4 Performance Factors

Discussion in 'Tennis Tips/Instruction' started by Ash_Smith, Apr 11, 2014.

  1. Ash_Smith

    Ash_Smith Hall of Fame

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    If you had 200 points you could "spend" across the four performance factors (physical, technical, tactical, mental) where would you spend them and why to build your ideal player...

    For example, you could balance out everything and go

    Tec: 50
    Tac: 50
    Phys:50
    Men: 50

    (and be decidedly average), or would you weight up a particular category and if so, what is your thinking?
     
    Last edited: Apr 11, 2014
    #1
  2. ramos

    ramos New User

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    88
    Men 60
    Phys 50
    Tec 50
    Tac 40
     
    #2
  3. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    It would depend on the level of the player and his/her intentions. For a recreational player, technical would be high. Then would be physical, but if they are not going to get fitter, then it is better to focus on tactical and mental, which will help them win matches. For a pro with grooved strokes, technical might be less, and physical and tactical might be more.
     
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  4. Ash_Smith

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    ^^^ Ramos - why that split? The thought process is more interesting than the raw numbers
     
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  5. Ash_Smith

    Ash_Smith Hall of Fame

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    Just play the game
     
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  6. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    I am going by my observations of how high-level coaches teach. For an Annacone or Lendl, it would be more about strategy, and they might leave the physical aspects to the trainer. For club coaches of adults, they will encounter players with sucky grips or bad movement. If they really cared and the student cared, they would point out the technical issues, but most of the time the student isn't too serious. Some shrewd tactics may be what he is looking for.

    For juniors, all-round emphasis is required. They can improve in every respect. If you look at the world-famous coaches at the IMG Academy, the typical day for a student outside of studies involves drills for technical skills and movement, match play for tactics and strategy, and gym work for the physical aspects.
     
    #6
  7. red rook

    red rook Rookie

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    70 mental
    70 technical
    30 physical
    30 tactical

    These numbers address my weaknesses. I'm in very good shape I would say, work out every day. Technically could use work on footwork and serve technique. I increased my mental number to acct for match play and associated nerves.
     
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  8. Ash_Smith

    Ash_Smith Hall of Fame

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    OMG Sureshs! Seriously, play the game!

    Thank you rook - what about if it wasn't based on you - but to build your player?

    ...............
     
    Last edited: Apr 11, 2014
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  9. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    Might be easier to keep the total at 100 so that the numbers become a %tage.
     
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  10. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    Are you sure that balancing them out leads to an average player? These factors have non-linear interactions and synergies. Once Djokovic got over his physical issues, he shined. Same for Murray with mental issues. Federer with a balanced emphasis has decidedly been a top player, not an average one, compared to a lopsided guy like Karlovic or Santoro.
     
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  11. Ash_Smith

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    Aaaarrrgghhh!
     
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  12. BMC9670

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    IMO...

    Pro level:
    65 mental
    45 technical
    45 physical
    45 tactical

    Rec level:
    65 mental
    40 technical
    40 physical
    55 tactical

    The mental aspect of the game, at any level, makes the other three that much better or that much worse. An example at the rec level are pushers and hackers - they win on being better mentally and making the opponent melt down. A recent example at the pro level is Stan - he has had a late career breakthrough because he says he now feels he belongs at the top and has the confidence to beat the best.
     
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  13. TCF

    TCF Hall of Fame

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    Ash, in regards to juniors trying to win in the ultracompetitive SE FL area:

    Physical 33
    Tactical 33
    Technical 33
    Mental 101

    After watching weekend after weekend players performing one way in practice and a totally different way in tournaments, its mental, mental, mental.
     
    #13
  14. user92626

    user92626 Legend

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    Ash,

    I'm confused about the point of your thread.

    I thought sureshs brought up many interesting points and added to the discussion. Don't know why you appear to be frustrated with him. Also very perplexing when you asked if it wasn't about one's personal experience -- but to build an ideal player? I don't think anyone knows what an ideal player looks like and apart from his/her own experience? Do you mean you want the board members' opinions on how to build someone like Nadal, Djokovic?

    Can you explain the point of your thread?
     
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  15. Ash_Smith

    Ash_Smith Hall of Fame

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    ^^^
    a) a bit of fun

    b) to get an insight into how people think in respect of the relative importance of the critical performance factors
     
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  16. Dimcorner

    Dimcorner Professional

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    What are the units?
    I mean is 50's all across going to make me into a super all court player?

    Also do I get to roll 2D10's if I put 80 in one attribute? :)

    What would Federer or Nadal or Isner be in these number term?
    What about women players, do they get overall lower numbers?

    If I put 110 in physical and and 90 in technical I should be able to overpower everyone without having to worry about tactics and mental since the points would be just so short?
     
    Last edited: Apr 11, 2014
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  17. Ash_Smith

    Ash_Smith Hall of Fame

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    ^^^ yeah sure, why not (actually I literally have no idea what your last sentence means :D )
     
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  18. user92626

    user92626 Legend

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    a is always a given in here. A bit redundant to reiterate it. :)

    About b, base on our own experience, right?

    I think we're all different and therefore have different needs. For me, I'd need 80% of resource spent on physical!
     
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  19. Avles

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    I think physical and technical ability are the sine qua non for a high-level player. So if we're trying to build a finished player from scratch here (as opposed to building a promising junior with the potential for further development), I think those aspects have to come first.

    Mental may be what separates the truly great from the merely very good. But you need physical and technical excellence for that mental edge to even come into play. A rock-solid mental game combined with limited physical and technical ability will get you nowhere.

    It's rare to see someone who has low-level strokes, motor skills, and fitness, but can win at a genuinely high level because they are so very strong mentally (or tactically).

    On the other hand, someone with high-level strokes, motor skills and fitness will be a high level player even if their mental game is suspect.

    So if I had to distribute, I'd say something like:

    Physical 80
    Technical 90
    Mental 20
    Tactical 10
     
    #19
  20. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    Ash is not frustrated. He has always been open to learning new insights into coaching from me. He just got a little hassled when I pointed out some of the subtler points.
     
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  21. Ash_Smith

    Ash_Smith Hall of Fame

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    I reckon i'd spend as follows:

    Tec: 20
    Tac: 40
    Phys:75
    Men:65

    That way, i'd have an absolute warrior, who would get to the last ball, would be mentally tough enough to last it out and have at least a vague idea of where to put the ball. Hopefully his or her physicality would allow them to get in the right position at least, which should take the pressure off their lower technical score.
     
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  22. torpantennis

    torpantennis Legend

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    Pro level:

    Tec: 20
    Tac: 30
    Phys: 60
    Men: 90

    Rec level:

    Tec: 100
    Tac: 30
    Phys: 20
    Men: 50

    At rec level, technique is surprisingly poor. Videos tend to prove it. I feel importance of tactics is minimal at all levels, tennis is a simple game tactically compared to e.g. team sports etc. At rec level physical requirements are easily satisfied by just once a week physical training, but at pro level the requirements hugely increase. Tennis IMO is a huge mental battle, even more so at pro levels.
     
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  23. Ash_Smith

    Ash_Smith Hall of Fame

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    Hahaha - no Sureshs

    But you're right I am open to learning, thats how I got as good as I am and keep getting better!
     
    #23
  24. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    It may work at lower levels, but are there really any pros whose physical/technical skills ratio is 3.75? Not even Nadal or Ferrer.
     
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  25. Ash_Smith

    Ash_Smith Hall of Fame

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    ^^^No, there are likely not, but they don't have to operate within the constraints I have set in this particular scenario!
     
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  26. TCF

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    When I see posters putting 20 to mental I realize we must be answering different questions. No way could someone place that low level on mental and be involved with competitive tennis. I assumed that we were talking about players facing each other in competition where they were matched up fairly evenly. Obviously if the skill levels are vastly different, you can split it up any which way.

    I split mine using the reference of juniors who seek a higher level and who currently play very competitively. Matches where they play a beginner they win 6-0, 6-0 no matter how its split....but that seems irrelevant to the discussion.

    Higher level tennis, juniors or pros, everyone has fundamentals, everyone has basic fitness, everyone has basic tactics. These are all equally important, thus 33 points to each. if you have major issues in any of those areas, you would not be at that level to begin with.

    Once 2 players are competing who are fairly close in those 3 aspects, it comes down to mental. At LEAST half of tennis is mental at the higher competitive levels. The brutal scoring system where each game and set starts back at zero and momentum swings are a given, and the one on one dynamic of tennis makes it so.
     
    Last edited: Apr 11, 2014
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  27. Ash_Smith

    Ash_Smith Hall of Fame

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    ^^^Yes - maybe I should have said it was for a 200 points tournament - so that was the most anybody could "spend"
     
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  28. user92626

    user92626 Legend

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    This mental vs physical vs technique concept has always been vague to me. There's no possible way to quantify them.

    Unless you're some sort of an eccentric that no one can explain, usually and reasonably mental strength is developed following proven physical and technique aspects.
     
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  29. Ash_Smith

    Ash_Smith Hall of Fame

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    ^^^ care to elaborate on that last statement - if i'm i'm reading it exactly as written i fundamentally disagree.
     
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  30. user92626

    user92626 Legend

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    I meant..unless someone is crazy and develops mental behaviors in an unexplainable way, it's reasonable and usually the case that if people have proven physical and technique skills, adequate, needed mental strength will come. No?

    In my own experience I spent a whole lot of time and energy working on strokes and games, and I spent a relatively neglecible effort on mental strength, but I don't really feel I'm pressured or would play my game differently in so called high pressured points.
     
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  31. RoddickAce

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    I agree that at the pro level, the technical ability is very close between the pros. But for the purposes of this thread, we would need to define what a 0 is, and what a 100 is. Otherwise, we can just assign 0 to technical since it is a forgone conclusion that they all have strong fundamentals.

    Imagine this:
    Player A:
    Isner's Serve
    Federer's Forehand
    Djokovic's Backhand
    Murray's Return
    Rafa's Footwork
    Bryan Bros' volleys

    vs.

    Player B
    Devvarman's Serve
    Gasquet's Forehand
    Karlovic's Backhand
    Karlovic's Return
    Karlovic's Footwork
    Moya's Volleys

    Surely, Player A's technical ability would outclass Player B's out of sheer consistency, placement and pace.

    But is Player A at 100? And is Player B at 0 or 20? I think it is probably 90 and 50. So the margin between 100 and 20 is even wider.
     
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  32. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    That is what I was getting at with my remarks on non-linear interactions and synergy. The 4 categories feed into one another in some way and are not independent. Somewhat independent, but not completely.
     
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  33. Ash_Smith

    Ash_Smith Hall of Fame

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    ^^^My experience of working with elite level athletes (Olympians and Paralympians) would say that no, mental toughness doesn't just develop.

    There are countless examples of this in elite sport, where athletes have exhibited excellent technical or physical skills, but lacked the mental skill set to make the big step up the podium - Sir Chris Hoy, Victoria Pendleton, Johnny Wilkinson, Rory McIlroy, Ronnie O'Sullivan (to name but 5 without really thinking) all worked extensively with sports psychologists or psychiatrists before achieving their Major or World champs/Olympic successes.

    Andy Murray is a prime example of an athlete who was physically, tactically and technically about as good as it gets, but required significant mental skills work before hitting the highs.

    So no, mental skills require training/coaching just like any of the other performance factors. This training can be working into other aspects of training, for example when training physical or technical elements, but it takes a skilful and knowledgeable coach to be able to do so.
     
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  34. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    What about Fed's H2H against Nadal? Is it a technical issue or a mental one?
     
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  35. boramiNYC

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    Murray can get too passive tactically, and his serve could have been a lot better technically. Physically he has some back problems that could be quite costly for his career. He's lucky where he's gotten to with all the resources imo. Gotta say I'm not one of his biggest fans but no doubt he's an amazing tennis player.
     
    #35
  36. TCF

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    Then you are unique compared to at least 80% of SE FL juniors. Melt downs are frequent. Kids can be leading 4-1 and all smiles, lose one game and get tighter, lose another game and fall apart. It is very common to see juniors go from 4-1 up in the first set, then not win another game. The next weekend they may be on the reverse side of it.

    Several factors, pressure of course is one, from kids, parents, their peers. The other is that tennis is unique in its scoring. In basketball you can lead by 20 points at halftime and have a cushion to weather some poor play in the 2nd half.

    But in tennis you are always at zero after each set. You can blow away the opponent 6-1 in the first set, winning most points. But when you start the 2nd set, its back to zero. Lose a few games and the kids start thinking, oh no, it will be tied at 1 set a piece. Kids will win the first set 6-0, lose the second by 5-7, then face a tiebreaker. A few bad shots in the tiebreaker and all heck breaks loose mentally.

    So the pressure its constant. Add in the one on one, no coaching, no subs for injuries, the rankings....the mental component is gigantic.
     
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  37. rkelley

    rkelley Hall of Fame

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    I'll play:

    Rec player
    Tec: 50
    Tac: 70
    Phys:10
    Men: 70

    Pro player
    Tec: 40
    Tac: 60
    Phys:30
    Men: 70

    Reasons
    As much as I love obsessing over the technical elements, a good mental state and a good plan (that yields good shot selection) is what wins I think, regardless of level.

    For the rec player technique is an issue because there will be such a range of abilities here. A 4.5 mental basket case can probably still destroy a 3.5 mentally strong player just because the 4.5's strokes are so much better. Fitness is probably the least important for the rec player. So many points end quickly with UFE.

    For the pros, everyone has good technique. Fitness OTOH has become really important with the way the game is played now. The pros get a lot more balls back over that are hit a lot harder. They're burning the calories. Mental is always most important I think, so I borrowed a bit from tactical to have some to give to fitness.
     
    #37
  38. Pickle9

    Pickle9 Semi-Pro

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    Jesus Christ suresh, do your's out of 100 and multiply each by 2.
     
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  39. Pickle9

    Pickle9 Semi-Pro

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    50/50/50/50
     
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  40. boramiNYC

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    From my gut

    Mental 60
    Physical 60
    Technique 60
    Tactical 20
     
    #40
  41. user92626

    user92626 Legend

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    It's funny that rkelley's post is a good example that anyone can argue this any way and it still sounds like it makes a lot of sense.

    Ash,

    If I were Andy, I'd be pi$$.ed. Well, Andy seems like eternally pi$$.ed anyway. Everyone is quick to make him out as a head case like they know him. Factually speaking, after all his high's he's now predictably and expectedly beaten by Fed, Djokovic, not unlike before he reached his high. So, what to make of his newfound mental strength?

    On my point about how little we know about this topic, I concur with Andy when he said he didn't know what it takes to win a slam (in his pre slam time). Andy himself didn't know, makes me cringe when I hear people claiming they do.
     
    #41
  42. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    Andy became much stronger and overcame endurance issues before his winning streak.

    I don't know how to judge him this year because of his back surgery. Some people never made it to the old level after these surgeries.
     
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  43. RajS

    RajS Rookie

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    Being almost 58 years old, and knowing that reaching and staying at USTA 4.0 for a few years is probably the best I can do, here's my priority list:

    Tec: 30
    Tac: 60
    Men: 50
    Phys: 60

    I would love to do more physical training, but experience tells me this is a sure path to injury.
     
    #43
  44. GuyClinch

    GuyClinch Hall of Fame

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    You can't go anywhere in tennis without good technique.
    The problem with this thread is the terms are not defined.

    In my estimation all pro players have technique greater then 90 - and guys like Fed hit 100. Mental OTOH - you could train a chimpanzee to hit everything cross court and pound short balls down the line..

    But the OP obviously has a different scale in mind for his numbers. What would a '40' technique look like? I think it would look like this:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aqrVzAQe_W0

    So you do 40% of the same stuff Federer does.. Well that's not going to be very good..
     
    #44
  45. Fintft

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    I like your idea of two different builds and here would be mine:

    Pro level:

    Tec: 40
    Tac: 50
    Phys:50
    Men: 60

    Rec level:

    Tec: 70
    Tac: 30
    Phys: 60
    Men: 40

    At rec level technique and physical conditions count for most, while at pro level tactics and mental fortitude are more dominant factors.
     
    #45
  46. GuyClinch

    GuyClinch Hall of Fame

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    This is true because pros already have great technique. With your second build you have rec players with superior technique as compared to the pros..
     
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  47. Avles

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    Well, let's say you took an elite athlete from another sport-- someone who was mental and physical giant in that sport-- and converted them to tennis. Say, prime Michael Jordan. Give him a few years of tennis training so that he can reach 20 technique (wherever that is).

    Would MJ's undeniable physical gifts, mental toughness and fighting spirit allow him to compete against guys with 4-5x the technical ability? I say no.

    Mental game seems really important as a "difference-maker" among elite athletes who already have tremendous physical gifts and world-class technique. But I don't see how it can compensate for a huge gap in technical skill and physical ability.
     
    #47
  48. 5263

    5263 G.O.A.T.

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    I'm with TCF here. Imo the Mental is where the Belief and Desire reside,... so those driving the mental side, I believe they could make the most of the other 3 areas as well.
     
    #48
  49. Ballinbob

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    Just came back from a 2nd round loss at a 4.0 tournament. Lost to a super athletic junkballer 5-7,3-6. I was up 5-4 serving for the first set and I choked. Couldn't hit my 1st serve which is key for me. Got broken and eventually lost the match. If I was mentally there when serving for the first set I think I would have won. So I agree with everyone saying mental is by far the most important thing. I wish I knew how to stay more focused during matches and preform better under pressure. That's the hardest part of tennis for me
     
    #49
  50. GuyClinch

    GuyClinch Hall of Fame

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    If you don't have any technique - you don't have any strategic options. This is what Florian Meier says and he is 100% correct.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VCuCxHq-hlw

    Technique and the mental game go hand in hand. If you have the skills you open up a ton of possibilities. OTOH if you have no serve, no forehand, no backhand - you have none. It doesn't matter how crafty you think you are..People think Fed is the smartest BECAUSE he has the best technique. In reality some computer scientist at Google has a better mental game but it doesn't matter since he has no clue how to hit a tennis ball.

    No offense but after reading this thread I would think twice about hiring Ash as my coach..YMMV.
     
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