Mental problems

Discussion in 'Tennis Tips/Instruction' started by nextbigbigthing1, Oct 8, 2011.

  1. nextbigbigthing1

    nextbigbigthing1 New User

    Sep 10, 2011
    I hit the ball extremely well, and yet when i have a chance to control and dictate the point i just put it back into play and am happy to react to their shots and let them dictate , yet in practice i would hit winners of those shots when i can dictate but i am too worried about making mistakes etc so i jsut push it back,.
    This is holding me back from national selection.
    Like i have a chance to attack and come to net etc but i dont etc
    Huge mental problem like im happy to chase instead of dictate, evne though i have good technical shots that in practice i use in those situations and hit for winners.
    Please help this problem of fear and playing not to lose etc.
    Any advice is well thanked
  2. Agent Orynge

    Agent Orynge Professional

    Feb 21, 2004
    Riverside, CA
    Wrong forum. Try Tennis Tips/Instruction, or wait until this thread gets moved.
  3. Bagumbawalla

    Bagumbawalla Hall of Fame

    Jun 24, 2006
    I have a feeling there is much left unsaid. If you are striving for national recognition, then you should have a coach, a trainer, a hitting partner, be part of a team, have years of training to the point where shot selection becomes automatic-- without thinking, you evaluate the percentages of risk vs the probabilities of success or failure and hit the necessary shot.

    So, what happened with all that?

    The higher the level of play you attain, the less "free" points you get. You have to work to keep up the pressure, create an opening and make the put-away shot. If you have not arrived at that point by now, you need to start working on put-away drills- to the point that an "attacking" shot is just another shot out of many- to be put to use when the situation calls for it.

    Idea- enter some tournaments with the idea of using them for practice. Don't worry about winning- just play the way you know you should- afterward evaluate the results.
  4. vitas77remembered

    vitas77remembered New User

    Sep 14, 2011
    First step is to play each point, regardless of score. Second, don't be afraid to lose a point, a set, a match.

    You know why there are so many "pushers?" Because its the safest way to stay in the point.

    That's why I've given up tennis, at least competitively, because there were so many pushers, everyone wanting to "win". Meanwhile hitting out was a myth.

    Of course, when I went up to 5.0 level, there was more hitting out and I had a blast.

    Nowadays, I just practice with folks who love pace and love to hit out and we get a great workout without worrying about the score.
  5. Fuji

    Fuji Legend

    Aug 30, 2010
    Be my new hitting partner? :D

  6. mxmx

    mxmx Professional

    Feb 14, 2011
    a very short opinion:

    On average you could maybe have this mental approach: (i'm speaking to myself also, cause my problem is that i'm too agressive)

    deep red ball, defend
    medium yellow ball, variation
    short green ball, attack

    Sure there will be exceptions...but maybe simplifying it to something as small as this, may help.
    Last edited: Oct 11, 2011
  7. TennisCJC

    TennisCJC Legend

    Apr 20, 2010
    This is good advice.

    Andre Agassi had the exact opposite problem in that he went big all the time. Brad Gilbert gave him this rule - "you cannot go for a DTL winner unless you have 1 foot in the court".

    If you are 3+ feet behind baseline; defend and hit ball 4+ feet over net with medium pace.

    If you are around the baeline; hit a neutral ball about 3+ feet over net but you can change direction (go DTL) or use a bit of pop if you are in good balance position.

    If you have both feet inside the baseline; hit aggressive ball 2 feet over net. Go for something here: short topspin angle cross court, DTL aggressive ground stroke (maybe follow it to net); approach shot DTL, hard and deep cross court; short biting slice. Basically, work on weapons and use them when you are inside the court.

    Pyschologically, you have to accept that improvement is not a straight line upward. You may take a few steps back and miss a few balls when working on being aggressive. But, having the ability to use controlled aggression in competitive matches will reward you in the end and it is worth the investment. Maybe set goals of being aggressive and making 80% of shots rather than winning matches.
  8. spaceman_spiff

    spaceman_spiff Hall of Fame

    Aug 24, 2005
    The crappest town in Britain
    Just a quick suggestion.

    When you see your opponent has hit a ball that you'll have plenty of time to set up for, smile. That's it. Smile and just swing naturally.

    Even a forced smile has a noticeable effect on short-term mental state. It could be what you need to relax and go for the shots you know you can hit.
  9. LuckyR

    LuckyR Legend

    Jun 2, 2006
    The Great NW

    If you are serious, then you have to separate a couple of things that you are lumping together. Specifically you need to separate your tennis quality in matchplay from what you do in practice. Only matchplay counts. There is no such thing as: "I play well in practice but choke in matchplay". That guy is a plain choker, since only matchplay prowess counts.

    Once you wrap your mind around that, then you will stop wondering why you can't play the same in the two different enviroments and just concentrate on what you are actually doing in matches and improve it, without the distraction of a false comparo to the much, much easier practice environment.

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