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View Full Version : Perfect in drills, fall apart in match play--ARRGH!


zboy2854
10-13-2009, 05:09 AM
I'm sure I'm not the only one to go through this, but any insight would be appreciated.

I have what my instructor would call easily 4.0-4.5 level groundstrokes and game when we do drills and general back and forth rallying. My consistency is near flawless, I barely miss anything.

But when I play competitive points or sets, either with my instructor, or with pretty much any decent player at a true 4.0 level or above, my consistency and my confidence falls completely apart, particularly on my forehand.

Just yesterday I lost to a guy who I should have beaten by all rights based on how I know I can hit the ball, yet I got blown out because I was spraying shots everywhere or dumping them into the net. Then afterward we did some back and forth rallying just for fun, and I was once again near perfect.

Is this a mental problem? Am I just tensing up in "live" situations? And if so, how can I get over this? Any advice is appreciated. :oops:

brad1730
10-13-2009, 05:32 AM
I have experienced this as well. I call this my "driving range tennis". Everything is great when I'm on the driving range (golf) and then it falls apart on the course.

I try to concentrate on my footwork. A pro or ball-machine is going to give me consistent balls, where an opponent will not. The difference is that I don't practice my foot work enough. I also focus on keeping my eye on the ball. I sometimes will get ahead of myself or am too focused on my opponent. Finally, I sometimes tighten up when it's a close match. I'll try to wiggle my arms/hands, bounce around a little to keep me loose.

If I feel that it's mental, I'll try to schedule plenty of matches. Eventually, I just stop caring and loosen up.

Good luck!

marsh
10-13-2009, 06:55 AM
The reason you are having trouble is because you are probably not a 4.0. Hitting perfectly fed balls from a coach is never going to be the same as playing in a match. Start playing at a lower level and work your way up. Also, ask your coach to start mixing in some junk, like you are going to see in a real match.

zboy2854
10-13-2009, 07:04 AM
Thanks for the responses. I'll try to start drilling with more "changeups" and see if that helps.

gzhpcu
10-13-2009, 07:12 AM
Playing drills is not the same thing as playing a match. In a match, your opponent tries to break your rhythm: the goal is to win points and terminate exchanges. In a drill, you try to keep the ball in play. You can be a warm-up king, and then fail miserably when the match starts. You need to play lots of practice matches, not only drills.

slice bh compliment
10-13-2009, 07:12 AM
Yeah, your coach is probably giving you the perfect ball with great rhythm so you will establish good strokes. It's clearly time he threw some diversity your way.

From your side of the court, you will have to start treating practice like a match and treating matches like practice (the great old Bill TIlden line from Match Play and the Spin of the Ball).

Racer41c
10-13-2009, 07:28 AM
This might sound dumb but....

Whenever I'm in a drill we're using flat balls. Maybe 1 in 10 is 1/2 decent, the rest are, well practice balls at best. Those balls you just hit as hard as you want over the net and they fall in. The exact same stroke with a new ball goes 3 feet long. Which leads to the problem.

So instead, you might want to just think of practice as "skill development" and not "Match play".

PimpMyGame
10-13-2009, 07:35 AM
I see this time and time again at junior level. IMO, the best way to counter it is to play as many matches as possible. Get use to playing matches, get used to situations, get used to things your opponent does to put you off, etc etc. No amount of drills can do that for you.

zboy2854
10-13-2009, 08:11 AM
Thanks guys. It sounds like I just need to push through it by playing a lot more "live" matches and getting used to that environment.

eagle
10-13-2009, 08:20 AM
You're probably putting extra pressure on yourself by hitting impressive winners or spectacular shots.

Just relax. Move and hit the ball like you do in practice and you'll see an improvement in your results.

BTW, when you play against your coach, does he tell you why you are making all those mistakes?

r,
eagle

TennisDawg
10-13-2009, 08:28 AM
An NTRP rating consists of how well you hit the ball during warm-ups and drills ++ how well you hit the ball during competition. If you are a 4.5 during drills and then breakdown to a 3.5 in competition, then you are most likely a 3.5 player. It's a hard pill to swallow, I realize, but if you can channel that 4.5 level into competition, then you've really got something.

Kick_It
10-13-2009, 08:33 AM
If I were you, I'd do something like play practice matches for the next month.

Don't worry about technique per-se; instead focus on playing in the moment and your next shot. Play the point, not the situation.

JRstriker12
10-13-2009, 08:38 AM
I'm sure I'm not the only one to go through this, but any insight would be appreciated.

I have what my instructor would call easily 4.0-4.5 level groundstrokes and game when we do drills and general back and forth rallying. My consistency is near flawless, I barely miss anything.

But when I play competitive points or sets, either with my instructor, or with pretty much any decent player at a true 4.0 level or above, my consistency and my confidence falls completely apart, particularly on my forehand.

Just yesterday I lost to a guy who I should have beaten by all rights based on how I know I can hit the ball, yet I got blown out because I was spraying shots everywhere or dumping them into the net. Then afterward we did some back and forth rallying just for fun, and I was once again near perfect.

Is this a mental problem? Am I just tensing up in "live" situations? And if so, how can I get over this? Any advice is appreciated. :oops:


Yeah - It's much easier to hit with no presure and nothing on the line.

Sounds like you are getting tight when a real match starts. It's a pretty common problem for most players.

To get over it, you have to play more matches and concentrate less on winning and more on playing well. You may also want to end your practice sessions with some match play situations. Put a gatorade or a can of balls on the line, play a set or some points and see if you can implement what you learned in the drill.

Hitting well in drills can be deceptive as often the ball is being fed to you or hit to you so you can hit the shot over and over again. You wont find those conditions in match play.

FWIW - There are no such things as X.X level strokes, only X.X level match play. You can't claim 4.5 strokes if you can't compete at the 4.0 level. I've played guys with much better looking strokes than mine and beat them. I've played guys with much worse looking strokes and they beat me. How your strokes look have very little to do with winning at the recreational level.

LafayetteHitter
10-13-2009, 08:45 AM
A lot of people think because they can blast balls off feeders that means they are a higher level player. Then you meet a guy that watches this and laughs only to figure out your game and then blast you off the court. There are times when people with what they call "picture perfect" groundstrokes get smoked by a guy that doesn't hit with pace and mixes in slice, drop shots and junk balls only to the frustration of the banger. It's a tough life out there, it's called tennis.

LuckyR
10-13-2009, 08:55 AM
I'm sure I'm not the only one to go through this, but any insight would be appreciated.

I have what my instructor would call easily 4.0-4.5 level groundstrokes and game when we do drills and general back and forth rallying. My consistency is near flawless, I barely miss anything.

But when I play competitive points or sets, either with my instructor, or with pretty much any decent player at a true 4.0 level or above, my consistency and my confidence falls completely apart, particularly on my forehand.

Just yesterday I lost to a guy who I should have beaten by all rights based on how I know I can hit the ball, yet I got blown out because I was spraying shots everywhere or dumping them into the net. Then afterward we did some back and forth rallying just for fun, and I was once again near perfect.

Is this a mental problem? Am I just tensing up in "live" situations? And if so, how can I get over this? Any advice is appreciated. :oops:

You can call it a mental problem if you want to, but really it is Matchplay Tennis (as opposed to rallying, which isn't tennis).

Slazenger07
10-13-2009, 09:02 AM
I'm sure I'm not the only one to go through this, but any insight would be appreciated.

I have what my instructor would call easily 4.0-4.5 level groundstrokes and game when we do drills and general back and forth rallying. My consistency is near flawless, I barely miss anything.

But when I play competitive points or sets, either with my instructor, or with pretty much any decent player at a true 4.0 level or above, my consistency and my confidence falls completely apart, particularly on my forehand.

Just yesterday I lost to a guy who I should have beaten by all rights based on how I know I can hit the ball, yet I got blown out because I was spraying shots everywhere or dumping them into the net. Then afterward we did some back and forth rallying just for fun, and I was once again near perfect.

Is this a mental problem? Am I just tensing up in "live" situations? And if so, how can I get over this? Any advice is appreciated. :oops:

I used to struggle with this alot man, I know what youre going through and I understand how frustrating it must be for you.

My mental game has improved alot recently and with it my confidence, here's what I do.

1. You must have total confidence in your stokes, when you play your opponent you will be imposing your game on them, thinking this way helps give you a sense of control over the match which should help you relax a bit.

2. Have fun out there and dont concentrate too much on the result, to me my performance during the match is far more important than whether or not I win. If I lose but still played my best, then my opponent earned it and was just too good that day. When you begin to concentrate on how you are playing and trying to perform at your peak, you will play much better than if you are always thinking about the score and the need to win.

3. Learn to love the competition involved in match play and always believe that no matter what the score or how bad your playing, youre always in the match and can win.

These thought processes have transformed my game and allow me to play really well in match situations.

Put them to use and im sure your problem will begin to turn around and you'll find you are enjoying yourself alot more out there which will lead to positive results.

herrburgess
10-13-2009, 09:07 AM
I'm sure I'm not the only one to go through this, but any insight would be appreciated.

I have what my instructor would call easily 4.0-4.5 level groundstrokes and game when we do drills and general back and forth rallying. My consistency is near flawless, I barely miss anything.

But when I play competitive points or sets, either with my instructor, or with pretty much any decent player at a true 4.0 level or above, my consistency and my confidence falls completely apart, particularly on my forehand.

Just yesterday I lost to a guy who I should have beaten by all rights based on how I know I can hit the ball, yet I got blown out because I was spraying shots everywhere or dumping them into the net. Then afterward we did some back and forth rallying just for fun, and I was once again near perfect.

Is this a mental problem? Am I just tensing up in "live" situations? And if so, how can I get over this? Any advice is appreciated. :oops:

This could be a direct quote from the book "The Inner Game of Tennis." I highly suggest you read it! I can almost guarantee it will help you.

jigar
10-13-2009, 10:55 AM
Let me tell you one thing my friend. I have been through this. In year 2008 I played 4.0 USTA league. I had better ground strokes than 95% of other 4.0 players out there in the area. My season record was 2-8. I didn't break down mentally but I was thinking too much, I was thinking ahead of time in terms of how am I going to win second set even without winning the first set. I know you must be going through some kind of mental turmoil during match.
I turned the table around this year with changed attitude during match. Now I am 9-2 this year.

Here are my tips.
When you play a match don't think as if you have to win it. Just keep the ball in play. You will lose some points as opponent might put some balls away.
But check him out if he can do it consitently.
Always take split steps during warm up and carry it over during match.
Even if you lose couple of games in the set you will have your strokes grooved and then you play little more aggresively during match.
Now even if you lose, you will see you are getting much closer in the match. You will have lot of fun even if you lose.
Don't think as if you can beat a guy until you really do it. Think them as if they are better than you are and just hit the ball back.
You will notice once you opponent starts to miss many shots, you don't have to do anything special. He will beat himself in most of the cases if you just keep the ball in play.

This will give a lot of confidence. Nothing helps to your game like good boost of confidence.
You have seen in the past. A player emerges in pro circuit once he beats one of the top player.
It is very true at the club level as well.
It is all about positive attitude and good boost of confidence.
Just play confidently and make sure your opponents hit winners and also makes lots of error. This will develop your defense and offense is always natural to everyone.

Good luck

slice bh compliment
10-13-2009, 10:56 AM
Some good stuff right in here:

http://www.**************.com/inner-game-tennis.html

Ohhhh, blocked. It's a guy who teaches and sells his dvds. The asterisks are where you type in tennis, mind and game all together.

Nellie
10-13-2009, 11:16 AM
I also find that people do not gauge their practice well - too often you see people who miss 10 shots long or short, but remember a single good shot. When these people play a match they wonder why they can't win against pushers getting back every shot. More match play teaches you the importance of consistency. I like to think of it as you likely need to hit 5 good shots to win a point and one bad shot to lose the point.

tennisdad65
10-13-2009, 11:20 AM
to the OP:
1) Play more matches. if you drill for an hour.. play atleast 1 hour of match play.
2) If you rally a lot, try to start off a rally with a second serve. It improves your second serve and makes your rallies more practical.

GuyClinch
10-13-2009, 11:22 AM
When your "forehand" falls apart - what's going wrong with it? I think you might be overanalyzing things.

There is likely a technical flaw in your forehand. Off feeds you can hit some very nice but flat forehands that look wonderful. Both the flat balls and the coaches feeds play into that.

Your better off telling us how your missing then you can do some simple things to tweak your forehand so it works better in matches. People are in LOVE with the idea of the "mental" game. But when you miss there are physical reasons why and you can correct those.

Pete

LafayetteHitter
10-13-2009, 11:27 AM
The good question here is what 'actual' level of players are you truly competitive with? That is your level of play, not matter what your strokes look like.

LeeD
10-13-2009, 11:29 AM
No substitute for match play and years of experience.
You can hit like a 5.0, run like a deer, have eyes like an eagle, and play at the 3.5 level because you don't have match experience.
There's the physical game, which lots of youngsters have.
Then there's the mental game, which no youngsters have.
I hit with lots of guys, who on paper, blow me off the court. Then I bagel them during a MATCH, which means at least 2 out of 3 sets. Add the pressure of peers, parents, friends, and officials, those with less experience will almost always play DOWN on full level.

slice bh compliment
10-13-2009, 12:24 PM
No substitute for match play and years of experience.
You can hit like a 5.0, run like a deer, have eyes like an eagle, and play at the 3.5 level because you don't have match experience.
There's the physical game, which lots of youngsters have.
Then there's the mental game, which no youngsters have.
I hit with lots of guys, who on paper, blow me off the court. Then I bagel them during a MATCH, which means at least 2 out of 3 sets. Add the pressure of peers, parents, friends, and officials, those with less experience will almost always play DOWN on full level.

Well put. I've been that guy.
ANd, thankfully, I've also been that guy.

LeeD
10-14-2009, 09:14 AM
Oh, don't get me wrong here....
Long ago and far away, I drew a certain "TomBrown" in the 3rd round of a local "A" tournament. Having blown thru the first two rounds against Div1 singles players, I thought I was good to go. My doubles partners said he'd meet me in the 4th round. Some top level "A's cautioned me to be careful.
I was bagelled and 2. Took less than an hour, sliced and diced into oblivion.
Funny thing, my doubles partner beat him, but never advanced past 2 rounds in Q's.

xFullCourtTenniSx
10-14-2009, 06:53 PM
Drop your fear of hitting.

If you're scared, then swing as fast as you can on the ball, but put MASSIVE topspin on the ball and aim 4+ feet over the net.

MakeSenseNotBabies
10-14-2009, 07:09 PM
this is the problem with practicing drills and footwork patterns with a washedup coach feeding you balls for 2 hours. to win matches, you need talent and intuition. neither of these can be learned on the court. if you have the intuition, you can certainly develop it through match-play.

but, the way coaches teach is similar to memorizing answers from a text book in the hopes that if the teacher gives you a question straight from teh book, you'll be able to get perfect marks for that question.

the only way to learn how to play tennis for match-play is to learn the basics (which can be done from a book/internet) and ditch the coach.

Djokovicfan4life
10-14-2009, 07:13 PM
this is the problem with practicing drills and footwork patterns with a washedup coach feeding you balls for 2 hours. to win matches, you need talent and intuition. neither of these can be learned on the court. if you have the intuition, you can certainly develop it through match-play.

but, the way coaches teach is similar to memorizing answers from a text book in the hopes that if the teacher gives you a question straight from teh book, you'll be able to get perfect marks for that question.

the only way to learn how to play tennis for match-play is to learn the basics (which can be done from a book/internet) and ditch the coach.

So now his coach is "washed up" and he should drop him altogether? Just what led you to that conclusion?

phoenicks
10-14-2009, 08:06 PM
I would say starting with footwork, because as some other poster said, the main aim of match is to upset your rhythm, makes u hit uncomfortable shot in an unbalanced position, and end the point. So you gotta develop some footwork to better anticipate the shot and set up your shots to give yourself a fighting chance. there are other things involed in match, like court sense, positioning, and situational shot and the response from your opponent based on your shot. But, footwork is the best starting place. when you have footwork, you dominates 1 of the most important element of tennis time, time to set up shots and react and be prepared earlier. At least you don't have to scramble around if your opponent happens to have good footwork.

FedExpress117
10-14-2009, 08:49 PM
This is very general but I say slow down your game and go for more angles when the match first starts. Or maybe your footwork isn't where it should be during a match.

GuyClinch
10-14-2009, 09:07 PM
You can hit like a 5.0, run like a deer, have eyes like an eagle, and play at the 3.5 level because you don't have match experience.

No you can't.

If you can hit like 5.0 you won't fall apart vs. a 3.5. I can't believe the stuff some people write on these message boards. A 5.0 can just overpower a 3.5 by hitting right back to em...come on now.

This is just ego talking.. It's the "Oh man I play like a 5.0 but I lose to that clown.' In reality said player hits just like that 3.5 hacker..

Truth is the time and effort that it takes to develop 5.0 strokes leads to players that play alot of matches, games, drills etc. And thus the "5.0 strokes and 3.5 game" stuff doesn't actually happen in the real world. Just the way 5.0s don't really lose to dinkers.

Pete

BreakPoint
10-14-2009, 09:32 PM
I'm sure I'm not the only one to go through this, but any insight would be appreciated.

I have what my instructor would call easily 4.0-4.5 level groundstrokes and game when we do drills and general back and forth rallying. My consistency is near flawless, I barely miss anything.

But when I play competitive points or sets, either with my instructor, or with pretty much any decent player at a true 4.0 level or above, my consistency and my confidence falls completely apart, particularly on my forehand.

Just yesterday I lost to a guy who I should have beaten by all rights based on how I know I can hit the ball, yet I got blown out because I was spraying shots everywhere or dumping them into the net. Then afterward we did some back and forth rallying just for fun, and I was once again near perfect.

Is this a mental problem? Am I just tensing up in "live" situations? And if so, how can I get over this? Any advice is appreciated. :oops:
I think you've just learned that there's a lot more to tennis than just hitting the ball.

Ask your instructor to help you with match strategy, point construction, footwork, variety, and mental toughness. And the more "live" matches that you play, the better you'll get at playing matches. Match experience counts for a lot in tennis. Good luck.

moroni
10-14-2009, 09:40 PM
i used to experience this alot the solution??? well... what do you do differently? it's simple while ralleying you go all out and you get agressive ...while in match play you get less agressive and usually swing slower and tense up while you keep the score in your head and that gets to you..to avoid this try playing every point as if it was love all ..that should get ya going

BreakPoint
10-14-2009, 09:44 PM
An NTRP rating consists of how well you hit the ball during warm-ups and drills ++ how well you hit the ball during competition. If you are a 4.5 during drills and then breakdown to a 3.5 in competition, then you are most likely a 3.5 player. It's a hard pill to swallow, I realize, but if you can channel that 4.5 level into competition, then you've really got something.
Actually, NTRP ratings ONLY consists of your match results and scores. It does not factor in how well you hit the ball either in warm-ups/drills nor in competition because the computer that gives you your rating has no idea how well you hit the ball. It only knows whether you won or lost and what the score was. If you can beat many 4.5 rated players with no strokes, then the computer will also give you an official 4.5 rating.

moroni
10-14-2009, 10:01 PM
well yeah ntrp sometimes means nothing..... a 3.5 joins a 5.5 team and then gets beaten badly 6-0 6-0 but the computer automaticly rates him 4.5

OTMPut
10-14-2009, 10:07 PM
Strangely i am the otherway around. I hate drills and do not particularly do well and play much better in the matches. For me there is more pressure on drills to be consistent so as not to **** off the other guy too much.

More importantly, matches give you opportunity to use one full dimension not used in drills - intelligence.

moroni
10-14-2009, 10:18 PM
really?? dunno how that could happen??? i think that keeping score in mind is what screws up one's game and since in drills you do not keep score you should be totally focused thus better results

JRstriker12
10-15-2009, 06:05 AM
well yeah ntrp sometimes means nothing..... a 3.5 joins a 5.5 team and then gets beaten badly 6-0 6-0 but the computer automaticly rates him 4.5

Unfortunately in tennis, you can't beat someone so bad they get negative numbers. ;)

Honestly, your example is really stupid. Most people who have a computer rating are rated based on multiple matches. You can't expect to gain an accurate rating from a single match. In a single match with an 0 and 0 score, that guy could be a 2.0 or a 5.0 who played a bad match.

If that supposed 3.5 continued to play leagues, he/she would be dropped each season and would eventually level out at around the 3.5 level based on his results.

jms007
10-15-2009, 06:15 AM
A lot of us have problems with that, myself included. As others said, it's more of mental and strategic thing. You have to get away from the mentality of trying to rip tons winners in a match.
Also this may sound like an obvious thing but staying loose and relaxed is EXTREMELY important. That's partially why people do so much better in drilling than matches...they're relaxed. When you're calm and don't tighten up your arms and legs you can concentrate on following the ball better and moving your feet...something I'm sure your forget to do when you're thinking "Ok im gonna rip a winner down the line on this serve". Yep, been there, still am sometimes but I'm working on it.

charliefedererer
10-15-2009, 07:19 AM
I once had the opportunity to chat extensively with Vic Braden, best known as a tennis coach, but also a sports psychologist.
He stressed that research shows that that under pressure the body releases adrenaline.
Adrenaline makes us run faster and hit harder.
But it is not good for fine motor skills like putting that shot just where we want it.
And it blocks our thinking skills, so good shot selection seems to go out the window.

Adrenaline is great for a football lineman rushing the quarterback.
But it isn't great for most tennis players.

It's easy to say to be calm.
But it's a lot harder to do it.

To play your best, you have to be playing in the present.
You can't be angry over that last missed shot. Or thinking "All I have to do is hold serve and I win."

You have to remain calm, and concentrate on hitting the ball.
Where you hit it, and how hard will be a reflex after getting more match experience so combinations of shots will be so programmed that its less a matter of thinking, than recognizing the situation and executing.

You can reflect on how the match is going between points, and on changeovers, but not while the point is going on.

You must do a post match analysis to see what lessons your opponent has taught you today.
And come up with stratagies of shot combinations that should work better next time.
And if you have the opportunity with a coach, to work on those combinations so that they seem like second nature.

moroni
10-15-2009, 07:20 AM
Unfortunately in tennis, you can't beat someone so bad they get negative numbers. ;)

Honestly, your example is really stupid. Most people who have a computer rating are rated based on multiple matches. You can't expect to gain an accurate rating from a single match. In a single match with an 0 and 0 score, that guy could be a 2.0 or a 5.0 who played a bad match.

If that supposed 3.5 continued to play leagues, he/she would be dropped each season and would eventually level out at around the 3.5 level based on his results.
i beg to differ...it's not a stupid example(even though people say that i give the stubidest examples ever) this one is not..hav not you played a guy who claimed to be 4.5 and bragged about it then got completely bagggled by you? he played really bad probably mid 3.5 ? well i suggested that some people's ratings mean nothing not ones who play consistently but those who play only a couple of matches and get a false rating

MakeSenseNotBabies
10-15-2009, 07:58 AM
So now his coach is "washed up" and he should drop him altogether? Just what led you to that conclusion?

his coach is not "now" washed-up. tennis is not a game of strategy, but of execution. there is very little to think about in tennis. it's pretty easy to do a SWOT analysis (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats) on yourself and your opponent. after that, iit's all in the execution. it's not rocket science, or even political science. it's a sport. coaches just complicate things by using jargon, and ascribing complicated terminologies to intuitive things. the entire self=help industry is based on that very tactic.

you don't need drills and strategies. get the basics down, and then screw the coach. go out and play competitively with anyone who's willing to play. simple. after that, you'll be great if you have the natural abilitiy and talent.

yellowoctopus
10-15-2009, 08:41 AM
Tennis is definitely one of the sports that players can easily feel 'over inflated' about their abilities--nothing wrong with that at all since most of us play to have fun and not trying to make a living with it.

That being said, my contribution to the good advices here is that there are certain players out there, in all levels, with the ability to make their opponent perform below their normal ability. Chances are, you will run into this type of opponent. Don't be despair when you lose to these players because it is really not you playing badly, just your inability to adjust to their unusual ability on the court.

JRstriker12
10-15-2009, 09:10 AM
i beg to differ...it's not a stupid example(even though people say that i give the stubidest examples ever) this one is not..hav not you played a guy who claimed to be 4.5 and bragged about it then got completely bagggled by you? he played really bad probably mid 3.5 ? well i suggested that some people's ratings mean nothing not ones who play consistently but those who play only a couple of matches and get a false rating

Still a stupid example.

The people who brag about thier ratings then suck are usually fall into two groups:

1. People who self rate - anyone one can claim a rating and self rate, but a true NTRP rating comes from actual results in competition.

2. People who have never played USTA and just randomly pick a rating.

In both these cases, they don't really have an offical rating, they can say I'm a 4.5, but in reality what is means is "I self-rated 4.5 - but don't have the results to prove it - not that NTRP is meaningless.

Even if a comouter rated 3.5 plays up, that doesn't mean that his NTRP will automatically jump. There are a few 3.5's that I know who also play on 4.0 teams. Just because they play 4.0 matches does not mean that thier ratings go up.

jms007
10-15-2009, 11:07 AM
I once had the opportunity to chat extensively with Vic Braden, best known as a tennis coach, but also a sports psychologist.
He stressed that research shows that that under pressure the body releases adrenaline.
Adrenaline makes us run faster and hit harder.
But it is not good for fine motor skills like putting that shot just where we want it.
And it blocks our thinking skills, so good shot selection seems to go out the window.

Adrenaline is great for a football lineman rushing the quarterback.
But it isn't great for most tennis players.

It's easy to say to be calm.
But it's a lot harder to do it.

To play your best, you have to be playing in the present.
You can't be angry over that last missed shot. Or thinking "All I have to do is hold serve and I win."

You have to remain calm, and concentrate on hitting the ball.
Where you hit it, and how hard will be a reflex after getting more match experience so combinations of shots will be so programmed that its less a matter of thinking, than recognizing the situation and executing.



Well put.
It's a big mistake to think that you can only hit hard if your adrenalin is up and you're focusing intensely on winning the point. I think people tend to play their best when they stay loose and react to situations, rather than try get themselves psyched up. For example: Often times when you are receiving a serve and you're pumped up, you've already decided on that shot you're going to rip before even knowing what the serve is gonna look like. And then the serve comes in at a steeper angle than you anticipated yet you still try to blast it :). It's hard lesson to learn.

BullDogTennis
10-15-2009, 12:05 PM
An NTRP rating consists of how well you hit the ball during warm-ups and drills ++ how well you hit the ball during competition. If you are a 4.5 during drills and then breakdown to a 3.5 in competition, then you are most likely a 3.5 player. It's a hard pill to swallow, I realize, but if you can channel that 4.5 level into competition, then you've really got something.

NTRP has NOTHING to do with how well you hit the ball....if you have the crappiest strokes and win at 5.0 your a 5.0--usually tho the higher you are the better strokes you have, but it doesnt neccesarily have to.

MasturB
10-15-2009, 12:32 PM
I used to have this problem all the time but I've gotten rid of it for the most part.

When match play begins, it feels like the ball is going faster than it really is and I used to overcalculate the ball everytime, thinking 2,000 things in 2 seconds. Now I just relax and let everything slow down.

Only time things seem really fast anymore, is sometimes when it's near the end of the set (5-4, 5-5, etc) and I'm in a 30-40 hole.

Leelord337
10-15-2009, 12:47 PM
I used to be king of practice and stink at match play but now its vice versa.

GuyClinch
10-15-2009, 01:20 PM
NTRP has NOTHING to do with how well you hit the ball....if you have the crappiest strokes and win at 5.0 your a 5.0--usually tho the higher you are the better strokes you have, but it doesnt neccesarily have to.

In theory you are correct. However I have never seen a 5.0 with dink strokes. Maybe the guy exists - somehwere.. Like some NFL corner back who plays tennis in his spare time or something.

But in the real world guys who are computer rated 5.0s have some pretty nice strokes as far as pace, spin and placement go. Even Sanatoro with his unorthodox underspin forehand hits what is in actually a pretty nice underspin forehand. :P

Also IMHO true 5.0s have the same "practice effect." Their strokes in practice will look better then in games too. So really its just people overstimating their level. With the I hit like x level but I play like y level most of the time.

Pete

gameboy
10-15-2009, 02:08 PM
He stressed that research shows that that under pressure the body releases adrenaline.
Adrenaline makes us run faster and hit harder.
But it is not good for fine motor skills like putting that shot just where we want it.
And it blocks our thinking skills, so good shot selection seems to go out the window.


This is so true.

During practice or drills, I hit great heavy balls with deep placement. But in games, I just get WAAAY too hyper and my swing goes to pieces. Then you try to slow down a bit and you start dinking the balls over.

The best way to get better in match play is to play as many matches as possible. You got to get to a point where your mentally used to playing points that matter.

Ledigs
10-15-2009, 02:20 PM
In practice are you hitting from the same position or are you practicing running forehands and backhands?

split-step
10-15-2009, 10:22 PM
I have what my instructor would call easily 4.0-4.5 level groundstrokes and game when we do drills and general back and forth rallying. My consistency is near flawless, I barely miss anything.

This part of the OP's post is why this site has so many ppl that have no idea about ntrp ratings and why ppl always complain about losing to 'pushers'.

How your groundstrokes look do not reflect how you play matches or how good you are at competing.

All drilling does is give you the foundation to build your game on.
Keep playing matches and work on your strategy and tactics. You are going to play and lose a lot of matches in this process but you will learn with each loss. It pays off in the end.

Cindysphinx
10-16-2009, 05:56 AM
I suffer from this too (and I think most everyone who takes instruction does). The problem is that the pro gives you balls to allow you to groove technique, but an opponent does not.

I used to take piano lessons. The same phenomenon occurs there: You play great in lesson, and poorly during performance. That's because in the lesson, everything is slow and there is no pressure to keep playing if you hit a rough spot. In performance, you have to deal with nerves, performance tempo, and the fact that you can't stop no matter what.

In tennis, I think the answer is to do more practice that simulates match play. You can have your pro move you around more and see if your stroke breaks down. And of course you can play more practice matches.

I think it helps mentally if you realize that what you are experiencing is normal and unavoidable, though. Then you won't get down on yourself.

eagle
10-16-2009, 06:17 AM
In tennis, I think the answer is to do more practice that simulates match play.

I do the opposite. I "treat" matches like practice.

Hence, groundstrokes, serves, and other aspects of my game are the same. No pitter-patter just-keep-it-in-the-box pusher strokes, no slow motion pancakes serves, and no mind numbing slice and dice defensive shots. I see lots of folks who are amazing in practice or warm up but play completely different during a match. Easy prey. :)

For me, making no distinction between practice and real matches works since it doesn't add any pressure on me. Then again, I'm never ever nervous while playing matches. After all, it's just a game. Now, if my life, family, or property were at stake, then I'd be wreck. :)

ymmv.

r,
eagle

Power Player
10-16-2009, 06:48 AM
I ralley with guys and play points. What I notice when I warm up is that if I just focus on relaxed hitting, stepping into each shot and really keeping my head down and opening my hips at the right time..im good. I gradually hit out more and more and that gets me grooved into a rthym that carries into a match.

Make sure you are split stepping every time..staying low..getting to balls, preparing and keeping your eye on the ball through contact. Helps me out a lot.

protel
10-16-2009, 04:17 PM
Some good stuff right in here:

http://www.**************.com/inner-game-tennis.html

Ohhhh, blocked. It's a guy who teaches and sells his dvds. The asterisks are where you type in tennis, mind and game all together.

tottaly agree with you, i have one of these books i.e. the inner game of tennis, it does help you to understand what's tennis is all about from the inside.

kevhen
10-17-2009, 04:18 AM
Stop drilling and the mindless rallying. Your opponent is hitting soft shots to you in practice and letting you hit from your comfort zone, but in a real match you often have to hit awkward shots or from different places on the court than you are used to. Just play lots of real matches and try not to worry about the score and the losses but try to learn what you need to do in all the situations that are different from just rallying from the baseline like you do in practice. Play more matches and become more match tough. Hit crosscourt and hit a little bit safer. Don't let yourself get mentally frustrated that you are actually now learning how to play tennis rather than learning how to drill or hit practice shots. Real tennis is much more difficult.

Cindysphinx
10-17-2009, 06:54 AM
I do the opposite. I "treat" matches like practice.



Well, yeah. But do you treat practice like matches?

What I mean is that it is not possible to treat practice like a match. If you are taking lessons, it is because you are trying to learn to do something you do not yet know how to do. If you do that at "full speed," you cannot unlearn the bad habit and replace it with a new one. The idea of practice IMHO is to learn the new thing and then groove it so you can do it without conscious thought, which won't happen if you are struggling just to get the ball back over the net.

To continue the piano analogy, it would be like saying the best way to learn a new and challenging piece of music is to play it full speed from the get-go. For obvious reasons, this cannot work with a student who has not yet mastered the instrument.

sn1974
10-17-2009, 09:45 AM
if you are hitting at that level, you really shouldn't be doing any simple back and forth rallying, except to warm up. is your instructor giving you point situations and tough balls to hit and then helping you work through specifically what you are doing wrong? is he/she throwing in random fast balls, short balls, low balls, etc. or doing other unexpected things to keep you on your toes and out of your comfort zone?

part of it is state of mind, which is sort of nebulous and difficult to fix. great, you have the wrong state of mind, how do you fix that?

state of mind manifests itself in specific problems you can identify and fix. like, you aren't setting your feet first, or you're rushing through your stroke, or you are tensing up your arms or not keeping your head down. you need to know specifically what you are doing wrong and then address those things when you are playing competitively.

Grampy
10-17-2009, 12:47 PM
"Winning Ugly". Read it. It will help you with one of the most important parts of tennis that is also the most overlooked by amatuers - the mental game.

eagle
10-17-2009, 01:19 PM
Well, yeah. But do you treat practice like matches?

What I mean is that it is not possible to treat practice like a match. If you are taking lessons, it is because you are trying to learn to do something you do not yet know how to do. If you do that at "full speed," you cannot unlearn the bad habit and replace it with a new one. The idea of practice IMHO is to learn the new thing and then groove it so you can do it without conscious thought, which won't happen if you are struggling just to get the ball back over the net.

To continue the piano analogy, it would be like saying the best way to learn a new and challenging piece of music is to play it full speed from the get-go. For obvious reasons, this cannot work with a student who has not yet mastered the instrument.

Hi Cindy,

You must have missed the last note I had on my post.

---> ymmv.

It works for me but it may not work for others.

This forum just like other fora is meant to offer help to others seeking it.

That's what I do. I scan through tips through this site and others. It doesn't mean I take what's posted as gospel. I also filter all the tips and pick the ones that I think would benefit me.

So, I try some and try to apply them to my game. A lot of them work but a lot also don't.

Now it doesn't mean that the tips that didn't work for me are bogus. They just didn't work for me. More often than not, it's not the tip but my inability to adapt to it due to my own inadequacies and lack of natural ability and painfully... talent.

So, the short of it is .... your mileage may vary (ymmv). What works for me may not work for others. I however offer my experience so that maybe I can pay forward what I've learned from others on this board.

Yes? No?

By the way, what I was addressing was the OP's plea for suggestions to overcome match play breakdowns. He wasn't asking for tips to groove his strokes or honing new skills.

If the latter is the case, then that is a different discussion altogether. He should perhaps open a new thread regarding that topic.

Again, ymmv. :)

r,
eagle

user92626
10-17-2009, 01:49 PM
To the OP's statement "Perfect in drills, fall apart in match play--ARRGH!", do you drill the same moves as those in matches and record the outcomes for comparison?

I bet you that you'll likely find via recorded stats that your drills aren't better than matches, let alone perfect.

Cindysphinx
10-17-2009, 01:52 PM
Hi Cindy,

You must have missed the last note I had on my post.

---> ymmv.

It works for me but it may not work for others.

This forum just like other fora is meant to offer help to others seeking it.

That's what I do. I scan through tips through this site and others. It doesn't mean I take what's posted as gospel. I also filter all the tips and pick the ones that I think would benefit me.

So, I try some and try to apply them to my game. A lot of them work but a lot also don't.

Now it doesn't mean that the tips that didn't work for me are bogus. They just didn't work for me. More often than not, it's not the tip but my inability to adapt to it due to my own inadequacies and lack of natural ability and painfully... talent.

So, the short of it is .... your mileage may vary (ymmv). What works for me may not work for others. I however offer my experience so that maybe I can pay forward what I've learned from others on this board.

Yes? No?

By the way, what I was addressing was the OP's plea for suggestions to overcome match play breakdowns. He wasn't asking for tips to groove his strokes or honing new skills.

If the latter is the case, then that is a different discussion altogether. He should perhaps open a new thread regarding that topic.

Again, ymmv. :)

r,
eagle

Eagle,

Sorry if I came on a bit strong. I was just offering up my own experience and my reasons. Of course we are all different, and YMMV always applies.

Cheers!

eagle
10-17-2009, 01:58 PM
Aloha Cindy,

Not a problem.

I just hope the OP finds his "aha" moment soon so that he can move forward. It may not even come from here. He could just stumble upon it on his own. But along the way, I hope he finds a few pearls of wisdom that have helped me.

r,
eagle