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Old 09-08-2012, 07:23 PM   #54
Cindysphinx's Avatar
Join Date: Aug 2006
Posts: 15,064

Originally Posted by wihamilton View Post
Glad we've been able to help Cindy. Nice work improving so much!

My experience has led me to a different conclusion than the one you reached. When you play a match, it's all about finding a way to win. You can do that with superior strokes. Superior strategy. Superior mental game. You can cheat, although I wouldn't recommend this last one!

I really think the mechanics-only approach is counterproductive. It often leads to the wrong mindset. How many of you out there have played a match where you weren't playing well and, as a result, you concluded it wasn't your day, conceded on some level mentally, and lost?

My guess is every single one of you reading this. I certainly have.

I have a concept called "The Broken Racket." Theblueark, I'm sure you're familiar with it. I teach it in Tennis Ninja.

Awhile back I was playing a buddy of mine. Very good player. I was up 4 - 2 in the final set of our match when I broke the strings in my last racket. Had to borrow one of his.

I hate his racket. Feels like a two-by-four. I spent the next few games golfing balls into the back fence. It was really, really ugly.

I was about to give up. "Hey, it's not my day. I'm playing terribly because of this racket. I've got a good excuse. I can lose this one."

But that's not what the good tennis players do. They don't look for reasons to justify why they're losing. They find a way to win.

So I proceeded to go full counterpuncher mode (arguably pushing off my forehand side - it was really tough to keep the ball in!). Backed up several feet and just made sure I retrieved everything. My buddy missed a few shots and got a little frustrated, probably in part because I was doing OK with his racket. Went to a tiebreaker and I ended up edging him out.

So now whenever I feel like it's not my day I always think about "The Broken Racket." Strokes aren't the only reason you win a match, and you shouldn't tie your fortunes to them. There are plenty of ways to win.

Hope that helps!

Well, OK.

I do not think you can ever win a match using "superior strategy" if your mechanics are poor.

Maybe we have different definitions of terms like "strategy"?

To me, strategy means selecting shots and patterns of play that are in some way to your advantage or your opponent's detriment. Maybe another way to look at it more generically is that strategy is finding ways to put your opponent under additional pressure or in awkward positions, thereby causing them to miss before you do.

With that definition, fitness and mechanics are the whole enchilada. If you see that the best strategy to beat a particular lefty in singles is to serve wide in the deuce court and then redirect the next shot into the open court, that's great. If you lack a solid serve out wide and the ability to change direction or hit on the rise, that strategy simply is not available to you. If you paid money to study that strategy, I personally don't think you got anything for the money.

I know there is not universal agreement on what I'm saying, and there was a time that I believed in studying strategy before my mechanics allowed me to execute it. I've kind of changed my mind.

That said, I am not an expert, a teaching pro or even a high-level player. So hey. I might be wrong.
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