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View Full Version : Playing through a bad day


damazing
05-26-2009, 06:04 AM
Has this ever happened to any of you? I was playing a someone I'd never played before and began to spray my normally big forehand long and choked several games. I had been hitting great the previous week but for some reason was mistiming all of my shots that day. I hunkered into defensive mode just trying to keep the ball in play and was able to run my opponent to exhaustion winning a close first set. The second set was better but I still didn't hit out like I normally would and hit every shot to my opponents backhand. After the 10th lost point on his backhand he mentally lost it and I rolled on him.

The next day I played doubles and my shots came back and I had the same consistency that I had in the previous week. Do you chalk it up to a bad day or is there some trick to getting your confidence back on your shots so you can recover your consistency mid match?

Nellie
05-26-2009, 06:36 AM
If your timing is off slightly (let's say, you don't get enough sleep) you can really spray shots even if you are missing by millimeters.

cak
05-26-2009, 06:56 AM
And sometimes it's not you, it's them. Perhaps his spin on his shots messed up your timing.

royer
05-26-2009, 07:00 AM
"Has this ever happened to any of you?"

Absolutely! I think everyone's experienced the "bad" or "off" day. It's frustrating at the very least and absolutely infuriating if one is unable to make the necessary "adjustments" needed to somehow, some way pull out the match.

From your posting, it appears that, aside from having a pretty strong game, you have the strongest of all assets to a good game, and that's your brain.

It's easy to melt down and fall apart when things are off. Lots of people would just keep trying to do what's not working which only accentuates frustration. After all, a player "knows" he/she has the shots (usually) and just keeps trying the same thing in the hope that the shots will come back. Sometimes the shots do come back, but when they don't ... it's time to adjust.

I'm not a big fan of significantly altering one's game during the course of a match. You gotta play the game you have, and drastically altering it leaves you doing and trying things that you don't normally do. Losing blows, but losing AND not playing your style of tennis is even worse.

An example? A player who normally hits out with lots of spin is missing shots badly, so he turns to pushing and dinking. My experience has been that such a drastic change does not yield the desired results. Not only do you end up getting beat, you lose trying to play a game that is not you (or yours). Don't get me wrong, if pushing and dinking were to turn the tide in your favor, then great ... have at it. I'm just saying that, in my experience, it only makes the situation and the aggrevation worse.

It sounds to me like you played some smart tennis. You didn't completely change your game, you just made the necessary adjustments to get the job done and walk off the court with a "W." Perhaps it wasn't the most rewarding of victories, but there's a lot to be said for your attitude and intelligence. In many, if not most, cases when someone says "I had an off day," it means he/she lost. Having a bad day and having the mental toughness to get through it with a win says a lot. So ... kudos to you. Good job!

My strategy when I'm off? No great insight here, but I try to increase my margins of error. I still hit my shots, I just don't go for quite as much. I also try to keep the ball in play and extend the points a bit. If I can get into some longer rallies, I tend to re-establish my rhythm and my shots tend to come back ... at least to some degree. I'm a baseliner, so that's my method. Doesn't work so well against a serve-and-volley-er or someone who hits quick winners, but ... Those are the palyers that give me a tough time. The points are so short that, if my rhythm or shots are off, I have little opportunity to adjust.

Cindysphinx
05-26-2009, 08:13 AM
Yes, happens all the time.

When I hit bad patches, I have started to tell myself that the problem is always the same thing: footwork. I forget everything else and really focus on that, and it helps get things back on track.

PimpMyGame
05-26-2009, 08:22 AM
Sometimes things go right for me. Instead of hitting long or into the net all of a sudden I'm hitting winners. If you're having an off day then just think about me, that's normal behaviour!

Unfortunately not having any kind of tennis days at the moment as I have a fractured elbow :(

sureshs
05-26-2009, 08:29 AM
There are no bad days, only bad players.

royer
05-26-2009, 08:37 AM
And in the case of sureshs, bad posts!

No bad days? You gotta be kidding, right?

sureshs
05-26-2009, 08:44 AM
Unless you are injured or severely mentally distracted due to serious worry, your play should not go down the drain. If it does, it means your biomechanics, endurance, footwork etc are lacking. It means you are fundamentally a bad player who has not internalized the game. Do you forget how to tie your shoelaces (which is a complex set of actions) when you have a bad day? No, because it has become part of your system.

smoothtennis
05-26-2009, 10:27 AM
Unless you are injured or severely mentally distracted due to serious worry, your play should not go down the drain. If it does, it means your biomechanics, endurance, footwork etc are lacking. It means you are fundamentally a bad player who has not internalized the game. Do you forget how to tie your shoelaces (which is a complex set of actions) when you have a bad day? No, because it has become part of your system.

Ah, c'mon seriously. Even Pro's have off days where they can't get a rhythm going. I watched Gonzalez two weeks ago I think, miss so many shots I thought even *I* could take him for a game or two right at that moment. It was pathetic to watch. He finally got it going and won the match. His next match, he was back to normal.

subaru3169
05-26-2009, 10:31 AM
it happens to all of us when we're not on focus for various reasons.. but sometimes, it can be the other player's style of play as we're used to training/practicing with certain ppl over and over.. and there are times where it'll be difficult to adapt in a match, but it happens.. the opponent was a better player that day

sureshs
05-26-2009, 10:53 AM
Ah, c'mon seriously. Even Pro's have off days where they can't get a rhythm going. I watched Gonzalez two weeks ago I think, miss so many shots I thought even *I* could take him for a game or two right at that moment. It was pathetic to watch. He finally got it going and won the match. His next match, he was back to normal.

Pros go for the lines and are calculating that just putting the ball in play isn't going to win anything for them. The level is also different. Continuing the analogy, it would be someone who is having a bad day and cannot win in a shoe lacing competition to complete it is 5.5 seconds. I am talking about utter collapse of the game which is what you see in club players.

royer
05-26-2009, 02:01 PM
Pros go for the lines and are calculating that just putting the ball in play isn't going to win anything for them. The level is also different. Continuing the analogy, it would be someone who is having a bad day and cannot win in a shoe lacing competition to complete it is 5.5 seconds. I am talking about utter collapse of the game which is what you see in club players.

Comparing the act of playing tennis to the act of lacing one's shoes is beyond ridiculous! Your analogy is just ludicrous!

In sport -- any sport -- athletes have "off" days. Period. Following your analogy (flawed though it may be), "choking" is something that happens only at the club or recreational level too. The pros never choke? C'mon!

Because one never has an off day or chokes while performing the task of lacing or tying ones shoes means that one should never have an off day or choke in athletic endeavor? Again, simply preposterous!

Saying that having an "off" day means that there's something fundamentally wrong with your game is pure rubbish.

True, the differences between tennis at the club level versus that at the pro level are stark, BUT (to reiterate) ALL athletes are suseptible to the occasional poor performance. Are club players MORE suseptible? Well yeah! Duh! They're not freakin' pros! But it happens to everyone.

By the way, pros DO NOT always go for the lines or the winners! C'mon! You know that! They do indeed sometimes (dare I say often) try'n keep the ball in play. I know it's not the same as the club/recreational level, but please!

Last note: Re-read the gentleman's original post. He did not "utterly collapse!" He won the match and should be proud of himself for hanging tough and getting the job done. When one walks off the court with a win, I hardly call that an utter collapse.

I mean really, you've never had an off day? You've never lost a match versus your opponent winning a match? Never? Or do you simply accept the "fact" that your game is fundamentally flawed?