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  1. #1
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    So what does getting Tight mean anyway?

    I would think it safe to say most Sports Players have experienced getting tight at critical moments of competition but I have actually met many who have not.
    During the beginning years of my playing experience, I had many moments where the muscles just didn't respond to what my mind was commanding. They felt like I had weights wrapped around my arms but later on as I began to understand this condition more, I found that feeling of getting tight less & less.
    So you're serving from the Ad-Court 4-5 in the 3rd Set 30-40. Your opponent is standing inside of the baseline sending a clear signal that he is either going for an out right winner or chipping & charging. Now there is a receipt for getting tight if there ever was one.

    Your arms feel like rubber and there seems to be a lack of communication between your arms & brain. You're nervous, scared, worried but most of all in most cases, you're committing the biggest violation of a winning strategy.

    When you begin to worry about making errors and find yourself pulling up on your strokes and/or failing to go for the corners like you're so accustomed of do when you're feeling confident, that is a sign of begin tight.

    When you begin to spin your serves in instead of going for them as normal, you've lost confidence on your serve as a weapon which is a sign of getting tight. And if you're still not certain whether you're tight or not, just think how often you've seen a player pull their opponent off court with a very nice corner shot leaving the opposite corner as the obvious goto shot but instead you see the aggressor it their far less than aggressive shot down the middle finding themselves now on defense instead. Yep, they got tight for sure and lost their confidence.

    So what I'm saying is, being Tight is equal to losing one's confidence during a match and how in the World does that happen?

    1. To many unforced errors
    2. Having to hit too many shots that would have won the point long ago against other opponents that begins to force you to go for more than you're use too which begins to bring on the unforced errors.
    3. Thinking that what you are doing is not working, forcing you to change up your game during play.
    4. Seeming to lose your ability to get your 1st serve in.
    5 Allowing your opponent to take control of the point from the first ball because instead of returning an aggressive return, you begin to return serves right back down the middle of the court.

    Lack of Confidence is a condition of being Tight or is being Tight a condition of losing your confidence?

    Regardless, either is avoidable and controllable.

    * If you find that you're playing too fast, slow it down a bit. After a point is over if you're serving, don't just get the next ball and start all over again, walk up to the line, take a breath relax and think about what your game plan is. Then once you've decided, execute that plan.

    * If you're known for delivering triple digit 1st serves, then continue to do that but mix it up, go out wide and always be ready for the return no matter how good your serve was. Always be ready to hit the next shot. If you're serving from the deuce court and slice your serve outwide, your objective should be to then go for the Ad-Court corner. Even if your opponent knows that's where it's going, do it anyway. So they return the ball but instead of standing there waiting for them to do their thing, come in for the put away.

    The problem with Baseline Players is, quite often you get so comfortable standing on that line that you tend to forget that you do have the ability to follow a penetrating shot into the net for an easy put-away. The Net can be your friend if you let it. Don't just come in on a bluff, you need to work on knowing when is the right time to attack & when it's not.

    This is something you & your Coach must work on very hard. When I say, "Work on" I am no talking about after successfully putting away a couple of net volleys, you're done. I mean given it so much commitment that coming in behind a good aggressive shot needs to become instinct.

    I laugh when I hear people like Maria Sharapova claim, she's not good with sliding on Clay, Well there lays the work set before you. Maria, you have plenty of money, build a freakin Clay Court on your many acres of land and bring in a good Clay Court Coach. That person will work on nothing other than showing you how to slide into a shot from on angles. Well the same goes for those who are not comfortable with knowing when to attack the Net.

    Obviously neither does the person who is Coaching you because if you're still looking like a Deer in the headlights when you come to the Net, your Coach doesn't have a clue either so bring in someone who can help you understand the concept(s) of commanding the Net.

    Once you've begun to incorporate other elements of the game into your arsenal of Tennis weapons, you are no longer dependent on your One dimensional approach that was working for years but now, others know your game and it's no longer a threat to them.

    But during a match if you find yourself getting your butt kicked and you're up against the wall on critical points, play through it. Win or Lose, you gotta do what got you to where you are. If blasting a Back hand down the line is your signature shot, then let's see it when it matters most. Even if you think you might miss it, then miss it. Because the beauty of being tight or losing confidence is, after a few winning shots, you become your old self again.

    Maria Sharapova began to believe she had nothing to hurt this kid and therefore began to hurt herself. All Melanie had to do was hang around and allow Maria to win for her by just keeping to the ball in play.

    As my kids would say, "Do you feel me?" ha ha sorry I guess it doesn't come out the same from someone my age huh?

    Coach


    .
    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.

  2. #2
    Join Date
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    Great post Coach. The only question I have is what is the difference between getting tight and going to plan B?

    To further build and almost consolidate on your post, I have written this:

    To get tight is to have overwhelming psychological feelings to the point that concentration is rendered useless. Every command from the cerebellum is filtered heavily through the cerebral cortex. Panic usually follows causing a domino effect on one's game.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lawn Tennis View Post
    Great post Coach. The only question I have is what is the difference between getting tight and going to plan B?

    To further build and almost consolidate on your post, I have written this:

    To get tight is to have overwhelming psychological feelings to the point that concentration is rendered useless. Every command from the cerebellum is filtered heavily through the cerebral cortex. Panic usually follows causing a domino effect on one's game.
    I'm not so sure panic plays a part in this. It really comes down to confidence in what you are doing and what you are attempting to do. When you speak of executing Plan A - B - C whatever, your game plan has gone out the window at this point. You've forgotten what got you to where you are. If you can normally relay upon your serve to get you out of trouble, then why should that change even if you're facing match point against you?

    Win or Lose I'm going to hit my shot. Tennis differs from boxing in the manner of, at some point you will have a winner. It's either you or your opponent.
    If you lose because they were better, then you did your best but to lose because you failed to execute what you know in your sleep can not be forgiven.

    Ivan Lendl lost to Michael Chang because Ivan saw that Chang was having problems with is legs cramping and instead of using that to his favor, he let off the gas. He began to feel badly for him and it cost him.

    If your opponent is cramping, make them run. Sorry if that sounds mean or cruel but it's what you do. Bring out your drop shots, lobs and whatever else you need to do to make them either run or retire.

    Think of it this way, on the opposite side of the Net is your opponent, not your best friend, or double's partner. You play the Ball not your Opponent.
    When the ball comes over the net, it doesn't have a picture of your opponent's face on it, it's still just a yellow ball. Sure you need to see where they are on the court but for the most part, you play to win and you play the ball.

    It's how you hit the ball and where you hit the ball. You've done it thousands of times before, you know how to hit a forehand top spin shot, you know how to hit a slice backhand cross court or top spin backhand down the line.

    If you are struggling, you might take note that they are doing everything they can to make it harder for you. If you're struggling with your serve, do you happen to notice that your opponent is all of a sudden, standing inside the baseline prepared to tee off on the return? So why are you the one that has rubber arms? If you have match point against you, you're standing center court at the baseline, you just hit a fairly nice backhand to the Ad-Court side opening up Deuce side, don't worry about how fast they are because that will make you over hit, just go for the corner with pace that you can handle and follow it in. If they barely get to the ball, you can bet they're going to throw it up in the air. So either you'll have to scramble backward for the reply or you'll have nice over-head to put away. All-in-all, the point should be yours if you keep your wits about you.

    Just do enough to take care of business. But this isn't something you should be doing for the first time. That's what practice is all about. Get a person who is willing to drill situations with you and see how you handle them. If your Coach or hitting partner is ll about standing mid-court hitting forehand and backhands until you're tired, then you've accomplished nothing at all.
    Last edited by Coach; 09-07-2009 at 11:07 AM.
    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.

  4. #4
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    there still seems to be a grey area there. for instance, you hit a couple really good down-the-line shots both forehand and backhand, but your opponent still finds a way to convert on the winner. at this point, you start to second guess your shot selection and shot alltogether. maybe i need to hit with more penetration or perhaps with even more pace and conservatively cross-court? if your game does change, at this point is it plan B or C, or are you just getting tight? Coach, i think your second serve example is good. let's assume you just had a few well-placed seconds slapped back for winners. you likely feel something needs to change. so you start hitting with more spin on your first only to find out your opponent was more than ready. next you try placing the serve on their weak side. now all these changes distract one from the simple goal - to win the point. so at what moment are executing plan B versus becoming tight?

    panic has to play a role in getting tight. yeah it's just a racquet and tennis ball, but one's imagination is capable of convincing oneself they are on the verge of extinction if they lose.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lawn Tennis View Post
    there still seems to be a grey area there. for instance, you hit a couple really good down-the-line shots both forehand and backhand, but your opponent still finds a way to convert on the winner. at this point, you start to second guess your shot selection and shot all together. maybe i need to hit with more penetration or perhaps with even more pace and conservatively cross-court? if your game does change, at this point is it plan B or C, or are you just getting tight? Coach, i think your second serve example is good. let's assume you just had a few well-placed seconds slapped back for winners. you likely feel something needs to change. so you start hitting with more spin on your first only to find out your opponent was more than ready. next you try placing the serve on their weak side. now all these changes distract one from the simple goal - to win the point. so at what moment are executing plan B versus becoming tight?

    panic has to play a role in getting tight. yeah it's just a racquet and tennis ball, but one's imagination is capable of convincing oneself they are on the verge of extinction if they lose.
    There is second guessing and there is reconsidering. If I'm playing someone who I previously thought had suspicious passing shots only to discover their passing shots were excellent, then I rethink my approach. It has nothing to do with tightening up but more so realizing that what the game plan was will not work. If however I'm getting passed at the Net because I'm afraid to hit deep, landing most of my shots mid-court, then I've lost my nerve.

    Sometimes your opponent's shot(s) are just too good. That happens to everyone and it should not be necessarily a game changing reality for you.

    If you're comfortable chipping & charging, then continue to do that. I don't care who you are playing, it's hard to pass all day long. You're going to win some of those points and you're going to lose some. Maybe you're not sticking your volleys as cleanly as you need to and maybe you're not coming in at the best moment.



    .
    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.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
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    When someone tightens up, they tend to be getting caught in the "fear of losing" mode. They begin thinking too much instead of playing. They then begin trying to play better than they are capable and they try to hit ridiculous shots to end the points quicker. The guys that Coach speaks of that don't panic tend to have good control over their minds. If you begin thinking in terms of hitting a crosscourt pass and what your opponent is doing too much, you are going to start panicking. My best advice on this one is to practice hard and play like you practice. You can't expect to go out there and play a game that you don't know how to play just because you are either playing a strong player or you are having a bad day. What is the saying? "Dance with the person you brought to the dance." That's all you have. Agassi played his game regardless of who he was playing. Can you imagine him trying to serve and volley just because he tightened up? He would have gone home quickly. When you begin thinking too much and getting tight, just hit with more clearance and play like you know how to play. Then, after the match, if there are clear things you could have done better or need to add to your game in order to deal with a certain situation, you can do it in practice. No need to fear losing because we all lose every once in awhile. Stay within yourself and play the ball.........

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