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-   -   Are Tennis Players More Delusional About Their Abilities Than Other People? (http://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/showthread.php?t=458469)

Cindysphinx 03-22-2013 09:12 AM

Are Tennis Players More Delusional About Their Abilities Than Other People?
 
It happened again.

I was watching a friend finish a doubles match, going down in a blizzard of UEs to a lower-rated team. Today, we talked about the match.

Yes, you guessed it. Her own take on how well/poorly she was playing bore little resemblance to the truth as I saw it, and her take on what was wrong and how to fix it was way off the mark.

Are tennis players unusual in this way?

I was thinking back to my days of trying to learn piano as an adult. I stank. I knew I stank. I knew this because the pieces I could play were simpler, I made more mistakes, I had to play more slowly, and no one was moved to tears (for the right reasons, anyway).

Why is it that the piano player knows she stinks but the tennis player does not?

Is the issue that tennis players have NTRP rating to validate them? In other words, does NTRP allow people to deny the truth?

See, I would think it would be much easier to deny the cold, hard truth of one's lack of talent in piano playing rather than tennis. There is no objective measure of what is good in piano; there is much subjectivity. In tennis, there are all sorts of objective measures -- chiefly the score.

Yet Tennis Skillz Denial is a plague. How come?

Overdrive 03-22-2013 09:38 AM

Tennis isn't the only sport that requires intense focus.It just boils down on pressure.

If your friend was playing in a social match, I bet she wouldn't make UEs as much because nothing is at stake.

She just have to learn to develop have a stronger mental fortitude and move on. :)

Angle Queen 03-22-2013 09:39 AM

Sorry, Cindy. I don't see the two as analogous. In tennis, your opponent is actively seeking your downfall and it's easy to play the blame game: my opponent was in The Zone/got lucky, the sun was in my eyes, blah, blah, blah. Well, just about anything except, oh my...I guess it really was me.

Pianos don't intentionally try to screw with you playing a concerto. And anyone who's remotely "musical" (at least enough to want to learn to play an instrument), will instantly know if they're "off" (pitch, tempo, etc.). For us tennis players, points/games/matches can be won (many times, I think) on our opponent's errors...so it's sometimes hard to know if I won because I played well, they played poorly or, more likely, some combination of the two.

But to your particular friend's scenario, the biggest mistakes I'm seeing in closing out the match (be they mine or other) are outright nerves, deviating from The Game Plan that's worked and....a proclivity to go for too much when it's clearly not necessary.

I've no delusions. At the end of every match, I'm gonna shake my opponent's hand, get back in my car and go home to the same house with the same amount of money in my wallet (albeit a bit less gas in the tank, literally and figuratively). I am a recreational hack, prone to errors in technique, strategy and overall execution. Better than some, worse than a whole lot more. However, I doubt I'll find too many others who'll have more fun at it than I will. :)

breezybee 03-22-2013 09:39 AM

Well one difference is that you probably weren't competing against anyone on the piano so you didn't exactly have any losses to explain.

I prefer to tell people I suck at tennis. Then when I win it's a bonus! Seriously though, when someone asks me why I lost a match I usually state that the other player was better than me rather than list a bunch of excuses for the match but I do hear a lot of people rationalizing their loss.

ohplease 03-22-2013 09:57 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Angle Queen (Post 7295316)
Sorry, Cindy. I don't see the two as analogous. In tennis, your opponent is actively seeking your downfall and it's easy to play the blame game: my opponent was in The Zone/got lucky, the sun was in my eyes, blah, blah, blah. Well, just about anything except, oh my...I guess it really was me.

Pianos don't intentionally try to screw with you playing a concerto. And anyone who's remotely "musical" (at least enough to want to learn to play an instrument), will instantly know if they're "off" (pitch, tempo, etc.). For us tennis players, points/games/matches can be won (many times, I think) on our opponent's errors...so it's sometimes hard to know if I won because I played well, they played poorly or, more likely, some combination of the two.

But to your particular friend's scenario, the biggest mistakes I'm seeing in closing out the match (be they mine or other) are outright nerves, deviating from The Game Plan that's worked and....a proclivity to go for too much when it's clearly not necessary.

I've no delusions. At the end of every match, I'm gonna shake my opponent's hand, get back in my car and go home to the same house with the same amount of money in my wallet (albeit a bit less gas in the tank, literally and figuratively). I am a recreational hack, prone to errors in technique, strategy and overall execution. Better than some, worse than a whole lot more. However, I doubt I'll find too many others who'll have more fun at it than I will. :)


This. The ability of opponents to make you look bad is not constant. And our own ability to win (vs. merely collect) points also depends on the opponent. So having any real sense of how you're doing is tough.

Cindysphinx 03-22-2013 09:59 AM

AQ, there is also another difference with piano v. tennis.

In the study of a musical instrument, most people take instruction. You don't often see an adult pick up a cello and start dragging a bow across the strings. Usually, novice music students get some form of instruction.

There is a common base of knowledge in music as well. You won't find pianists who disagree on what the key of F is.

In tennis, there is a lot of bad do-it-yourself learning. By that I do not mean "failure to take lessons from a pro." I mean people who simply do not bother to learn basic things like the correct grip or footwork, whether on their own or with a pro.

For example, one thing I observed in my friend's match was that they frequently missed or pushed softballs that should have been put-aways (remember, they were playing two lower-rated players). This is because they are used to blocking back volleys using the pace the opponent provides without transferring weight. Once the opponent was not giving pace, the failure to transfer meant volleys were missed or were sitters that could be lobbed or directed for easy winners.

Why is that so hard for the person hitting the bad volleys to see? I mean, if I play a match and my lower-rated opponents are hitting winners off of my finishing shots, I would know I was doing something very wrong.

Nellie 03-22-2013 10:07 AM

I do notice the many players have a selective memory (remembering the winner while reforgetting the 20 something unforced errors hit while trying to make that winner).

tennismonkey 03-22-2013 10:13 AM

AQ + breezybee = 2 players who just get it and have the right attitude. this is like finding a unicorn and the loch ness monster in the same place. i am buying a lottery ticket tonight.

AtomicForehand 03-22-2013 10:14 AM

Cindy, a lot of people have poor technique when playing instruments (or especially singing!) as well.

You can play a very mediocre, low-level concert of easy pieces with bad technique just like you can play a crappy 3.0 match.

There are lots of parallels between tennis and music, actually. :)

sureshs 03-22-2013 10:52 AM

Piano players are not (usually) directly competing against someone else

TheCheese 03-22-2013 10:54 AM

I think a lot of people are delusional about their abilities in general.

sureshs 03-22-2013 10:55 AM

I have a better backhand than Federer

Overdrive 03-22-2013 11:08 AM

But I would honestly want to get better than have fun. Sure you can have the best of both worlds, but not in all locations. :neutral:

If I wanted to have fun, I'd just hang out with friends... But I'm at the courts for a reason.. :mad:

I don't know, maybe if some of you people would be in my shoes you would understand. So, it's hard to explain from posting on a tennis forum.

Clive Walker 03-22-2013 11:10 AM

I have a feeling that Tennis can draw some similarities with Golf here- even the average 20 handicapper, can play a hole or two at pro standard, -The drive is long, down the middle of the fairway, the approach lands on the green, and the putt just happens to drop. He then walks to the next tee, feeling like a million dollars only to shank his next tee shot and end up with a 9.

To bring this analogy in line with tennis- your average club player can hit a big serve into either corner, and follow it in with a perfect low volley to the back of the court, followed by a perfect overhead winner. he then serves 2 doubles, and hits the back fence with an easy forehand putaway.

When talking about the match in the bar afterwards, he recalls the perfect point wistfully, and points out the UE in frustration- why can't he produce his best all of the time?

It's not so much about being delusional about their abilities, but unrealistic in their ability to produce their best tennis time and time again.

The highest standard of tennis I have seen (outside of the pros) was not about huge hitting, or massive serves, but about doing everything very, very solidly. -

J_R_B 03-22-2013 11:31 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Angle Queen (Post 7295316)
Sorry, Cindy. I don't see the two as analogous. In tennis, your opponent is actively seeking your downfall and it's easy to play the blame game: my opponent was in The Zone/got lucky, the sun was in my eyes, blah, blah, blah. Well, just about anything except, oh my...I guess it really was me.

Pianos don't intentionally try to screw with you playing a concerto. And anyone who's remotely "musical" (at least enough to want to learn to play an instrument), will instantly know if they're "off" (pitch, tempo, etc.). For us tennis players, points/games/matches can be won (many times, I think) on our opponent's errors...so it's sometimes hard to know if I won because I played well, they played poorly or, more likely, some combination of the two.

But to your particular friend's scenario, the biggest mistakes I'm seeing in closing out the match (be they mine or other) are outright nerves, deviating from The Game Plan that's worked and....a proclivity to go for too much when it's clearly not necessary.

I've no delusions. At the end of every match, I'm gonna shake my opponent's hand, get back in my car and go home to the same house with the same amount of money in my wallet (albeit a bit less gas in the tank, literally and figuratively). I am a recreational hack, prone to errors in technique, strategy and overall execution. Better than some, worse than a whole lot more. However, I doubt I'll find too many others who'll have more fun at it than I will. :)

My piano definitely intentionally plays the wrong notes when I try to play it.

max 03-22-2013 12:10 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Nellie (Post 7295369)
I do notice the many players have a selective memory (remembering the winner while reforgetting the 20 something unforced errors hit while trying to make that winner).

For me, I so enjoy the feel of a well-struck ball in the sweetspot that it's easy to disregard the shanked junk.

Topaz 03-22-2013 12:33 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Angle Queen (Post 7295316)

Pianos don't intentionally try to screw with you playing a concerto.


Ahahahaha, I don't know, I minored in piano, and I'm pretty sure a piano or two, not to mention my clarinet (my major) totally had it in for me some days!


Quote:

Originally Posted by AtomicForehand (Post 7295387)
Cindy, a lot of people have poor technique when playing instruments (or especially singing!) as well.

You can play a very mediocre, low-level concert of easy pieces with bad technique just like you can play a crappy 3.0 match.

There are lots of parallels between tennis and music, actually. :)

Unfortunately, a lot of those singers with bad technique get paid millions of dollars to do that...*cry*.

Hopefully, someone playing 'easier' pieces that require less background/study get the same enjoyment out of playing as the person playing the 3.0 match with crappy technique. At the end of the day, that's pretty much all that matters.

kylebarendrick 03-22-2013 12:41 PM

We also have a tendency to to remember that screaming DTL winner much more clearly than the 10 attempts to go DTL that hit the net. It is definitely eye-opening to have a friend keep some basic stats during your match like 1st serve %, 2nd serve %, UE, winners.

corners 03-22-2013 01:00 PM

Pretty much everyone is delusional to some degree about pretty much everything.

mmk 03-22-2013 01:14 PM

Actually this is one of the reasons I quit playing doubles, I realized I was always blaming my partner rather than admitting that I was at least half of the problem. Playing singles I have no one to blame but myself for poor play.


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