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Ganglion 11-03-2007 06:21 PM

Aggressive Doesn’t Mean Hitting Harder
Aggressive Doesn’t Mean Hitting Harder

What do I mean by aggressive? When I tell you to play more aggressive you may think I mean run faster, hit harder, and get to the net. Attack.

But playing aggressively doesn’t necessarily mean hitting everything harder. It may mean hitting harder. But it may mean hitting softer. It can be the placement of the shot (topspin or underspin). What I mean by playing more aggressively is being mentally more alert, aware of the significance of the situation and intent on not losing your advantage through sloppiness.

I tighten the noose slowly. Michael chang and Emilo Sanchez are experts at this approach. Once they have a lead they just wait you out. They’re very strong mentally with a lead. It is very difficult to get that lead back from them because you know they won’t give you any easy points.

You have to know your own game. If you do play better with a lead, with less tension and pressure, go ahead and press the issue. If you make mistakes with that approach, stay with what got you the lead in the first place. Just concentrate on doing it better. As the saying goes, ‘dance with who brung ya.’

In either case a primary factor is mental alertness and an understanding of the dynamics of the situation. You’ve got the lead with that break. Avoid becoming careless. Don’t make stupid mistakes. Don’t give up your advantage by getting mentally lazy.

My Motto: D.R.M.

As I mention, my motto is D.R.M.: “Don’t rush me.” Tennis players tend to speed up when they go ahead (or fall behind). It hurts their game. You feel good when you grab a break to go ahead. You’re pumped. It’s natural to step up the pace. But be careful. That’s when mistakes happen. A double fault. An ill-advised attempted at a forehand winner. An approach shot at the wrong time. Bing. Bing. Bing. You’ve lost the break. So be deliberate. Don’t race to the line and jump into the next point. Think a little about what you’re going to do next. Don’t slow it down. Just don’t speed it up.

Here’s my antirushing device. I’ll pick out a spot on the back wall (in front of the spectator seats) or a mark on the court five or ten feet behind the baseline. Between each point I will actually go to that mark and touch it with my racket or hand, or at least look at it. I walk back to it, touch it, and then go back to the baseline. It prevents me from jumping into points carelessly. When I’ve got a lead I want to avoid getting careless.

Source: Brad Gilbert and Steve Jamison (2007, 150-151). Winning Ugly. Pocket Books.

BgStallion 11-17-2007 01:08 PM

Re: Aggressive Doesn’t Mean Hitting Harder
Yep - a great book :) I loved it :)

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