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Old 08-01-2012, 11:10 AM   #1
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Default Problem finishing sets, matches

I play amateur tennis, obviously why I post .
I play with various people on local small amateur tourneys- I also play with people I know from clubs.

I have problem to finish the match when I am playing worse players than me.

I am better player than my opponents and I lead 5:0 or 5:1 . And all of sudden my game starts to disappear, to fall apart.

Double Faults, stupid shots with no point, afraid to take the shot, making shots in the middle of the court.....

And then I start to panic and all of a sudden it is 5:5!

What to do, it is really frustrating , really do not know what to do!
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Old 08-01-2012, 05:41 PM   #2
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Default Re: Problem finishing sets, matches

I have the exact same problem. I'm a choker as well. I hear if your choking, take the longest time possible during the changeover and sort yourself out. Also, don't rush into the next point. Bounce the ball a few times, or just take a second to breathe. Of course, I don't do any of that stuff which is probably why I choke as well. But I hear it helps
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Old 08-01-2012, 11:43 PM   #3
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Default Re: Problem finishing sets, matches

Think no further than one shot at a time. At 5-0 or 5-1, it is easy to think, ah, its over, 6-0, 6-1, I'm done, what am I gonna eat or drink later tonight? Oh shit it's 5-5!!!!!!!

Never be satisfied. If it's 15-0, make it 30-0. If it's 30-0, don't let up, make it 40-0. If it's 40-0, pedal to the metal, hold to love.

Get that first serve into play and step on the throat of the opponent, like a lion in the savanna.
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Old 08-02-2012, 01:34 AM   #4
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Default Re: Problem finishing sets, matches

Quote:
Originally Posted by Johnny Groove View Post
Think no further than one shot at a time. At 5-0 or 5-1, it is easy to think, ah, its over, 6-0, 6-1, I'm done, what am I gonna eat or drink later tonight? Oh shit it's 5-5!!!!!!!

Never be satisfied. If it's 15-0, make it 30-0. If it's 30-0, don't let up, make it 40-0. If it's 40-0, pedal to the metal, hold to love.

Get that first serve into play and step on the throat of the opponent, like a lion in the savanna.
This is all easier said than done really.

The only true advice is to play more and more matches you can tell yourself, take your time mentally, play one point at a time, etc, but really the mental game is very different for everyone, and when you find yourself at the end of a set or having an important point in front of you, your brain does some nasty things and tends to forget those sayings. Someone like Rafa certainly seems to play one point at a time, while others may try to even play harder or hit the ball bigger when pressure moments come. You have to find your niche and the only way you can ever get more used to closing out sets or winning important points is to play more and more matches. Probably not the answer you hear, but I think it is most logical. If you ask the top players in your region how they spend much of their practice, I can guarantee that they spend a large portion of their time on court practicing matches.

By the way, I actually recommend practicing tiebreaks A LOT, especially against players who win a lot of free points off serve or if you struggle with the returns. Tiebreaks, we all know, are very tough mentally so it will help you understand your mental strength more and most importantly, it instills the value of a SINGLE POINT in tennis, because all you need is one mini break and the tiebreak is all yours if you win every point off your serve. I find that too few players practice tiebreaks, and it ends up costing them because many times they will play them too passively hoping the other player will fall mentally. But if you notice, the better players around the world are normally those that excel in tiebreaks. This is arguably because tiebreaks reward those who properly take their chances rather than trying to draw errors. In the end, such practice and mental strength gained from tiebreaks could easily translate to your ability to close out sets.
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Old 09-27-2012, 12:37 AM   #5
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Default Re: Problem finishing sets, matches

I go by the one point at a time method if you have hit a good shot and get a point take confidence from it , your allways going to make mistakes if you hit hard . If it starts to go bad think what you have done to get yourself in that position and most importantly don,t panic . I hold from 0-40 now and again and that usually leads to a strong run after as it boosts my confidence
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Old 09-27-2012, 12:39 AM   #6
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Default Re: Problem finishing sets, matches

And most importantly if things go bad , go back to basics , hit with more spin , reign in your strokes enough , you will allways be own worst enemy on court , don,t beat yourself !
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Old 09-29-2012, 07:47 PM   #7
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Default Re: Problem finishing sets, matches

If I start to choke, I change my strategies. Maybe slice a bit more, try and angle it. Just make your opponent have to re-adjust.
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Old 10-17-2012, 12:37 PM   #8
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Default Re: Problem finishing sets, matches

Quote:
Originally Posted by vojomocart View Post
I play amateur tennis, obviously why I post .
I play with various people on local small amateur tourneys- I also play with people I know from clubs.

I have problem to finish the match when I am playing worse players than me.

I am better player than my opponents and I lead 5:0 or 5:1 . And all of sudden my game starts to disappear, to fall apart.

Double Faults, stupid shots with no point, afraid to take the shot, making shots in the middle of the court.....

And then I start to panic and all of a sudden it is 5:5!

What to do, it is really frustrating , really do not know what to do!
What you describe is typical. Tennis is somewhat unique in that there is no clock, no matter how big your lead you can still lose, and you have to finish to win. Most players think too much about the situation they are in, in particular the score. The fact is, because you can always win, or lose, no matter how big you or your opponent's lead is, doesn't it make sense that - until the match is over - the score is irrelevant?

IMO, there are only 2 things you should focus on in a tennis match: (1) executing your shots, one shot at a time, and (2) executing your gameplan one point at a time. The last point is over, the next point is irrelevant. Focus only on winning THIS POINT. Most players get distracted by irrelevancies, like the score, the pressure builds and they tighten up mentally and physically. When that happens, they literally are not executing their shots correctly (not moving their feet, not setting up for each shot, not watching the ball, etc., etc.), and their gameplan goes out the window. But, when you focus only on executing your shots and your gameplan, and play only to win one point at a time, you avoid the thoughts that add pressure and impair your execution.

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Old 11-28-2012, 03:08 PM   #9
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Default Re: Problem finishing sets, matches

nearly blew a 5-0 lead saturday ! lol. i just started focusing on going for aces towards the end and it worked only 6-4.
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Old 02-09-2013, 05:08 AM   #10
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Default Re: Problem finishing sets, matches

All good advice in the thread, I have taught really strong players who have (to my despair) collapsed in the same way. The same problem can apply at all levels.

I'll repeat the 'one-point at a time' moniker one more time! Or if it helps, just try and zone out and forget points all together. Making first serves will be absolutely huge at this point for your confidence- try some practice sets where you only allow yourself one serve.

Of course, there's no substitute for good old match-practice! Good luck!
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Old 03-03-2013, 11:47 PM   #11
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Default Re: Problem finishing sets, matches

Another point to throw in there is to stop focusing on the outcome and start focusing on the process involved. Are you focusing on winning a point (outcome) or are you focusing on setting up the point in your favour, so that you can play to your strengths against his weaknesses (process).

When you start focusing on the outcome before undertaking the process, you'll start thinking too far ahead, and you'll choke. The reason you choke at 5-0 is because the outcome is closer than at 3-0 (the outcome being winning). Take away the outcome and focus on the process of each point like you do at 3-0 up
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Old 05-22-2013, 10:29 PM   #12
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Default Re: Problem finishing sets, matches

Clawed back a 0-4 lead and won 6-4 today . Lost my first comp of singles 6-0 6-0 today thought . Guy who beat me had vicious low slice that I just Couldn't handle it . All I could do was pop it up for a easy volley .
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Old 02-16-2014, 07:14 PM   #13
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Default Re: Problem finishing sets, matches

not so much sets/matches, it's more games, Against good players. I can win points but i can't finish games/ get my nose in front.
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