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Tennis Anyone
January 2011 Article

Contact John Mills

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Score Situations

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John Mills, USPTA

How many times have you played a match and thought "I just need one more point to win this game or one more game to win the set." Then the negative spin begins. All week you practiced for this match and you thought about just trying to win one point at a time. Now, in the actual match, you are consumed with winning. This is not going to work. Stick with what you do in practice. Play one point at time, stay focused on the point you are playing.
 
Here are a few common scoring situations:


  • You are leading the set with a big lead, (4-1, 5-2 etc.). You are winning points easily, and then all of a sudden a "fight" breaks out. Usually, your lead was given to you by your opponent not playing well, making unforced errors. Now, your opponent has started playing his or her more steady "normal" game. At this point a player might think that they were playing well, but now they are playing poorly. Just the opposite. You started the set well, winning many points completely off your opponent's unforced errors. Now that your opponent is playing better you must refocus. Be appreciative of all the points that were given to you, but now forget about that. Start playing to win one point at a time. You must be more patient now, because the points will be longer. Wait for the error or the correct time to attack.

  • You are down 40-15 in a game. What should you think? If I can win this next point the score will be 40-30. Now the pressure is on my opponent. If you win the next point making the score deuce, your opponent is thinking, "I lost the last 2 points" or "what happened to my lead." I think how you play the 40-15 points tells a lot about how competitive a player is.

  • You are up 40-15 in a game. You are thinking "I've got a big lead so I am going for an ace or a winner." Then, quickly, you lose that point. Now, you have a pressure point. Play to win one point at a time. Do not get ahead of yourself. Playing several moves ahead is great in chess, bad in tennis. Remember, stay in the "present."

Good luck on the courts!
 

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This column is copyrighted by John Mills, all rights reserved.

John Mills currently teaches tennis at the University of Houston, Clear Lake campus. John Mills' experience includes four years as head pro at the Windemere Racquet & Swim Club, where he was responsible for organization of all tennis activities at the club. John also played college tennis at the University of Houston and has spent 20 years teaching tennis at the Memorial Park Tennis Center, the Pasadena Racquet Club, and as the head pro at the Bay Area Racquet Club.


 

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