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thejuice
10-10-2005, 07:42 PM
I have a question that relates to the mental game for all of you psycologist and wanna be's...when you are playing an opponent that you know you should beat and you find yourself losing, what do you or should you tell yourself to keep in the match. I lost to a guy today in a challenge ladder match at my local tennis club in a bad way. I put a lot of pressure on my second serve b/c my first serve % was too low (although I only double faulted twice) and he kept trying to hit everything to my backhand. I actually had just as many forehand winners as unforced errors at the net and off my backhand (which is not THAT weak). I should have creamed this guy but I got creamed. To make matters worse, he just kept hitting the ball with this little dinky pace. I was killing him yesterday before we had to end our match due to rain (it was only three games into the match but you could tell the stars were aligned for me). Someone please help me!!! I need to know what to tell myself if this happens again.

SageOfDeath
10-10-2005, 08:24 PM
I think the issue is could be with your consistancy and shot selection.

If he hits dinks then you shouldn't be missing volleys unless well you can't volley, if its slow don't try to slam it just create a severe angle and win the point. And work on getting a good 1st serve.

thejuice
10-10-2005, 10:00 PM
I think the issue is could be with your consistancy and shot selection.

If he hits dinks then you shouldn't be missing volleys unless well you can't volley, if its slow don't try to slam it just create a severe angle and win the point. And work on getting a good 1st serve.

Thanks for your reply but the problem is I play much better when I'm playing a "ball striker" vs. a dinker. My question though is what do most of you tell yourselves when you are playing someone you should cream but you're just not getting the job done.

Marius_Hancu
10-11-2005, 01:57 AM
Thanks for your reply but the problem is I play much better when I'm playing a "ball striker" vs. a dinker. My question though is what do most of you tell yourselves when you are playing someone you should cream but you're just not getting the job done.

play the ball and the score not the person and forget about expectations.

papa
10-11-2005, 03:45 AM
Maybe without realizing it, your trying to be a "good guy" and allowing him to win points - like hitting the ball back to him and keeping him in the point. I have always felt I play better against better opponents because I focus better and don't have a tendency to be watching "everything" else going on in the entire area.

thejuice
10-11-2005, 05:43 AM
Maybe without realizing it, your trying to be a "good guy" and allowing him to win points - like hitting the ball back to him and keeping him in the point. I have always felt I play better against better opponents because I focus better and don't have a tendency to be watching "everything" else going on in the entire area.

Exactly. It didn't help that he was an older guy. When I did rip a forehand (which I did on a few occassions) he was unable to handle the shot yet I didn't go back to that and stay with it.

Marius Thanks for the advice. I will tell myself that from now on to just play the ball and not my opponent. That sounds a lot like golf actually.

tennis-n-sc
10-11-2005, 06:39 AM
You'll play this guy better next time. I'm thinking when you were playing him on the day it rained, he came up with a game plan for the rematch. You have to be able to play the dinkers as well as the power hitters. Once your opponent discovers you don't like dinks, guess what he is gonna provide for your steady diet until you convince him you can handle them with ease. Lots of older guys hit a ton of slices and dices. After seeing his game, I bet you beat him next time.

Camilio Pascual
10-11-2005, 09:49 AM
...when you are playing an opponent that you know you should beat and you find yourself losing, what do you or should you tell yourself to keep in the match.

Well, maybe that is the problem right there.
What is the basis for your belief, have you beaten him before?

thejuice
10-11-2005, 01:29 PM
Well, maybe that is the problem right there.
What is the basis for your belief, have you beaten him before?

Good question. No, I haven't beaten him before. I could try to answer your question without sounding like an egotistical jerk but I can't. My wife would not believe this but for the first time in my life (at least the last five years) I'm speechless. :confused:

rfederer32291
10-11-2005, 02:50 PM
think positive and stay focused and it will come

hipster
10-11-2005, 04:06 PM
I usually try to slow myself down and focus on each point. If you sit there and think "I should be killing this guy, I should be up 4-1" but you're tied at 2 or you're down 4-1, you need to stop yourself and take a few deep breaths. Set small goals, "I'm going to win this next point" or "I'm going to break his serve" and you'll start to settle down. You're thinking way too much about what should happen and not enough about what is happening, and it gets frustrating. You start hitting the ball harder because you should be creaming this guy, only it's not working. I have been in this situation a lot (and it also works the other way, if the other guy should be and is beating you) and I try to focus on either one point or even one hit ahead of myself. As he's serving, I'm thinking "where am I putting this ball, what am I going to do with this point" instead of "I can't believe he's serving at 30-0." Do you understand what I'm saying? You almost have to put your mind in slow motion to keep it from getting away from you, and with it, your concentration. or maybe I'm just crazy.

Slice Approach
10-11-2005, 04:28 PM
I think this relates to all the "how to play a pusher" posts on the board. Older guys have to be more "crafty" in their play because they have lost the ability to win with overwhelming power and/or quickness. They like to slice and dice with angles that give power players fits. Be steady, patient, and just punch those junk balls back deep until you get an attackable opportunity. If you are making alot of unforced errors then work on grooving your strokes for awhile by giving yourself a wider margin for error (high percentage shots). Tell yourself to stay loose and stay positive.

dingo
11-29-2005, 11:42 PM
I agree with Hipster and Slice Approach. Slow down, get consistent, one shot at a time, stop trying to hit winners, just get into the rally mode. Get into the mind set where you would try to outlast the guy in every rally. After all it's all about getting the ball over the net into your opponents court and that is exactly what your opponent is doing. So, unless you can hit consistent winners in a particular situation, just hit yet another ball over the net and control your agression and frusration by relaxing and slowing down when your feel like you are getting too haisty and impatient. I have lost so many matches trying to nail every ball for a winner that it's not funny. Read winning ugly and another book on mental tennis and tried some of those things on court - good stuff! Not that going to winners is a bad idea, but one simply needs to keep tabs on what is going on on court - who is winning/losing points and how. That is what time between points and games ought to be spent for - thinking and setting small goals for the next point/game/set and then executing towards those goals one shot at a time. At least this is the theory I try to apply to my matches these days.

Marius_Hancu
11-30-2005, 03:20 AM
mind want to read my posting
Playing pushers
in the Sticky (topmost thread)

Geezer Guy
11-30-2005, 07:45 AM
Unless I know that I'll be playing someone I know I can beat easily (and I try not to schedule matches like that), I usually don't like to think about past results. If I've beaten someone the last 3 times I've played them - that's the LAST thing I want to think about. I'll either slack off because I think it'll be an easy match, or else I'll put too much pressure on myself to keep the streak going. Either way, that's not how I play my best tennis. Same thing if my opponent has beaten me the last 3 times we've played. I just try to go into each match with a positive attitude, and expect that I will play good quality tennis and have a good time. I try NOT to put pressure on myself to win a match. To answer your question, though, when I get behind in a match (wheter I think I should win or not), my main thought is to make my opponent WORK for the win. I'm not going to give it away by double-faulting or making unforced errors. I'm still going to go for my shots - and if he's going to beat me he has to BEAT me. I won't beat myself.