what motivates you- winning or not losing?

Discussion in 'Adult League & Tournament Talk' started by dlam, Apr 25, 2013.

  1. dlam

    dlam Rookie

    Joined:
    Aug 3, 2010
    Messages:
    380
    Playing not to lose.
    Or playing to win.

    yes these are cliches.....but in a tough match last few games or times when you are physically tired....do you play to win or play not to lose?
     
    #1
  2. Relinquis

    Relinquis Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Dec 12, 2012
    Messages:
    4,335
    Location:
    On the courts; hard & clay ...
    playing to win... i focus on playing my game and having the match on my racquet...
     
    #2
  3. spot

    spot Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2005
    Messages:
    2,440
    Location:
    Atlanta
    For me it is the team winning that motivates me. If I am playing singles in a flexleague I am there to improve and losing isn't going to bother me at all, playing against better players is just part of the process of getting better. If I personally lose but my team wins then I will not be upset about it and often I will take difficult spots in the lineup knowing that I may not have the best chance of winning. If I win and my team loses then that would cause me far more anguish.
     
    #3
  4. goran_ace

    goran_ace Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Jun 24, 2009
    Messages:
    2,884
    Location:
    At Large
    Depends on the opponent. If I'm playing a guy who takes a lot of chances and is prone to errors, generally I'll rein it in and play more conservatively to let him either give me the match or make him have to come up with his best stuff/rely on luck to beat me. If I'm playing a guy who has been steady as a rock all match and showing no signs of slowing down, I'm going to have to make things happen.

    Also depends on what the situation is. If we've been trading holds easily all set and it becomes a contest of who breaks first, I'm willing to take some chances when returning, take a bigger cut.
     
    #4
  5. heninfan99

    heninfan99 Legend

    Joined:
    Oct 17, 2008
    Messages:
    7,862
    Neither. I like to try to play beautiful tennis. Rarely happens. If I hit one great shot I'm happy.
     
    #5
  6. beernutz

    beernutz Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2005
    Messages:
    4,427
    Location:
    expanding my Ignore List
    I definitely hate losing more than I love winning.
     
    #6
  7. Govnor

    Govnor Professional

    Joined:
    Aug 12, 2011
    Messages:
    1,335
    If it's really close, I think I do go into a "don't lose" mode.
     
    #7
  8. Alchemy-Z

    Alchemy-Z Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Dec 14, 2010
    Messages:
    1,542
    Location:
    Augusta, GA
    I've always stuck to the saying "go down swinging"

    If' its near the end and I am down I Hit a little harder go for more winners and beef up the second serve.

    it some times digs me out changes momentum and earns the win back to me.

    others it's an error fest and I go down in flames lol

    its about 50/50

    but I never go out playing defensive dink shots just trying to keep the ball in play. If i get to swing at it I am crushing it...if it's my serve placement is out the door flat hard aces are the game plan.
     
    #8
  9. tennisbuck

    tennisbuck Professional

    Joined:
    Aug 24, 2012
    Messages:
    1,052
    I think its pretty even. But I used to love winning more. Lately i think i hate losing more
     
    #9
  10. Marty Cintron

    Marty Cintron Semi-Pro

    Joined:
    Apr 25, 2013
    Messages:
    743
    Location:
    France
    Losing a match is not a bad thing if, during this match, you have learned something in order to better play next time. The main aim of a tennis game should be to learn, not to win at any cost.
    Look at Federer: he has lost so many times against Nadal but have never learnt anything. :lol:
     
    #10
  11. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2008
    Messages:
    37,247
    Location:
    East side of San Francisco Bay
    Winning or losing does matter, but more important is how well I played overall, and playing the style I want to play, not just pushing to win, or dinking to win, or just lobbing to win.
    If I mishit a ball for a clean winner, there is no smile from my heart.
     
    #11
  12. IA-SteveB

    IA-SteveB Professional

    Joined:
    Jun 6, 2012
    Messages:
    1,087
    Location:
    Iowa
    As long as I have fun and don't beat myself then I am satisfied. I don't excel at tennis like I do in other sports, so I don't put much stock in winning or losing.
     
    #12
  13. tdhawks

    tdhawks Semi-Pro

    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2012
    Messages:
    427
    If I win, great. If I lose, I'm generally pretty pissed off and it motivates me to not lose again.
     
    #13
  14. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2008
    Messages:
    37,247
    Location:
    East side of San Francisco Bay
    I just don't see how winning or losing can be all that important an equation.
    Most times, I play against players a whole lot worse than me, and sometimes I'm the hopeless one.
    You competition has a say on the matter too, you know.
     
    #14
  15. dizzlmcwizzl

    dizzlmcwizzl Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Mar 24, 2010
    Messages:
    2,178
    Location:
    DE
    Curious Question:

    In a social match I generally do not care ... I have one friend I hate to lose to so against him that is my motivation. But against eveyone else, I just want to play well.

    In league matches it is a different story ...

    Last year I was probalbly the best player on our team and I knew that if I lost our team was in trouble .... so last year I was motivated by the fear of losing. I thought this attitude hampered me from getting better.

    This year I am probalbly the worst player on my team. Now I am motivated to improve .... I think this falls closer to the motivated by winning end of the spectrum rather than the motivated by losing end.
     
    #15
  16. beernutz

    beernutz Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2005
    Messages:
    4,427
    Location:
    expanding my Ignore List
    I think Fed has learned that he needs to lose earlier on clay rather than make it to the finals and then take a whipping from the clay GOAT.
     
    #16
  17. Bdarb

    Bdarb Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Jun 20, 2012
    Messages:
    1,536
    Location:
    New England
    I have to play to win. Playing to not lose to me sounds like being timid or tentative which is when I freeze up and hit doubles or alot of mishits. You practice playing hard to not do it in a match just seems counterintuitive, you're not doing what you've been practicing.

    Not to say that you can't let someone beat themselves, but I still would consider this playing to win.
     
    Last edited: Apr 25, 2013
    #17
  18. Bdarb

    Bdarb Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Jun 20, 2012
    Messages:
    1,536
    Location:
    New England
    I feel like when we're discussing winning and losing as "mattering" it is assumed that it's a competitive match where some importance is placed in winning. That being said I play more tennis matched that "don't matter" then ones that do. These at matches where winnin isn't even factored into the quality of tennis being played but other things like improving one aspect of your game or the outcome just plainly is inconsequential.
     
    #18
  19. gameboy

    gameboy Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Jul 10, 2009
    Messages:
    1,620
    I play to have fun, win or lose.
     
    #19
  20. LuckyR

    LuckyR Legend

    Joined:
    Jun 2, 2006
    Messages:
    6,404
    Location:
    The Great NW
    Good question. For me, I play to win. But Champions like Connors and Mac (and I bet a lot of others would agree) have an absolute hatred of losing. I believe it is a better motivator than wanting to win.
     
    #20
  21. dcdoorknob

    dcdoorknob Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Mar 14, 2010
    Messages:
    3,564
    When I first started playing USTA leagues, I would sometimes slip into a 'scared to lose' mentality, especially if I felt I *should* beat this particular opponent. I've mostly gotten over that though. It's rec tennis, I'll be fine either way.

    That's not to say I don't sometimes get internally agitated or frustrated when losing. I try to convert this into more focus and sometimes it works and I play better and maybe get back into the match. Of course, this just raises the question as to why I needed to be losing in order to find the level of focus necessary to play as well as I could, and I haven't come up with the answer to that one yet. :D

    Generally speaking though, in the tight moments, I'm going to go for my shots and try to execute as best as I can, which I guess would come down in the playing to win category?
     
    Last edited: Apr 25, 2013
    #21
  22. OrangePower

    OrangePower Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2007
    Messages:
    4,071
    Location:
    NorCal Bay Area
    Tennis nirvana lies along the middle path, grasshopper.
     
    #22
  23. bkpr

    bkpr Rookie

    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2012
    Messages:
    300
    Location:
    Houston, Texas
    For me it's this. If I hit one or two great shots those are the ones I remember and excitedly tell my wife about when I get home :)
    I wrote a little something about winning vs playing a little while ago. I still believe it even (or especially) now that I'm good enough to compete in our club's league matches.
     
    #23
  24. Relinquis

    Relinquis Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Dec 12, 2012
    Messages:
    4,335
    Location:
    On the courts; hard & clay ...
    deifnitly want to go down swinging... once, when down a set and a break i tried pushing instead of hitting "aggressive shots to a safe target"*... i lost and it hurt bad.... real bad... i promised myself, never again...

    ... never again!


    * sound advice imo and better than pushing
     
    #24
  25. dcdoorknob

    dcdoorknob Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Mar 14, 2010
    Messages:
    3,564
    It can be pretty annoying to be the doubles partner of someone who is mainly just trying to hit 1 or 2 great shots the whole match, though.
     
    #25
  26. Relinquis

    Relinquis Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Dec 12, 2012
    Messages:
    4,335
    Location:
    On the courts; hard & clay ...
    who's talkin' about doubles? for doubles you strategise after every point or two...

    can't really play defensive imo.
     
    #26
  27. HRB

    HRB Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2011
    Messages:
    1,533
    I play to feel the joy of aggressive, offensive minded tennis. I've lost many matches on my own UE's, but I've also won my share by hitting winners, and aces, and forcing my game and style on my opponent.

    I truly take no joy at all in winning by "surviving" my opponent or "hanging in there" and making less mistakes...that bores the hell out of me....I've done it, but would prefer being on the offensive.

    The stakes for me are nothing...there is no money involved and no career aspirations. On the other hand when my favorite players (Petra and Masha on the woman's side) stubbornly play the same way, and refuse to change their strategy...that is costly!

    I go to the court to experience the joy of being involved in some awesome fast paced rallies...win or lose. If I leave on the losing end, with a sweat soaked shirt..great day. Conversely if I leave bone dry, not sore, not worked but I won...who cares, BORING!
     
    #27
  28. floridatennisdude

    floridatennisdude Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2012
    Messages:
    1,975
    I anyone is unsure of which they are in this scenario:

    Think back to your last match point in a close match. The style you played there defines what you are.
     
    #28
  29. Angle Queen

    Angle Queen Professional

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2010
    Messages:
    839
    Location:
    On the deuce side, looking to come in
    Spot on, Spot.

    But this is where I generally reside at the moment. Don't want to come in 2nd (see this week's SI cover).

    My last game/match point was a model of, well, consistency...keeping the ball comfortably in play, almost waiting for my opponent to make the error/choke. Sure, the rallies were just a bit longer than they'd been throughout the match, and I did move in when the opportunity was clear and hit a "winner" during the game...but I think that plan worked well for me. No butterflies and no errors.

    But I'll admit that's mostly my mentality to close-out a close match. During play, though, I definitely am willing to take chances and go for/set up the winner rather than merely slugging it out. In singles, that is. Doubles...is a whole other ball game. It depends so much on how I'm playing, how my partner is...as well as what the opponents are doing.

    Here's my overall philosophy though: play offense to win, defense to not lose. And if you don't know the difference, I can't really explain it to you.
     
    #29
  30. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

    Joined:
    Oct 1, 2005
    Messages:
    35,697
    For when the One Great Scorer comes
    To mark against your name,
    He writes - not that you won or lost -
    But how you played the Game.
     
    #30
  31. g4driver

    g4driver Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2009
    Messages:
    1,887
    Neither :

    When my team (or doubles partner) needs a win, and I/we are down in a match, I know that while physically my 25 to 27 year opponent may be vastly superior to me, mentally I am going to make him step up to beat me.

    I like winning when I am not suppose to win, or at the very least making my opponent know he was fortunate to get the win - that I left everything on the court with no regret
     
    #31
  32. anubis

    anubis Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Mar 2, 2012
    Messages:
    3,032
    When I enter into a match, I always begin with the assumption that my chances of winning are 50/50. I try my hardest to keep that frame of mind, even if I lose the first set. that way, I never really feel like I have absolutely no chance at all.
     
    #32
  33. The Isomotion31

    The Isomotion31 Semi-Pro

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2013
    Messages:
    489
    Location:
    The Bay Area, California
    Ironically I was never did well when I was younger and had the win win win mentality and the hate to losing.

    Now with the just want to have some fun win or lose, win would be fun but a loss is not the end of the world I am doing much better in the sport.
     
    #33
  34. dlam

    dlam Rookie

    Joined:
    Aug 3, 2010
    Messages:
    380


    this a I agree, good summery.
     
    #34
  35. kiki

    kiki Banned

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2010
    Messages:
    18,714
    Chris Evert once said:" I hate losing more than I love winning"

    thanks , daddy
     
    #35
  36. PrestigeDave45

    PrestigeDave45 Rookie

    Joined:
    May 31, 2012
    Messages:
    226
    Location:
    Western Europe
    I like Jeff Greenwalds theory on process tennis. Playing to always improve my game as opposed to my ranking be it nationally or in club quarters.
    I said I like it! However I cant say I actually live it though sometimes I do.
    In team competitions I hate to lose. Playing indivdual tournaments, i really dont care who wins or loses.
    As a returning player I dont allow myself the luxury of disappointment. Hopefully I can retain this.
     
    #36
  37. NLBwell

    NLBwell Legend

    Joined:
    Jun 18, 2004
    Messages:
    7,166
    What matters to me is how well I played.
     
    #37
  38. heninfan99

    heninfan99 Legend

    Joined:
    Oct 17, 2008
    Messages:
    7,862
    Yeah and as I get older I feel lucky to just be out there, not worrying about anything but just grooving on tennis. Just a few years ago I definitely wanted to win and was serious but still loved hitting a great shot when I could.

    This is probably why I love watching the Dog, Gasquet and Fognini --they don't always win but you have a good chance of seeing some shot making --beautiful or crazy tennis.

     
    Last edited: May 1, 2013
    #38
  39. RogueFLIP

    RogueFLIP Semi-Pro

    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2013
    Messages:
    797
    I guess just a fun, competitive match really.

    I've played well and lost but had no regrets.

    I've played like garbage and still won, but would feel bad afterwards bc I played poorly.

    Playing like garbage and losing doesn't help the confidence, lol.

    Playing well and winning, well I guess that's always the best feeling, no?

    I don't play with teams, but I've always been a team player in other sports, so as long as the team wins....
     
    #39
  40. TomT

    TomT Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Jun 20, 2012
    Messages:
    1,954
    Location:
    Fort Lauderdale, FL
    I don't see any difference. Winning = Not Losing.

    As for what primarily motivates any particular person to compete in, and want to improve in, tennis, well, that might be a bit more complicated.

    The primary motivator for me to get out on the court to compete or practice is, I think, the desire and expectation of playing well. The possibility of winning is part of it also. It feels good to win, especially when it's accompanied by a feeling that I played as well as I could.

    Then there's the fact that I just feel physically (and therefore mentally and emotionally) better when I regularly get out on the courts.
     
    #40

Share This Page