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View Full Version : Choking and general match toughness


erik-the-red
06-10-2005, 06:39 PM
I don't start on my high school team.

Yet, on weekend, "unofficial" matches, I have beaten my team's number #2 and #3 singles players 6-4 (just one set) and 6-3, 6-3. I played the former #3 singles player, now an NITM college player, and technically lost 2-6, 4-5, though he retired in the second set, citing "I haven't played this bad in a year."

I lost 6-7 (1) and 6-7 (4) to the two eventual #2 doubles players during an official practice session.

I felt like during the 6-7 (1) match, in retrospect, I was just pushing the ball. No form, no footwork, nothing. Total choke.

I lost the 6-7 (4) match because my opponent changed his style on the spot, and I wasn't smart enough to exploit it. His topspin groundstrokes were nonexistent that day; he reverted to slicing and dicing, pushing if you must. My hit on the rise style was totally shattered. I resorted to pushing the ball and I didn't have enough patience to last that long.

How can playing more matches toughen me up mentally? How can I use the form I practice during practice in a real match?

Jon Hampton
06-10-2005, 06:53 PM
How can playing more matches toughen me up mentally? How can I use the form I practice during practice in a real match?

To be honest, you should never play as good as you do in a match as you do in practice. After all, practice is practice and there is no pressure involved. Of course, there are a few tennis players who thrive under pressure situations--kind of like Pete Sampras, who never really performed well in smaller tournaments, but when it came to grand slams when the pressure of the world was on him, could come up with the goods to win.

You just said the key to your own answer...you need to play more matches to toughen you up. You need to play matches that make you feel uncomfortable over and over again. The feeling of "choking" will still be there, but the more experience you have dealing with it, the less it affects your game and the more quickly it goes away.

To use the form in a game that you do in practice....just take things slow until you get used to the way your opponents hits. Go from there, stick to your gameplan...speaking of game plans, always have a backup game plan. I remember losing a first set 6-0 to someone playing aggresive baselining. The next set I swapped to serve and delayed volley. My opponent couldn't hit a passing shot or a lob to save his life, so I won the second and third sets as quickly. Just remember that you're game plan is not set in stone. It needs to change to keep your opponent guessing.

friedalo1
06-10-2005, 11:34 PM
I played in 4 Nationals. Pressure is what the game is about. There is no practice match. You have to beat everyone 6-0 6-0. There is no excuse for you to give a friend or grand father a game. This to me is a negative toward your game. Give games to opponents is bad. Always play to win. Dont cheat but play to win. Play ever point like you need it. You will find out how tough you are. Player will not want to play with you because your a winner. People will say this guy will beat you 6-0 , opponent that beat you will start losing to you. The level of your game will increase. It not bad to be the bad guy on the court. When people start booing you because you 6-0 them. You had finally made it to the big times. This is what pressure is about. Live it, dont give it away.