Not playing very well in tournaments

Discussion in 'Tennis Tips/Instruction' started by Babolatbarry, Aug 12, 2012.

  1. Babolatbarry

    Babolatbarry Guest

    I can practice well right before a tournament, going over and oracticing short balls, highballs, lobs, volleys, serve placement, shot placement etc.
    but when I play in tournaments it seems like my shots are all in the middle, my serve is hard, but is a body serve everytime, 75% of the short/high balls i get I offer up a weak reply.
    I even found myself hitting slice forehands for 2 games in a match a couple weeks ago. Can't seem to quite get over it, I've had this problem for a year. Doesn't affect school matches either, just USTA. I'm not nervous, I just choke, and lose to players I shouldn't lose to.
  2. Babolatbarry

    Babolatbarry Guest

    Whoops forgot to add the reason i posted.... Is there anything I can do to help this besides play a lot? Like read books about mental preparation or just psychological issues? I'm baffled.
  3. Cheetah

    Cheetah Hall of Fame

    Mar 29, 2011
    San Diego
    Winning Ugly by Brad Gilbert. Excellent book. Teaches you how to win.
  4. Timbo's hopeless slice

    Timbo's hopeless slice Hall of Fame

    Feb 8, 2011
    ^^^ yes, plus one to this!

    Just try and focus on the ball, your feet, all the smiliar balls you have hit in practice and keep the tactics simple, play it like a CC FH drill..

    Forget about the opponent, you KNOW this shot, you hit it all the time. Let him worry about what to do next, you just play that shot you have practiced.
  5. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

    Dec 28, 2008
    Sounds like your "afraid to win" is balancing out your desire to win.
    And of course, you're afraid to lose, which is why you don't hit as hard as you know you can.
    Practice more match play, less blind hitting.
    Learn to serve into 3 quadrants, not just IN.
    Hit the ball into 3 quadrants, every time, not just IN and hard.
    Sounds like you expect your practice play to extend into your match play. Ain't gonna happen. You gotta practice match play.
  6. boramiNYC

    boramiNYC Hall of Fame

    Jun 29, 2011
    it may sound kinda abstract but you need to work on finding the right perspective in approaching competition and game. it seems your desire to play better is there but are you willing to pay what it costs to be a strong player? usually it takes a lot of intelligent planning and hard work to see real improvements and there is no short cut or magic bullet. but working on perspective affects the mind and it's the most fundamental aspect of any game that can have the farthest reaching consequences.
  7. Babolatbarry

    Babolatbarry Guest

    Thanks guys for all your replies
  8. mikeler

    mikeler G.O.A.T.

    Sep 26, 2008
    Central Florida

    Play a lot of tournaments. They begin to become routine. I had the same problem as a junior where I just played awful in USTA tournaments for awhile.

    Change your goal of winning the tournament match to playing "your" game. If you play your game but lose, then you accomplished your goal. The more you play your game, the more the wins will likely come.
  9. Babolatbarry

    Babolatbarry Guest

    Hopefully I'll be able to start playing 1 or 2 tournaments per month
  10. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

    Dec 28, 2008
    EVERY single tenis player, guaranteed, is a much better practice player than what they show during important matches. Matches show all your flaws, and practice is supposed to lessen the flaws.
  11. SStrikerR

    SStrikerR Hall of Fame

    Dec 4, 2010
    Not Fantasy Land
    I had a similar issue. Here's what I did, and what I advise you to do yourself: play 3 matches in a row, but play exactly how you WANT to play. Basically, play like it's practice. Hit hard, go for your shots, no matter what the result. Even if you lose 6-0 6-0, you need to get used to going for your shots and playing your game in matches, and not just practice.
  12. webtennis

    webtennis New User

    Jun 6, 2010
    Moraga, CA
    I agree with mikeler. I used to be crazy nervous when I first started playing tournaments.

    Would actually cramp after matches. So, I made it a point to enter as many tournaments as I could find in an attempt to de-sensitize myself to those nerves.

    Took awhile, but my goal at that time was less about winning and much more about trying to find a comfort zone when playing the match.

    I feel as if I play better in tournament / league matches now than in practice.

    Maybe I'm just more fired up to compete in a tournament or league match than in practice, but whatever, I don't think there's a magic pill for this.

    I'd suggest playing as many tournament matches as you can for awhile.

  13. IA-SteveB

    IA-SteveB Professional

    Jun 6, 2012
    I would agree that you just have to play more tournament matches so that it just becomes a normal thing for you. It will feel no different than playing some hard tennis with a hitting partner. The second tournament I ever played, I traveled out of town by myself and played singles. I had enough on my mind getting there and finding out where the courts were since they were running it out of four city sites. When my match came, it was more relief than pressure. I lost 3 and 1, but not because I was playing bad. Just overmatched. :)

    In my first tourney ever this year, I do remember concentrating too much on being ahead. If I was up 4-1 or something, I would think way too much about not letting him catch up. It was like I was playing to AVOID a pressure situation. Weird.

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