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View Full Version : Adjust my game to lose


sinnetklat
10-22-2009, 02:02 AM
I've been playing tennis for over 15 years. Like all players, I have my strengths and weaknesses. To me, my forehand and volleys are reliable while my backhand is not that consistent. My serves are mostly satisfactory. As my tennis activity takes place in my club with my cohort, for the rank of overall technical capacity in there, I may say that I am among the first three players which almost all friends say. (As I'll explain below, this statement does not include match results and does not have final importance, either.)

While practising with friends (with the exception of two better players), I usually have good shots with a balance of at least 7 out of 10 towards me. (which means I'd win 70% of points if counted, my partners playing serious for sure)

And now here is the dark side of the moon (or the chronicles of a chronic loser):
During the matches, my shots got shrunk, I lose body rotation and hit mainly with my arm. If I try to make a complete stroke, the ball is usually far out of the baseline. I feel I hit funnily with an exagerrated wrist motion. I usually start the game better. Last night, I lost the match as first set was 3-0, 5-4 and 5-7; second set was 5-3 and then 6-7. I mean I adjusted my game according to my rival to lose. One of the club trainers who is a young fellow came and asked for the result. Then he said: "I thought, you'd win" as he is new to the club. And for years, after the matches I feel embrassed to tell the result to people who before the match told me that I'd easily win. I this time feel I'm closer to quitting my sweetheart tennis despite it means so much to me in my life.

Anyway, I want to be able to play with complete strokes like I can do when training. I want to see the ball in the court after having done this. I don't want to see surprised people upon hearing my results.
Are there people who could really put an end to the same situation? Need you valuable feedback. Thanks.

bukaeast
10-22-2009, 04:39 AM
Maybe you should do just what your title says - play a tournament to lose...with a purpose. Use that tournament to conciously swing through the ball, full body rotation, the whole good form thing. Know that you are going to lose and just get your form working during a competitive match.

Another thought, are you hitting from the same strike zone during the matches? In other words, are you finding you are hitting balls that are higher/lower closer/farther than you are used to hitting well; meaning that you are not getting yourself placed properly to hit the shot for that ball (footwork).

I know where you are as I play there myself most of the time.:oops::confused:

cesarmo03
10-22-2009, 06:56 AM
maybe u are losing to much, and losing your confidence, try to play some matches with a partner you beat so that way u feel more confidence on your game.

Camilio Pascual
10-22-2009, 07:11 AM
...for the rank of overall technical capacity in there, I may say that I am among the first three players which almost all friends say.
While practising with friends..., I usually have good shots with a balance of at least 7 out of 10 towards me. (which means I'd win 70% of points if counted, my partners playing serious for sure)
During the matches, my shots got shrunk, I lose body rotation and hit mainly with my arm.
One of the club trainers who is a young fellow came and asked for the result. Then he said: "I thought, you'd win" as he is new to the club. And for years, after the matches I feel embrassed to tell the result to people who before the match told me that I'd easily win.
You sound a lot like me when I was in my teens and twenties. You are too focused on results and making predictions. Intellectual and logical arguments that try to extrapolate match success from practice results are self-defeating and will lead you astray. I've looked like Andre Agassi in baseline drills against players who can consistently beat me. I've looked like a 2.5 NTRP player in net drills against players I drub in 4.0 league play. The point being that practice results often are not good indicators of match success.
I suspect your groundstrokes are shortened in a match because you are tightening up and not breathing out, which allows your muscles to be flexible during the forestroke. Your follow through is probably abbreviated compared to your practice performances.
Good luck.

sinnetklat
10-22-2009, 07:18 AM
Maybe you should do just what your title says - play a tournament to lose...with a purpose. Use that tournament to conciously swing through the ball, full body rotation, the whole good form thing. Know that you are going to lose and just get your form working during a competitive match.

Another thought, are you hitting from the same strike zone during the matches? In other words, are you finding you are hitting balls that are higher/lower closer/farther than you are used to hitting well; meaning that you are not getting yourself placed properly to hit the shot for that ball (footwork).

I know where you are as I play there myself most of the time.:oops::confused:

Thanks, for your advice. It requires an enormous amount of mental discipline to consciously lose in a tournament. But, it may be worth to try, though.

Footwork is quite important, and the shots you mentioned are challenging, but they may not determine the result as I am usually not too late. I'm there and ready to mishit.
Do you conceptually or pysically play where I play? (info please)

Keep please sending advices/comments to get rid of such a situation. Need you valuable feedback. Thanks.

sinnetklat
10-22-2009, 07:48 AM
You sound a lot like me when I was in my teens and twenties. You are too focused on results and making predictions. Intellectual and logical arguments that try to extrapolate match success from practice results are self-defeating and will lead you astray. I've looked like Andre Agassi in baseline drills against players who can consistently beat me. I've looked like a 2.5 NTRP player in net drills against players I drub in 4.0 league play. The point being that practice results often are not good indicators of match success.
I suspect your groundstrokes are shortened in a match because you are tightening up and not breathing out, which allows your muscles to be flexible during the forestroke. Your follow through is probably abbreviated compared to your practice performances.
Good luck.

Thanks for your advice. Also, breathing out may be important. (I really wish that)

I'd like to hear from all of you on this issue and on how to succeed in playing freely with a full swing during a match without hesitation. Thanks.

LeeD
10-22-2009, 09:37 AM
I've always said there are tons of tennis players who hit great, but can't play a match worth beans.
Some vice versa, of course.
So you gotta play more matches, lose a bunch, win a few, and get the expereince of MATCH play, as opposed to mindless hitting. Hitting is great, but needs some more mental alternatives added to make it meaningful.

sinnetklat
10-22-2009, 12:46 PM
I've always said there are tons of tennis players who hit great, but can't play a match worth beans.
Some vice versa, of course.
So you gotta play more matches, lose a bunch, win a few, and get the expereince of MATCH play, as opposed to mindless hitting. Hitting is great, but needs some more mental alternatives added to make it meaningful.

Thanks LeeD,
You are right for sure to say that some mental alternatives make hitting meaningful. But I am not talking about losing despite hitting well. One may hit well, but can not play wisely. His rival establishes a strategy, but he just repeats himself irrelevant of this.

I think my situation is one step back. I can't hit well in a match. I may start better to end losing and my strokes are far from being like they were inspite of the abscence of a challanging rival.

I haven't been able to solve this problem of mine and willing to hear from those who could find a way to do it and everyone. Thanks for all previous and prospective advices.

Geezer Guy
10-22-2009, 01:05 PM
It's really hard for any of us to say - not having seen your situation first hand. It's entirely possible that in your mind you're GREATLY exagerating how well you play when you're not keeping score. It may be that your opponets aren't trying as hard when there's nothing on the line, or they may be taking it easy on you. I know I do that when I'm just out for a hit with a less talented opponent (when I can find one). Or, they may just be working on an aspect of their game that needs improvement.

But, putting that aside, maybe it's true that you really don't play as well during actual matches as you do when practicing. Good news and bad news here. Good news is that the problem may be mostly mental and not physical - meaning you've got the physical tools to win. Bad news is that it means you're a head case. (Just jokeing.)

Anyway, if it IS all in your head then my advise is to not worry so much about the outcome when you're playing, but just concentrate on playing a nice loose relaxed game. Don't worry about the score - just go for your shots as you do in a practice session. Tell yourself that even if you lose - and it's OK to lose - that you're going to lose playing the way you want to play and not playing the way you hate. There's nothing wrong with losing - and if you learn something in the process it's often worth it. Losing a match today is just practice for your match tomorrow.

It might also help if you imagine yourself playing a match when you're in a practice situation and playing well.

Good Luck.

sinnetklat
10-22-2009, 01:51 PM
It's really hard for any of us to say - not having seen your situation first hand. It's entirely possible that in your mind you're GREATLY exagerating how well you play when you're not keeping score. It may be that your opponets aren't trying as hard when there's nothing on the line, or they may be taking it easy on you. I know I do that when I'm just out for a hit with a less talented opponent (when I can find one). Or, they may just be working on an aspect of their game that needs improvement.

But, putting that aside, maybe it's true that you really don't play as well during actual matches as you do when practicing. Good news and bad news here. Good news is that the problem may be mostly mental and not physical - meaning you've got the physical tools to win. Bad news is that it means you're a head case. (Just jokeing.)

Anyway, if it IS all in your head then my advise is to not worry so much about the outcome when you're playing, but just concentrate on playing a nice loose relaxed game. Don't worry about the score - just go for your shots as you do in a practice session. Tell yourself that even if you lose - and it's OK to lose - that you're going to lose playing the way you want to play and not playing the way you hate. There's nothing wrong with losing - and if you learn something in the process it's often worth it. Losing a match today is just practice for your match tomorrow.

It might also help if you imagine yourself playing a match when you're in a practice situation and playing well.

Good Luck.

Dear Geezer Guy,
First of all thanks for telling your thoughts openly. You're right of that one may easily deceive himself obsessed on the idea that s/he plays well enough to beat most people. I really can't see any outstanding technical or physical capacity in most players that beat me. That is why I am here.

My situation may comply with your joke. In this case, becoming indifferent to losing might be the solution. I think it may be not easy as an urge to win may occur while one plays and scores better due to controlling this urge initially which again leads to abnormal anxiety.
This idea seems brilliant and thanks again.

Are there people who once were bad in matches and could later control the will to win and play better? In order to keep concentrating permanently, would any mediatation technique help? Thanks

Geezer Guy
10-22-2009, 02:01 PM
I laughed when I first read your replay, because I thought you asked if any MEDICATION might help. I wish!!

I've read several books and even listened to a DVD about how to play to your maximum ability in stressful situations. There have even been studies that proved that just practicing mentally is almost as effective as practicing physically. (The study was with shooting baskets.)

I'm sure that, in the correct environment, if you envision yourself playing well and playing to your full potential in a match situation, that will help you do so.

sinnetklat
10-22-2009, 02:21 PM
I laughed when I first read your replay, because I thought you asked if any MEDICATION might help. I wish!!

I've read several books and even listened to a DVD about how to play to your maximum ability in stressful situations. There have even been studies that proved that just practicing mentally is almost as effective as practicing physically. (The study was with shooting baskets.)

I'm sure that, in the correct environment, if you envision yourself playing well and playing to your full potential in a match situation, that will help you do so.

You offer to envision myself in a match situation. I'll try that.
Thanks.

T Woody
10-22-2009, 02:30 PM
Ha, this situation is all too familiar. What I realized after a while is that during matches, I was thinking WAYYYY too much. I'd make a mistake and immediately think about my technique. Or I'd focus so much on the importance of the given point I was playing that my body would tense up stiffer than my friggin racquet frame. I'd think about swing thoughts, mental cues, what I'd do if I lost this point, this game, this set, got broken, blah blah blah.

I got so sick of it that I recently started playing matches with a blank mind. I literally only focus on two things: the little yellow ball and good footwork. Instantly, I began to play more relaxed and more up to my capability. I found my mind focused only on the point at hand and not wandering into future hypotheticals. Also, lost points or games don't weigh so heavily on me because I was always moving on to the next point with no time to dwell. Anyway, don't know if any of this helps you and it may not have anything to do with your situation, but it's how I started playing matches the way I practice and feels darn good.

LeeD
10-22-2009, 03:42 PM
Ha ha, so you actually have NO match experience.
For most, the first match is a nightmare of horrid play, mishits, clumsiness, and pure bad technique, even if you think you hit great.
That goes for succeeding matches until you figure it out. THEN and only then, can you hit worth beans during a match, but you might still lose.
Luckily for us, our opponents go thru the same thing... :shock::shock:

Blake0
10-22-2009, 05:22 PM
Here's what i've learned, i've had the same problems too. I start off with shorter compact strokes to keep consistency, and focus on footwork and moving, not focusing on the stroke. As i feel more confident throughout the match, i take bigger and bigger swings.

Also i disagree with some other posters, play a tournament to win. Get used to that pressure feeling, it's shot making & intelligence at those critical times that can decide close matches.

Everyone goes through the same thing.