PDA

View Full Version : The Line Between Confidence and Hubris


Cindysphinx
01-10-2010, 05:30 PM
The ratings adjustment in November seems to have done some wonderful things. It has swept away all of the 3.5 and 4.0 guys who made me miserable in mixed with their twist serves, their topspin, their pace and their consistency.

It has swept away all of the 3.5 women who used to upstage me in about every match, making it look so easy.

So, for the first time since I started playing tennis, I feel like I can and should win. Like today. I played 7.0 mixed, and I didn't have any trouble returning the guys' serves, or rallying with them. Every now and then, they would have trouble with my serve. It felt different, and it felt good.

I am bursting with confidence, feeling like if I just do what I do, I should win and have an awesome season.

Which sounds dangerous. And a bit cocky, honestly.

To those of you who found yourself at the top end of your ratings bracket, how did you keep your head together? I mean, anyone can beat anyone on any day, right? Nothing is a sure thing, especially in doubles, right?

So do you walk onto the court feeling like no one can beat you, or do you walk on feeling like no way you can lose? You think maybe when Federer takes the court he thinks deep inside that there is no way the guy on the other side has a prayer?

OrangePower
01-10-2010, 06:04 PM
Well, I try to have the attitude when I walk onto the court that if I play my game and execute well, then I will win. I feel like I have enough game to beat even players that are considered better than me. But at the same time I know that if I don't execute well then I will lose, even against players that are not as good as I am. So I guess that boils down to confidence in my potential but awareness of my having to back it up every time with good execution.

JavierLW
01-10-2010, 07:34 PM
To those of you who found yourself at the top end of your ratings bracket, how did you keep your head together? I mean, anyone can beat anyone on any day, right? Nothing is a sure thing, especially in doubles, right?

So do you walk onto the court feeling like no one can beat you, or do you walk on feeling like no way you can lose? You think maybe when Federer takes the court he thinks deep inside that there is no way the guy on the other side has a prayer?

Ideally it's best to just accept that you could win or lose and just focus on playing well no matter who you are going to play.

It's more fun that way anyway, no matter how weak you think the opponents are, at least it seems like you accomplished something then. (which you are, because you still have to play well to win in most cases)

MrCLEAN
01-10-2010, 07:39 PM
It was a mixed bag for me. I don't play league, but I play[ed] a lot of tournaments. A few years ago, I got the #1 ranking in Texas for 3.0 singles, but I didn't really like being there. Mainly because there were better players there that had actually won stuff, whereas I had not (I guess you could say I was the Safina of mens 3.0). I never felt comfortable w/ the ranking because I knew there were better players than me in 3.0.

However the fun part of it was that I became kind of running buddies w/ a lot of the other guys in the top 10. We'd dine together, room together sometimes, and generally hang out at tournaments together. And we pretty consistently got to the QF or better at most of the events we played, so that was the good part of being near the top of our group, the social aspect of it.

Whenever you feel a little too cocky, play up, that generally cures it. lol

As for if I ever walked on court w/ some kind of attitude.... I never really got to that point because I only won 1 tournament in 3.0 out of probably 12-15 played, so regardless of the ranking or the seed, when you lose, it's hard to have attitude. There were times when I threw a game so the guy wouldn't get double bagel'd, and there was a time when I was the #1 seed at a major zone and lost in the first round w/out ever seeing a game point, so I was all over the place in terms of my results.

dr.freestyler
01-11-2010, 01:20 AM
tennis is all mental, i found that both for myself as well as players on teams i captained, if they went in thinking they were "supposed to win," they didnt come out with a loss against someone they felt they should have beat. If they did get beat, they legitimately felt they lost ot a better player. This can make for a better nights rest.

Ripper014
01-11-2010, 01:51 AM
For me I find that I never think of the end result... when I set on the court... I evaluate the competition quickly... and give them probably more respect than most peers would. I try not to take anyone lightly... because most people will have something that will hurt you. But the one thing I have learned about myself... is that I have never feared anyone. I might lose... I might know they are better than me... but I have never feared competing with an opponent.

Respect the person on the other side of the net... and appreciate their abilities, but don't fear them... and let the tennis play out. At the end of the day you either win or lose... and if you lose... no matter what you think... today they outplayed you.

Steady Eddy
01-11-2010, 05:22 AM
Ever hear this line? "I'm firm, you're stubborn, and he's pig-headed."? The joke is that all three adjectives mean the same thing, but the connotation varies. It's the same thing with confidence vs. hubris, we choose the word based on the 'spin' we want to give our statement. The line is so fine that it doesn't even exist!

Gemini
01-11-2010, 05:38 AM
Even though on paper it may seem like I'm supposed to win I never take it for granted that I will. I don't think about it. No. 1 seed, No. 1 rank, etc...doesn't really mean much to me other than I'm the best at using the system.

I step into each match the attitude that my opponent is gunning for me and I can't get hit. That helps me keep my edge.

raiden031
01-11-2010, 07:57 AM
The only time I ever expected to win was when I knew I was capable of beating solid players at the next level up (ie. my final season at 3.0). Other than that I never had much expectations. I definitely felt the most pressure when I was playing on a top team, but wasn't one of the strongest players (8.0 mixed in '08 ). I felt very little pressure on my 3.0 Nationals and 6.0 Nationals teams.

SlapShot
01-11-2010, 08:09 AM
Personally, I found that my W-L record changed greatly once I adopted the attitude of expecting to win every time I step on the court. Once I changed my thinking from "well...I'll just go out and see what happens" to "I am going out there to win a match."

I now expect to win every 4.0 match that I play, and feel that I should win every 4.0 match as long as I stay focused. And it shows in my record - that's as much mental fight as physical advancement.

LeeD
01-11-2010, 09:15 AM
Remember, the process of you getting good involves all the better players than you moving up or dropping out!
That is normal, you can't get good THRU them, so they have to get out of the way. Either by moving up or by attrition.
So when it's time for all those players you can now beat to move up, YOU have to get out of their way.
Just simple hierachy change, live with the pressure you now have, and don't look like a fool trying too much, or too little.

DANMAN
01-11-2010, 09:41 AM
I'm all about believing you are better than your opponent no matter whether that is true or not. You will see more W's and some that you would not expect with this attitude. Confidence is everything, and cockiness can be what you need for big Ws. I do recommend keeping it inside unless telling a close buddy gets you fired up.

jpr
01-11-2010, 09:47 AM
confidence is important in all sports (and most social settings), however there is a delicate balance between confidence and expectations.

for me, when playing a weaker opponent i can let my confidence turn into unwise expectations which can backfire on a bad day. for example, if i dont play well and the opponent is playing great...my excess confidence has lead to a short(er) fuse for frustration.

i've learned that i:
- perform best with a little nerves
- need to be confident in my strokes in order to play my best
- need to be confident in my ability to adjust/respond/compete in order to win...this is where i set my expectations, rather than the outcome or the quality of my shots.

raiden031
01-11-2010, 09:53 AM
I'm all about believing you are better than your opponent no matter whether that is true or not. You will see more W's and some that you would not expect with this attitude. Confidence is everything, and cockiness can be what you need for big Ws. I do recommend keeping it inside unless telling a close buddy gets you fired up.

How do you control what you believe? You either believe it or you don't, and that belief will be derived from some externalities such as how well you've been playing recently and your expectations of how good your opponent is.

So really your self-belief is just feeding off previous successful results. I don't think its something you can fake or that you always have control over.

SlapShot
01-11-2010, 10:38 AM
How do you control what you believe? You either believe it or you don't, and that belief will be derived from some externalities such as how well you've been playing recently and your expectations of how good your opponent is.

So really your self-belief is just feeding off previous successful results. I don't think its something you can fake or that you always have control over.

Personally, I got over the "this guy is better than me" attitude that I had my first year of USTA, and instead started to think "I have every right and opportunity to win this match," and as a result, my confidence improved, as did my W-L. I now walk on the court with the belief that I will win every match I play.

For me, this is isolated from how I've been playing, my overall record, etc. It's not easy, but it can be learned IMO.

Tarboro
01-11-2010, 01:53 PM
Most of the time in league tennis I find myself pretty evenly matched, but at the end of the fall/winter season I played a series of matches against overmatched opponents (winning my last three matches (6-2 6-1), (6-0 6-2), and (6-1 6-0)). Aside from being a little frustrating from a competitive perspective, it was good practice for the attitude to have going on the court. Expecting to win and having a strong mental game are perhaps the most important non-physical skills available in any individual sport, and it's impossible to teach those skills unless you're winning on the court and feeling good about your level of play.

ALten1
01-11-2010, 04:41 PM
Whats it called when people come in the middle of a game and can't tell who's winning because you talk as much smack losing as you do winning?

DANMAN
01-11-2010, 04:51 PM
How do you control what you believe? You either believe it or you don't, and that belief will be derived from some externalities such as how well you've been playing recently and your expectations of how good your opponent is.

So really your self-belief is just feeding off previous successful results. I don't think its something you can fake or that you always have control over.

I'm not always better than the guy I'm playing per se, but I'll never believe someone is better than me in the leagues/tournaments I play in until I'm 0-400 against them. I play 5.0 tennis and got there by walking out on the court telling myself I was going to win before, during, and all the way until the match ends. I don't let their record or mine determine how I feel. I don't look at records or any of that nonsense. Every day is a new day and is my day to play lights out. 100% positive attitude all the time