Originally Posted by Mongolmike
Yeah, but as you know, attempting the right shot in a tense/important moment and executing that shot well is the crux if you are the type that gets tight.
Having the the technique or ability to pull off the shot, muscle memory from having practiced and done that shot before, knowledge that occasionally you will plain miss that shot and that doesn't mean you are tight, and confidence that you can hit the shot without swinging max swing.... those are some of the factors to beat the butterflies.
Kind of like its your serve for match point, and you have an average serve... but because it is match point you decide to try to rip a flat serve out wide (because the opponent won't be expecting that!). Problem is, that isn't a serve in your repetoire, you don't really practice it much, and you haven't tried it all match. Chances are you will miss it, now you put pressure on yourself to not double fault and not set up a powder puff 2nd serve to go back to deuce.
This is why I feel that match experience is 10x more valuable than actual strokes. Strokes are tools, and match experience is the knowledge of what to do with what you have. If you have only your hands, you can beat up someone with a gun if they don't know how to use it (damn near impossible, but still).
Attempting the first shot requires first the knowledge of what is the right shot, then the courage to hit the shot, and finally the courage to hit the shot with everything you have (or at least a good chunk of it).
I feel like going for it for several matches, but going for the right targets, will help in the long run even if it costs you every single one of those matches. You need to be comfortable with your swing under pressure, and that means going for it. Back when I was scared of my serve, I always went for it, double fault or not. Eventually, the double faults lessened, and damn near disappeared. Right now, I'm working on doing the same for groundstrokes. You will miss some shots eventually, even if you "should never miss" them. We're human, we're imperfect. Even if we practiced as much as professionals, we will occasionally miss easy, routine shots. Even if we WERE professionals, we will occasionally miss easy, routine shots. Otherwise, nobody would double fault. Unforced errors wouldn't exist. Ideally, yes, we should eliminate these errors entirely. But if we did that, we would not be hitting the stroke as well as we could and should, which gives an opportunity to our opponents to take the SMALL risk that we couldn't bear to take, and rip that winner past us. I remember reading once that if you never double faulted, you're not going for enough on your second serve, though you still wanted to keep the number low (which is assisted by having a high first serve percentage). The same could be said for your groundstrokes. Yes, we want to always make it in, but if we want to take advantage of an opening, we can't be afraid to swing for it. Trust your mechanics, and take a full cut, every time. You're better off attacking the ball than giving it to your opponent and praying. Full swing, lots of height, lots of spin, lots of racket head speed. If you're not getting the ball to drop fast enough, get some good poly strings.