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Thread: concentration

  1. #1


    does anyone have any suggestions on how to regain a positive attitude and good concentration during a losing match? i find that's my biggest weakness, even when i'm winning, i lose concentration easily and then get real negative. often i try to regain concentration but i just keep making errors and it becomes real hard.

  2. #2
    I'm new here and since no one else has responded to this after nearly 3 weeks, I'll bite.

    I think I have had a similar problem (not when I'm winning though). Usually it starts with the fact that the other guy is destroying me. Nothing seems to work, and even when I set up a point perfectly I still manage to screw it up. Then frustration sets in, the errors pile up, and I go into a downward spiral from which there is no escape.

    You say it happens when you are winning though, and that's a bigger problem. I don't really have any advice for you but maybe there is a sports psychiatrist on the forum who can help both of us.

  3. #3
    tprocurt Guest

    Concentration feedback

    Livelyfellow: I hope this will help you since this is my field of expertise as a former ATP player as well as a teaching pro with 60,000 hours of on court instruction experience. Here goes: It is very common to lose focus, play bad or let down when you are ahead and winning in a match. It's really very simple actually. When you are well ahead, up a break, or winning a match, the mentalty is " I can afford to lose this point or this game, its not going to cost me anything". The worst case is that I will be a tie score. This mental thinking is what will cause a momentum switch to your opponent that you may not recover from. It is very important to stay focused on what got you the lead and have confidence in your game. Stay motivated to win as well as keeping a balance of respect for you opponent in order to close out the match for a win. The next time you play that person, he or she will remember the loss. There is nothing more damageing to you opponent then for him to remember the butt kicking you gave the last time you played.

    Gimpy: Sometimes you have to just say he or she is just a better tennis player than me at this time. If the levels of play are apart for example a 4.0 player is suppose to beat a 3.5 player, however the 3.5 player should be able to be somwhat in the point. If the level of play is around the same, then you most likely have many more unforced erors then your opponent. If a pro or someone can do a stat sheet on you while you play a match, you will see that the unforced error section will have by far the most marks. The winner section will be very small. Amature tennis is all about unforced errors! Find out what areas you are earning your most unforced errors and you will close the gap in your win / loss percentage. As you are in more matches (wins and close matches) your confidence will go up and you will be more likely to see more momentum swings in your favor. Remember this one very important thing about momentum in sports competition; your goal is to try and keep it on your side and try to shut it down to your opponent. It is the most powerful force in sports! Good luck, Curt

  4. #4
    i appreciate the advice, hopefully it'll help

  5. #5
    Geezer Guy Guest
    Well, everyone is different. What works for me may not work for you, but here's what I do: I focus on the things that I have control over, and don't worry about the other stuff. If the guy's going to ace me or hit pinpoint winners, there may not be a whole lot I can do about it. However, I -CAN- be sure that I'm watching the ball closely, that I'm not jerking my head up when I make contact, that I split-step just as he hits the ball, that I get most of my first serves in (even if they look more like my second serves), etc. There's a whole TON of things that I have control over. When I concentrate on these and not worry so much about the score, I seem to play better. And, if I play well - I don't care so much if I lose. (But I HATE to play poorly and lose!) Hope something there helps. Good luck.

  6. #6
    I think the real question is how bad do you want to win. Getting negative will not help you at all. Ya missing a shot is really disapionting but go to the next one. I bet your thinking it's a lot easier said then doing it. Ya your right lol but you can do anything you want to. I'm dead serious when it comes to this because I had this problem for a long time. Good luck, you got it.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Tucson, AZ


    I've coached a number of players who've had this problem and have found the best remedy is to simplify.

    Shake everything out of your head and do nothing but focus on the ball. Nothing but.

    When your opponent is serving, zero in on the ball when he is bouncing it. Let your eyes go up and down with the ball. When he tosses it, your eyes should follow the toss. When he hits it, follow it into your racquet. Keep this up through the entire point and every point after.

    When you're serving -- split step after your serve and watch the ball hit his racquet.

    Later you may resume thinking and coming up with clever stuff. But this is a great technique for those times things aren't going well.

    Good luck!

  8. #8
    The advice above about losing concentration while winning is very good. When we get ahead, we let down. Lose intensity. Guard against this. Want to win every point, every game. Focus on immediate goals, not distant ones.

    Otherwise, my advice is to just keep your mind on the game and keep the ego out of it. When we "get negative," it's because there's a little voice in the head saying stuff like, "You are a looser. There you go choking again. Quit getting your racket back too late." Notice that voice speaks to us as "you," not "I". That's the ego. It's all upset over not looking good -- appearances.

    Tune it out by thinking useful thoughts instead. Like planning where to place your next serve. Like figuring about how many times per game your oppoenet follows serve to net and whether he does so usually from the ad side or the deuce. Like thinking about the score and what playing pace you'd like to set. All are examples of positive thinking = thinking about what you can do to win. They shut the ego up, because he has nothing useful to say.

    Notice that I do NOT suggest that you ask yourself what you did wrong on that last backhand that went out. Just make sure you notice exactly where it landed and how far out it was. Period. Don't start thinking how to swing while you're playing a match. That just causes more errors and frustrates you the more. Just make up your mind that your going to hit good backhands -- don't bother analyzing your backhand during play.

    The game is fun and you play best if you keep the ego out of it and just relish the game itself. Sure it's disappointing when you lose or don't play well. But despite how big a deal the ego makes of it, it's not the Second Coming. So, keep it in perspective, keep a sense of humor, and just fight tooth and nail to win. Contrary to what the ego thinks, you won't die if you don't.

  9. #9
    Unregistered Guest
    As a former player on the Satellite circuit let me second the advice of Kathyk. If u saw the movie "The Last Samurai", the jap guys advice to Tom Cruise is to have "No mind". And to draw from an american example...Nike's slogan was "Just Do It". Seems quite western...but has deep philosophical meaning.Concentrate on the ball....the result will take care of itself if you are good enough..if not tough luck...theres always a second time.

  10. #10
    I think the real question is how bad do you want to win. Getting negative will not help you at all. Ya missing a shot is really disapionting but go to the next one. I bet your thinking it's a lot easier said then doing it. Ya your right lol but you can do anything you want to. I'm dead serious when it comes to this because I had this problem for a long time. Good luck, you got it.
    I somehow missed this one before. I love it. It's perfect. "How much do you want to WIN?"

    That's a deep question, one every player should ponder.

    There's a difference between playing to win and playing to look good or to prove something or to impress somebody or to be greater than your opponent or to live up to others' expectations or whatever. We all have our psychological needs for gratification, but if you focus on just winning, you let none of this other junk get in the way of achieving that goal. You'll win "ugly" if necessary, because your goal is pure -- to win, with no ulterior motives sabatoging you. That's what's meant in those sayings "Winning isn't everything -- it's the only thing" and "Winning isn't everything, but wanting to win is."

    Negative thoughts can't be supressed. You can't NOT think something. But you can crowd negative thoughts out with thinking about tactics and strategy -- things (as Geezer mentioned above) that you CAN control.
    Last edited by kathyk; 04-14-2005 at 08:57 AM. Reason: spelling

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