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Tennis Psychology 101
Much has been written about Tennis Psychology and many have made a nice profit on books of this nature. Why is that really? I mean the bulk of everything I've learned about winning a tennis match were little Tid Bits of Wisdom said to me by a variety of Tennis Partners over the years and much of it was my own Estimations & Evaluations of The Game, My Game & My Opponent's Game.
So for me, I got to save my $49.95 pocket size edition for more important luxuries like a new can of balls for one type of Player and old tennis balls for another type of player. Yep, I too played those tricks of the trade. Depending on who you were playing, you either pulled out the fresh crisp bouncing balls that flew through the air with ease or against someone who you considered a heavier hitter than yourself, you yanked out the older cans of, "Hey these have only been played for 1 Set" balls.
Funny how everybody always fell for that line
Come on guys, I don't have to explain the reasoning behind that I hope. But on to my point. To be honest, I'm not an Advocate of stacking up on Books on how to Play to Win at Tennis. Even Brad Gilbert's Book on Winning Ugly, I thought was more humorous than practical, given when you write a Book of advisement, you must take in far too many variables or you're going to be saying throughout the passages, "The Exception is".
When you watch Tennis on TV, you will more than not simply see a Player either hit a winner or fault and while the Camera is focused on their face, aside from the occasional, "Come On" shouts, generally no words are being spoken but in that player's head, 9,000 words per minute are filtering through every cell in their brain. Actually, there isn't a moment of time at any juncture that a Tennis Player isn't hashing & rehashing their every move and anticipated move.
But at the end of the day, only one of those players can win the match, even if they both have a stable game and are making little to no errors. Take the Quarter Finals US Open Pete Sampras vs Andre Agassi, where four Tie Breaker Sets were played and both men held sever throughout the match. Only it was Sampras that prevailed on the bigger points that won him the match.
You can do everything right in a match and still lose. Should that keep you up all night? Nah, unless it's important to analysis every stroke to see where you could have done better. I frequently have my students watch Tennis Matches live or on DVD. Their assignment is to tell me at what point of a rally did a Player lose the point? I'm not looking for the actual winning shot that ended the rally, I'm looking for that period of a rally where a shot created an opening for the winning shot to happen. Sometimes it's a weak return off a groundstroke rally or a strategically misplaced shot back to the opponent when they were not in a good defensive position.
So today's Tennis Psychology is simply this, winning the groundstroke battle is not merely hitting a stronger shot than your opponent as much as it is placement and timing of that shot.
The only acceptable loss is when your opponent was better than you on that given day.
It is never acceptable to lose when your opponent was not.
I thinks it is all about the placement and the timing, you can own your opponent by keeping them off balance and dictating the tempo of the match
Very good points Coach. To a certain level, simple placement and timing can win over and over. Especially when playing opponents who do not have those aspects in their own games. Once you get into the higher levels of playing (ITF, College, and Professional), you must not only have placement and timing, but you must have power and mental strength. The higher level players have great timing, excellent placement, and good power on their shots. Even if you can place the ball anywhere and have great timing, if you play that player that also has those skills, but can rip the ball as well, you are going to find that your ability to place the ball is diminished as well as you will have timing problems due to your opponent's pace. Once you are scrambling at full speed to get back your opponent's well placed and well timed shots, you find that you become mentally and physically tired and you begin to try too hard and then you begin making mistakes as you are playing outside of your abilities. So, the key for someone who doesn't hit the ball very hard is to develop the timing and the placement, but make sure you develop the first two shots of the game. The serve and the return. Those will be key components because if you give a good player sitting serves and your return lands in the middle of the court with no pace everytime, you had better have some light, breathable shoes, because you will be doing a lot of sprinting during your match. So, if power is not in your game, look at working on good, solid, well-placed serves as well as strong returns. Work on your mental strength, footwork, and fitness as well so that you can weather the storm of the bigger hitters who place the ball well.
The role of a coach is to teach, train, instruct and help people to learn new skills thus enabling them to improve performance and reach their potential. It is also about recognising, understanding and providing for the social, emotional and personal needs of others. It is vital to have a well defined philosophy i.e. how you see situations and experiences in your life, your views of the past, your opinions on the present and your expectations for the future. It determines every thought, action and decision you as a coach make. You need a belief of coaching people that will continue to develop throughout your life, examining how well you know yourself, your players and your business. In order to succeed in this challenging environment you need to provide for the emotional needs of your target market.
As a coach you need to help players to grow as individuals. It is important to teach them how to win matches whilst at the same time enjoying themselves and having fun. A “winning at all costs” attitude ignores the development of the player, while an “athlete first, winning second” philosophy keeps a balanced view of participation, fair play, competition and justice in all players. This way of life which emphasises the progress of the player is more likely to produce better performance, good attendance at lessons which is important for the researcher in pursuit of business excellence and more satisfaction for the player and coach. It will also help build a solid relationship between student and coach based on mutual respect for each other as people.
Since the coaching process has a great power to shape the lives of the players a coach must place the rights and needs of the players before those of his own. He should uphold the dignity of his profession both in public and in private by being honest with himself, his fellow coaches and his students. He ought to intend to strive to maintain high standards of excellence in his work seeking to contribute to the welfare of those with whom he interacts professionally by complying with the law and encouraging the development of rules and policies that serve the interest of tennis. He should maintain high ethical standards that promote good sportsmanship.
By jtas in forum Tennis Parents
Last Post: 01-30-2009, 03:27 PM