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thejuice
10-15-2010, 06:56 PM
Have you ever had a much needed mental victory at just the right time?

I had been on a losing streak as of late (I am currently playing in two singles leagues and a doubles league here in Atlanta) and I have been trying to figure out what's been going on. Even the matches I lost in the summer season of the leagues were very competitive (5 three setters out of seven matches in just one league). Well, for the fall leagues I haven't just been losing, I haven't really been competitive. I have suffered through many double faults and unforced errors as I have not been able to practice between work and my kids' study time. So, with those lame excuses out the way I can get to the much needed victory.

I played a match last night and I went into it with a totally different mindset. First of all, I got to the park a little early because traffic wasn't as bad as normal (which is HORRIBLE in Atlanta) so I was able to sit and just relax my mind as well as jump rope. When my opponent got there I felt like my heart-rate was up and I was ready mentally to play. I got off to a great start while he seemed to suffer from the unforced errors syndrome I had diagnosed myself as having. After what seemed like 15 minutes, I was leading 5-0 in the first set. This is when the mental wheels on the bus fell off. I thought back to the very first match of my fall season (the first match of all three leagues) where I jumped out to a 4-0 set lead and lost 6 straight games and won only one game in the second set. I started getting tight and not going for my shots. My double faults just increased exponentially and the next thing I knew, the set score was 5-3 with my opponent serving. He flew threw that game by serving bombs (apparently he warmed up) and put a lot of pressure on me to serve out the set (which I hadn't been able to do twice before this turn). I will save the details of that game but I buckled down and got my serve clicking and beat him pretty handily in that game to win the set. I was still unsure of my play however and very tentative going into the second set.

The second set started out very much like the first set, but not in my favor. He got out to a 3-0 lead but I tried my best to just stay in the set and make it competitive. My serve was definitely inconsistent but my groundstrokes definitely loosened up. Before I realized it, I had quite a few forehand winners and evened the set at 3-3. The seesaw tipped back in his favor and the set score was 5-3. Once again I had to dig deeper than I have in the last month or so and I served to get the set to 5-4. He starts serving bombs again and gets to an easy 40-Love game. Three set points and not a sign of choking in sight...then he chokes. Two straight double faults and another forehand winner by me and we are at deuce. I won the game on the first deuce and then figure I have the momentum and should be able to get a 6-5 lead. I lost my serve AGAIN and go down 5-6 instead. Dig deep mode is turned back on and I break his serve to force a tie-break. Not much to tell about the tie break as I just went for broke and won 7-3.

This was my most memorable victory since I won my first tournament as a junior because I really had to focus on one point at a time while also making sure I stuck to my strategy and NOT getting negative. I believe I have gotten the monkey off my back and I should see the return of the competitor that played this summer.

Does anyone else have a similar story?

roundiesee
10-15-2010, 07:23 PM
Great story! Thanks for sharing! I think this just proves that tennis is as much mental as it is about technical brilliance. We often see players who hit superbly during warm ups but just choke their points away unnecessarily during matches. I think the key for you is that even if you had a losing streak, you should not be afraid to play more matches and go for your shots when it matters. I think this recent victory proves that point well. I do wish you well for the rest of the season! :)

thejuice
10-15-2010, 08:05 PM
Great story! Thanks for sharing! I think this just proves that tennis is as much mental as it is about technical brilliance. We often see players who hit superbly during warm ups but just choke their points away unnecessarily during matches. I think the key for you is that even if you had a losing streak, you should not be afraid to play more matches and go for your shots when it matters. I think this recent victory proves that point well. I do wish you well for the rest of the season! :)

Thanks! One thing I like to tell my golf buddies that don't play tennis is that tennis is just as mental as golf but with the physical aspect to it. You have to quiet your mind while keeping your feet moving. I love this game! (I just stole that from the NBA)