On the cusp of greatness...

Discussion in 'Tennis Tips/Instruction' started by 1980, Feb 21, 2013.

  1. 1980

    1980 New User

    Joined:
    Jan 22, 2013
    Messages:
    31
    Alright, pretty melodramatic title... but I enjoy sarcasm.

    I played a match today against my tennis instructor (a 5.0-5.5 player). I felt like I was right there with him through most of the points and many of our rallies were 4 - 8 shot affairs. However, the score of the match was 6-0, 6-1 in his favor. He told me afterwards that the reason he thought I was losing the majority of the points was mental. He said my technique was sound enough to hang in the points with him but that was often trying to go for winners too early in the rally. This happened most often when we were in a neutral baseline rally at the center of the court and he would take the initiative and hit a well angled shot to my forehand. I would then feel rushed and hit the shot back crosscourt, usually out. I would go for a harder/faster shot most of the time here. This kind of thing happened all over the court. Sometimes it was poor shot selection, other times it was poor execution.

    I've never played in a league and I didn't play in school competitively when I was younger so I've often been curious about my rating. I asked today after our match what he thinks my rating is. He told me "Technique-wise I would say you are a 4.0-4.5 player, you've got all the tools to beat me, however I would say in match play you are a 3.5". I'm not tentatively hitting the ball or playing nervy in matches. But, does anyone have any tips for improving my execution level on bigger shots and finishing out points strong? I don't like hearing that I have the technique and that I'm just not using it properly. Is it a lack of match experience that is causing me to miss or make poor decisions in the crunch?

    Thanks
     
    #1
  2. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2008
    Messages:
    37,284
    Location:
    East side of San Francisco Bay
    Absolutley lack of real match experience.
    I'm sure you're correct about you hitting in the solid "4-4.5" level range.
    But that loses double bagels every time to a real 5.5.
    And would equate to breadsticks against a real 5.0.
    And if your points start out with both of you hitting a shot the other can reach comfortably, you're in worse shape...:):) No reason he would give you ANY shot you're comfortable with.
    How you improve would depend on your strengths and weaknesses, speed and actual ball striking, with weapons or with legs.
    Every player has different characterisitics, so there is no ONE way to gain some games.
     
    #2
  3. slowfox

    slowfox Professional

    Joined:
    Oct 3, 2011
    Messages:
    1,110
    At my parks if you could play a match at a 4.5 level, that would be greatness... :)
     
    #3
  4. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2008
    Messages:
    37,284
    Location:
    East side of San Francisco Bay
    At my parks, if you could play a match at 4.0, that would be "greatness.....
    Unless I show up at 3PM, when the 4.5-5.5's show up.....
     
    #4
  5. 1980

    1980 New User

    Joined:
    Jan 22, 2013
    Messages:
    31

    Ok, thanks. I think as I improve I will develop some weapons and reliable strategies and shots that I can go to. Anything to base my game around... I think you are right. Match experience is what I need.
     
    #5
  6. TCF

    TCF Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2012
    Messages:
    1,908
    ====================
     
    Last edited: Mar 1, 2013
    #6
  7. iradical18

    iradical18 Professional

    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2004
    Messages:
    1,095
    Location:
    Lorton, VA
    This is a great post, I think a lot of folks rank themselves inappropriately due to this very issue, lack of match experience. We can all look great when just hitting with a friend and are actively trying to keep rallies going, it's much different when the person on the other side wants to beat you.
     
    #7
  8. 1980

    1980 New User

    Joined:
    Jan 22, 2013
    Messages:
    31
    I like this. Becoming a student of his game is exactly what I need to do. I was really giving it everything I had throughout and felt like I definitely had him out of his comfort zone a few times, but I was so focused on my own game that I wasn't paying enough attention to his patterns or when he decided to go for it. I will keep an eye on that for next time we play. I am also going to ask him to be more vocal in between points, he was to an extent, but I think his insight into each point would be really helpful. These types of lessons are so much more useful to me than the typical 'ball feed' lesson. I read an interesting article earlier in regards to going for it in rally's too early.

    http://www.tennisserver.com/circlegame/circlegame_00_06.html

    The idea within this article is that the reason players like me choose to take the wrong shot early in a rally is that we are not confident enough in our own ability to be consistent beyond a certain point and we force the rally to end early so as to avoid having to expose our lack of consistency or confidence in a stroke. He recommends consistency drills. It's a good read, worth a look.
     
    #8
  9. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2008
    Messages:
    37,284
    Location:
    East side of San Francisco Bay
    In "The Art of War", it's just as important to know your opponent's game as it is to know your own game.
     
    #9
  10. Say Chi Sin Lo

    Say Chi Sin Lo Legend

    Joined:
    Aug 30, 2005
    Messages:
    9,265
    I agree with the comment on the instructor, looks like you've found a gem!

    Bakery matches are tough to coup with:

    On one hand, like it or not, the scoreline says you got a beat down. However lengthy and competitive that actually rallies/games were, you got handed breadsticks and bagels. :)

    On another hand, sounds like you played your heart out, and there's no shame in that regardless of the scoreline. But then again, where do you go from here? You threw the kitchen sink at your opponent and you lost in a convincing manner.

    For me, I just have to stay positive and be a student of the game. It could have been MUCH closer, or perhaps even a victory. I would sit back and reflect on how close I was on those memorable points and think about what I should do next time to turn the results around.

    The game is always fun if you're a student of the game. :)
     
    #10
  11. 1980

    1980 New User

    Joined:
    Jan 22, 2013
    Messages:
    31
    Thanks, I did play a pretty gutsy match, but it wasn't gutsy enough. I never quit on a point and I think I may have surprised him a bit with my effort. That being said, I'm not disappointed with the result, just maybe slightly disappointed with my current level of patience and consistency. However, playing this match really highlighted those things for me as things I really need to work on and without his insight I could have spent countless matches playing and not really knowing why I was losing.

    I played and lost to a better player a week ago and the result was much in the same and at the end of it I just couldn't figure out why I had lost so badly despite not seeing much of a skill gap between the two of us on the court. That particular day, my serve was a disaster and so I think I looked to it as the culprit, but today has made me realize that I am needlessly rushing points out of lack of confidence in my ability to be consistent. This realization is something of an intangible breakthrough. It's something other than an inconsistent serve or a backhand that needs work, but it is related to both of those things and will come as those things improve.
     
    #11
  12. TCF

    TCF Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2012
    Messages:
    1,908
    ====================
     
    Last edited: Mar 1, 2013
    #12
  13. maggmaster

    maggmaster Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Dec 9, 2010
    Messages:
    1,751
    A 6-0 6-0 score line is a likely result in a match where one player is only 5% more likely to win any given point. Take into account also that better players play better on important points and lesser players tighten and play less well.
     
    #13

Share This Page