How do I focus to hit in tournaments like I do in practice?

Discussion in 'Tennis Tips/Instruction' started by James Reed, Jul 27, 2004.

  1. James Reed

    James Reed New User

    Mar 14, 2004
    When practicing with fellow players I hit hard, hit in and have smooth confident strokes. When going into a tournament I tend to become defensive, punch the ball in and go for the safe shot and wait for the opponent to make the unforced error. Although I have won some tournaments I would like to be more offensive and hit like I do in practice. Oh yes, I do also need pace on the return to hit better. I play players with pace fine but those who barely return throw me very off on my timing thus start punching back. Sound familiar? How do you focus on hitting and trusting your game? Thanks
  2. !<-_->!

    !<-_->! Professional

    Feb 21, 2004
    Pressure and nerves are something that is very hard to simulate and overcome. Therefore, I have no recommendations for you. However, as you play more and more tournaments, you will become more comfortable. Also, I think there is an article on about this particular subject.
  3. Mahboob Khan

    Mahboob Khan Hall of Fame

    Feb 20, 2004
    A common problem is that the players concentrate too much on the outcome of the match rather than the process e.g. playing the point the way it should be played. Their minds get entangled in two scenarios: A good one, and the ugly one. This leads to choking - that's where you expect the other guy to lose to you. Yes, playing lots of tournaments will help. But I recommend that the practice should also be match like. After you do your required drills, I would suggest that you play sets with modified scoring:

    If you hit an ace, you win the game;

    If you commit a double fault, you lose the game;

    If you commit error on return of serve, you lose the game;

    If you win the point with volley and/or smash, you win the game.

    This modified scoring which will be applicable to both of you, will automatically train your mind for tournaments.

    The bottomline is that the practice should be match-like e.g. you play 21 points on serve: A player who wins the point will serve; loser will receive.

    You may also proceed from cooperation from competition:

    -- Start a baseline rally, after six strokes rally, play out the point.

    -- The server will serve wide, the returner will return cross-court, and from that point, point will be played out.

    -- The server will serve wide, the returner will return down the line, and play out the point, and so on.

    -- Start a forehand to forehand cross-court rally, on an easier ball go down the line and play out the point in full court.

    -- Start a backhand to backhand cross-court rally, on an easier short ball, slice down the line, and play out the point in full court.

    And train those situations where the mind is the most vulnerable i.e. 4-all, 5-all, 6-all. To train this, playout a set from 4-all, from 5-all, from 6-all .. training critical stages of the match.

    Besides technique, tactics, and conditioning, you ought to train your mind through meaningful practices.

    The mind is like a parachute, if it does not open, it does not work!
  4. GrahamIsSuper

    GrahamIsSuper Semi-Pro

    Jul 21, 2004
    San Antonio, TX
    Play more matches. Only thing you can do. I say take your lumps now in the summer and play as many possible matches as possible. Make your practices as match-like as possible. It may not be fun, but boy will you see improvement.

    It's the only thing you can do to bring practice to matches. Play them.

  5. Bungalo Bill

    Bungalo Bill G.O.A.T.

    Feb 19, 2004
    Make something familiar. Say HIT BOUNCE HIT in practice and in a tournament. When something is familiar, you breathe easier and the nerves arent quite as bad. Plus, you can focus just on those words and improve your timing!
  6. Nikeman0092

    Nikeman0092 Rookie

    Jul 1, 2004
    When you warm up make sure your hitting like you do in practice. If you can get used to doing that early you can do it later.
  7. prince

    prince Semi-Pro

    Feb 19, 2004
    just try not to concentrate on winning as mentioned . this will throw you off.

    Concentrate on getting the right strokes and pace on your balls every point .
  8. Bama'sBest

    Bama'sBest Rookie

    Feb 24, 2004
    James Reed....was trying to get in contact with you but couldn't find your e-mail address. If you still have it, I may be interested in buying your Volkl V1 OS (quantum). E-mail me at
  9. Kobble

    Kobble Hall of Fame

    Feb 19, 2004
    I have come to learn that it is almost impossible to tell someone what they should think and feel in certain circumstances. You have to come up with an approach that doesn't just make sense to everyone else, but that you thoroughly believe in. You have to believe that whatever you are doing during a match is going to give you the best opportunity to win, bar none. Even if you happen to lose, it was still the right way. However, you must keep in mind that using lesser technique, or being completely unprepared for the level of competition you are about to face will never be overpowered by a false positive outlook.
  10. Bungalo Bill

    Bungalo Bill G.O.A.T.

    Feb 19, 2004
    I disagree with your statements very much. There are a lot of tools to choose from that can help a player come up with, adapt or copy methods that can help them play better.

    If your statements were correct then a lot of players wouldnt say HIT BOUNCE HIT to themselves, or adapt that same thing to suit them. Since a lot of good players consciously and subconsiously use this to help them focus better and maintain their timing it obviously means that using someone elses findings can help your game.

    I think players that wonder around (cant make up their minds) and never settle on anything fall into your camp. You can always take someones elses methods (especially if it has been time tested) and use them to your advantage, why reinvent the wheel.
  11. lendl lives

    lendl lives Semi-Pro

    Feb 23, 2004
    james i have the same problem at times...i tend to get very nervous especially in singles. (in doulbes i can always blame my partner for the loss =)...) But I have just been i improving a lot lately and will post a seperate thread on this. what i HATE is, for example i see a 1st serve land just out and let a bh rip, i mean rip agassi style- cause i know its out and there are know consequences.....this happens time and time again. then on the second serve if its in i'll hit it hard but nowhere near like before....

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