People should understand the difference...

Discussion in 'Adult League & Tournament Talk' started by bodieq, Jul 31, 2010.

  1. bodieq

    bodieq Rookie

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    I wish more people would self-reflect this question to themselves after a loss: Did you play poorly, or did your opponent make you play poorly?

    There's a big difference between the two (of course, sometimes it can be a combination of both, that can happen too).

    I just see so many league-teammates and tournament players I know always try to chalk it up to having a bad-day out there when they lose. But I've seen many of these matches and know these guys were playing just as fine as normal....instead, their opponents were able to make them play badly (whether giving shots they don't like, neutralizing attacks, bad match-ups, or just simply being a better player).

    I highly recommend players honestly ask themselves this question, before just throwing out excuses of having a "bad-day." Who knows, it might even make us better players in the long run...
     
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  2. saigonbond

    saigonbond Guest

    Whether you played poorly or your opponent made you play poorly... you still played poorly so the distinction is irrelevant no?
    (you can put lipstick on a pig but its still a pig)

    If your point is about people making excuses, then I get your reference. I often hear the "bad day" excuse at our club and out at USTA tourneys. Its a favorite of ages 5 to 85...

    CHEERS!
     
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  3. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

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    The only time I think it's correct to say I "played poorly" is when I play people (or certain types of players) I can and should beat. If I am missing shots I routinely make or tighten up because of the pressure, I could lose by playing poorly.

    When I lose, it is usually because the other player is as good as I am or better.
     
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  4. NoSkillzAndy

    NoSkillzAndy Rookie

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    The distinction is important for anyone who actually wants to analyze what happens during a match, determine what areas to improve on, and ultimately become a better tennis player...

    I personally love it when my opponents fail to comprehend just why they are losing when they play against me. If they don't recognize the patterns I prefer to run, how I'm countering their patterns, which shots I'm giving them on purpose, etc., they're not going to figure out an efficient way of playing and the odds of winning remain in my favor. Sure, if they simply play out of their minds or are significantly better than me to begin with, none of that matters too much, but otherwise they'll be making winning very difficult for themselves by not recognizing why they're missing or how I'm exploiting their weaknesses.

    But not everyone is an analytical thinker on the tennis court. Some are better at just focusing on hitting the ball -- usually really hard -- and that's what they do. If they do it well enough they can simply overpower their opponents in many cases. But when they stop to think about things usually they start second guessing themselves and their shots begin to falter. No doubt they'd be better players if they could be more strategic and analytical while still hitting the crud out of the ball, but they just can't do it. Anyway, these are typically the type of players who will say they were hitting poorly when they lose, failing to understand that their opponents might have had a lot to do with it.
     
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  5. dafox

    dafox Rookie

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    Losing SUCKS...but I always hit the practice courts much harder and learn more from my losses. I hate the PAIN of losing...tonight is going to be a tough one for me...I got "schooled" 6-0, 6-0 in a tourney today. He was BETTER than me, but I will be better than him in 12 months.
     
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  6. pyrokid

    pyrokid Hall of Fame

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    I totally agree with this post.

    When I'm playing people in the early rounds of tournaments that I know aren't the best, I usually just play smart and use a bunch of spins. I rarely go all out unless that'll finish the match faster. I hit a few groundies at about 60%, mix in some short slices, approach, dropshot, all that jazz, and they're flustered by the end of the first game.

    Consequently, nearly everybody I play in the first round says "Oh god, I played terribly."
    No, you didn't, you just can't handle variety and I gave you variety.

    Another person I know says this after literally 95% of his matches... The only time he doesn't say it is when he's on fire. That gets a bit annoying.
     
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  7. BMC9670

    BMC9670 Hall of Fame

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    Excuses are human nature. Many people just don't want to admit that the player on the other side of the net was better, either today or in general. I think this holds many people back. As another poster mentions, suck it up and learn from it. Learn from them - they just beat you.
     
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  8. mikeler

    mikeler G.O.A.T.

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    The best is when you beat a player way more than they beat you. That player will then claim that your lucky shots were why you won.
     
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  9. jmnk

    jmnk Professional

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    it's --always-- the opponent that makes you play poorly. Always. Why - because if it was only you I'm sure you could play safer and not make errors. but you do not because you know the opponent will just finish the point. So you take risks, etc.
    That's why the Unforced Errors statistic is, in my opinion, the silliest thing ever. How is it Unforced? The opponent forced you to hit volley closer to the line and miss by returning previous three or four. he forced you to no go with even more power and overhitting by getting back everything hit softer for the last half hour. I mean if it is Unforced you should have as many playing someone two levels below as two levels above - and that is definitely not the case.
     
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  10. NoSkillzAndy

    NoSkillzAndy Rookie

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    I kind of agree that sometimes unforced errors can be an indirect result of the other player being very consistent, a good counter-puncher, or a relentless attacker, and thus putting pressure on you (whether real or imagined) to go for more on your shots.

    But it's really important IMO to distinguish between forced errors where you are consciously trying to just get the ball in but can't because of how good your opponent's shot was, and unforced where you have options and chose to go for too much or select the wrong type of shot. The better players recognize this need for consistency on make-able balls and not giving up free points due to over-hitting or poor shot selection.

    I often play a groundie game with my students called Plus or Minus, where we both start off at 0 and for every unforced error we hit we get -1 to our score. Our winners or forced errors on the other hand add +1. The game ends when one of us gets to +5 or -5. Guess which one most people get to first? ;) Unless you have a really good attacking game, the best strategy is almost always to play steady and let the other person miss -- just like in real tennis. If you're going to attack you have to make sure it's the right time, the right shot, the high percentage play, and then actually execute it. This game really highlights where a player is making most of his/her errors, which plays are more reliable or efficient than others, and can be a useful tool in cleaning up their game.
     
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  11. jmnk

    jmnk Professional

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    I'm thinking that there's actually almost no such distinction. I mean if you can't get to a ball at all, or barely get the racket on it then there's really nothing to talk about. But if you do get to the ball --and-- you chose a wrong shot or went for too much - it is always because, well, you were forced to do that.

    I like your example of the drill, I do it too, and I agree that most often you lose because you make fewer errors then your opponent rather than you hit more winners than the opponent. But that does not change the fact that you are still being forced to choose bad shot.

    Again, if you play with someone way below your level you are never forced to go for too much, you very rarely chose a bad shot - because you know the opponent can't hurt you.
     
    Last edited: Aug 2, 2010
    #11
  12. Jaewonnie

    Jaewonnie Professional

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    Lol when ever I play someone and lose to him knowing that I shouldnt have, I say: "He didn't beat me, I beat myself and lost." :lol:
    And by "someone knowing I shouldn't have lost to" I mean like tap-second-serving, lobbing, pusher....
     
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  13. saigonbond

    saigonbond Guest

    I would have to disagree that there is even a distinction at all, and that even if there was one it is irrelevant. Poor play is simply poor play. The distinction is more times than not simply an excuse not to be used or even helpful in matchplay analysis.
    Analysis and strategy (before, during, and after) doesn't really even come into play until a player reaches 4.0-4.5, nor should it even be much of a focus for players below that level of skill. Mastering technique, mechanics, and footwork is more than enough to work on to improve their games and improve their matchplay results. "Hitting the crud out of the ball, but they just can't do it," as you say highlights my point.

    CHEERS!
     
    #13
  14. penpal

    penpal Rookie

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    I think the distinction comes from asking the question, "Why did I play poorly today?"

    I agree with the OPs implied premise that too many people just spout out "I played like crap," but they don't consider what caused them to play that way, and that isn't going to lead to improvements in their game (not to mention it can come across as less than sportsmanlike if said to the person who just beat you).

    It is important to understand if you played poorly because you aren't feeling well, didn't get enough sleep the night before, didn't eat right that day, weren't hydrated properly, sat too long in front of your computer before getting on the court, because your opponent forced you into mistakes, or something else entirely.
     
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  15. tennismonkey

    tennismonkey Semi-Pro

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    the better player on that particular day ALWAYS wins. everything else is just excuses.

    there's an art to winning when you are not playing your best tennis. we are not machines that perform at 100% at all times. a good player will find ways to win a match. a dumb player will try and hit harder.

    this goes with the assumption that winning is the most important thing. for many players - it's not the most important thing.

    some players place more emphasis on hitting the ball hard which they equate to playing great. or they'll only remember hitting a handful of amazing winners that should wind up on sportscenter but forget about the 3 dozen stupid errors that cost them the match.
     
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  16. jmnk

    jmnk Professional

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    couldn't agree more.
     
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  17. polski

    polski Semi-Pro

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    I always tell people, "If I play bad, I'm going to make you play worse."

    If I lose, then I wasn't able to do that.
     
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  18. nickarnold2000

    nickarnold2000 Hall of Fame

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    Ok, so you lost really badly(in games counted) but how many games went to deuce and about how many total points were won by each player for the entire match? (You technically could get every game to deuce but then lose the next 2 points and have nothing to show for it.)
    I'm also interested in why you think you lost and what you need to improve? :)
     
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  19. nickarnold2000

    nickarnold2000 Hall of Fame

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    For me, a big part of playing well is moving my feet(court movement) and early racket prep. If I'm not doing these two things well, it's going to be a long match regardless of what my opponent is doing.
     
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  20. dafox

    dafox Rookie

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    Yep, the first 5 games were very close with quite a few deuce games and then I fell apart mentally. He did not give me any free points and I had to earn every point that day. I usually do that to my opponents, but on Saturday it was different. The things I need to work on are as follows: (i) mental game (ii) only my 3rd USTA tourney so need to get more tourney experience (2nd at 4.5) (iii) need to improve my serve. I have a plan for each item including starting a new fitness program. I do NOT like losing.
     
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  21. nickarnold2000

    nickarnold2000 Hall of Fame

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    Sounds like a plan - I don't like losing either but, as you noted, when you play someone who's better than you then your weaknesses become exposed very quickly.
    I'm looking forward to seeing how you progress so please keep us posted.
     
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