Losing to opponents I should beat

Discussion in 'Adult League & Tournament Talk' started by Barnes68, Aug 28, 2011.

  1. Barnes68

    Barnes68 Rookie

    Jul 13, 2007
    I play at the 3.0 level and have been losing to players I have beat in the past. Today I lost 6-1, 5-7, 2-6, after being up 4-1 in the 2nd. anybody have any ideas? Is it psychological?
  2. sphinx780

    sphinx780 Hall of Fame

    Jun 14, 2006
    St. Paul, MN
    It could be numerous things. Have any of these opponents improved? Has there strategy against you changed? Did you hit a lot of shots out that you normally make?

    I guess what I am saying is your best bet is to start thinking critically about what caused you to lose the match and what helped you win the prior match. It could very well be psychological, or many other reasons so trying to narrow down the whys might lead you in the proper direction to diagnose and correct.
    Last edited: Aug 29, 2011
  3. tennis tom

    tennis tom Hall of Fame

    Jun 15, 2007
    If you think it's psychological, it may be. Read Allen Fox's books, they're really good in that regard.
  4. DeShaun

    DeShaun Banned

    Aug 22, 2010
    Could you be experimenting with your game too much?

    Last night I played a guy whom I routinely crush. My only goals heading into the match were to practice my kick serves, and then to serve and volley. I wanted to assess the state of my fledgling net game against a guy, the one from last night, who is never shy about ripping a pass attempt. So, he destroyed me 2-6, 5-7. Then he started wagging his finger and shooting off his mouth. He's not the most gracious winner. He actually thought that he had dictated the outcome--"Oh, dude, You were not touching me tonight, I was on another planet tonight, I came out fired up..." etc. He couldn't accept that I had just used our match as net game practice. ha ha But anyway, my point was to suggest that sometimes an experimental mindset can be poisonous to success in matches. Wasn't it Pete Sampras who said that, when his coached made Pate adopt a one handed backhand after Pete as a junior had always used a two hander, that Pete lost many matches at first against guys that he used to beat routinely.
  5. ATP100

    ATP100 Professional

    Nov 19, 2010
    You always lose matches you should. You always win matches you should. When you start to believe this, you can move forward and learn from it.
  6. spot

    spot Hall of Fame

    Jul 22, 2005
    You didn't give enough information. Let me paraphrase your question to see how little information you gave.

    "I won the first set and even though I got up a break in the second set I still ended up losing. What did I do wrong?"

    If you aren't aware of how the points changed between the set where you won 6-1 and the set where you lost 2-6 then I'm guessing that your opponent was just better at making adjustments than you were. But then the details are impossible to know from what you said. Maybe your opponent found a hole in your game they were exploiting. Maybe you were trying to "change things up" too much and you would have been better off sticking the basics. Maybe your opponent is just in better shape than you are. There is no way of knowing with the information you gave.
    Last edited: Aug 29, 2011
  7. Wilander Fan

    Wilander Fan Hall of Fame

    Jan 26, 2010
    Knowing nothing else about your game I am going to guess its because of serve. Tennis is almost all about holding serve. The difference between a close set and a breadstick for me is simply whether I can get my first serve in consistently to the ad court. If I cant, every service game is a back and forth battle and up for grabs and I get really lopsided losses even if I can win every neutral rally.
  8. beernutz

    beernutz Hall of Fame

    Aug 16, 2005
    Make TT better, use the Ignore List!
    I believe I've read in Allen Fox's book, Winning The Mental Edge, that he believes losing a set or match after you have a significant lead is mostly due to fear of failure and stress. You don't want to fail, you react with stress, consequently you play differently (worse unfortunately) from what got you to the lead in the first place.

    His description (taken from allenfoxtennis.net) of "CHAPTER 5: THE PROBLEMS OF FINISHING Most players become nervous and stressed when they are ahead and face the hurdle of finishing the match against a dangerous opponent. The unique tennis scoring system intensifies this problem. The closer players get to winning, the greater the stress. Trying to reduce it gives rise to counterproductive behaviors such as procrastinating the finish or becoming “overconfident” and easing up with a lead."

    I think it is a good book and has helped me.
  9. Govnor

    Govnor Professional

    Aug 12, 2011
    I only ever have these issues in Doubles (losing to those I/we should beat), where tactics are my downfall. I've found that in Singles, the result is nearly always fair and explainable. There must have been something you were doing/not doing or he was doing/not doing that changed the result.
  10. Barnes68

    Barnes68 Rookie

    Jul 13, 2007
    Thanks! I never thought of it in that way.
  11. OrangePower

    OrangePower Legend

    Sep 7, 2007
    NorCal Bay Area
    Has your conditioning changed?

    It's different for everybody, but for me, a seemingly small difference in fitness makes a huge difference on the court (in singles, that is). When I start to get tired my footwork goes bye-bye, and when that happens, I become an error machine, and end up losing to people that I have no business losing to.
  12. cknobman

    cknobman Legend

    Sep 7, 2007
    Saudi Arabia
    I've never lost to someone I should not have beat.
  13. Fuji

    Fuji Legend

    Aug 30, 2010
    Great point! If I get gassed, and my foot work starts to go, then I have a REALLY tough time getting my shots back in.

  14. Delano

    Delano Rookie

    Jan 7, 2010
    While I think it's a great idea to work on your mental game, I do think people can be too quick to chalk up a loss to mental errors.

    Think about the shots you were missing in match play, and ask yourself if get a chance to work on them in practice. There is no such thing as an easy shot if you haven't practiced it.

    When I hit with my usual tennis buddies, we tend to rally with good pace and topspin. Every year, when league starts, I run into a chopper who gives me a lot of slow backspin. When I missed these shots and lost confidence, I thought that I had a weak "mental game" - after all, it's a slow, easy ball, so I should be able to tee off, right?

    Then I stated thinking - how often do I encounter a slow, deep, backspin shot in practice? Pretty much never, so why would I expect to be any good at handling this kind of shot in a match?

    Not sure if this is your problem, but one thing you might want to do is think about the kind of strokes you are hitting in a match and make sure you get in some practice.
  15. Topcoach

    Topcoach New User

    Jul 22, 2011
    Losing to a player you should beat

    Your problem is your 3.0 level.I see people taking lessons for years and remain at 3.0 forever. You should upgrade your game by developing a whip on a loop forehand. Semi western grip. Picture a candy cane lying horizontal. The whip occurs while your weight is on the back foot and at the bottom of the loop just before he racquet goes forward. With two handed backhand also a whip while the weight is on the back foot.

    Too many coached allow low backswings and teach low to high. That's bull. You aim just a bit below the middle of the ball and drive it on the rise across the net. On a low ball you brush it more as you need more topspin.
    Watch You Tube one part of the body at a time. Good hitting: Topcoach
  16. tennistim

    tennistim Rookie

    Aug 5, 2011
    London, UK
    You need a great coach and around 10+ years of work to overcome this fully. Even pro players suffer from this.

    Sounds like you can't stand losing and moreover, you can't stand being ashamed of your performance. Tough to get over this but with time and support it is possible.

Share This Page