Clutch serving...

Discussion in 'Adult League & Tournament Talk' started by salsainglesa, May 24, 2010.

  1. salsainglesa

    salsainglesa Semi-Pro

    Joined:
    Dec 20, 2005
    Messages:
    743
    Hi, I have a question foryou people...

    How do you practice for this situations, to be close at 4 all or 5 all in a set?
    Is there someway to "fool" your brain in training?

    I am having trouble with this moments in matches, I know it will get better with time, its all about matchplay... but is there some way to optimize this?
    It also, only happens to me in tournament play.

    any thoughts are appreciated.
     
    #1
  2. dlesser13

    dlesser13 Rookie

    Joined:
    Dec 16, 2008
    Messages:
    311
    Location:
    Austin, TX
    You can't train yourself to be not nervous or clutch at any given moment. The easist remedy is just having been in the situations before and knowing the feeling. Experience will always win out in a situation like that., so unfortunately you'll probably just have to experience those moment a few times before it doesn't unsettle you.
     
    #2
  3. Zefer

    Zefer Rookie

    Joined:
    Feb 12, 2010
    Messages:
    306
    Location:
    Greater-Liverpool, England.
    Nope you can't fool yourself in such ways. The only thing to do is play lots of real matches and be in that situation many times.
     
    #3
  4. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2006
    Messages:
    15,067
    My pro told me to play practice sets beginning the score at 4-4. I thought it helped a lot. I also like to play a lot of tiebreaks in practice.
     
    #4
  5. spaceman_spiff

    spaceman_spiff Professional

    Joined:
    Aug 24, 2005
    Messages:
    1,498
    Location:
    The crappest town in Britain
    I agree it's not really possible to simulate the situation in practice.

    You might be better off trying to find ways to calm yourself down in those situations. Maybe you could come up with some things to say to yourself on those points that remind you to take it slow and swing normally.

    I don't really care about losing, so it doesn't bother me as much. I just serve like it's any other point/game. I only get nervous when my partner is serving.
     
    #5
  6. dizzlmcwizzl

    dizzlmcwizzl Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Mar 24, 2010
    Messages:
    2,165
    Location:
    DE
    Similiarly when it comes down to crunch time I try to block out everything else and just worry about my toss and my contact point. Once the point is under way I figure I wont have time to worry about anything else.
     
    #6
  7. larry10s

    larry10s Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Apr 4, 2008
    Messages:
    3,976
    try to make part of your service ritual saying before you serve what type of serve and location.practice saying this to yoursel when you practice. then at crunch time you try to step up forget the score and say to yourself "ok flat serve up the t". and as nike say JUST DO IT!!:)
     
    #7
  8. rosenstar

    rosenstar Professional

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2006
    Messages:
    1,142
    Two things:

    -Play lots and lots of matches

    -Play best of 5 set matches, starting every set at 5 all. Put $20 bucks on the match, or something else to motivate you. Maybe loser buys dinner. If your younger, maybe loser has to do something stupid (shave his head or something silly/humiliating, use your imagination).
     
    Last edited: May 24, 2010
    #8
  9. spot

    spot Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2005
    Messages:
    2,438
    Location:
    Atlanta
    In practice the last matchup "counts" for us- the losers buy pitchers of beer. We start at 4-4 and finish out the "set".
     
    #9
  10. spaceman_spiff

    spaceman_spiff Professional

    Joined:
    Aug 24, 2005
    Messages:
    1,498
    Location:
    The crappest town in Britain
    Great suggestion. Focus on what you want to do rather than the significance of the point.
     
    #10
  11. HitItHarder

    HitItHarder Semi-Pro

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2009
    Messages:
    623
    Location:
    SC

    This is a great practice tool. When my rec team practices against each other, we typically call our serves out loud too. It makes the server focus on what they are trying to accomplish and it allows the returner to focus on what they want to do with a return in specific serve situations.
     
    Last edited: May 24, 2010
    #11
  12. KSJ1979

    KSJ1979 New User

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2010
    Messages:
    54
    play tiebreaks starting you down 0-2....
     
    #12
  13. burosky

    burosky Professional

    Joined:
    Nov 9, 2006
    Messages:
    1,035
    Location:
    CA
    Here's my suggestion. Play a practice set where only you serve. The goal is to win the set 6-0. That should put pressure on every one of your service games.
     
    #13
  14. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2006
    Messages:
    15,067
    Oooh, great idea! I have a friend who is working on her serve whereas I am working on my return. Perfect!
     
    #14
  15. Jim A

    Jim A Professional

    Joined:
    Dec 29, 2008
    Messages:
    802
    I play quite a few tiebreaks when practicing..also will play games where you can only hit 1st serves or get only 1 serve, start either at 15-30/30-15, etc.
     
    #15
  16. jc4.0

    jc4.0 Professional

    Joined:
    May 20, 2009
    Messages:
    803
    Difficult for me to imagine this, as I just don't care what the score is - but I think I'm the exception to the rule. After warmup (which often takes me a full set) I just play every point as if it is match point, in other words, every ball must be hit as well as I can hit it. No exceptions. If you play like that, then if you lose you have no worries because you clearly couldn't have played any better. You just learn from the loss, and live to play another day. I know that most coaches say to play only the critical points this way - but if I think of it that way, I'll probably blow the game/set points and lose anyway. If we played 5-set matches like the pros, I'd have to re-think this strategy!
     
    #16
  17. hfmf

    hfmf New User

    Joined:
    May 11, 2010
    Messages:
    72
    Location:
    Dearborn, MI
    When I'm practicing my serves alone, I hit AGRESSIVE serves (1st and 2nd) that would get me a weak return or an outright ace. If I get either one in, I go up 15-love, if I miss both, I go down love-15 and shuffle from the sideline to the sideline. I play a whole game that way.

    I think the shuffling is good motivation not to double, and the workout is awesome. It's also good to simulate what it's like to be serving when you're tired at the end of a set.

    It reminds me of my first summer learning to hit. I used to just wall hit all day long, from 10am to about 6pm, figuring out what spins worked and how to hold the racquet. The wall was normal height, but when I hit a ball over it, I had to run about a quarter mile to get it. I would go with three balls, and do a LOT of running as I was figuring out my game. I was in the best shape of my life that summer, and it was working out WHILE tennis drilling that did it.
     
    #17
  18. MayDay

    MayDay Semi-Pro

    Joined:
    Sep 22, 2009
    Messages:
    455
    I find it best when you don't even acknowledge or think about the player on the other side (besides making sure they are standing there to receive your serve) and full focus is put on the ball only. You're playing the ball, not the other player.

    The trick is to simplify your thoughts and eliminate most instructions and conditionals. Zoom in on a single specific action (like focusing on the lines of the ball, or the contact point of the serve), not what you're trying to accomplish. Eliminate "what if"s and "I must"s.

    Due to the focus, I often lose track of the score as well. :p

    Additionally, try to not take the competition side too seriously; it's a game, everybody playing should just enjoy it - unless your a pro and play for a living, I guess. (I would also guess that the pro's would need a lot more mental fortitude and sometimes professional psychological assistance.) It's the worst when someone get all worked up and brain fart out of the their zone.
     
    Last edited: May 24, 2010
    #18
  19. rosenstar

    rosenstar Professional

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2006
    Messages:
    1,142
    I don't like this idea (no offense), but I think that part of the pressure of serving and holding serve has to deal with how well you play your return games. If you're breaking easily, you tend to serve better since there is less pressure on your service games. If every you aren't winning any of your return games, that puts a lot of pressure on you to win your service games, and pressure often results in lost games.
     
    #19
  20. vandre

    vandre Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2007
    Messages:
    1,742
    Location:
    no man's land
    i read a post on a thread here somewhere where everytime a guy plays his wife, his is down love-30 at the start of every game. my wife and i play this way and i think it is a good way to simulate match pressure and work on my serve because if i'm only 2 mistakes or one mistake and one good shot (from the wife) away from losing the game.

    practicing playing from behind will help you be ready when the score is tight because it helps you concentrate and teaches you not to give points away. playing tiebreakers is a good suggestion, too, imho.

    if you haven't already, you might get something useful from brad gilbert's "winning ugly". he writes about playing the score and how to handle the "big points".
     
    #20
  21. tennis tom

    tennis tom Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Jun 15, 2007
    Messages:
    2,707

    Play more tournaments.

    Get a great serve that you are proud and confident in.

    Get a great second serve, you're first serve is only as good as your second.

    Practice with singles sticks, all those serves that are just clearing the net in rec matches will be hitting the tape in tournaments and dropping on your side, especially as your toss starts being lower and your head starts dropping in the late going.

    Think about how your opponent is feeling the same pressure as you are.

    In rec play, I go for big serves on critical points: set point, tie-breaker, or match point and it's been working for me, but I've been playing for many years.

    The server has the advantage. They have the ball in their hand, they know where the ball is going (theoretically). The receiver is at a disadvantage and has as much or more potential for choking.

    In the end it's a matter of confidence built on past success--success breeds success.
     
    #21

Share This Page