13year old junior struggling with winning matches

Discussion in 'Tennis Tips/Instruction' started by TriFloW, Dec 28, 2013.

  1. TriFloW

    TriFloW New User

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    Hello I am looking for a little advice

    I am 13 and have been playing since I was 6 years old I currently train 5 times a week for 2hrs a time

    I love my tennis and play well when I train but I have a problem

    I really struggle to win matches

    I do not mind if I loose to a Better player but I loose to people that I should be beating

    I have a strong around game I can volley my ground shots are pretty good but when it comes to matchplay I just keep loosing.

    How do I tell myself to be more consistent

    I know that if I don't continue to improve that it is likely that my tennis coach will kick me off the performance program as my rating has to keep improving

    Do I read books, do,I just need to hit more balls

    Any help would be great

    Thanks
     
    #1
  2. dominikk1985

    dominikk1985 Legend

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    the best would be taping a match and see how you are losing points.

    compare won points to lost points and see what is different. are you playing too passive? hit too short? making errors? run out of gas? pick wrong shots?
     
    #2
  3. Lukhas

    Lukhas Legend

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    #3
  4. Davis937

    Davis937 Professional

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    Possibly, you're putting too much pressure on yourself to win. Try playing to enjoy the game -- it's a fun game (win or lose). Yes, I also highly recommend reading the book identified in the above post. Good luck … and … relax!
     
    #4
  5. Topspin Shot

    Topspin Shot Legend

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    How do you know you're better than the players you're losing to?
     
    Last edited: Dec 28, 2013
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  6. TriFloW

    TriFloW New User

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    Thank you for the replies

    Topspin I know I should be beating them because I know I can beat them I know that if I played as well as when I train then I would beat some of the players that I loose to

    I just cannot get it together in my matches

    I know one of my main problems is I make too many errors can you suggest drills for consistency

    I love my tennis

    Lukas for some reason the link is not working on my iPad can you name the book for me please

    Many thanks

    I will try to get my dad to record a match and look where I am going wrong
     
    #6
  7. Lukhas

    Lukhas Legend

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    The name of the book is "The Inner Game of Tennis".
     
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  8. boramiNYC

    boramiNYC Hall of Fame

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    You have to learn 'how' one wins a match. It will involve some critical thinking about the game of tennis so you better be a good student of game. Good theoretical understanding of game, good control of emotions, avoid fantasizing about blistering winners other kids will be wowing for, good control of mind, when to focus on techniques and when not to, positioning, timing, clear thinking about shot selection, disciplined execution and ability to rise to the occasion instead folding under pressure, ability to focus on each shot and point without neglecting overall scheme of things based on scores, sound analysis skill like what makes a better player, kid that wins or the kid that can hit better shots, etc.

    It's a long journey but it's good you have strong enough desire to ask for help.
     
    #8
  9. Topspin Shot

    Topspin Shot Legend

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    It seems like you're saying you practice better than you play. But what do you mean by "training"? Is it just hitting and drilling, or is it playing actual practice matches? If you do worse in tournaments/challenges than practice matches, then I understand why you think you're better than your opponents. But if you just hit better than you play, then you aren't really better at tennis. Without seeing a video of your match play, the only advice I can give you is to play more steady tennis and stop going for the big shots and flashy winners. You have to play within yourself to win matches, even if that means grinding it out.
     
    #9
  10. Bagumbawalla

    Bagumbawalla Hall of Fame

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    There are different kinds of practice. One use of practice is to work on your strokes/form/ movement... another use of practice is to work on winning strategies/making use of your strengths/ crafting points/ replying to different "attacks" by your opponent- and so on. You may be able to get both types of training from your current instructor- if not you might want to search for someone to fill the gap.
     
    #10
  11. mightyrick

    mightyrick Hall of Fame

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    Well, OP... welcome to the world of TTW advice. Let's summarize:

    1) You are 13 years old. Read "The Inner Game Of Tennis".
    2) You aren't better than the players who are beating you.
    3) Have fun
    4) Figure out why you win points and why you lose points.
    5) Play more steady tennis.

    I think the only extremely valuable advice missing here would be Toly letting you know what the physics implications of unforced errors are on ball rotation and racquet face angle of attack.

    Welcome to the TTW forums... where people really know how to help.
     
    #11
  12. Ballinbob

    Ballinbob Hall of Fame

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    How would you help the OP? :confused:

    He didn't post a video of him playing a match and I thought there was some good advice on this thread... I guess the Inner Game of Tennis may be a hard read for a 13 year old but we don't know the kid
     
    #12
  13. mightyrick

    mightyrick Hall of Fame

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    Pick a new sport?
     
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  14. mikeler

    mikeler G.O.A.T.

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    If you lose to them, you are not the better player PERIOD! Once you realize this, you can grow as a tennis player. Matchups are important in tennis. Just because an opponent does not hit as hard has nothing to do with who is better. I'm not saying change your game to be less aggressive. Now is the perfect time to lose to the "pushers" while continuing to work on your aggressive game. In the end, it will pay off.
     
    #14
  15. Oz_Rocket

    Oz_Rocket Semi-Pro

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    Some good points so far and I agree 100% that you need to learn how to win, which is really a state of mind and more than just being able to hit a consistently nice shot.

    You will play the way you train. Make sure your training involves some match based squad work. My son plays Ups and Downs where they play a match tie break and the winner moves "up" a court and the loser goes "down". The kids who fight for every point and treat it as though they were playing for ranking points generally tend to play above their natural ability in match situations.

    Forget about who is the "better" or "worse" player. I love the quote that on paper plenty of matches should have gone a different way but tennis matches are played on courts, not paper! And at your age the "rock, paper, scissors" principle applies a lot.

    Learn to HATE losing, no matter who the opponent is. Play fair but fight for every point. I saw a kid recently who was up 5-0 in a set refuse to give in to his opponent on a disputed score. The other kid said "But you're winning 5-0, why not just let me have it?". The first kid said that as he thought he was right it didn't matter if he was winning or losing 5-0, it was the principle. That might seem tough to some but the kid had a winning mindset.
     
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  16. Tikiman53

    Tikiman53 Semi-Pro

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    Hey OP,

    What you're saying sounds a lot like what I used to say growing up. I played very seriously throughout middle and high school. I received some topnotch coaching, and from a technical standpoint, I was an excellent player. People would watch me play during lessons and practice sessions and assume I was a highly ranked junior. However, I simply could not win matches. My footwork was great, and my strokes looked fantastic, but come game time, everything would fall apart. Here are a few things you should take to heart (things I wish I understood as a junior:

    1. Your shot might not go in. There is always a certain risk with every stroke. However, playing it safe by hitting everything down the middle will not win you matches. Don't hesitate with your shots. Decide where to place the ball and go for it.

    2. Junior players who hit the ball hard might look really good, but they don't necessarily win matches. Don't force yourself to hit the ball harder than you can comfortably do. Instead, find your rally ball. This is the shot you can always depend on, on both wings. Mess around with the height of your shot, the pace of your shot, and amount of spin on your shot, until you find the perfect mix that you will be able to depend on. It might not be a very hard shot. In fact, it might be pretty damn slow. But start with the shot that you will get in 95% of the time, and as you get more and more comfortable with your rally ball, you will naturally add pace to it. Once you get that default shot down, you will be able to more easily vary spin/speed/height and have more of your shots stay in. My advice: high net clearance with a comfortable amount of spin to keep it in.

    3. As a 13 year old junior, you will probably play a lot of pushers in your time. You will probably play a lot of people who hit many shallow shots, many moonballs, and basically lots of annoying shots that will force you to move and test your patience. Against players like these, your default rally ball--what I mentioned above--is key. Don't try to smack winners and end points quickly because that will lead to lots of unforced errors. Play with shots you know will go in, move the ball around, and build your points until you find an opening and can decisively win without making high risk shots.

    4. The court is longer when you hit the ball cross court. The court is shorter when you hit the ball down the line. Winners down the line look really cool. But it's a lower percentage shot. I'm not saying don't hit down the line. I'm saying you'll win a lot more points by utilizing the safety margins of hitting cross court and constructing your points around that.

    5. Spending a lot of time on the court will not make you a really good player. Spending your time wisely on the court will make you a very good player. Growing up, I spent many, many hours on the court, mostly just rallying around aimlessly. Make sure you use your practice time in a variety of ways, not just one. Allot your time throughout the week for instruction, rallying, matches, drills, etc...

    6. Footwork isn't everything, but it's pretty close to being everything. If you aren't moving your feet, things tend to fall apart. Take many adjustment steps, to the point that your shoes squeak against the court, as you set up your shots. Always split step as soon as your opponent hits the ball.

    Finally, remember that tennis is just a game. It's a really frustrating game, but it's just a game. Ultimately, make sure you're having fun. You'll improve a lot faster if you're having fun.
     
    #16
  17. BMC9670

    BMC9670 Hall of Fame

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    ^^^ Post of the year IMO. Great job!
     
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  18. boramiNYC

    boramiNYC Hall of Fame

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    Yep great post tikiman!
     
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  19. Chas Tennis

    Chas Tennis Hall of Fame

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    Video

    Video your tennis matches and strokes. 60p fps, though not high speed video, will show a match and allow considerable stroke analysis.

    For your tennis strokes this camera is very cheap and has high speed video mode that is capable of showing the details of your strokes.

    http://shop.usa.canon.com/shop/en/catalog/powershot-elph-110-hs-red-refurbished

    You might enjoy high speed video.
     
    Last edited: Dec 30, 2013
    #19
  20. ericwong

    ericwong Rookie

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    Well...all I can say is to be patient and expect the unexpected. Play the point, not the game and always on the lookout for opportunities.

    You will feel less frustrated and more focus on the game, eventually
     
    #20
  21. tennis_balla

    tennis_balla Hall of Fame

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    I'm not sure about Inner Game of Tennis, at 13 years old it'll hardly make any sense. Its a great book but it'll be tough to grasp at that age, been there, done that. I'm also surprised that you ask this here on an online forum to complete strangers, many of who have never played competitive tennis (nothing wrong with that) and who know nothing about you when you have a coach you are working with. Are you afraid to talk to him about this?
     
    #21
  22. Mr.Lob

    Mr.Lob Hall of Fame

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    I'd say cut practice to one hour a day, and play a real match the other hour. More match play. Try to schedule other kids your level to play against.

    Also, I'm in the middle of Brad Gilberts book, "Winning Ugly". It's an easy read with lots of good advice.
     
    Last edited: Dec 30, 2013
    #22

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