Improving Your Mental Game

Discussion in 'Tennis Tips/Instruction' started by yeaya, Feb 5, 2009.

  1. yeaya

    yeaya New User

    Joined:
    Aug 11, 2008
    Messages:
    3
    Location:
    NorCal
    I just got back from my match with this one kid, It was just a set, but team points were on the line. Anyways he's a pusher. Not just any pusher, but the most ridiculous screwball slice pusher I've ever played. It's either a lob, or a slice that lands short in the service box. His serve is a dink, and everyone expected me to win, but here's the problem: I lost 6-0.

    I'm a 3.5 give or take and I've heard he sucks at net, so I've decided to try a little S&V to his backhand. Then problems started coming. My consistency went down the drain. I was thinking too much. I forgot the game plan, just everything went to crap.

    I'm pretty much a god when it comes to rallying, but when it's a match, and especially when something is on the line, I lose it.

    So my question is: how do you improve your focus, keep your mind clear, and strengthen your overall mental game?
     
    #1
  2. user92626

    user92626 Legend

    Joined:
    Jan 27, 2008
    Messages:
    6,269
    It's kinda different for everybody, but for me if I come in as an underdog I'll play much better.

    Also, when things get confusing, I just simplify by focusing on hitting quality xcourt and dtl shots or simply away from the opponent one shot a time.
     
    #2
  3. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2008
    Messages:
    37,284
    Location:
    East side of San Francisco Bay
    You played an abberation player, one you never practiced with, have seen, or talked about.
    Put this loss into the bank, and next time, you'll know to do better.
    At your courts, there's a couple of ranked 4.0 players who sidespin really short but angled serves. They slice and push, run like a gazelle, half volley like the dickens, have sure sliced but weak overheads, and generally try harder to drive you crazy rather than win the points.
    Just another obstacle for your path to tennis righteousness.
    At 3.5, it's hard to have the various tools to beat those kinds of players, but mental toughness, not losing your strokes and strategy, and believing in your basic approach to his play, you just need lotsa match experience.
    You WILL get better, especially against those kinds of players, but nothing like more matches, more experience.
     
    #3
  4. Djokovicfan4life

    Djokovicfan4life Legend

    Joined:
    Jan 24, 2008
    Messages:
    5,484
    Location:
    Stillwater, OK
    Sup dude,

    I'm currently working on an article about this very subject; strictly my opinions of course. Will keep you posted if interested.

    I posted a sample on the first page; check it out if you've get a chance.

    TTYL,

    Matt
     
    Last edited: Feb 5, 2009
    #4
  5. yeaya

    yeaya New User

    Joined:
    Aug 11, 2008
    Messages:
    3
    Location:
    NorCal
    Yea, I guess I underestimated him. But still, the way he plays just looks so... so.... pitiful. He just does this really funny thing with his head when he slices. It's like a head bobble seizure lol. Anyways, yeah I I'll definitely take the match seriously next time I play. Thanks.

    Great advice man. The kid reeeaaally had me pulling out my hair. I usually never throw my racket, and I had to take a lap around the courts to cool down. Also, definitely right about the match experience. All my friends and I did over the summer was rally. No drills, barely any matches, just rally all day. So I'm definitely working on that. Also, I need help on focusing on the ball, and not how funny the player on the other side looks. I mean, he seriously looked like he had a mental disorder, which is a total slap in the face to anyone's confidence.

    Niiiice. I'mma check that out right now.
     
    #5
  6. furyoku_tennis

    furyoku_tennis Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2008
    Messages:
    2,117
    Try telling yourself to just watch the ball and focus everything you've got into it. Since the other guy is a pusher, it's very very unlikely that he'll hit a winner on you. So just move him around the court and keep watching the ball. Then when the moment presents itself, take it.
     
    #6
  7. Bud

    Bud Bionic Poster

    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2007
    Messages:
    31,170
    Location:
    San Diego, CA
    As a 3.5, it's not difficult to lose to a player like this. He can probably beat a fair number of 4.0's and 4.5's too.

    Just concentrate on continually improving your game and one day you'll be able to beat players like this. Every tennis player has dealt with that type of player and lost to them.

    To answer your question... experience.
     
    #7
  8. Tomek_tennis

    Tomek_tennis New User

    Joined:
    Jan 24, 2009
    Messages:
    73
    Mental training is training like any other. There are coaches, books, whole philospohy behing it. Statements like "just be confident" do not work. Serch for "inner game", "sport psychology" terms online. If you have any concrete questions, ask. I am sports psychologist (and a tennis coach). I can give you some answers, but you need to do some work first...
     
    #8
  9. Hot Sauce

    Hot Sauce Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Aug 23, 2006
    Messages:
    1,890
    Location:
    Vancouver, BC
    I think the best thing for you to do when you start going down is to slow down and compose yourself. Analyze the situation, and take a scientific approach to it. Don't get flustered because before you know it, you'll be in an even deeper hole. It's all about mental composure.
     
    #9
  10. SourStraws

    SourStraws Rookie

    Joined:
    Nov 12, 2008
    Messages:
    327
    Ouch, Im sorry about your loss..... But when Im in a tight spot.... I think of something that I really like and think of how Im relaxed when Im in that moment....... In my case, it's chocolate chip cookies or a cinnamon roll. Another thing I like to do is "Shoot the head", which is something I learned in theatre..... It's like before I have an audition, I basically point my fingers at my shoulders and in a way "Shoot the head" on my shoulders that whispers any doubts into my ear. It really helps a lot, especially if you smile afterwards. But as aforementioned, you just need more experience, and eventually you'll learn how to deal with these type of players. I can only assume that the pushing style only will work against certain levels of players, so you'll get there, just keep pushing

    Btw.... Thanks to LeeD.... I always get some type of insight from his posts (no D.R. or anything)

    S.S.
     
    #10
  11. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2008
    Messages:
    37,284
    Location:
    East side of San Francisco Bay
    We all gotta play against and lose to pushers as our game improves. That how you know you are improving. A hard hitting opponent can have off days, and hit everything long or into the net. By definition, a pusher never has off days (OK, hardly any), so when you can consistently beat them, you are accomplishing something worth doing.
    My obstacle pusher was one 58 year old TomBrown in like '77. As a solid B player, I just couldn't get over his game. Slow low slices, slow sliced serves, old fart, barely could walk, let alone really run. He was ranked top 10 in the A's the previous years. Took praying and pledging to the devil to beat him convincingly, after 15 tries.:confused:
     
    #11
  12. yeaya

    yeaya New User

    Joined:
    Aug 11, 2008
    Messages:
    3
    Location:
    NorCal
    Thanks guys, all your help is appreciated. Turns out just yesterday I found out my team ranking. #5 singles on var! lol anyways, now I know what I have to work on. Losing is not fun, but it can be a really good teacher. matchplay and consistency training is key.

    Also, it's only been a month since I readjusted my strokes. I wish I could show you guys before and after videos, it's pretty amazing. I just brought a camera to one of my hitting sessions and was shocked at how bad my strokes were. After careful examination and a lot of video watching I now have a forehand and backhand stroke (somewhat) similar to the pros. Since it's only been a month I guess I need more time with the strokes to improve my consistency. When I get back to school, I'm definitely challenging that guy and taking that #4 spot. Even if i have to do it again and again and again and.. lol
     
    #12
  13. LuckyR

    LuckyR Legend

    Joined:
    Jun 2, 2006
    Messages:
    6,404
    Location:
    The Great NW

    This was a very savvy call, labeling your problem as Mental. I agree with you.
    There are many, many threads on the tennis strategy of playing pushers of various types. Personally I would not have used the strategy you chose, but then again it sounds like you didn't even follow your own strategy anyway.

    You are spending way too much time and energy thinking about him (do you think he is posting in great detail about your game right now? I don't think so). All he is, is a source of balls moving onto your court. Whether he cocks his head like this or like that when he serves is just wasted energy on your part. If his strokes look terrible or great, it doesn't matter, it is a distraction from your real goal, namely to hit his shot back over the net and within the lines in a way that advances your position on the court, which by your description your had serious trouble accomplishing.
     
    #13

Share This Page