game and set you play. Sometimes you win sometimes you lose - that's simply the nature of the game. Get used to losing but also get used to winning. Don't be surprised when either happens. Just simply stop worrying what other people may or may not think if you lose. Do you do the same about them?

2) Stop thinking about you 'potential'. Potential is hard to measure as it's a moving feast. As soon as you win a match you automatically demand more from your self. Don't. Relax, it's only a game.

Some specific stuff:

3) Assess your game in a truthful and honest manner. Are you really at the top of your form? If not then don't have any great expectations. Treat the next match as another match in a long series that will get you 'there'.

4) If you lose lots and lots of matches then go down a category/level. Get confident again by winning some relatively easy matches.

5) Control your breathing! Breath in and out as you serve - very important.

6) Remember that when you are not playing the point you are 'out'. Nothing's won nothing is lost either. You're IN only when you are ready to serve or receive. Helps you relax between points.

7) Plan the point ahead. Stress levels go down if you have a rough idea about how you will play the point. Example: I'll serve a slice into his body and then hit a forehand to his backhand. Now you and I know that this may not quite work out as planned but it helps a great deal.

More to follow... :)

herosol
02-12-2009, 06:50 PM
I'm not sure I totally agree with the 'expectation that I was going to lose' statement raiden031 but I think I know what you mean.

As a coach I try teach my students - both young and adult - some simple techniques.

Some general stuff:

1) What are you afraid of? Get over the fact that you are not going to win every point, game and set you play. Sometimes you win sometimes you lose - that's simply the nature of the game. Get used to losing but also get used to winning. Don't be surprised when either happens. Just simply stop worrying what other people may or may not think if you lose. Do you do the same about them?

2) Stop thinking about you 'potential'. Potential is hard to measure as it's a moving feast. As soon as you win a match you automatically demand more from your self. Don't. Relax, it's only a game.

Some specific stuff:

3) Assess your game in a truthful and honest manner. Are you really at the top of your form? If not then don't have any great expectations. Treat the next match as another match in a long series that will get you 'there'.

4) If you lose lots and lots of matches then go down a category/level. Get confident again by winning some relatively easy matches.

5) Control your breathing! Breath in and out as you serve - very important.

6) Remember that when you are not playing the point you are 'out'. Nothing's won nothing is lost either. You're IN only when you are ready to serve or receive. Helps you relax between points.

7) Plan the point ahead. Stress levels go down if you have a rough idea about how you will play the point. Example: I'll serve a slice into his body and then hit a forehand to his backhand. Now you and I know that this may not quite work out as planned but it helps a great deal.

More to follow... :)

agreed. Basicaly while we sat down before i started playing my matches, i just simply reiterate much what has been said. Lowered my own expectations, stay relaxed, and have fun. I mean of course i had some UE's or double faults but simply every point was just a new point. There was no thinking except: "serve down/out/body" or "return cross/down". I didn't try to force my footwork, i simply just let loose and played moderate shots.

Well i basically morphed into a more counter/all-arounder game that lacked any winners. I only hit "winners" off set-ups, and never really went for anything. I just played simple left and right, and its really helping. I'm writing down some thigns about how i feel, and basically trying to emulate what i've done since the beginning of this post.

fuzz nation
02-12-2009, 07:44 PM
Sounds good, amigo. Keep on truckin'!

You know, sometimes you can simply outlast a lot of other players by just convincing yourself that there's no way that you're going to quit first. Once you believe that no matter what, your opponent will fold before you do, it can free your head up and let you play without a lot of unnecessary pressure. Just a thought.

Good thing this is a game - that means that it's practically your responsibility to have a good time out there, bud. Play-play-play!!!

Puma
02-13-2009, 05:38 AM
I just read this whole thread. Like Fuzz, I'm a HS Coach. This is my contribution from that POV....

This was the "key" information in your posts, IMO. The adage "practice makes perfect" is wrong. The truth is Perfect practice makes perfect. Most HS players get on the court and bash the ball back and forth with little thought to what or why they are doing. (Then they call this "drilling".)

That's not "drilling;" that's just wasting time.

I happen to love doing game-based drills. The benefit is ... deep in the third set of a real match, I can remind myself how my drills have conditioned me to the point where I *know* I can [tough-out long rallies / make *that* passing shot / be more consistent than the other guy / etc.]. And most of my drilling times are physically tougher than any one measily match....

Here are some Mahboob Khan tips:

-- With a partner, keep the rally long, let's say 100-300 strokes without missing. (Your ability to hit winner on a suitable ball depends on your ability to control the ball for a long period of time.) If you miss, start over again.

-- Start a rally with a partner. After six strokes, play out the point. From cooperation to competition; from technique to tactics!

-- Start a rally with a partner. But now you must finish (win) the point within six strokes! No 7th stroke.

My suggestion is to focus on purposeful drilling. Becoming adept at many game-based drills will help your game AND help your confidence ... because you've drilled tougher situations than the match can produce ... if you are really drilling correctly.

(There are a few threads on this, but I can never get SEARCH to work on the phrase "game-based drill." Try Copy/Pasting a key phrase from one of Mahboob's drills above into SEARCH.)

You still have time before your season starts. You'll have a "leg up" on the other players if you begin implementing game-based drills now....

- KK


KK,

I like your post here. I hope the HS guys listen to this. That part about an extended rally will definitely show who has strokes and who doesn't. I have never done an extended rally for like 100 shots. I don't think I can do that right now as I will miss. This could also help with ball striking confidence, conditioning etc. Good Stuff....

raiden031
02-13-2009, 05:54 AM
I'm not sure I totally agree with the 'expectation that I was going to lose' statement raiden031 but I think I know what you mean.


My philosophy is that one needs to not fear looking bad by losing to an inferior opponent. If you have the mindset that you are always the underdog, then there is less pressure. If you lose, then it was expected, if you win, then you performed above expectations.

The only caveat is that I think there are times to play for the win, and that would be if you are in a tournament or important league match. I competed and went undefeated at two USTA league Nationals events, so I know how to go for the win. But in the months/year or so leading up to it, I would play practice matches without regards to winning or losing, but just to work on my game. I didn't do this knowing that I would be playing at Nationals, but was concerning myself with what I wanted my game to be 2-3 years down the road. I knew if I practiced all aspects of my game during my match experience, that eventually things would just start clicking and my overall rating would jump. Thats kinda how it happened. So I lost alot during this process in order to develop a game where I can dictate play.

I see alot of league players who year in and year out play all their league and practice matches always to win, only with a game that is comfortable to them, never trying things that they aren't comfortable with.

Don't get me wrong, the reason for playing competitive tennis is to win. That is always on our mind, but its a matter of when you want to win. Winning at 3.0-3.5 doesn't matter to me, winning at 4.5 is what I'm after. So you need to decide if you want to play for the present or play for the future.

Kaptain Karl
02-13-2009, 07:21 AM
I have never done an extended rally for like 100 shots. I don't think I can do that right now as I will miss. This could also help with ball striking confidence, conditioning etc. Good Stuff....On my college team (when 8-tracks were "Cool") we used to do Alley Drills to 100 shots. (Ground strokes with the Alley as the boundary.)

As we would pass 80 shots, my partner and I would *try* to make each other miss by mixing our spins / height / pace. (Seems crazy these days.)

Now we played with woodies and gut -- and my college had Har-Tru courts. But we could do this ... repeatedly.

I am a pretty steady player and I have yet to find a training partner who today can do this with me -- and reach 50(!!!). I believe today's frames and strings are so "power oriented" (and players don't really work on footwork and conditioning as much as we talk about doing so) that it really is more difficult with "modern" equipment. But I persist....

- KK

Puma
02-13-2009, 08:05 AM
On my college team (when 8-tracks were "Cool") we used to do Alley Drills to 100 shots. (Ground strokes with the Alley as the boundary.)

As we would pass 80 shots, my partner and I would *try* to make each other miss by mixing our spins / height / pace. (Seems crazy these days.)

Now we played with woodies and gut -- and my college had Har-Tru courts. But we could do this ... repeatedly.

I am a pretty steady player and I have yet to find a training partner who today can do this with me -- and reach 50(!!!). I believe today's frames and strings are so "power oriented" (and players don't really work on footwork and conditioning as much as we talk about doing so) that it really is more difficult with "modern" equipment. But I persist....

- KK

Well, you may be right about it is more difficult now. But I would hazard to guess it is more difficult to find someone who can sustain a rally that long now for several reasons. I know that if I could do that I would or should have no fear of winning any 3.5ish match I find myself in.

I admit I am the player who "looks" for the ball to kill. Now my partners know this and expect this. Funny thing is I can outrun them all day. I can chase almost anything down and will. They know this. So, they give me balls to kill. And guess what? Yeah, I aint smart enough to NOT try the kill shot. I lose....So they are beating me with your strategy.

The whole reason posted here is that I know what you are talking about is truly what I need to do to get better.

Good lesson here for us 3.5ers.

Oh, and I was around when the 8 tracks were cool. So were T-tops, push top Coors cans and no remotes for a tv. That is why I was born.