why does it all fall apart in a match

Discussion in 'Tennis Tips/Instruction' started by iplaybetter, Mar 27, 2008.

  1. iplaybetter

    iplaybetter Hall of Fame

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    why is it that we work so hard and drill so much only to be let down in our matches, anyone one else have this happen
     
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  2. Gee Willikers Batman!

    Gee Willikers Batman! Professional

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    Not enough match experience = nerves.
     
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  3. iplaybetter

    iplaybetter Hall of Fame

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    its not nerves, but after how many losses have you got the experience i am sorta getting tired of this
     
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  4. user92626

    user92626 Legend

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    I agree with Batman. It's better to be described as nerves.

    You can't say how many loses because some guys will get over by, say 10 loses, but others will take 100 or never. Who knows.
     
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  5. Babb

    Babb Professional

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    I'm with you man. Sometimes I just can't take what I learn from practice into my matches. But I think it's all mental. That's why I need to stop talking about it since I have a tourney Saturday.
     
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  6. iplaybetter

    iplaybetter Hall of Fame

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    this is not an issue with anyone else, no one else has trouble executing their shots its matches, i am alone on an island
     
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  7. TonyB

    TonyB Hall of Fame

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    It's not nerves. It's because drilling is not the same as match play.

    In drills, you're not trying to put pressure on your opponent, and he's not trying to put pressure on you.

    In match play, you're both trying to BEAT the other guy, which means you sometimes take more chances and it also means that you are subject to being "worked over" by your opponent. In drills, he doesn't hit power forehands to the corners, so you don't practice those shots. But in match play, you have to contend with ALL types of shots, many of which you haven't seen before.

    It all depends on your game and how well you match up with your opponent. If he does things repeatedly that make you uncomfortable, you will probably not win. And if he's smart, he'll KEEP doing those things until you change your game... which it doesn't sound like you're doing.

    The only real solution is to keep playing matches so your game becomes more adaptive and you can adjust better to shots that are outside of your comfort zone. Unless you're playing REAL points during your drills, you will not get that experience until you get into a match.
     
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  8. iplaybetter

    iplaybetter Hall of Fame

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    i am constanly trying to improve an adapt my game at the same time, i don't see why the other person has to be the one i am reacting to, shouldest i be able to turn it around?
     
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  9. AceofBase

    AceofBase Rookie

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    Yeap, just needed more match set up or play a friendly match or either just nerves like everybody say! Practice with someone first and then play a quick 1 set game or so. About an half an hour practice and then a set should help you and your parnter get pump up for the match. Best way, is to set up is who ever loses treat the winner out, so that you know you wont be nerves and would know to do you best to win no matter what! Work all the time, who wouldnt want to lose and treat out!
     
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  10. FedererISBetter

    FedererISBetter Rookie

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    Work so hard in drills but do not apply them to match games? I used to do that and that got fustrating... but its wayy better now
     
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  11. dave333

    dave333 Hall of Fame

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    Same problem here, I wish I did the USTA travel team and got some more match experience under my belt. Now the peers that did it are much better during the match, while during the drills we all look the same.
     
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  12. iplaybetter

    iplaybetter Hall of Fame

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    so what did you do

    ps its not nerves
     
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  13. Djokovicfan4life

    Djokovicfan4life Legend

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    Uhhhh, I wish that were the case, but the truth is, we all go through pretty much the same thing as you do.
     
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  14. azn_tomato

    azn_tomato Rookie

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    I usually completely relax and don't really treat the match too seriously, not that i slack off, but it does help.
    Like if i miss a point, i don't really think on it and i just keep playing.
     
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  15. TonyB

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    It depends on your ability to go on the offensive. If you cannot gain control of the point, then you will always have to react to your opponent.

    Not to sound like a jerk, but from your questions, it seems obvious that you are not in control of the points most of the time, so you should not be surprised that you are reacting or defending with your shots rather than dictating play.

    Just because you improve your strokes doesn't mean that you know how to strategize and construct points. You have to find ways to direct your strengths against your opponent's weaknesses and develop the points with that in mind. Just randomly bashing balls into the open court just isn't going to cut it most of the time unless your opponent is at a lower level than you.
     
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  16. Hokiez

    Hokiez Rookie

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    More match play will help drastically. I lost 2 matches in a league that plays 10 game pro-sets my first year out after being up 8-2 and 8-1 against people I had no business losing to.

    I don't know that I would describe it as nerves as much as just lack of match "toughness". Until you've played a competitive one on one sport, at the end it takes some time to learn how to close out matches and not get tentative. Playing not to lose is a drastically different game than playing to win.

    Drills have no pressure, matches to. In drills you have no hope the opponent will lose the match for you, in matches adopting that strategy of hoping for mistakes results in less than confident play = losses.
     
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  17. iplaybetter

    iplaybetter Hall of Fame

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    i have offensive shots, i like to hit them, but for some reason i ca not hit them, my dads philosophy is not helping either
     
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  18. TonyB

    TonyB Hall of Fame

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    Well, quite honestly, I don't know if ANYONE can help you with that, let alone some random people on a message forum.

    I suppose people can take wild guesses at the answer, but if you're telling us that you HAVE offensive shots, but just can't HIT them, how are we supposed to respond to that? I mean, if that's true, then it must be in your head, not your physical ability. Therefore it would be either nerves, match play, shot selection, or concentration, or other mental barriers.
     
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  19. iplaybetter

    iplaybetter Hall of Fame

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    so lets say it is a mental barrier that is not nerves, it could be any of the others you listed how would i solve that
     
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  20. iplaybetter

    iplaybetter Hall of Fame

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    also let me add all that my threads asking for help ever amount ti is repetitive bashing of invalid points and little or no productive input let alone the help i am looking for
     
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  21. Djokovicfan4life

    Djokovicfan4life Legend

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    Well, if it really is all in your head then there's little we can say to help you, having never seen your game in person.
     
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  22. iplaybetter

    iplaybetter Hall of Fame

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    what have you all done to combat similar problems
     
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  23. Jackie T. Stephens

    Jackie T. Stephens Professional

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    That use to happen to me, just keep practicing and don't give up.
     
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  24. Djokovicfan4life

    Djokovicfan4life Legend

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    Like everything else it just comes from lots of practice. If you find yourself getting tight on all your shots then you need to play more matches and try not to worry so much.
     
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  25. Jackie T. Stephens

    Jackie T. Stephens Professional

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    What do you mean by tight?
     
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  26. Djokovicfan4life

    Djokovicfan4life Legend

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    Overly careful. Afraid to go for your shots.
     
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  27. iplaybetter

    iplaybetter Hall of Fame

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    i feel that
     
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  28. Final_Match_Point

    Final_Match_Point Semi-Pro

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    Its nerves. If youve never played another competitive sport, you might not really know what exactly nerves are.

    Nerves are anything that keeps you from performing because of the situation. Your feeling tight? It may be because your nervous about performing, not wanting to go for shots and having the person lose the point rather than you winning it.

    If you've been losing constantly that probably hasnt helped. It only made you more afraid to go for shots.

    You need a combination of more drilling, and more experience winning.
     
    #28
  29. montx

    montx Professional

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    One thing I'd like to share with you.

    Very often when you are drilling you are preparing to return shots that are predictable and look good.

    I could bet that if you played a solid pusher you would have issues. Why?

    Because you forget that in combat or the game, part of your training goes out the window and you got to deal with the reality of whats coming at you.

    A pusher can move you out of your comfort zone without you even knowing it. Ever had to finish off a short ball but fail? Ever get pulled to the net and mess up a volley? Stuff like that you got to be aware of. Tennis brings to mind a great deal of different awarenesses and you got to open your eyes and say ok whats going on here? But you got to answer the question.
     
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  30. FedererISBetter

    FedererISBetter Rookie

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    lol, i took cell biology to overcome nerves , jk jk jk. A good way to start is the attitude of change lol. I hate change, especially when it comes to overheads. Theres always some small stuff to change that will make your stroke mechanism more consistant, etc etc. So the mentality of practicing with a purpose, try that "risky" shot you been practicing out on a game will be a great experience... even though you can prob win or get away with it. Like I remember I never take overheads on the air because its always so windy here and also that I suck at timing it, and I can most of the time put it away when it bounces. However, I did sacifice 3-4 months of crappy overheads by taking them on the air. And now, it feels great lol, thank god that was 4-5 years ago.

    ps. maybe some nerves? lol
     
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  31. quest01

    quest01 Hall of Fame

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    Practice is very important. I won my match yesterday 6-1, 3-6, 6-4.

    My opponent was serving at 4-5 and I quickly went up to make it 0-40 to give me 3 match points then he won the next two points to make it 30-40, and then I finished off the match on the next point.
     
    Last edited: Mar 27, 2008
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  32. MLtennis

    MLtennis Rookie

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    I'd like to add a question to this thread - hopefully it will help the OP and myself with this issue.

    Why when I drill to work on something (currently working on extending through the forehand for consistency and power) that is all about creating a more repeatable shot, does it all go to heck when I play against a completely different pace player?

    I worked yesterday for 90 minutes, mainly on my forehand. I was mainly focused on hitting out in front of me and from low to high - with my arm extending through the shot to the "read your watch" position. I sincerely was making good progress and didn't hit many shots long or wide. This was against a player who was better than me by half a point (3.0 vs 3.5) who had good pace and gave me one harder ball followed by one floater, and repeat.

    Then I played in a doubles match 2 hours later. Now it was all 3.0's and the pace was completely gone. Nothing but higher floaters and I couldn't hit a forehand to save my life. I quickly went into frantic mode and slowed down which caused me to hit into the net. What a mess!! I've been closing in on a 3.5 rating quickly, but man, when this happened I felt like a 2.5.

    Any suggestions? Just need more experience? Ball machine work? I know that 4.5s and above wouldn't be bothered by this at all, is this because of experience or better grooved swings or both?
     
    #32
  33. Pusher

    Pusher Professional

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    If I had the answer I would make a fortune. But I think the simplest answers are more likely to be correct.

    I've played about hundred tournament matches and watched my son, a ranked junior, play maybe twice that number. Win or lose we both try to figure out what went right and what went wrong. This is what we have found, just a few simple thoughts while playing:

    - If your groundstrokes aren't working then look down at your feet for the answer. When you get tight or nervous the footwork will fail you. If you are missing shots then get aggressive with your footwork. Balance is the key to tennis and you can't have it without good footwork.

    -If your serve is not working then concentrate on your ball toss. Of all the variables involved in the serve it is the ball toss that is most likely to fail when under pressure.

    While playing a match its best to keep the self diagnosis very simple as tennis is basically a simple game. Hope this helps.
     
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  34. Pusher

    Pusher Professional

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    Forget about technique for a while.

    Hitting balls with no pace or a lot of pace-the key issue is always the same-its the footwork. On floaters it becomes even more important to keep your feet moving until you begin to move forward into the shot. You can't maintain balance when trying to hit a moving target if your feet aren't moving.
     
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  35. Djokovicfan4life

    Djokovicfan4life Legend

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    Pusher got it 100% right. Good footwork will fix 99.99% of all stroke problems, believe it or not. Problem is, this is not always fun to do, so you've got to work hard and hustle on the court.
     
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  36. my_forehand

    my_forehand Professional

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    For me, I just let everything go. Don't need to play it "safe."

    In practice, playing all-out means you can hit UE's and all. And it won't matter.
    In a match, it does.
     
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  37. Djokovicfan4life

    Djokovicfan4life Legend

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    Remember to prepare early for those sitters with good footwork. Most people, like myself, tend to get lazy when I get a floater.
     
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  38. iplaybetter

    iplaybetter Hall of Fame

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    i was a nationally ranked climber,i know what nerves are these are not nerves
     
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  39. Tempest344

    Tempest344 Professional

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    Nerves......happens to everyone

    also doing drills means you are getting the ball in your comfort zone plus you are going to be more relaxed

    in a match this is the opposite
     
    #39
  40. Moz

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    I have a theory that I'd like to share.

    When you get into a match you focus on winning the point, the score and tactics. When you are drilling you focus on how you are hitting the ball and maybe on specific things you are trying to change. If you can hit the shots in practice you can hit the shots in a match. What changes is the noise in your head!

    In a match try and concentrate on the ball and only the ball. Too often we are still thinking about the previous point or missed shot and letting it affect how we hit the ball in the next point. Or we are too pre-occupied with the score before the point that we are half thinking about that. Or we are too mentally focused on strategy in every shot.

    When you are preparing to start the point you can think about the score and how that dictates your strategy (conservative / attack backhand etc). That's the last time in the point you think about the score and overall strategy. As the ball is going over the net to your opponent you can think (briefly) about small strategic adjustments (he's vulnerable to a wrong footing shot now). As the ball is coming back to you watch the ball, focus on the ball and think of nothing else. From here on in the good habits developed in practice should be allowed to take over.

    If you do this I am fairly confident, once you get rid of the match-related "noise", you'll be nailing these shots.

    I don't think this is a problem specific to offensive shots but it's just that it's more noticeable on offensive shots. This is because the outcome of offensive shots (and therefore feedback from) is usually more immediate; ie you hit a winner, they pass you, you net it.

    The fact is we don't notice it on rally balls because we don't concentrate properly on rally balls because we have a comfortable margin for error which allows us not to concentrate on those balls.

    So....adopt this level of concentration on every ball, along with the necessary excellent footwork. Then your practice efforts will be more accurately replicated in a match situation and your offensive shots will result in more "kills" and your normal rally balls will be hit with more venom and emotional intensity.

    Hope this helps. Report back.
     
    #40
  41. iplaybetter

    iplaybetter Hall of Fame

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    ^^^^^^^^
    thanks ill try it today in my match agains the big G, one of the better teams i the area
     
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  42. Djokovicfan4life

    Djokovicfan4life Legend

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    Good Luck! Just don't hold back!
     
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  43. iplaybetter

    iplaybetter Hall of Fame

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    thank, i have resolved to just play my game and remove notions of pleasing my fathers sence of what tennis is
     
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  44. smoothtennis

    smoothtennis Hall of Fame

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    Moz - once agian a great post.

    Let me join two things together here if I may for thought.

    Pusher is right about footwork - and somebody else talked about drills being non-competitive.

    Something huge I noticed with formal group drills, are that the feeds are just so easy to hit. I can literally set up and crush drill feeds. But in a match, two things are now very different.

    1. The pace and spin on the ball is not like the drill feeds we get without pace or spin. This leads to a gap in skill of recognition of pace, spin, depth, trajectory and angle. It can be a big gap for some.
    2. Footwork - Pusher is dead on with his statements here. So why is footwork so bad in a match, yet fine in a drill? The set up feed thats why.

    Footwork, and ball recognition are a very real SKILL. In a match on EVERY POINT, you have to:

    1. Recognize the spin, pace, depth, trajectory and angle of the ball.
    2. MOVE to the ball and SETUP.

    If these two are not executed and understood just as well as your groundstrokes, then you aren't going to get to hit that nice drill-grooved ground stroke. That is the bottom line. That car 'aint going nowhere without some wheels, brakes, and steering.

    So apart from drilling, have some practice sessions where you rally with different paces and spins. Your only job is the move quickly to the ball set up and adjust your stroke to the 'recognition' factors I mentioned...then hit the ball. Take note of the effect, and adjust next time.
     
    #44
  45. madmanfool

    madmanfool Semi-Pro

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    Basically you have two groups of people. You got those people who look awful when practicing. Their strokes are a mess and they can't hit a forehand in court to save their life. But when playing a match they excell and are bloody hard to beat. Then you got the other group, their strokes look beautiful. Piece of art almost. But when they play a match it falls apart and they lose to people they feel they shouldn't lose to because they're much better in their own eyes. What i think the second group should realise, is that they are not as good as they think. Now i don't know if you fall under that catagory (i can only take a wild guess sitting on my lazy shair behind my pc here) and it's probably no fun to hear. But the reason i'm bringing this up is that by simply accepting it you take a big step forward.

    Second, i think, you got to keep in mind that a match is simply said a lot hard than a drill excercise. In fact drills should be kept simple on purpose. You should get the same balls fed to you and hit the same shot (combinations) over and over so you can actually work on the things you're working on. But unfortunately a match isn't like that. You're going to get all sort of balls. Take the serve as well. In a match every points includes a serve, but don't think all your drill exercises do. Basically a match has much more variables to acount to, it's also more random. Usually, like already mentioned the footwork is the first thing to go away. Your mindset is probably also a lot different in practice than in matches. During practice you might be thinking about your strokes or even better not be thinking about anything. In the match you could be thinking about the scores, about how you have to win, etc.. But also ask yoursef this: do you analyse anything during a match? Do you know why you are losing the points or do you making the same mistakes over and over? Are you aware of what's happening during the match itself?
     
    #45
  46. Mansewerz

    Mansewerz Legend

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    I'm the same way. My first match of the season is tomorrow, but during practice I can hit the ball pretty well or decent. Then we get into practice matches and i mess up easy points. The biggest problem is with the serves. I can't get any pace on my serves during practice matches, but I can get better pace during practice serves. I hope I can just start doing better in practice so that I can get a good spot on the team for the season and a good partner.
     
    #46
  47. iplaybetter

    iplaybetter Hall of Fame

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    i played an epic match but lost today
     
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  48. Mansewerz

    Mansewerz Legend

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    I'm gonna do my best to follow what Moz and Pusher mentioned, that's probably why i'm messing up. Also, I may be a little too overconfident. If I play more humbly, I'll probably feel a lot better.
     
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  49. Moz

    Moz Hall of Fame

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    Were you pleased with they way you executed? What worked for you? What didn't?

    Unlucky...what was the score?
     
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  50. iplaybetter

    iplaybetter Hall of Fame

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    acutaly yes
    the first set was lost in a tie break 10-8
    but i came back from 2-5 to get there, the second i lost by one break
     
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