Perfect in drills, fall apart in match play--ARRGH!

gameboy

Hall of Fame
He stressed that research shows that that under pressure the body releases adrenaline.
Adrenaline makes us run faster and hit harder.
But it is not good for fine motor skills like putting that shot just where we want it.
And it blocks our thinking skills, so good shot selection seems to go out the window.
This is so true.

During practice or drills, I hit great heavy balls with deep placement. But in games, I just get WAAAY too hyper and my swing goes to pieces. Then you try to slow down a bit and you start dinking the balls over.

The best way to get better in match play is to play as many matches as possible. You got to get to a point where your mentally used to playing points that matter.
 

Ledigs

Hall of Fame
In practice are you hitting from the same position or are you practicing running forehands and backhands?
 

split-step

Professional
I have what my instructor would call easily 4.0-4.5 level groundstrokes and game when we do drills and general back and forth rallying. My consistency is near flawless, I barely miss anything.
This part of the OP's post is why this site has so many ppl that have no idea about ntrp ratings and why ppl always complain about losing to 'pushers'.

How your groundstrokes look do not reflect how you play matches or how good you are at competing.

All drilling does is give you the foundation to build your game on.
Keep playing matches and work on your strategy and tactics. You are going to play and lose a lot of matches in this process but you will learn with each loss. It pays off in the end.
 

Cindysphinx

G.O.A.T.
I suffer from this too (and I think most everyone who takes instruction does). The problem is that the pro gives you balls to allow you to groove technique, but an opponent does not.

I used to take piano lessons. The same phenomenon occurs there: You play great in lesson, and poorly during performance. That's because in the lesson, everything is slow and there is no pressure to keep playing if you hit a rough spot. In performance, you have to deal with nerves, performance tempo, and the fact that you can't stop no matter what.

In tennis, I think the answer is to do more practice that simulates match play. You can have your pro move you around more and see if your stroke breaks down. And of course you can play more practice matches.

I think it helps mentally if you realize that what you are experiencing is normal and unavoidable, though. Then you won't get down on yourself.
 

eagle

Hall of Fame
In tennis, I think the answer is to do more practice that simulates match play.
I do the opposite. I "treat" matches like practice.

Hence, groundstrokes, serves, and other aspects of my game are the same. No pitter-patter just-keep-it-in-the-box pusher strokes, no slow motion pancakes serves, and no mind numbing slice and dice defensive shots. I see lots of folks who are amazing in practice or warm up but play completely different during a match. Easy prey. :)

For me, making no distinction between practice and real matches works since it doesn't add any pressure on me. Then again, I'm never ever nervous while playing matches. After all, it's just a game. Now, if my life, family, or property were at stake, then I'd be wreck. :)

ymmv.

r,
eagle
 

Power Player

Talk Tennis Guru
I ralley with guys and play points. What I notice when I warm up is that if I just focus on relaxed hitting, stepping into each shot and really keeping my head down and opening my hips at the right time..im good. I gradually hit out more and more and that gets me grooved into a rthym that carries into a match.

Make sure you are split stepping every time..staying low..getting to balls, preparing and keeping your eye on the ball through contact. Helps me out a lot.
 

kevhen

Hall of Fame
Stop drilling and the mindless rallying. Your opponent is hitting soft shots to you in practice and letting you hit from your comfort zone, but in a real match you often have to hit awkward shots or from different places on the court than you are used to. Just play lots of real matches and try not to worry about the score and the losses but try to learn what you need to do in all the situations that are different from just rallying from the baseline like you do in practice. Play more matches and become more match tough. Hit crosscourt and hit a little bit safer. Don't let yourself get mentally frustrated that you are actually now learning how to play tennis rather than learning how to drill or hit practice shots. Real tennis is much more difficult.
 

Cindysphinx

G.O.A.T.
I do the opposite. I "treat" matches like practice.
Well, yeah. But do you treat practice like matches?

What I mean is that it is not possible to treat practice like a match. If you are taking lessons, it is because you are trying to learn to do something you do not yet know how to do. If you do that at "full speed," you cannot unlearn the bad habit and replace it with a new one. The idea of practice IMHO is to learn the new thing and then groove it so you can do it without conscious thought, which won't happen if you are struggling just to get the ball back over the net.

To continue the piano analogy, it would be like saying the best way to learn a new and challenging piece of music is to play it full speed from the get-go. For obvious reasons, this cannot work with a student who has not yet mastered the instrument.
 

sn1974

Rookie
if you are hitting at that level, you really shouldn't be doing any simple back and forth rallying, except to warm up. is your instructor giving you point situations and tough balls to hit and then helping you work through specifically what you are doing wrong? is he/she throwing in random fast balls, short balls, low balls, etc. or doing other unexpected things to keep you on your toes and out of your comfort zone?

part of it is state of mind, which is sort of nebulous and difficult to fix. great, you have the wrong state of mind, how do you fix that?

state of mind manifests itself in specific problems you can identify and fix. like, you aren't setting your feet first, or you're rushing through your stroke, or you are tensing up your arms or not keeping your head down. you need to know specifically what you are doing wrong and then address those things when you are playing competitively.
 

Grampy

Rookie
"Winning Ugly". Read it. It will help you with one of the most important parts of tennis that is also the most overlooked by amatuers - the mental game.
 

eagle

Hall of Fame
Well, yeah. But do you treat practice like matches?

What I mean is that it is not possible to treat practice like a match. If you are taking lessons, it is because you are trying to learn to do something you do not yet know how to do. If you do that at "full speed," you cannot unlearn the bad habit and replace it with a new one. The idea of practice IMHO is to learn the new thing and then groove it so you can do it without conscious thought, which won't happen if you are struggling just to get the ball back over the net.

To continue the piano analogy, it would be like saying the best way to learn a new and challenging piece of music is to play it full speed from the get-go. For obvious reasons, this cannot work with a student who has not yet mastered the instrument.
Hi Cindy,

You must have missed the last note I had on my post.

---> ymmv.

It works for me but it may not work for others.

This forum just like other fora is meant to offer help to others seeking it.

That's what I do. I scan through tips through this site and others. It doesn't mean I take what's posted as gospel. I also filter all the tips and pick the ones that I think would benefit me.

So, I try some and try to apply them to my game. A lot of them work but a lot also don't.

Now it doesn't mean that the tips that didn't work for me are bogus. They just didn't work for me. More often than not, it's not the tip but my inability to adapt to it due to my own inadequacies and lack of natural ability and painfully... talent.

So, the short of it is .... your mileage may vary (ymmv). What works for me may not work for others. I however offer my experience so that maybe I can pay forward what I've learned from others on this board.

Yes? No?

By the way, what I was addressing was the OP's plea for suggestions to overcome match play breakdowns. He wasn't asking for tips to groove his strokes or honing new skills.

If the latter is the case, then that is a different discussion altogether. He should perhaps open a new thread regarding that topic.

Again, ymmv. :)

r,
eagle
 

user92626

G.O.A.T.
To the OP's statement "Perfect in drills, fall apart in match play--ARRGH!", do you drill the same moves as those in matches and record the outcomes for comparison?

I bet you that you'll likely find via recorded stats that your drills aren't better than matches, let alone perfect.
 

Cindysphinx

G.O.A.T.
Hi Cindy,

You must have missed the last note I had on my post.

---> ymmv.

It works for me but it may not work for others.

This forum just like other fora is meant to offer help to others seeking it.

That's what I do. I scan through tips through this site and others. It doesn't mean I take what's posted as gospel. I also filter all the tips and pick the ones that I think would benefit me.

So, I try some and try to apply them to my game. A lot of them work but a lot also don't.

Now it doesn't mean that the tips that didn't work for me are bogus. They just didn't work for me. More often than not, it's not the tip but my inability to adapt to it due to my own inadequacies and lack of natural ability and painfully... talent.

So, the short of it is .... your mileage may vary (ymmv). What works for me may not work for others. I however offer my experience so that maybe I can pay forward what I've learned from others on this board.

Yes? No?

By the way, what I was addressing was the OP's plea for suggestions to overcome match play breakdowns. He wasn't asking for tips to groove his strokes or honing new skills.

If the latter is the case, then that is a different discussion altogether. He should perhaps open a new thread regarding that topic.

Again, ymmv. :)

r,
eagle
Eagle,

Sorry if I came on a bit strong. I was just offering up my own experience and my reasons. Of course we are all different, and YMMV always applies.

Cheers!
 

eagle

Hall of Fame
Aloha Cindy,

Not a problem.

I just hope the OP finds his "aha" moment soon so that he can move forward. It may not even come from here. He could just stumble upon it on his own. But along the way, I hope he finds a few pearls of wisdom that have helped me.

r,
eagle
 
Top