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Old 05-19-2008, 04:45 PM   #1
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Default Mental stability in tennis

I think mental stability is the one thing which makes the difference between a solid and a great player even on amateur level...

I had a terrible record against a friend of mine, in three years we played more then 60 times (friendly, league and tournament matches), and i had something like 10 W and 50 L, but the unbelivabl thing is that he is not the better player, almost every match i lost against him ( 90%) went into the third set, it did not matter if i started good and then fell apart (once i blew a 6/1,*5/1 *40-0 lead), or i came back strongly in the second set and would still lose it in the third, in the beginning i often blamed it on my bad fitness which was not at the same level as the one from my opponent, but then again i always compensated it with better technique and more skills, he was mentally much stronger then I at that time, like the pro's he often played mind games with me, and he could easily bring me out of rythm, or he even did not have to do a lot, i would destroy myself often on the court;

But last summer i had a minor ankle injury and i stopped playing for two months, and I was just sitting on the bench watching my friends play when it suddenly came to me and i recognised my biggest problem; after a couple weeks of training i took him on again, and since that day we played 15 matches and i lost only once, he keeps playing the same old claycourt game, but from that moment on he is the one who breaks down when it comes to big points; i just stopped pressuring myself and i try to keep relaxed during the match, and now i do not try to go for the big shots in critical situation, i do not make DF on break points, everything changed...

We both enter many local tournaments (club level), and although i am only 23, i play now like an old fox, and i often win matches against younger and by far the better players then I am..

My friend now avoids playing against me, he tries as hard as he can, but i am rock solid at the moment, i have lost too many matches where i choked or just gave it away to my opponent, and it took me a lot to be able to deal with it, nowadays I only lose to guys which outplay me totally but that does not happen to often..

So do you have any similar stories? How do you deal with pressure, little mind games and tricks from you opponents?
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Old 05-21-2008, 05:40 AM   #2
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Default Re: Mental stability in tennis

I have a friend who i've seen completely tear people apart mentally. he thrives on it. he's also a really good player, he does all the stupid trick shots, tweeners, behind the back, sky lobs. anything you would NEVER do it a real match, he does. and he does it well. he also looks as if he doesn't care at ALL about the match that he's playing. do you have any idea how aggravating that can be? anyway, i don't play against him. lol. but yes, what your story describes is real tennis phonemina (i spelled that wrong). it's called expierence. (i spelled that wrong too)
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Old 05-21-2008, 09:50 AM   #3
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Default Re: Mental stability in tennis

Glad you managed to turn things round in your head to head with your friend. Yes, the mental side of tennis is massively under-rated, especially at amateur level. As you say, staying relaxed is the key. You can't serve unless you're relaxed for a start! Then the rest of your game falls into place. of course, there are many things the opponent can do to throw you off your game.

The only thing that gets me throwing my racquets these days is if I perceive my opponent is getting all the luck on big points, net cords, mishits landing on the line, etc. all get me mad as hell, because I feel I don't get the same kind of luck. In reality, I probably get the same luck as anyone but I concentrate too hard on what the opponent's doing instead of sticking to the old cliche "one point at a time" and focussing on what I do.

I think the best thing to do is just to play your own game and ignore any luck your opponent gets, or any tricks they may try to wind you up. Of course, much easier said than done!
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Old 05-21-2008, 08:06 PM   #4
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Default Re: Mental stability in tennis

My doubles partner is a head case, so I always have to keep him in check when we are playing. Positive reinforcement without losing competitiveness is always best. As for getting into the other teams head, argue every close call, even if you know it was in, and if you see one of their shots hit the line, tell them to call it because you didn't see it. Also if you screw around or goof off when you are up at the net it often forces double faults and other bad shots. Me and my partner have won many games that we were the less talented team.
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Old 05-22-2008, 02:07 AM   #5
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Default Re: Mental stability in tennis

Quote:
Originally Posted by FootWork View Post
I have a friend who i've seen completely tear people apart mentally. he thrives on it. he's also a really good player, he does all the stupid trick shots, tweeners, behind the back, sky lobs. anything you would NEVER do it a real match, he does. and he does it well. he also looks as if he doesn't care at ALL about the match that he's playing. do you have any idea how aggravating that can be? anyway, i don't play against him. lol. but yes, what your story describes is real tennis phonemina (i spelled that wrong). it's called expierence. (i spelled that wrong too)
haha yah i know what you mean. it seems like their not trying at all and it brings your guard down and you personally dont try your best either. but once start losing and try to play seriously i cant get myself to do so. it pisses me off so whenever i play him now i just play 110% and kill him
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Old 05-26-2008, 09:44 PM   #6
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Default Re: Mental stability in tennis

Well I play college ball and I have a player on my team (the number 1)...he is one of the scrappiest/greatest players I have seen at this level.

He has the strokes, but doesnt always use them. His entire goal is to win and nothing else matters. Mentally, he is the toughest player I have ever seen.

I must say, I respect players who have the ability to win under any situation!!

THAT is my mental toughness story!
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Old 05-27-2008, 05:53 AM   #7
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Default Re: Mental stability in tennis

Quote:
Originally Posted by Le Jalapeno View Post
My doubles partner is a head case, so I always have to keep him in check when we are playing. Positive reinforcement without losing competitiveness is always best. As for getting into the other teams head, argue every close call, even if you know it was in, and if you see one of their shots hit the line, tell them to call it because you didn't see it. Also if you screw around or goof off when you are up at the net it often forces double faults and other bad shots. Me and my partner have won many games that we were the less talented team.
Got to say you have the lamest tactic's I've ever heard of. Argue every line call? Who the fuck does that? Tennis is about having fun, not being an ass every 2 seconds.
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Old 05-27-2008, 06:45 AM   #8
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Default Re: Mental stability in tennis

haha
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Old 05-28-2008, 07:09 AM   #9
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Default Re: Mental stability in tennis

Quote:
Originally Posted by Le Jalapeno View Post
My doubles partner is a head case, so I always have to keep him in check when we are playing. Positive reinforcement without losing competitiveness is always best. As for getting into the other teams head, argue every close call, even if you know it was in, and if you see one of their shots hit the line, tell them to call it because you didn't see it. Also if you screw around or goof off when you are up at the net it often forces double faults and other bad shots. Me and my partner have won many games that we were the less talented team.
This seems more like a bunch of tactics on how to be an utter clown who makes other people disgusted.
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Old 05-28-2008, 07:54 AM   #10
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Default Re: Mental stability in tennis

Quote:
Originally Posted by Le Jalapeno View Post
My doubles partner is a head case, so I always have to keep him in check when we are playing. Positive reinforcement without losing competitiveness is always best. As for getting into the other teams head, argue every close call, even if you know it was in, and if you see one of their shots hit the line, tell them to call it because you didn't see it. Also if you screw around or goof off when you are up at the net it often forces double faults and other bad shots. Me and my partner have won many games that we were the less talented team.
This is the kind of stuff where smashes get deliberately aimed at players for trying tactics like this.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Filo V. View Post
I definitely would have preferred Gaba winning as he needs the points much more, but Jan would have beaten him anyway. I expect Hajek to destroy Machado, like 6-1 6-2.
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Old 05-30-2008, 07:22 PM   #11
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Default Re: Mental stability in tennis

No real "we shall overcome" stories...but I've recently joined a racket club (where most of my USTA teammates already belonged and I've played at many times as a guest). Since our USTA team is technically an independent, we often have to play that Club. It would amaze me how many of my teammates would come up with excuses to not be available for that match. Now that I, too, am a member of the club...my attitude hasn't changed at all. Normally, I really don't like to know my opponents (preferring to try to figure it out on court myself) but the more I play, the more I find myself playing people I've seen or played against before. Doesn't bother me one bit; in fact, it's kinda nice sometimes not having to use/waste the first few games trying to figure out their game.

At my age (old) and skill level (moderate)...I pride myself on being above average with my fitness...both physical and mental. The former can be improved through hard work and practice...but the latter, I'm not so sure of. I tend to think either you've got it...or you don't. I consider myself fortunate in that respect and know it'll be the one aspect of my game that won't fade with the coming years (or at least I hope it won't ).
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