Friday, February 26th, 2016 at
Tennis Match Conditions
In a previous article I discussed the important areas of what to do before an important match. Let’s go over them again briefly and then discuss what to do in some key match situations.
One of my personal favorites, but not mandatory, is car fight song. I have one that has always pumped me up. Pick a song that gets you excited and feeling good and then play it over and over while driving to the match. Since you will have limited time to warm up on the court make sure you have stretched sufficiently and if possible either have hit a little or jogged a bit trying to break a slight sweat, so you are loose and moving. When warming up with your opponent-hit controlled shots, look for your opponent’s weaknesses, take overheads and hit practice serves into both squares.
The number one component to playing quality tennis is a positive attitude. Stay focused on the next point, don’t worry about the last point if lost or enjoy winning the last point too long, either way it is only one point, the next one is the most important.
The first set was nip and tuck with long games and long points-and you lost. The bad news is you are down a set; the good news is matches are two out of three and if not for a couple of points here and there you would have won. You do not have to change anything in your game plan. Try to focus in on your form a bit more to cut down unforced errors and zero in on the opponent’s weaknesses you have noticed to force some errors or weak returns you can capitalize on. The first game of the next set is very important. If you lost the first you need to gain some momentum back on your side-if you won the set you need to keep it going.
OH-OH, you lost the first set in a blowout, now it’s time to change your game up. If you are a baseline player come in more when possible and vice-versa, if the opponent is not comfortable at the net hit short to balls to force he or she to come forward and give the opponent different looks by changing pace and spins.
Good news-you won the first set-keep the momentum going, really concentrate on the first game of the next set. Do not change your game plan, whether the first set was close or a blowout, the game plan worked so don’t out think yourself. I have seen too many players win the first set, have a lead in the second and then play conservatively trying not to lose. It’s a lot like the “ prevent defense” in football, when a team has a lead in the fourth quarter and lets the opposing team gain multiple yards to either use up the clock or stop a long score. In football terms it prevents them from winning because the opposing team often makes a comeback. All sports are based on momentum-if you have it don’t do anything to give your opponent some confidence and have the momentum turn against you.
The score is a set each, play every point as if it is match point. While all games are important, the odd games (especially 1 and 7) are the most important, bear down on them. Remember matches are lost primarily on shot selection. If you have an opportunity to go for a shot-do it, if it is not quite there play smart and keep the ball in play.
Good Luck-Have Fun