4 Performance Factors

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

  1. user92626

    user92626 Legend

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    I'm not with you on this.
    I'm not one of those who subscribe to "Nadal is a pusher" or he waits for others to make mistakes. The guy has one of the most rpm, lethal fh, one of the best i/o shots, bh, and you think he wins by defending and retrieving??? Only Nadal haters would say that.
     
  2. Topspin Shot

    Topspin Shot Legend

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    I've seen Nadal win matches by defending and retrieving. He's capable of many other things of course, and I'm not saying defending and retrieving are bad either. In the right conditions, defense can be the best strategy.
     
  3. Fintft

    Fintft Hall of Fame

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    For once I agree with you at the pros level (the importance of the mental factor), while technique and physicality are more important at amateurs level.
     
  4. Fintft

    Fintft Hall of Fame

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    To make this relevant you have to frame in the context of the 4 factors: i.e. maybe Nadal relies on physicality while Djokovic more on technique? Although Djokovic started beating Nadal when his physicality become similar, if not better?
     
  5. GoudX

    GoudX Professional

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    I disagree. Technique and tactics (shot selection etc...) are what win players the majority of matches, without them a player never gets the chance to reach pro levels. What separates the top players from the other pros is mostly Physical and Mental. It is no coincidence that Djokovic Djokovic, Nadal and Murray are three of the most athletic players on tour.

    People also often fail to realise that players who are good at winning matches aren't necessarily good at tournaments, this is where the physical and mental side really come into play.
     
  6. NLBwell

    NLBwell Legend

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    I certainly agree with you if skills are close, but there is the question of how close is "close."
    I am more of a believer than most in the physical leading the mental. We all know that good or bad performance is a feedback between the mental and the physical, but I don't think people give enough credit for good physical performance leading to stronger mental abilities. It is the hitting the ball well which leads to playing well and so to wins, which leads to confidence and relaxation while playing, which leads to belief and mental strength. I think people who say about a player - he has confidence now, so he is playing better and winning have it backwards. It isn't Tinkerbell, where if you believe enough good things will happen. Confidence and then mental strength usually go downhill initially because a technical flaw has created problems.
     
  7. TCF

    TCF Hall of Fame

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    I understand your position. I just could not disagree more though. The mental leads the physical.

    Every weekend I see kid after kid after kid, from Evert's, Macci's, foreign, American, you name it. And in 9 out of 10 matches all the kids are fit and have great technique. But time after time after time there are wild swings, win 3 games, hit 2 bad shots, go crazy and lose 5 games. Yelling at themselves, staring at parents after every shot, losing focus and staring at every passing airplane, and on and on.

    When the skill levels are even remotely close, the kid who stays focused and can calm themselves when things go wrong wins.

    So many players practice one way, look amazing the day before the match, look like pros in practice. And so many of them can not duplicate that anywhere close in tournaments.
     
    Last edited: Apr 15, 2014
  8. Fintft

    Fintft Hall of Fame

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    OK so you are saying that both physical and mental make the difference at the top (in other words when the skills are close, b/c like you said
    ).
     
  9. NLBwell

    NLBwell Legend

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    I certainly can't disagree with your experience with the juniors. The kids who can hold it together will win.
    However, at the pro level, they all have gotten past that point and the guys who hit the ball better are generally the top players. You could say Safin, Ivanisevic, Gasquet, Monfils, etc. are mentally weak (at least at times) and it has cost them relative to Federer, Nadal, etc., but they were better players than Michael Russell and his ilk who may be mentally stronger, but just don't have the firepower. (of course that begs "how close is close.")

    To get back to your point about the kids, though. I'm not disagreeing with you, but I would say that the things like the wild swings, and looking good in practice but not in matches is caused by flaws in their technique.
    When kids are doing drills or practicing with adults, they are not usually getting the odd spinning balls they might have in a match. They haven't worked enough on squirrelly short slow balls and what to do with moonballs and might not have good enough technique and footwork to consistently put away balls that they feel they should put away.
    This is a broadened definition of what Darren Cahill calls "the pocket," or in what range a player is comfortable hitting a shot.
    (in another thread we talked about moon balls being good tactics and high-level players not using them because they had already spent hour after hour practicing to solve the moonball)

    Those juniors that are truly mentally weaker will get left behind and maybe even quit the game, but those that are mentally strong enough - and yes, that is very strong, will find their level based on how well they hit tennis balls.
     
  10. TCF

    TCF Hall of Fame

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    I agree with that NLB.....if 2 players are both mentally strong then it will be the technique, fitness, tactics that separates them. But at least down here in the ultra competitive SE FL. juniors, the mental game separates them early, allows them to win, and keeps the fire burning.

    We know 2 siblings who are scary in practice but come tournaments are so nervous they can not function. Their dad says they are very close to quitting tennis. They practice 3 hours a day, have all the physical tools, destroy practice partners....yet are probably going to leave tennis soon because of the mental.

    By the way, our kids down here play on ripped up Har Tru almost exclusively. They quickly learn that the 'pocket' can be all over the place due to crazy bounces!!
     
  11. 5263

    5263 G.O.A.T.

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    I might go so far as to say it is a mental game with 3 performance aspects. Imo it is quite difficult to separate the mental out of those 3 factors. Having the mental strength to develop and stay with your strong technique. Knowing how to prepare so they are not just practice strokes, but also good match strokes. Having the mental strength push thru the discomfort of the physical demands, along with the mental strength to employ Smart tactics while facing many other challenges.
     
  12. Spin Doctor

    Spin Doctor Professional

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    Have you ever seen any juniors overcome this mental issue? Do the best players just have the right mental stuff from a very young age or can this be changed as they get older?

    From hearing stories of the pros it sounds like they were all mentally strong even when they were quite young. They just had "it". It makes you wonder whether mental strength can actually be taught or changed. I've never heard a pro say that they struggled with the mental aspects of tennis when they were young, they just seemed hardwired to succeed.
     
  13. TCF

    TCF Hall of Fame

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    Great question. I have seen boys who were mental wrecks at 12-14 mature into strong D-1 players. For some reason more of the girls who are wrecks at young ages seem to stay that way until they quit tennis in the teens.

    Sometimes the parents can make all the difference. We have 3 kids in our group who are huge 'practice talents'. I mean they look scary great practice after practice. But all 3 fall apart in tournaments at the very first sign of trouble.

    2 are siblings so we are dealing with their parents and then the other kids parents. Before the last tournament we asked both sets of parents to demand that the kids have fun, move their feet, blow kisses to their families.....just relax and play tennis with full effort, but with no regard to winning or losing.

    The parents of the one kid followed the plan 100%. They were chilled before the match and the entire time. The kid won 2 matches against great players, played the best tennis ever in a tournament. Lost 3rd round but parents just hugged and said great effort. That kid is now on cloud 9 and looking forward to next weekend.

    The other parents gave lip service to the plan but once the match got close reverted to giving too much advice, reacting to every miss, etc. Both siblings wilted and lost badly with mediocre effort at best. Neither is looking forward to the next tournament.
     
  14. Ash_Smith

    Ash_Smith Hall of Fame

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    It absolutely can. Experiential learning in practice (requires the coach to be very well tuned in to mental skill development to create appropriate "challenge pony" practices) and the learning of psychological techniques (routines, reframing etc) can massively change and develop a persons mental toughness.

    To put in perspective your second sentence - Federer is a prime example!
     
  15. Fintft

    Fintft Hall of Fame

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    I was thinking among those lines. i.e. at how hard Nadal trained and continues to try to improve etc.
     
  16. Spin Doctor

    Spin Doctor Professional

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    IIRC, Fed was prone to anger and would lose his temper. I've never heard about him being nervous or anxious in the way that TCF is describing about certain juniors i.e. meltdown basically making them incapable of playing even close to their level. I've never heard of any top pro having problems with nerves in a match when they were younger to that extent. Anger issues, yes. But this seems like an easier issue to resolve.

    Sam Stosur has had lots of psych assistance and can't overcome this issue in big matches, even with all the resources at her disposal. I really think there is an element to player psychology that is not really "treatable".
     
  17. nhat8121

    nhat8121 Semi-Pro

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    120 tech
    80 phys
    5 ment
    5 tact

    never miss, play all day, beat my guy with your mental strength.
     
  18. NLBwell

    NLBwell Legend

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    That adds to 210, so you are cheating.
     

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