How to focus on where and how to hit, instead of on hitting well, in a match

I have a really bad mindset when playing right now - i focus on trying to hit fluidly and well. And you might wonder, " so whats the problem?" Well, that's exactly the problem. I end up not playing a sport, which tennis is, but a some sort of figure skating, and end up losing stupidly and get frustrated, sort of like when Federer hits to Del Potros forehand and suicides (but obviously worse). So how do i get our of that ***** mode and start actually playing, thinking about what spin im gonna apply to the ball and where im gonna hit it and whats going on the court., instead of thinking about the action of my arm
 

xFullCourtTenniSx

Hall of Fame
Drop the ego. Think about doing whatever it (legally and honestly) takes to win, regardless of how ugly it is. You put in the time during practice to get the ball to do what you want it to do. Trust the work you put in and just focus on where you need to put the ball and what you need to do with it to get 1 more shot in than your opponent. Big margins, big targets.
 

34n

Rookie
I have a really bad mindset when playing right now - i focus on trying to hit fluidly and well. And you might wonder, " so whats the problem?" Well, that's exactly the problem. I end up not playing a sport, which tennis is, but a some sort of figure skating, and end up losing stupidly and get frustrated, sort of like when Federer hits to Del Potros forehand and suicides (but obviously worse). So how do i get our of that ***** mode and start actually playing, thinking about what spin im gonna apply to the ball and where im gonna hit it and whats going on the court., instead of thinking about the action of my arm
More drills for winning points vs. drills for improving technique?
 

bostontennis

New User
here is my take: if you keep thinking of your stroke, you are not ready for match.
before any match, you need to be able to hit consistent forehand (5 in a row), backhand (3 in a row), and serve (less than 3 double faults in a set).
in the match, you should forget how your stroke is, but keep thinking about where to hit.
after the match, recap and learn the lesson: what did you do well and where did you do bad. then improve from there. this is passive learning.

another approach is active learning: if you can do forehand and backhand, but you cannot do slice, then you have less tactics to deploy against your opponent. you can start learn your slice.

many player's problem is that they are not ready for a match. if you give 10 doubt faults in a set, no matter how good is your forehand, you mostly would lost. it would be waste of both you and your opponent's time.
 

user92626

Legend
here is my take: if you keep thinking of your stroke, you are not ready for match.
before any match, you need to be able to hit consistent forehand (5 in a row), backhand (3 in a row), and serve (less than 3 double faults in a set).
in the match, you should forget how your stroke is, but keep thinking about where to hit.
after the match, recap and learn the lesson: what did you do well and where did you do bad. then improve from there. this is passive learning.

another approach is active learning: if you can do forehand and backhand, but you cannot do slice, then you have less tactics to deploy against your opponent. you can start learn your slice.

many player's problem is that they are not ready for a match. if you give 10 doubt faults in a set, no matter how good is your forehand, you mostly would lost. it would be waste of both you and your opponent's time.
IMO, it's extremely difficult, if not impossible, to not think about the strokes. Or, not be conscious at some level of the strokes.

For me, I tend to have some thinking or some imagery of the stroke before I do it, but it all happens very fast. I don't know if I will ever reach the point where I just see the ball and know the best stroke to do and do it.

Can a chess master, having become sooooo good, that after opponent's any move, he can, without consciousness or thinking, move the best, right piece of his?
 

bostontennis

New User
IMO, it's extremely difficult, if not impossible, to not think about the strokes. Or, not be conscious at some level of the strokes.

For me, I tend to have some thinking or some imagery of the stroke before I do it, but it all happens very fast. I don't know if I will ever reach the point where I just see the ball and know the best stroke to do and do it.

Can a chess master, having become sooooo good, that after opponent's any move, he can, without consciousness or thinking, move the best, right piece of his?
i suggest you read "the mental game of tennis". your self 1 should just hit the ball and play the game; your self 2 should analyze your stroke between points or later.
anyway, when playing the game, you should think your opponent as a problem, strokes are the tools to solve the problem. strokes are not the problem, your opponent is.
 

movdqa

Talk Tennis Guru
You shouldn't have to think about hitting fluidly. You should have enough practice so that you do it without thinking. At some level, you may not have to think that much about where to place the ball either.

I like that Bruce Lee video above.
 

user92626

Legend
i suggest you read "the mental game of tennis". your self 1 should just hit the ball and play the game; your self 2 should analyze your stroke between points or later.
anyway, when playing the game, you should think your opponent as a problem, strokes are the tools to solve the problem. strokes are not the problem, your opponent is.
You probably misunderstood. I don't think my strokes are the problem.

The question here is whether one should/can completely be oblivious to the strokes. I cannot do that. Example, when I see a good dropshot,, I run up and even during that time pressure I still have time and capacity to visualize how I want to do an angle return or that kind of thing.

Or before I hit a crosscourt or down the line shot, I also visualize my swings! I don't know if other players do that or not.


On the other hand I have seen players who consistently do shots grossly incorrectly, as if they don't think or have never thought to update their ways based on past experience.

Again, there's no way for us to know how other people really process their tennis.
 
As a beginner in even advanced intermediate player it is ok to think about form when hitting. In sports science that is called conscious competence which is you can do it correctly if you focus on it.

High level players must reach a stage of unconscious competence where they not think about muscles, joints and movements but just focus on the ball and racket because the movements have become automatic. That is why pro players hit millions of shots, so they don't have to focus on what their body does but instead what their body does with the racket and ball.
 

Bagumbawalla

Hall of Fame
Basically, there are three "steps" in developing a complete tennis game. The first is to learn the various strokes so that you can reliably hit them, as much as possible, the same way every time.

In order to hit each shot the same, you need to work on "anticipation" and moving to the ball and getting into the optimum hitting position- this is step two.

Once you have accomplished the first two things, you should consider yourself an accomplished player and should be able to direct the ball, within reason, anywhere in the opponent's court.

Next (thirdly), you need to study the game, study your opponents, and be aware of your own strengths and weaknesses so you can strategize ways to best defeat your opponent.

Now, assuming that you can get yourself set up to hit the ball and your strokes are reliable- then all you need to focus on is the ball, itself, and drive through it in the direction you want it to go.

If you find yourself thinking too much about form and execution of the stroke, itself, then you need to go back to step one and practice until No thinking is required in a match situation. You begin reacting without conscious thought or effort.
 

Chadalina

Legend
I have a really bad mindset when playing right now - i focus on trying to hit fluidly and well. And you might wonder, " so whats the problem?" Well, that's exactly the problem. I end up not playing a sport, which tennis is, but a some sort of figure skating, and end up losing stupidly and get frustrated, sort of like when Federer hits to Del Potros forehand and suicides (but obviously worse). So how do i get our of that ***** mode and start actually playing, thinking about what spin im gonna apply to the ball and where im gonna hit it and whats going on the court., instead of thinking about the action of my arm
The best way to determine what your next shot is going to be, is look at your previous shot.

From their current position what can they do? Are they going to over cover to middle and you hit behind? Side step back enough giving you just enough court (all day)? Or just sit there and let you overthink it and dump into the net (why isnt he moving??) :)

Always be at least two shots in advance, predicitive. Sometimes it doesnt work out, hit reset and start over. No hurry, sometimes it takes a few trys in a single point.

If your still thinking about how to hit a top lvl fh you maybe in too deep of water. Its not something you think about, only think about things you wanna add to your next one (deeper prep, more spin/flat etc).
 

34n

Rookie
You probably misunderstood. I don't think my strokes are the problem.

The question here is whether one should/can completely be oblivious to the strokes. I cannot do that. Example, when I see a good dropshot,, I run up and even during that time pressure I still have time and capacity to visualize how I want to do an angle return or that kind of thing.

Or before I hit a crosscourt or down the line shot, I also visualize my swings! I don't know if other players do that or not.


On the other hand I have seen players who consistently do shots grossly incorrectly, as if they don't think or have never thought to update their ways based on past experience.

Again, there's no way for us to know how other people really process their tennis.
Play up once in a while. Enter an open tournament (or whatever 1+ point over your ntrp ). You will discover that normally there is no time to think over a shot.
If you are thinking , you are good, you have options.
 

Born_to_slice

Hall of Fame
Best way to learn shot selection is to just watch pros. If we're relaxed on court that subconscious knowledge takes over. Of course, rec tennis is incomparable in power and intensity but principle is still the same.
 

Chadalina

Legend
Play up once in a while. Enter an open tournament (or whatever 1+ point over your ntrp ). You will discover that normally there is no time to think over a shot.
If you are thinking , you are good, you have options.
Variables are expected, what sucks is when you cant get into the pt.

Players like @Wise one
looks at guys who have practiced groudies for decades
and
 

3virgul14

Rookie
We have an ITF seniors tourney here and I registered last year for the 35-40 interval, 1st round draw: got the ex nr1 junior from the region, he quit due to knee problems 12 years ago. People said I should be happy if I dont get double bageled.

Warmup and my 1st service game, I felt like I can compete.

Wrong! His pace was sth out of my league, ball was hitting the back wall before I even took a step that way, no top spin or anything just flat ball bashing . Lost 6-1 6-0, and this guy never competed in the last decade now 36 years old.. Probably he was only futures level. learnt to be humble that day coz I will probably never reach that level.. He said he started when he was 6 and played 15 years straight day and night..
 

Fintft

Legend
Can a chess master, having become sooooo good, that after opponent's any move, he can, without consciousness or thinking, move the best, right piece of his?
Scientific American did a study on this ("The expert mind" or something) and they decided that yes, grand masters can, based on pattern recognition (not regular chess masters, as I have one of those in my imidiate family).

Having said the above, when the Soviets started dominating chess, they did it by finding exception to those rules/patterns, at least in the openings.
 

movdqa

Talk Tennis Guru
Scientific American did a study on this ("The expert mind" or something) and they decided that yes, grand masters can, based on pattern recognition (not regular chess masters, as I have one of those in my imidiate family).

Having said the above, when the Soviets started dominating chess, they did it by finding exception to those rules/patterns, at least in the openings.
Watch Hikaru Nakamura on Twitch.
 

Fintft

Legend
Watch Hikaru Nakamura on Twitch.
I might and as a story my son beat Nakamura when they were very young (in a semi final for US scholastics). Unlike now, Nakamura kinda lost innitiative/became tentative at some point, in their match.
 

TnsGuru

Professional
After many hours of honing your skill(s) you shouldn't have to think smoothness or technique etc. Think about where you want to place the ball and let your muscle memory take over. You will be surprised what your brain remembers you just have to trust your strokes.

Read the inner game of tennis if you haven't already, good book.
 

movdqa

Talk Tennis Guru
I might and as a story my son beat Nakamura when they were very young (in a semi final for US scholastics). Unlike now, Nakamura kinda lost innitiative/became tentative at some point, in their match.
There's a bit of his personality where he displays some insecurities but Chess isn't it today.

I see him play people up to 2,600 while chatting on Twitch and just glancing at the board from time to time. He often already has his next couple of moves planned out and will pre-move.

There's a video of Magnus playing Bill Gates on YouTube. Magnus tells Bill, I'll have 30 seconds and you can have as long as you want. I would guess that Gates is a half-decent player too.
 

Fintft

Legend
I would guess that Gates is a half-decent player too.
Who knows? He might not be as good as a competive club player and I'm not talking masters, or even experts, but class A players (like I used to be). A master in turn could play 8-10 class A players at a time and never lose a game.

There's a bit of his personality where he displays some insecurities but Chess isn't it today.
Today? No. As a kid? Yes, at least on that ocasion.
 

movdqa

Talk Tennis Guru
Who knows? He might not be as good as a competive club player and I'm not talking masters, or even experts, but class A players (like I used to be). A master in turn could play 8-10 class A players at a time and never lose a game.

Today? No. As a kid? Yes, at least on that ocasion.
I think that he lost in about 20 moves which is pretty good against the best player in the world. This means that he's no beginner. But he's not a master either. You can look at his moves and make a guess as to his rating - I would guess class B or C.

He talks about a lot of things on Twitch besides chess and you can see a few insecurities in those other areas. Twitch allows you to get really personal with celebrities.
 

Fintft

Legend
I think that he lost in about 20 moves which is pretty good against the best player in the world. This means that he's no beginner. But he's not a master either. You can look at his moves and make a guess as to his rating - I would guess class B or C.

He talks about a lot of things on Twitch besides chess and you can see a few insecurities in those other areas. Twitch allows you to get really personal with celebrities.
Good for you if you do follow and play btw!
 

Fintft

Legend
After many hours of honing your skill(s) you shouldn't have to think smoothness or technique etc. Think about where you want to place the ball and let your muscle memory take over. You will be surprised what your brain remembers you just have to trust your strokes.

Read the inner game of tennis if you haven't already, good book.
That and shadow swings in between points to make you sure you are smoth and relaxed :)
 
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