Tennis psychology

Discussion in 'Tennis Tips/Instruction' started by HunterST, Nov 17, 2009.

  1. HunterST

    HunterST Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2009
    Messages:
    3,412
    I'm a fairly new player, I've got almost 14 months of play now. The last month or so my game has really stepped up, especially with my forehand. Tonight, though, I played more like I was about a month ago, not atrocious, but not the level I was so happy to be at.

    It may sound silly, but I'm a little concerned I was just having a month long hot streak or something. My question is: what do you guys do to bounce back from bad days/set backs? Should I get out and play again right away or take a few days off? Should I go back and start trying to hit my shots with the same power and spin I had been or start slow?

    Thanks for any responses!
     
    #1
  2. jazzyfunkybluesy

    jazzyfunkybluesy Banned

    Joined:
    Oct 20, 2009
    Messages:
    1,707
    Get yourself a tennis ball machine. Play as much as you want. If you get burned out lift weights or do something else active. Thats what I do.
     
    #2
  3. captinsane903

    captinsane903 Rookie

    Joined:
    Jan 17, 2008
    Messages:
    238
    I've been through streaks-sorta going through one right now.
    Probably up to about 3 weeks ago I was probably playing my best tennis; but recently I've started to slip and do the things I did a month or two ago-such as double faulting and unforced errors.

    Your psychological game does play a role in tennis, IMO.
     
    #3
  4. 5263

    5263 G.O.A.T.

    Joined:
    Mar 31, 2008
    Messages:
    10,446
    For me it is always important to work my game up to a good level; each time out. Sometimes it takes a great warm up, sometimes nearly a set. When I try to skip right back into how I played super yesterday, it usually goes poorly.
     
    #4
  5. Blake0

    Blake0 Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2009
    Messages:
    1,709
    Location:
    Texas
    If you've been playing constantly everyday, take a break..for a couple days, then get back on. That helps me get back into form and timing. (not too long of a break..maybe 1-3 days).
     
    #5
  6. HunterST

    HunterST Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2009
    Messages:
    3,412
    That's a good point, the people I played with wanted to start after a lazy 5 minute warm up and I didn't want to say no. It takes me quite awhile to get warmed up too.
     
    #6
  7. 5263

    5263 G.O.A.T.

    Joined:
    Mar 31, 2008
    Messages:
    10,446
    Yes, my attitude is that I can play good everyday. But what I have to do to accomplish that,
    is to be willing to earn it,
    by working up to that state again each time out.


    Gymnast don't just walk into the gym and start throwing double back flips, they work up to a nice rhythm and feel first.
     
    #7
  8. GuyClinch

    GuyClinch Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Aug 12, 2004
    Messages:
    4,895
    Personally I find most of my "psych" issues to actually be related to problems with technique that have creeped into my game.

    I see this is other players as well. They are blaming some mental issues and what they are really doing is arming the ball or over-running it - or not even turning their shoulders.

    There are HUGE form errors that are easily apparent in alot of rec players. Psychology - and I like the stuff is vastly overrated in tennis. If your having a bad day try to figure out what your doing wrong with your body.
     
    #8
  9. Ripper014

    Ripper014 Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2009
    Messages:
    1,863

    I was going to suggest something like this... being new to the game you are going to have more inconsistant days than someone who has played longer. These are important times for you as the foundations you build your game on today will probably be with you for as long as you play the game.

    I would suggest each time you play... work on technique... worry less about winning... or what you consider playing well and work on playing right. If you build your game around a good set of skills the rest will come... be patient.

    You may lose to your friends today... but you will dominate them in the future.
     
    Last edited: Nov 18, 2009
    #9
  10. fuzz nation

    fuzz nation Legend

    Joined:
    Oct 20, 2006
    Messages:
    8,657
    It comes and goes, even when you've been playing for a while. I think that if you're getting especially down over an off day or two, it's smart to take a little time to check yourself. Frustration and discouragement can really creep in when a player's own expectations are out of step with reality, but it sounds like you've got a reasonable grasp of your "newness" to the game. You don't sound too likely to hold it against yourself when you don't quite play "lights out".

    Maybe you need a little bit of a time-out if your schedule has been too heavy, but if you keep your eyes on the horizon and work toward long term improvements, the bad stretches shouldn't be much of a setback. When you learn something new, it can make a hot mess of your technique while you sort it out, but again, that's a necessary process for long term improvement.

    If you have one of those embarrassing days where it all leaves you, you can't put two shots together to save your life, and you actually consider getting a check-up with a doctor to see if you're okay, that's a great time to put down the racquet and step away from the courts for a therapeutic break. In the middle of an outing when I'm not really clicking though, I'll just try to fixate on one thing for a while. It might be keeping my eye on the ball or making a more deliberate first move so that I'm not late with my shots.

    Even after you've played for a while, those good habits will still drift out of place on occasion. The need for game maintenance never really goes away.
     
    #10
  11. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

    Joined:
    Oct 1, 2005
    Messages:
    35,695
    That is all good, but where is the time for us working stiffs to get warmed up and groove ourselves back in?
     
    #11
  12. 5263

    5263 G.O.A.T.

    Joined:
    Mar 31, 2008
    Messages:
    10,446
    Each time you play is the answer. This is sort of my point and it's sort of obvious and simple, but easily forgotten in the rush to play and play well. Each time going on to the court, I expect to have to build up to my best tennis;
    -opposed to just strolling out there thinking that I have that kind of tennis "on tap". It's this idea of building up to "very good play" that I find very constructive for my game. I refer to it as "earning it". I try to earn it each time out on the courts.

    Sometimes I come out pretty hot, right out of the warmup, but often it takes 3-4 games to hit stride and really get that feel and control where it needs to be. Because I don't expect my best tennis in the first game or 3, i tend to not take as many chances with my shot selection in the early going. I spend that time hitting more standard shots and probing the other team for skill set. I begin to slowly ratchet things up from there. As the other teams lets me know how to play them, and my play level starts to settle in, then meshing these two together puts my game at my highest level for that day. I think going out there and "earning it" like this each outing, leads to more a consistent performance and long range improvement.
     
    #12
  13. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2008
    Messages:
    37,247
    Location:
    East side of San Francisco Bay
    As I state before, we don't improve at tennis with a steady curve, we improve with fits and starts, valleys and peaks. NOBODY improves at a steady curve. And if they say they did, not only are they lying, but they are no good at tennis!
    When you get your forehand, your volleys go to pot. When you get your volley finally, your backhand sprays. So you correct that and the second serve becomes a liability. You fix that and your forehand goes astray, with a seemingly unconnected dead overhead.
    WHY?
    Well, your competition improves too, you know. And when you make one weapon better, the other's seem WORST.
    That's life, and that's the way it is.
     
    #13
  14. BMC9670

    BMC9670 Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Nov 24, 2008
    Messages:
    3,064
    I agree with LeeD - improvement in anything really has it's ups and downs. I think how you handle slumps depends on your personality. Personally, I like to play/practice more to help get the "groove" back and build confidence. I know others who like to take a break and come with a fresh perspective.
     
    #14
  15. Jay_The_Nomad

    Jay_The_Nomad Professional

    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2009
    Messages:
    969
    There are days when you hit the peak, but that's not your true level.

    You real level is slightly below that and it is something you can repeat everytime.
     
    #15
  16. whoopinstick

    whoopinstick Rookie

    Joined:
    Feb 22, 2009
    Messages:
    271
    A bad day of tennis for is a reminder that I need to work harder on my game
     
    #16
  17. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2008
    Messages:
    37,247
    Location:
    East side of San Francisco Bay
    Last day I played I had a really bad day, losing to a low 3.5 player. So I stopped playing since then (2 weeks ago), and will try again against him today in a couple of hours.... :shock::twisted::twisted:
     
    #17
  18. 5263

    5263 G.O.A.T.

    Joined:
    Mar 31, 2008
    Messages:
    10,446
    Lee, I don't see how that is possible??
    How could you lose to a low 3.5?
     
    #18
  19. Ripper014

    Ripper014 Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2009
    Messages:
    1,863
    I was wondering that too... how to you go from being an ATP qualifer to losing to a "low 3.5".
     
    #19
  20. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2008
    Messages:
    37,247
    Location:
    East side of San Francisco Bay
    Easy. Try growing 30 years in between and playing tennis so little I'm wearing the same shoes as last Sept and using the SAME strings! Think about that. I used to, up until I was in my mid 50's, wear out the best most expensive "last forever" shoes in one month, and go thru any kind of strings in 2 weeks.
    Well, I'm back from the T courts, and he won the first two games of the first set (I hadn't played in two weeks, he plays 5 days a week), the first game of the second and third sets.
    2,1,1. Not nearly as close at the scores show. Remember, I haven't touched a racket in TWO weeks, haven't jogged or run, or did any sports.
    Now I probably won't touch a racket for a couple weeks again, as my sprained ankle from last Oct is still around, as is my sore wrists.
     
    #20
  21. Nellie

    Nellie Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Oct 4, 2004
    Messages:
    3,773
    I would agree as well, but I think the point is more subtle. I bet there are problems in your form that make it hard for you be consistent if your timings slightly off. When your timing is good, the strokes feel good and when the timing is off- well, we know what happens.

    So, you have the choice of playing with less than perfect technique and trying to get your focus/timing down. I see many very good players with terrible looking strokes, but great footwork and conditioning that allows them to be extremely consistent despite their stroke issues.

    You can also work to improve your stroke so that you do not need to be so precise. For example developing topspin and strokes that stay in the contact zone longer give you a lot more margin for error.

    When you do both of these things, you are then pretty dangerous.

    Also, try to be constructive rather than get down on your self. If you struggle playing someone who hits with a lot of low spinning balls, working on bending your feet and moving to get into better position.

    If you struggle playing someone hits high bouncing, heavy shots, you need to work in moving forward or back.

    If you struggle in the wind, you need to working on shortening your strokes and improving your focus (looking at the ball longer to track it to your racquet).

    If you are being dumb and overhitting, that is a different matter.
     
    #21
  22. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2008
    Messages:
    37,247
    Location:
    East side of San Francisco Bay
    When I'm having a bad tennis day, the netcord gets a workout, and I keep painting the lines just wide and long. But it can last for two sets EASY.
    Seriously, I"ve hit the netcord over 10 times in one service game!
    I can't do close to that if I tried.
    Most bad service games, I can hit the netcord over 5 times.
     
    #22

Share This Page