PDA

View Full Version : WTF is happening with my game?


Klaus
11-19-2009, 08:49 AM
I finally found a hitting and match partner that is pretty much even with me. Our victories are split, but I notice an insidious pattern that is making my lose my mind.

We are both 3.5, in the upper reaches, for the most part.

In each set, I usually lead, and three times so far, I have been up 5-1, and then lose miserably. Last night, I was up 5-1 (which is the pattern I spoke of) as usual, and my opponent won the next 4 games to make it 5-5. This happens because I start to lose my touch, and although I place balls well out of reach, dtl or wherever, they are "just" out, 3-5 inches, and I this is how I lose. I must have hit balls 3 inches out 20 times.

We got to 6-6, and I became so upset with myself, although I tried to shake it off, he won the TB by three points.

When I win, it's usually 6-1; when I lose it's been 6-6, or 7-5. it's not like I am not trying, or that I give up. What do you make of this?

I am ready to impale myself on a fence. Just kidding.

jazzyfunkybluesy
11-19-2009, 08:56 AM
Sounds like you tighten up and your match partner loosens up. So next time your up 4-1 5-1 etc. focus on playing loose as a goose.

zettabyte
11-19-2009, 09:17 AM
I often find myself in a similar situation.

I play in a league where you play as many games as you can in 1 hr. I was up 8 games to 3 (winning 5 games in a row) and lost focus. I lost the next 3 games (1 break), then time ran out.

The good news for me was that I actually recognized it when I lost focus (that's the first time). So now I kind of know what happened and how to look out for it.

I'm in the middle of reading "Winning Ugly", and a tip that I think will help is to review my game plan, what's working and what's not, between games. Hopefully that'll help me stay focused on the task at hand, rather than relaxing my drive.

Anyway, it's definitely a mental challenge.

skiracer55
11-19-2009, 10:18 AM
I finally found a hitting and match partner that is pretty much even with me. Our victories are split, but I notice an insidious pattern that is making my lose my mind.

We are both 3.5, in the upper reaches, for the most part.

In each set, I usually lead, and three times so far, I have been up 5-1, and then lose miserably. Last night, I was up 5-1 (which is the pattern I spoke of) as usual, and my opponent won the next 4 games to make it 5-5. This happens because I start to lose my touch, and although I place balls well out of reach, dtl or wherever, they are "just" out, 3-5 inches, and I this is how I lose. I must have hit balls 3 inches out 20 times.

We got to 6-6, and I became so upset with myself, although I tried to shake it off, he won the TB by three points.

When I win, it's usually 6-1; when I lose it's been 6-6, or 7-5. it's not like I am not trying, or that I give up. What do you make of this?

I am ready to impale myself on a fence. Just kidding.

...is to start drinking heavily. Just kidding! Some thoughts:

- It's just a game, not a firing squad. You win some, you lose some. I'm a 5.0 level, I have a practice partner with whom I'm pretty close. We'll go through patches where I "own" him for a week or two, then he'll have a stretch where he turfs me every day, and a lot of the time we play pretty even. The world turns, and things change.

- You are having a problem with "end game" tennis. If you're up 5-1 and you hit 20 balls out by 3 inches, the short answer is...don't do that kind of stuff. If you're up 5-1, you might try to hit some winners in the next game and see if you can close it out. If that doesn't work...that is, you start making silly errors...play safe, hit strong down the middle and well inside the baseline, and, as Vic Braden would say, give him one more chance to take gas and give you some unforced errors. As Woody Allen said, 80% of succeeding is just showing up, and at 5-1, you don't need to be a hero. Just be present and give your opponent every opportunity to whale the ball into the net or the back fence...

Racer41c
11-19-2009, 10:29 AM
Two things:

One, as racer55 points out, just staying in play will help avoid those 3" misses.

Two, read the thread on de-celleration. Every time I hit a ball long (I'm a 3.5 level player as well) I have a moment to ask myself if I finished the stroke. Almost every time the answer is the same.

SlapChop
11-19-2009, 11:00 AM
I always do the same thing I get ahead of myself. Try to hit too many winners and make dumb mistakes.

Tennisman912
11-19-2009, 11:05 AM
Your game isn't the problem, your mental side is the problem. Once you get up 5-1 you think you won so you let up, thinking missing a few shots or going for a little extra now doesn't matter but it does. Keep playing the game that got you to 5-1. Do not let up until you shake hands. Period. Finishing strong is more of a mental battle than a physical one. That is until you let them back into it and then it is both because you get mad at yourself and self destruct and then suddenly get tired while they seem fresh because YOU let them back into it. Don't give them a glimmer of hope and they will fold a lot of the time.

When things get tight, or anytime you are struggling, thinking of finishing your stroke is very important and excellent advice. If you consistently finish your stroke, you will be more consistent, hit with more pace and have less to worry about in your tennis game. If you are loose enough to finish your stroke, you are on your way to victory.

Best of luck

TM

r2473
11-19-2009, 11:11 AM
WTF is happening with my game?

Congrats on making WTF. Are you playing in group A or group B?

Klaus
11-19-2009, 11:19 AM
Very funny r2!

It doesn't help that my opponent started playing when he was 4, and I started when I was 46! Experience helps! I am in my second year of tennis.

Thanks for all the advice so far--it all makes sense to me in a world gone mad (last night's humiliation). Finishing the strokes helps--when I made a semi-conscious effort to do that that, the set became 6-5.

Any other ideas are most welcome. Thanks again, I knew you folks would come through with valuable, convincing advice.

Are you all housed in a warehouse somewhere, like a customer service call center waiting for tennis dilemmas? This response is so quick and concise. Much better than calling Dish network or ATT!

JRstriker12
11-19-2009, 12:21 PM
What's happening is that your are tightening up. You're probably getting so tight that your swing speed had dropped and you aren't producing enough top-spin to keep your balls from going long. Also, you have realize that a losing opponent my raise their level and make it as tough as possible to take that last game.

-There are a few things you can do.

1. As recommended by "Winning Ugly", pretend that you are down in score. For alot of players this helps them get past getting tight and helps them concentrate on winning the game instead of thinking about no-losing it.

2. Look at what's going wrong and avoid it. And also consider what got you to be at 5-1 and keep that going. Are you being too agressive? If you are hitting the ball long, give yourself a higher margin of error. etc...

Tennisman912
11-19-2009, 02:08 PM
Klaus,

Don’t give your opponent too much credit as it gives you an excuse for you to allow this to happen, like it is ok because he has more experience than you. Ignore his experience because if it were a big factor, you would be consistently down 5-1 instead of up 5-1 frequently, before letting him back into the set. It has nothing to do with his play (for the most part) and entirely is up to you to put him away. Confidence you can close is a big part of it but you don't seem like you believe you should win a set that easily. It sounds silly, but you have to believe you should win that easily before you will see it in your results.

Good luck

TM

kennydoe
11-19-2009, 02:34 PM
I am very much with you here...i've always said 'there's no lead big enough for me to blow'.

"Winning Ugly" is a great book, and I'll throw my support behind that endorsement.

Unfortunately, I can't help you much otherthan empathy. you're not alone.

Tennis, as physical as it is, is a VERY mental game. If you figure it out, please let me know!!!!

skiracer55
11-19-2009, 03:21 PM
...from a couple of my former coaches that have served me well:

- From Sam Winterbotham, former Head Coach of the Colorado University Men's Program, now Head Men's Coach of the Tennessee Vols: "Tennis is serial. You play a point, it only has one of two outcomes: you win it or you lose it. In either case, learn from it, then move on to the next point. The point you just player is over."

- From Dave Hodge, former ATP player and Men's Assistant at Colorado, now one of the coaches for Tennis Australia: "Play the ball, not your opponent. The ball doesn't know who just hit the ball, and neither do you. Deal with the shot coming across the net, not the person on the other side."

:)

Very funny r2!

It doesn't help that my opponent started playing when he was 4, and I started when I was 46! Experience helps! I am in my second year of tennis.

Thanks for all the advice so far--it all makes sense to me in a world gone mad (last night's humiliation). Finishing the strokes helps--when I made a semi-conscious effort to do that that, the set became 6-5.

Any other ideas are most welcome. Thanks again, I knew you folks would come through with valuable, convincing advice.

Are you all housed in a warehouse somewhere, like a customer service call center waiting for tennis dilemmas? This response is so quick and concise. Much better than calling Dish network or ATT!

apor
11-19-2009, 06:19 PM
One thing the pro at my clinic has been drilling into us is to keep the body constantly moving between points during games. If your body is feeling like it's crunch time, your brain will stay alert as well. Just because you're up 5-1 doesn't mean you can relax.
I used to be a slow starter. I'd be down in the first set until everything was up to speed, and then I'd take charge (sometimes I'd totally lose it too). Then I started doing what the pro said. Keeping the feet moving tells the mind to be on alert, keeps you focused. Try that, see if it works.

Ken Honecker
11-20-2009, 02:21 AM
Klaus, I am the exact opposite of you. Maybe it is the 6 years I'm older but it usually takes me a couple of games to hit my stride, maybe get the old joints loosened up.

dParis
11-29-2009, 09:34 PM
You have to try really, really hard to relax.

But seriously, being up 5-1 it's rather easy to lose focus. 5-1 is a big lead so your opponent may be fighting for his/her life, play looser (better) because they have nothing to lose at that point, or they may be demoralized. Either way, your focus should be at its sharpest to see the set through. Let no other thoughts into your head (felling sorry for your opponent, gee - I'd really like to play a little longer, whatever...) except, I'm going to win the next game, whether it ends up being 6-1 or 7-5.

Challenge yourself to break your opponent. Focus only on the ball coming off their strings, then react - don't think.

If you are losing big leads you must have lost focus of what got you that lead. While you're wondering where it went and how to get it back, the set is running down your leg. Keep it simple. The past is gone forever.

Win the next game.

dParis
11-29-2009, 09:53 PM
I also like the advice given earlier about staying in the point. You don't need to be painting lines at 5-1. Don't attempt shots that are impossible for your opponent to return. Hit shots that are difficult for your opponent to return. That will be good enough to win you the set.

MrTennis
12-01-2009, 11:49 AM
I finally found a hitting and match partner that is pretty much even with me. Our victories are split, but I notice an insidious pattern that is making my lose my mind.

We are both 3.5, in the upper reaches, for the most part.

In each set, I usually lead, and three times so far, I have been up 5-1, and then lose miserably. Last night, I was up 5-1 (which is the pattern I spoke of) as usual, and my opponent won the next 4 games to make it 5-5. This happens because I start to lose my touch, and although I place balls well out of reach, dtl or wherever, they are "just" out, 3-5 inches, and I this is how I lose. I must have hit balls 3 inches out 20 times.

We got to 6-6, and I became so upset with myself, although I tried to shake it off, he won the TB by three points.

When I win, it's usually 6-1; when I lose it's been 6-6, or 7-5. it's not like I am not trying, or that I give up. What do you make of this?

I am ready to impale myself on a fence. Just kidding.


I used to do the same thing. In addition, I used to ALWAYS lose the second set (and most of the times the match) after winning the first set. After many years of agony I have started to listen to the pros and began putting my experiences up in Blog posts. Especially lately have I found good, solid ways to compete better, even against players rated higher than me.

Check out my Blog here. http://community.active.com/blogs/tennislove. If you find only one idea that helps you, you are one step ahead of your opponents. Let me know when that happens.

Klaus
12-01-2009, 12:40 PM
After reading all these helpful hints, and working with my pro a little, I was able to vanquish this guy in two matches, 6-1, 6-3 and 6-0, 6-1.

Here's how I did it:

I poured it on when I was ahead.
I did not try new shots when I was ahead.
I did not try "impossible" shots when I was ahead.
I came to the net more than I usually do.
I did not try to paint the line when I was ahead.
I lobbed him several times.
I tried several drop shots, most of them worked.
I focused on dictating where he was on the court, and moved him around like the little maggot he is!

Does this all sound familiar? It's straight from your posts folks! (except for the maggot part.)

MrTennis: Vielen Dank! Ihre Website ist fantastisch. Ich lese so viel wie ich nur konnte, und ich kann nicht warten, um einige Ihrer Vorschläge zu versuchen. What a great resource! I especially liked the tip to have my doubles partner move forward one step, raise her racket as soon as my serve hits the box. Ich lebe in Los Angeles, und beteiligen sich an Tennis-Camp in USD mit Sherri Stephens. Vielleicht werden unsere Wege kreuzen werden!

Thanks again all!