Need help closing out set's, ANY advice appreciated!


Hall of Fame
I have developed a real bad habit of being in control of sets but just can't get over the finish line and then end up losing the set often with comfortable leads, very frustrating. Todays group league match followed the same pattern as usual. I was up a break 4-2 with 4 more break points for a 5-2 lead that I was not able to convert. Then at 4-3 I played a good service game for a 5-3 lead then at 5-4 serving for the set I went up 30-15 everything was fine but then it happened. A mishit volley from my opponent touched the net cord and dropped over. I lost it. Racquet thrown, some bad words, kicking stuff. I was agonized and of course it went downhill from there. Lost the game and then the set 7-5. In my last service game I started out with 2 double faults.

This is a very common pattern in my matches and it is very hard to explain where it goes wrong in the end. I know it's a mental issue and because it has happened so many times before I don't have the confidence that I will win the set even with big lead. I do so many things right. Today I was up a break most of the set. Held 4 break points at 4-2 for a 5-2 lead. Serving for set at 5-4 and take the lead 30-15. I know it's tennis and it happens sometimes but for me it's too often.

I need help to break this bad habit. Any advice appreciated!


New User
Think of your opponent as a big roach or bug. You can't just hose it down with spray and expect it to die. Stomping it out and squashing it under your boot is the only way to guarantee victory.. A little lie here and there can't hurt either. Try telling yourself you need to hold to stay alive instead of closing the set out. Whenever you get a lead in a set, mash the gas harder.
You're very results-oriented and when it appears the results won't be what you want, it has a big negative effect on your game and becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.

One attempted solution is to switch your thinking to being more process-oriented: stop thinking about points and games and sets and matches and focus on the "how": footwork, shot selection, patience, exploiting weaknesses, etc. If you do all of these things and you still lose, that's life. Concentrating ever more fiercely on winning won't necessarily make it so.

One of my favorite people on this topic is Patrick Cohn:

Mountain Ghost

Your negative possibility story line is so well thought out and documented ... how can the universe NOT give you a reality "movie" based on your very convincing "script"? ... ... ... Your "homework" would be to give equal time, energy and detail to what you are simply DOING ... without the "polarities" of doing well or not ... winning or losing. If you don't "KNOW" what you are doing ... take a few lessons from a pro who can give you some good technical "focal points" ... partially to perhaps fix any issues ... but MOSTLY to get you thinking more about WHAT you are doing ... than HOW you are doing!



You're not alone, I struggle with the same. Many others do... hey! even the great RF does show it, even recently

Here's what I've learned so far.
1. Practice the habit of being very aware of how your body feels and tenses up when the situation gets tight, and practice to loosening up before serving or receiving
2. Ask around to your friends WHAT do they see, for. ex. I learned from them that I have a tendency to push even harder or trying to finish point a bit quicker leading to all sorts of errors - so I try strategies to compensate for that
3. Use your frontal lobe (rational thinking) to counter the ansiety - read dr. Allen Fox book
4. When you the work above you'll see tremendous results, BUT more times than you whish you will fall off the wagon... it's a process, keep working :)

so study up, be aware of whats happening, work at it
good luck