Ever find yourself wondering why you dont play as well in matchplay as in practice?

Marshredder

Semi-Pro
This is one of the big things that bothers me. When im having a hit with a friend I can hit consistently, hard, accurately etc, but when im in matchplay, my shots fall apart a little bit. I can often feel what im doing wrong, not getting the contact point in front of me etc...

Then I just saw this great article.

www.tennisplayer.net/public/mentalg...practice/why_cant_i_play_practice_public.html

Some amazing points to work on for us that find ourselves in this dilemma!
 

ollinger

G.O.A.T.
Never wondered about that, as I thought it was pretty obvious. Did you not think that competitive tension was a harmful distraction?
 

JRstriker12

Hall of Fame
Not really, the answer is pretty obvious.... mental toughness (or lack of it) is a big factor in any competition.

That's a good article though +1 on the link.
 

OrangePower

Legend
Another factor at play (in addition to tension/mental) is footwork.

When you're having a hit with your friend, maybe he is not constructing points the way he would in a match - moving you around and so on. Much easier to be consistent when you're not constantly on the run, which requires really good footwork.

For me, whenever I find myself not playing in a match the way I'd like, most of the time if I make it a point to focus on my footwork I start playing better.
 

sureshs

Bionic Poster
Also stamina. It depends on what your practice is. If it is a casual thing wth frequent breaks and cell-phone checks, it is not preparing you for a real set.
 

gameboy

Hall of Fame
Sounds like a lot of psycho mumble-jumble to me bordering on a late-night infomercial for his services.
 

Sakkijarvi

Semi-Pro
Yup, there isn't so much 'science' needed, just get the difference between an experienced competitor and everyone else. Train the mind to calm down by playing competitively as often as possible so you get the experience needed to calm down.
 

The Matrix

New User
Lol this reminds me of a match I played a few days ago. When we warmed up we were ripping the ball but once it started...moonballing and slices.
 

Rjtennis

Hall of Fame
Sometimes i find that to be true, but other times I think I play better in actual matches. Once the addrenelin kick in I think it really helps me focus and play better tennis.
 

jdubbs

Hall of Fame
It's funny that this guy works with top pros but all the has beens and never was's on this board think it's bogus.
I learned a lot...good post. I never thought about how I feel when I hit a great shot.
 
It's funny that this guy works with top pros but all the has beens and never was's on this board think it's bogus.
I learned a lot...good post. I never thought about how I feel when I hit a great shot.

Yup, some good stuff there. Greenwald was #1 in the world in the 35's so he's at least been there. I imagine competing at a high level, is somewhat analogous to posting on a message board. I bet most people read but never post because it would expose them to all the slings and arrows of the WWB, possibly showing their weaknesses.
 
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Steady Eddy

Legend
When the pressure is off the court looks huge. It seems impossible to miss your shot. But when the pressure is on, either from yourself or from a crabby partner, you think, "What if it catches the tape?" or "What if it goes just out?" and sure enough, it catches the tape or goes just out, whichever you thought of. Don't take tennis too seriously, you'll get better results. Have fun while you play, and the points will take care of themselves.

Most of the time, anyhow. If once in a while, everything just misses, what then? Just forget about it. There'll be another day, and if you don't worry about it, you have a good streak to balance every cold streak.
 

jdubbs

Hall of Fame
I'm getting better at calming down during practice matches, and trying to go for my strokes more, experiment with things, etc.

It's the tournaments, where I've traveled a decent amount to get there, and I've put up a little money, where I get put out of my game. I tend to play more cautiously, which does rack up wins at my level (4.0), but will prevent me from "rising in the rankings" as it says in the article. My goal is to play, and really compete, at 4.5. So I've got to try to play a 4.5 game at the 4.0 level, which will mean probably losing some matches, but ultimately will make me a much better player.
 

Power Player

Bionic Poster
I think in matches it is easy to rush things. You don't play relaxed sometimes and either swing out of control or too tentative to compensate.

What has helped me out is simply to relax and swing the racquet without tring to crush the ball. It is key to get the racquet set up properly so a full swing stays in, and a weak swing is not rewarded so you don't resort to pushing when under pressure.
 

gameboy

Hall of Fame
It's funny that this guy works with top pros but all the has beens and never was's on this board think it's bogus.
I learned a lot...good post. I never thought about how I feel when I hit a great shot.
How valid are his test cases to everyday players? How often are weekend warriors having problem with his matchplay because he is having frictions with his personal coach?

Hell, I would like to have that kind of a problem...
 

jdubbs

Hall of Fame
How valid are his test cases to everyday players? How often are weekend warriors having problem with his matchplay because he is having frictions with his personal coach?

Hell, I would like to have that kind of a problem...
What I got out of it was not that...it was:
Thinking about what you FEEL like when you are playing great tennis
Playing good enough to win matches, but not progress. For me, I'm trying to get significantly better, so I related to this.
 

gameboy

Hall of Fame
What I got out of it was not that...it was:
Thinking about what you FEEL like when you are playing great tennis
Playing good enough to win matches, but not progress. For me, I'm trying to get significantly better, so I related to this.
Obviously, you can make lemonade out of lemons. Good for you.

Any advice that can be contorted to fit whatever you want is not much of an advice to begin with.
 

TennisDawg

Hall of Fame
It's not an issue for me, I only play tournaments and leagues . It's much easier to just go out and play a competitive match and skip the practice.
 
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dizzlmcwizzl

Hall of Fame
anyone have the other way around?
Yea ... I think I almost always I play better than I practice.

I don't know why ... I practice a lot (for a 42 y/o married father of 2) and I can be hard on myself so it may be a perception thing about practice where matches typically I associate success with W/L.
 

eagle

Hall of Fame
I don't distinguish between practice matches and real matches.

Benefit is that you play the same way when you step on the court regardless of what kind of match it is. You just don't think about this anymore.

Works for me anyway.

r,
eagle

keohi.com/tennis
 

jdubbs

Hall of Fame
I had an interesting lesson yesterday. Started with learning some specific techniques, and was hitting the ball great with the pro.

So the last 15 minutes I asked him to replicate match play with me. That's when things fell apart. I was spraying shots or making weak replies. Double faulting at will. It was a real eye opener. He made some specific suggestions (I was far too open stanced on my forehand, letting the ball drop too low, falling to my left on my serves). Really felt like I had some specific things I can really work on now.

So in taking lessons, don't just let them feed you balls. Replicate match play, get the feel for what you're doing wrong...and try to fix it.

Playing a practice match today and going to put in to use what I learned yesterday.
 
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