I'm really good at knocking - but I cant win games

getagrip

New User
I have this mental block.
When it comes to knocking - I own the court with a variety of shots.
But when I play sets/games/matches , even weaker players own me.

Is there anyone else facing this?

I thinks its my mental block, how do I overcome ?
 

DavaiMarat

Professional
You probably have what's known as the 'Academy Mindset' Or is what is known as the 'Anti-pusher'

You play to perfect your strokes and look good to your piers. You probably get bored with basics and like learning new and exciting shots (jumping 2H backhand, drop shots, tweeners).

Let me first of all state, there's nothing wrong with this. Your a perfectionist but can't apply it to a match situation. It's common. It's the same thing when I see someone hit 300 yard drives and then goes off and score 40 over par on a 72.

Hitting and winning are not mutually exclusive but one has know how to apply one to the other for success.

Figuring out how to win even with good strokes in a multi-phase process but luckily it's curable and some cases, quite easily.


First of all you have to consider the number #1 thing. What do you play for?

Number two thing, when you are out there playing a match, what are you focused on?

Number three, what is your biggest fear in competition?




If you can answer these 3 things HONESTLY to yourself you can begin your self-diagnostic. When you get to the root of these 3 things you can begin to change your thinking and begin to apply your tennis skills to your tennis match in the correct manner.

DON'T MISTAKE THIS AS MENTAL WEAKNESS. It's not. Actually some of the best tennis players are often the dullest single minded non introspective people in the world. Do you have to be dumb to play good tennis? No, but you have to have the right focus and goals.

Lastly, and this tip helped me tremendously. No one cares how you did in your last match (other then your Dad or Coach). They don't go home and think wow, John really sucked tonight, sucks to be him. More likely your opponent is thinking about how well she played and the quickest path to a bite or beer. So before you think go about trying to live up to people's expectations. Don't. You play for you. Only you.

Remember that.
 
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getagrip

New User
You probably have what's known as the 'Academy Mindset' Or is what is known as the 'Anti-pusher'

You play to perfect your strokes and look good to your piers. You probably get bored with basics and like learning new and exciting shots (jumping 2H backhand, drop shots, tweeners).

Let me first of all state, there's nothing wrong with this. Your a perfectionist but can't apply it to a match situation. It's common. It's the same thing when I see someone hit 300 yard drives and then goes off and score 40 over par on a 72.

Hitting and winning are not mutually exclusive but one has know how to apply one to the other for success.

Figuring out how to win even with good strokes in a multi-phase process but luckily it's curable and some cases, quite easily.


First of all you have to consider the number #1 thing. What do you play for?

Number two thing, when you are out there playing a match, what are you focused on?

Number three, what is your biggest fear in competition?




If you can answer these 3 things HONESTLY to yourself you can begin your self-diagnostic. When you get to the root of these 3 things you can begin to change your thinking and begin to apply your tennis skills to your tennis match in the correct manner.

DON'T MISTAKE THIS AS MENTAL WEAKNESS. It's not. Actually some of the best tennis players are often the dullest single minded non introspective people in the world. Do you have to be dumb to play good tennis? No, but you have to have the right focus and goals.

Lastly, and this tip helped me tremendously. No one cares how you did in your last match (other then your Dad or Coach). They don't go home and think wow, John really sucked tonight, sucks to be him. More likely your opponent is thinking about how well she played and the quickest path to a bite or beer. So before you think go about trying to live up to people's expectations. Don't. You play for you. Only you.

Remember that.
Davai, Thanks for the reply. This makes sense, complete logical sense.

Let me give a try at your ques:
First of all you have to consider the number #1 thing. What do you play for? - Better Game/Fitness/The Correct form - If I'm not hitting a forehand the way it should be hit - I'd not get the satisfaction of getting it in, even if its a winner.

Number two thing, when you are out there playing a match, what are you focused on? - During a match - My focus shifts to getting the ball in. I lower my shot power, play safe, not get too experimentative with my shots. I do enjoy winning. But its not too satisfying overall. I sometimes wait for the match to get over and get back to knocking

Number three, what is your biggest fear in competition? - what the heck, let me be honest here, I fear the defeat, sometimes I sympathize with my opponent if I defeat him, maybe knowing how it feels


But nothing gives me a rush like hitting that perfect topspin forehand/backhand cross court or down the line which the opponent keeps chasing.

Some players get up on their feet all-raring-to-go after facing a winner forehand/backhand, I get dejected and loose interest.
 

SystemicAnomaly

Talk Tennis Guru
Deny everything if accused of "knocking up" your mixed partner.

You realize that most of in the States are not familiar with the term, knocking, used in the manner that you have. Have heard it used a few times before quite a while back. Not that difficult to guess its meaning tho'.
 

getagrip

New User
Deny everything if accused of "knocking up" your mixed partner.

You realize that most of in the States are not familiar with the term, knocking, used in the manner that you have. Have heard it used a few times before quite a while back. Not that difficult to guess its meaning tho'.
Oh.. got it.. I'm really chasing game improvement, so whats the common term for that these days, pardon my ignorance.
 

DavaiMarat

Professional
First of all, thank you for answering these questions honestly.
It's the 1st step into finding your winning mindset.

1) I felt this in your original post. You are a perfectionist. That's fine. You demand a lot from yourself and your craft. You probably beat yourself up unnecessarily and one blow easy overhead could send your game into a funk.
One thing you must begin to realize, in a match technique goes out the window. Making and thinking about technical changes in a match will do nothing but hinder you, make you stiff and rigid. Instead, be more objective oriented. Trust your body to do when it needs to do to put the ball where and how you want it. The body is a magnificent machine possible of thousands of coordinated actions every second. Anything drastically wrong can be resolved in the 'knocking' as you put it. If the ball doesn't care about your form and neither does your opponent. He cares about the yellow ball going to the corner out of his reach. Don't beat yourself up either for a missed shot, most matches are won on errors and forced errors. You are going to make them.

2) It seems like your ruining your natural stroke by thinking about the outcome rather then process. You worry about hitting the ball out why? Because if you hit the ball out you lose the point. If you lose too many points you lose the game and then set and so on. This is outcome thinking. It's killing your tennis. What you should be focusing is strategy and things that bother my opponents. Too many go on auto-pilot hoping that the shots they hit will just be too good and that's that. That only works if you are vastly superior then your opponent. If he's close to you he'll figure out a way to counter you. The pusher is the ultimate counter. He doesn't care what he looks like and he's out there just to **** you off and make you lose consequently. I'm not saying be a pusher but look for weaknesses. A weak side, poor up down movement, poor volleys, eastern grips (hard for highballs). Keep your focus out of your hitting process. Let your body handle that. It's a chess match. Do you think chess masters think about how to move the piece? no. They are 5 steps ahead think about how to set up check mate or in your case how to close the point.

3) Now this is the catch 22 question. Of course everyone hates defeat. The question is why? Do you hate not living up to your potential? Do you fear losing face? Do your feel pressure to win from teammates or parents or coaches. This is a very personal and in depth question you may have to think about for awhile to get the right answer. There are many layers. You must peel them away one by one and eventually the answer will hit you. Once you figure that out you can confront it. It's a demon that's hidden in your subconscious. It erodes your confidence making you play not to lose. The question is why. The answer might be totally something you don't expect.
 

SystemicAnomaly

Talk Tennis Guru
Oh.. got it.. I'm really chasing game improvement, so whats the common term for that these days, pardon my ignorance.
Just on of those common words or slang words that have different usages in different English-speaking countries. We'd just call it "practicing". Or perhaps "hitting the ball around". We occasionally might even say' "knock the ball around" but not likely to shorten it to "knocking". With that said, I'd encourage you to keep using this colloquialism in the TW forums. It just might catch on if we see it enough.

Perfectionism was brought up in this thread. I disagree that this is a suitable goal. Perfectionists tend to be dissatisfied or frustrated most of the time. Instead of perfection, strive for excellence in both your knocking and your competition, instead.

To some this might seem to be a fine point, but it really is a distinction worth making. Perfectionists are satisfied with nothing less than perfection (and how often does that happen?). Those who strive for excellence, OTOH, enjoy the process of learning & improving. A sub-par performance would merely be an opportunity to learn rather than a source of frustration.

I posted a poem some time back that highlights the differences between perfection and excellence. I'll try to dig that up.
 

SystemicAnomaly

Talk Tennis Guru
Here it is (I first posted this back in 2006)


Excellence

Excellence is willing to be wrong,
Perfection is having to be right.

Excellence is enduring,
Perfection is fleeting.

Excellence is spontaneous,
Perfection is control.

Excellence is risk,
Perfection is fear.

Excellence is striving,
Perfection is demanding.

Excellence is acceptance,
Perfection is criticism.

Excellence is powerful,
Perfection is anger & frustration.

Excellence is freeing,
Perfection is stifling.

Excellence is giving,
Perfection is taking.

Excellence is confidence,
Perfection is doubt.

Excellence is flowing,
Perfection is pressure.

Excellence is journey,
Perfection is destination.
 
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pkshooter

Semi-Pro
I SO FEEL YOU!!!! HOLY CRAP.... UHHHHGGGG I often feel like just not playing tennis because I just cannot bring my forehand, backhand, serves, and especially my footwork to a match... T- T
 

martini1

Hall of Fame
I have this mental block.
When it comes to knocking - I own the court with a variety of shots.
But when I play sets/games/matches , even weaker players own me.

Is there anyone else facing this?

I thinks its my mental block, how do I overcome ?
One word - nerves.

You know if you hit it out, you lose the point, no? So you hit too passive, and then your shots are too weak or you think too much you hit it out.

It happens to everybody who does not play a lot games but like to just hit the ball and rally.

In my own experience there are also hitting partners who show off too much in rallies. Trying to "win" every point when they are supposed to hit the ball back to me. Guess what, that ****es me off and when we do play sets I make sure I return the flavor.

Work on your control of ball under pressure, and then work on your power in game situations. If you can hit like 80% of how you practice (with the control), you are considered doing good.
 

boramiNYC

Hall of Fame
here's a practical suggestion. stop practicing hitting awesome winners. instead find a practice partner who's willing to only play games and match for a while. so start learning how to play for win. it means defensive shots become important, good positioning becomes important, outlasting the point becomes important, and developing strokes that can deal with wide variety of shots becomes important. only thinking about hitting specific winners is immature and narrow mindedness. grow up and mature as a tennis player.
 

DavaiMarat

Professional
Easy on the guy. Lol. He didn't start a thread bashing pushers etc, he admitted his own mental game is weak. He's looking for advice, not t be told to 'grow up' and arguing about semantics like 'weaker players'.

This is what trolls do especially when they don't know enough to give advice.

What's wrong with you people?
 

getagrip

New User
First of all, thank you for answering these questions honestly.
It's the 1st step into finding your winning mindset.

1) be more objective oriented. Trust your body to do when it needs to do to put the ball where and how you want it. - Roger that - gonna put this in practise and post updates soon.

2) It's a chess match.. 5 steps ahead think about how to set up check mate or in your case how to close the point. - brilliant analogy, I have a new perspective now.. 'knock' his queen and bully the king , keyword here is strategy, technique would be taken care of by the 'shot memory' my body has developed

3) The answer might be totally something you don't expect. - sigh, but i've watched kung-fu panda 3 times already :) I get what you are saying, maybe lemme figure out 1 and 2, we will have to park 3 for now
Thanks Davai!
 

getagrip

New User
I'd encourage you to keep using this colloquialism in the TW forums. It just might catch on if we see it enough. - point noted

Those who strive for excellence, OTOH, enjoy the process of learning & improving. - Thank you, I feel light already
Excellence[/COLOR][/COLOR][/SIZE][/FONT]

Excellence is willing to be wrong,
Perfection is having to be right.


...

...Excellence is journey,
Perfection is destination.[/SIZE]
[/B][/CENTER]
[/CENTER]
Thanks for digging this out for me :) hope others benefit reading it too
 

getagrip

New User
I SO FEEL YOU!!!! HOLY CRAP.... UHHHHGGGG I often feel like just not playing tennis because I just cannot bring my forehand, backhand, serves, and especially my footwork to a match... T- T
Davai and SystemicAnomaly have some very valid points on improving that, I'm gonna put that to practise, join the class if you wish
 

getagrip

New User
One word - nerves.

You know if you hit it out, you lose the point, no? So you hit too passive, and then your shots are too weak or you think too much you hit it out.

It happens to everybody who does not play a lot games but like to just hit the ball and rally.

In my own experience there are also hitting partners who show off too much in rallies. Trying to "win" every point when they are supposed to hit the ball back to me. Guess what, that ****es me off and when we do play sets I make sure I return the flavor. you are getting me wrong here, tennis is fun and i'm not a kill joy, why loose a good hitting partner(they are so hard to find) by being a strong boy at knocking? but i know what you mean. who wouldnt enjoy wiping the smirk of that opponents face

Work on your control of ball under pressure, and then work on your power in game situations. If you can hit like 80% of how you practice (with the control), you are considered doing good.- noted, thanks, will post my game progress
I am sure these so called "weaker players" who own the OP think so too :)
I do applaud good shots of my opponents, but every now and then I have to play these random guys who waste my tennis evening.. But thats ok, we are about to change that soon, keep watching this space
 

getagrip

New User
here's a practical suggestion. stop practicing hitting awesome winners. instead find a practice partner who's willing to only play games and match for a while. so start learning how to play for win. it means defensive shots become important, good positioning becomes important, outlasting the point becomes important, and developing strokes that can deal with wide variety of shots becomes important. only thinking about hitting specific winners is immature and narrow mindedness. grow up and mature as a tennis player.
yep, working on that

Easy on the guy. Lol. He didn't start a thread bashing pushers etc, he admitted his own mental game is weak. He's looking for advice, not t be told to 'grow up' and arguing about semantics like 'weaker players'.

This is what trolls do especially when they don't know enough to give advice.

What's wrong with you people?
I must admit, I was prepared to attract trolls through this post, but i'm very glad i got a response from you, Learning/Unlearning isn't easy, but I'm quite devoted to improve my game, thanks again
 

getagrip

New User
First of all, thank you for answering these questions honestly.
It's the 1st step into finding your winning mindset.

1) I felt this in your original post. You are a perfectionist. That's fine. You demand a lot from yourself and your craft. You probably beat yourself up unnecessarily an...
Here it is (I first posted this back in 2006)

[FONT=BibleScrT,Arial]Excellence[/FONT]

Excellence is willing to be wrong,
Perfection is having to be right.


Excelle....[/SIZE]
I have been working on my game.
I noticed that it is difficult to unlearn and rewire your concepts.
'Learn from someone who does it better than you' - Thats why I am a member here, also I found a very experienced pro player who retired due to reasons. His game is the best I have seen in person till date.

We discuss tactics-shot selection-approach to a winning strategy-tweaks in posture-diet-which beer after game :)

Its a slow process, but i can feel getting conditioned to this new routine..building some natural muscles and loving it.

It all started from this post.
I am feeling so good inside!
 

GuyClinch

Legend
You probably get tense. This happens to alot of players. There are tactics you can use to reduce tension..

One way of thinking that has really helped me is something i learned from a youtube coach. He was explaining that ALOT of mistakes are NOT technical flaws on the court.

So when you start second guessing your technique - that's counter productive. This is a big problem in his mind. You think your problem is that you didn't use the right 'recipe' of motions. in reality you can make actual errors on the court. Sometimes you just have bad spacing or slow prep or were wrong footed etc etc. But your actual stroke - assuming you get there in time is fine..

So focus on movement and feeling lose when you are out there on the court and I think you can play even better then when you pratice. Use this kind of approach I actually surprised myself the other week and beat a guy who frankly is a whole lot better then me stroke production wise - and faster as well.
 
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When a weaker player owns you, they aren't a weaker player .... you are.
This is true... to an extent. If you have good stroke fundamentals and footwork, you may be losing now, but w/ more match play and a 'tweaked' mental game, you should be owning the weaker player in the future.

OP how much match play do you do? I found that when i started playing matches again after a long layoff I was in the same boat as you... not hitting my strokes, becoming nervous about errors, etc. With more match play I became more comfortable w/ my game and a lot of those earlier issues went away.

So yeah, play a lot of matches.
 

fuzz nation

G.O.A.T.
Lastly, and this tip helped me tremendously. No one cares how you did in your last match (other then your Dad or Coach). They don't go home and think wow, John really sucked tonight, sucks to be him. More likely your opponent is thinking about how well she played and the quickest path to a bite or beer. So before you think go about trying to live up to people's expectations. Don't. You play for you. Only you.

Remember that.
BOOM!!!

I've read a great book by Vic Braden, Mental Tennis, maybe three times. It's had a huge impact on my development as both a player and as a coach (yes, I recommend it all the time). One aspect that Braden covers is the positive dimension of being selfish as a player - play for yourself and not for others. Your perspective really nails this and also ties in with another component in Braden's book; expectations need to be realistic or we won't live up to them.
 

asifallasleep

Hall of Fame
I have this mental block.
When it comes to knocking - I own the court with a variety of shots.
But when I play sets/games/matches , even weaker players own me.

Is there anyone else facing this?

I thinks its my mental block, how do I overcome ?
What happens to you in the tennis court has nothing to do with tennis, it's more about you.

Having great strokes when practicing doesn't translate to matches because in practice nothing's at risk. They are not the same environment mentally. Have you ever won a match? Play as many as you can to get better but you also have to change your mindset. Get rid of the fear.

FEAR: Are you playing to win or not to lose? Some people set the bar low in life so that they don't have to deal with the "pressure", with "expectations" or with "the task" of achieving something for fear they won't be able to achieve it.

Do you say you're going to do something outside of your comfort zone for years but never do it and just talk about it?

Your mindset on the tennis court may not be just about tennis but a reflection of how you view yourself and the world. 90% of the population are afraid to pursue their dreams, they get stuck in a job they hate, they complain about it for decades but never do anything about it. They don't live their lives to the fullest and there's never a greater shift of more than 5% upside or downside in their lives. They set the bar low so that they don't have to deal with the "pressure", with "expectations" or with "the task" of achieving something for fear they won't be able to achieve it.

The one's who go on the achieve great things are the risk takers who are not held back by fear, by what people think, they live life to the fullest like there's no tomorrow. They are our Innovators, Business Moguls, etc. Most have failed over and over again in their quest for success and the failure never deterred them from seeking their goals. Think Richard Branson, Steve Jobs, Donald Trump, Bill Gates, etc.......


Start doing things you would never do. Do things that scare you. Sky Diving, Bungee Jumping, Karaoke, Talk to the hot girl that makes you nervous ............... Get out of your comfort zone. You have to shut off the part of your brain that analyzes everything, talking you out of everything, slowing everything down. You have to just "Be" and "Do".

Play tennis have fun, enjoy life.
 

fuzz nation

G.O.A.T.
Number three, what is your biggest fear in competition? - what the heck, let me be honest here, I fear the defeat, sometimes I sympathize with my opponent if I defeat him, maybe knowing how it feels [/COLOR]
This probably means that you're a decent person - keep up the good work.

I've thought this over myself because I think it can be a significant issue for many of us - sympathizing with an opponent. If I reverse the situation in my head, one thing that occurs to me is that I prefer to think that I deserve my opponent's best game. If I take the court with someone, I expect him or her to respect me enough to not let up.

Most of us want to face stronger opponents, at least here and there, so unless I'm filling in with my Dad's doubles group, I'm respecting my opponent if I play my game. We invest a lot of ourselves in our tennis, but it's only tennis. The other guy will be okay. Be a good sport and play your game.
 

JackB1

G.O.A.T.
I have experienced this firsthand. Here is my theory on what it is:

You are playing people that are better than you and they know they can win the crucial points when they need to, so they relax a bit and let the score stay close. Then when they have to, they can win those important points that will win the game, set or match.

In short, you think you are better than you probably are and these "weaker" players are actually better than you and know how to beat you.
Try playing some matches and take note of WHY you are losing the important points. Is it your UE's or their winners?
 
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asifallasleep

Hall of Fame
I have experienced this firsthand. Here is my theory on what it is:

You are playing people that are better than you and they know they can win the crucial points when they need to, so they relax a bit and let the score stay close. Then when they have to, they can win those important points that will win the game, set or match.

In short, you think you are better than you probably are and these "weaker" players are actually better than you and know how to beat you.
Try playing some matches and take note of WHY you are losing the important points. Is it your UE's or their winners?
Hadn't thought about this. IDK if he has beautiful perfect strokes and he's being beaten by a pushers and junk ballers. I didn't get from the post that his game was that advanced to begin with. Could be wrong.
 

Power Player

Talk Tennis Guru
Common problem. Learn to grind more - meaning hit shots in good spots that extend the rally. Come out and play a match without hitting big at all to really learn this. You have to train your mind for those long extended rallies. It is easy to mentally bail out in a match and not want that ball to come back. You have to want it back.

The next step is placement. Just moving the ball at 70% power from corner to corner will win you a lot of matches if you stay within yourself and don't try and paint the lines.
 

maleyoyo

Professional
Not sure your definition of knocking includes your serve and return of serve, but those two things are very important for an actual match.
Please do yourself a favor and have a decent pro assess your actual match play and make suggestions best suited for you. That’s how I did and it was the best investment for my game.
It all comes down to specifics. Imagine that you only have to modify 20% of your game to make 80% improvement. There is no magical pill but you can slowly and effectively build your game this way.
 

getagrip

New User
Almost 6 years since this post!

Thanks everyone for the pointers, I kept working on it and it is slow incremental process. Id encourage anyone with this issue to be patient and keep at it.

This is the sport I love so every investment is high value for me.

Book recommendation - the inner game of tennis
Changed my gear, something that I prefer and not pro-advertised
Heavy work on the mental-aspect of the game.
Fitness regimen for core strength

What really is working for me was the mindset change, de-cluttering thoughts, focusing on the seams of the ball while playing helping me get in the zone.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

guanzishou

Hall of Fame
It means that you need to practice more sets / games / point construction. Having a hit / sparring is one thing. Playing the actual game is a completely different matter: It requires more thinking, strategy, tactic, mental, etc.
 

bostontennis

New User
my take is that you have technique problem but not mentality problem. first, when your opponent owns you, have you reviewed and find your weakness?

you need to look at the match form different angle: it's a competition by 2 offense/defense systems. you must have weakness in your offense/defense system that being taken advantage of, by your opponent. for example, you may think you have a good forehand drive, however, when your opponent slice a sitter to your midcourt, you try to hit it hard as put away or approaching shot, but the ball dump into the net. in that case, have you consider baseline drive and dip drive are different shots? have you practice dip drive? if so, what if the slice sitter has some side spin, can you still put it away?

i am sure, if you put your match videos and let people watch, they will tell you that you have a lot of techniques missing.
 

Bender

G.O.A.T.
I misread this thread title as "I'm really good looking, but I can't win girls"

Was wondering when TTW became some sort of incel safe space.
 

dgold44

G.O.A.T.
I have this mental block.
When it comes to knocking - I own the court with a variety of shots.
But when I play sets/games/matches , even weaker players own me.

Is there anyone else facing this?

I thinks its my mental block, how do I overcome ?
only one way
Read Brad Gilbert book on winning ugly
You don’t understand the strategy side of the game
 

tennishabit

Hall of Fame
Stop trying to win.
Hit the ball where you are supposed to, just play basic tennis.
...........actually, it's the most important 'winning strategy', lolololololol man. it applies to every1......from bottom rec-ers to top atp-ers:-D:-D:-D:-D:-D:-D:-D:-D.....................
 
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